Do you like to spend your money on supplements? ME TOO.
I’m not here to tell you that you should focus on your diet first because you know that and how you spend your money is your choice.
However, you want to make sure you’re spending your money on the right supplements and not just throwing it down the drain or handing it over to an Instagram fitness influencer who has money on their mind.
So here’s a list of supplements you should and shouldn’t be taking.
Why? Helps with muscle repair, increases your overall protein intake and tastes pretty damn good.
Protein powder is a convenient choice to help get more protein in during the day if you aren’t able to eat enough or if you’re running around on your feet and don’t have time to eat. It can be taken anywhere and is easy to use (especially when you don’t feel like cooking).
It won’t make you big and it won’t make you bulky. If that were the case, there would be a lot more guys and girls walking around with bulging with muscle (I wish this was me).
You never want to buy a cheap protein powder because most of them are full of fillers and additives. So just trust my recommendations.
Whey Protein Or Casein
The difference between whey and Casein is the digestion speed. Whey protein is digested faster which means it gets absorbed quicker (perfect after a workout).
If you’re not going to be eating for a few hours, then casein protein would be a better choice because it will take longer to digest and keep you full. Casein protein is also a good night time protein for the evenings you don’t feel like cooking and need something quick.
What If I’m Vegan
Then you should learn to eat meat… KIDDING!
If you’re a vegan there are a few different options for you to choose from. I’d recommend a vegan protein that combines rice and pea protein together or a hemp protein powder.
The reason you want a pea and rice protein combined is that you want a complete protein source and you can’t get that alone from just peas or just rice because they don’t have all amino acids.
If you choose a hemp protein just be aware that it does taste pretty “earthy” (chocolate flavoured dirt earthy).
If you’re in Australia there’s only one brand I use and recommend and they’re called True Protein. Their protein is made from grass-fed cows and is one of the highest quality proteins around. If you’re looking for a vegan protein powder they also sell that too.
If you’re not in Australia then I would recommend https://www.ruleoneproteins.com/r1-whey-blend/
If you’re looking for a vegan powder outside of Australia choose this one: https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/product/why-choose-raw-protein/
Why? Creatine will help with your strength gains (not by a lot), but you will be able to do an extra rep or two of a given exercise.
Creatine is not essential, but it has been the most researched out of all supplements and is proven to work. If you eat a lot of red meat then you’re probably getting enough, but if you want to supplement for the sake of it then you can. Creatine will not cause any kidney problems like you may have heard and it’s very safe.
Keep in mind that creatine will cause you to store more water in your muscles. This means you may gain 1-2kg (2-5lbs) in the first few weeks. Don’t stress out if this happens to you and you think you’ve put on weight. It’s just your muscles being able to store more water and get bigger.
One 5g dose daily is enough and you can mix it in with any drink you choose. I usually add it to my morning smoothie. Creatine is also extremely cheap and all you need is normal creatine monohydrate. Don’t be fooled by websites or supplement companies trying to sell you some “special blend” of creatine.
Fish oil/ Krill oil
Why? Brain health, heart health, cell function and overall great health.
Taking Fish oil is essential and if you aren’t eating fatty fish (trout, salmon, sardines, mackerel etc) 3 – 5 times a week then you should be supplementing with fish oil.
I recommend buying it in a liquid form that you keep in the fridge to stop it from going rancid.
If you do buy it in capsule form, here’s how to tell if they’re good capsules:
Bite into a capsule to see if it’s fishy tasting. If it is, you need to throw it away because the oil is rancid and bad for you. Fish oil should have NO fishy taste at all.
Here’s The Brand I use: https://au.iherb.com/pr/Thorne-Research-Omega-Superb-Lemon-Berry-8-45-fl-oz-250-ml/59099?gclid=Cj0KCQiAq6_UBRCEARIsAHyrgUyBJehFfRSuuxTtwfQJPF_oZoCHu2GkSsjNliY7mkpkO3IC4UIRK0QaAsaoEALw_wcB
Why? It gives you energy, focus and can kill appetite when dieting.
Caffeine is the gift that keeps on giving. Out of all supplements, this is my favourite!
The focus, and energy you can get from caffeine is great. Those days you don’t feel like going to the gym or have low energy you can have a hit of caffeine to give you the drive you need.
You can get caffeine from coffee, green tea, black tea, pre-workouts and energy drinks. I used to be against pre-workouts (and still mostly am) but if that’s what you need because coffee isn’t strong enough then go for it.
Just be aware of the time you’re having caffeine because if you’re a high responder and it makes you buzz for hours, it’s best to take it before midday so you can still sleep that night. Drinking a pre-workout or strong coffee at 5 pm is not worth a good workout if it just messes with your sleep.
Why? Keeps bone and teeth strong, helps absorb calcium and may prevent diabetes and other health diseases.
Depending on where you are in the world or if you’re sitting in an office all day, there’s a good chance you’re vitamin D deficient if you hardly go outdoors or go home straight after work.
Get your vitamin D levels checked with a blood test. The following recommendation might seem like jibber jabber until you get your results, but then you can compare them to see where you’re at.
For optimal health, adults should be aiming for a Vitamin D level of between 120-150 nmol/L. Once there, you can safely take 3,000-4,000 IUs (as a supplement form) a day to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.
If you are under 100 nmol/L, you can safely take 8,000-10,000 IUs (as a supplement form) to get you up to the optimal range.
If you are obese or elderly, you will most likely need to take 8,000 IUs a day ongoing.
There’s a great app called ‘D minder’. It is free and it will tell you exactly how much time you need to be spending in the sun every day based on where you’re located.
Why? Vitamins and minerals are important for overall health.
If you aren’t eating enough vegetables or fruits then I’d recomend a greens powder. The best way to make sure you’re not deficient in anything is to get your blood checked.
Greens are different from a multivitamin because they’re not synthetic, they’re actually from dried plants.
Why? Helps with muscle contractions, muscle recovery, cramps, bone health, heart health.
This has worked wonders for my sleep and muscle recovery. Magnesium powder is the best to buy and take before bed to help your body start relaxing. One thing I noticed before taking magnesium is that I didn’t really dream a lot.
This meant I wasn’t getting into deep and REM sleep (the best types of sleep). All of that changed once I started using magnesium powder. Not only do I dream every night, but I also feel more relaxed and chilled out before getting into bed.
Magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies out there and it’s probably because people don’t eat enough green vegetables. If this sounds like you, you’re probably deficient.
Buy yourself some magnesium powder if you feel like you aren’t getting enough.
Supps you don’t need
BCAA’s have been shown that they don’t help with muscle growth or prevent losing muscle. They’re pretty much just expensive supplements that make your water taste nice. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. You need all 9 essential amino acids to build muscle, not just the three branched-chain aminos.
Test boosters don’t actually increase your testosterone to any noticeable difference. They will increase your libido and your mood but this doesn’t effect your testosterone to an amount that would make a difference. Some of them may contain things like Vitamin D and Zinc which can help towards testosterone production BUT… That’s only when you are DEFICIENT in those specific nutrients. And IF that’s the case, you can directly supplement with a Vitamin D and/or Zinc supplement with the RIGHT DOSAGE and at MUCH CHEAPER cost than a Testosterone booster.
Mass gainers are just expensive protein powder with added carbs and fats that are from sugar and cheap sources. Why not make your own smoothie that tastes better and has more nutrients. Foods like bananas, peanut butter, milk, halo top ice cream etc. are great.
The main ingredient of any fat burner is caffeine. Caffeine kills appetite. You will not burn a boat load more calories because you’re taking a fat burner. You may burn a measly 50 calories extra which you could do by going for a 15-minute walk.
You now know where you should be spending your money and where you should be saving it but remember, the only reason you should be supplementing is to “supplement” your diet.
Once your diet is on the right track and you combine that with a few supplements, that’s what will really help things move along.