There is so much information out there, and hundreds of products on the market. Should you be taking a protein powder? Multivitamin? Fish oil? It can become so overwhelming, and often the information comes from a party who is trying to push their particular product. Here’s what you need to know.
There are two main categories of nutritional supplements –
1. Essential Nutrients:
– Present in food, which we need for normal physiological functioning (they must be ingested as the body cannot make them itself).
– Essential nutrients include essential fatty acids, proteins/amino acids, vitamins and minerals. You could also include phytochemicals/phytonutrients in this category.
Before considering an essential nutrient supplement, try to increase your whole food intake. If you find that your whole food intake is limited or not available, you can include the following supplements in your diet.
PROTEIN: a milk protein blend (if tolerated), however egg, rice or plant based proteins also do the trick
Whole food equivalent: Meat, dairy, eggs, legumes.
Frequency: Will depend on whole food protein intake. If these are met, intake won’t be as often. If daily protein needs are not met, intake would be more frequent.
FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT: high omega 3 content and at least 30% EPA & DHA
Whole food equivalent: Fatty fish such a sardines, salmon or anchovies.
Frequency: General recommended does is 2-3g of omega 3 rich fish oil/day.
* I use RxOmega # Factors available on iherb.com
To learn more about the benefits of fish oil, check out this article
GREENS SUPPLEMENT: A green food blend high in antioxidants, strongly alkaline and vitamin/mineral rich
Whole food equivalent: Fruit and vegetables!
Frequency: Again, depends on whole food intake. If your fruit and veg intake is high, supplement use will be infrequent.
* I use Health Force Super Foods Vitamineral Greens or Orac Energy Greens (both available on iherb)
PROTEIN-CARB DRINK: Should contain a mixture of quickly digested and well tolerated protein and carbs in a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1
Whole food equivalent: Any protein, carb rich food
Frequency: During a workout only – high intensity sessions where muscle strength or size are desired
BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs): Containing the 3 BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine
Whole food equivalent: Any protein rich food
Frequency: During a workout only – high intensity exercise sessions where fat loss and muscle preservation is desired
If your intake is adequate most of the time, you may only need to keep these supplement handy for those hectic days, or when travelling/ when nutritional intake is poor.
2. Non essential nutrients:
– Nutrients that the body can make itself OR nutrients that aren’t required for normal physiological functioning
– Non-essential nutrients include creatine, glutamine, caffeine, beta alanine, green tea extract and other fat burners. These supps do produce some positive benefits when used to target a specific physiological system in need of enhancement.
I won’t go into all of these now, as there are far too many products to discuss, however a couple of the most common are outlined below. Aside from this, focus should always be on developing a consistent exercise regime and optimal nutritional intake.
CREATINE: In Layman’s terms – can improve performance in high intensity events – for example, strength and power activities.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT: Stimulates the metabolism during weight loss phases . For more on green tea and your metabolism this is a great article.
Supplements can certainly be pricey, so before emptying your wallet take a look at the foods you are consuming. Try an increase your whole food intake and if you decide to purchase the supplements, be sure to read reviews and check out ingredients and servings/bottle label. Iherb.com have a fantastic range of products available, plenty of reviews for each product and being from the USA, prices are affordable (shipping costs minimal and based on weight).
Dietary record for day 34:
Brunch (10.30am): Veggie stack at Pure Bar Subiaco (grilled field mushrooms stacked with haloumi,1 hash brown and avocado), fresh juice (carrot, apple, celery, ginger)
Snacks: 2 x Long black with 1 teaspoon cream, slice of nut/seed load, white tea with sweetener, 2 x greens capsules (should be more but have run out!), 2 x omega 3 caps
Dinner: HELLO STRIKE NIGHT – Nachos (chicken, salsa, cheese and sour cream on top of Red Rock poppy seed corn chips), shared bowl of DVD snacks – m&m’s, butterfinger and mini freddo (I sure know how to strike) – Although I trained twice today, this is still a strike because of the high carbohydrate content and it was consumed outside of the 3 hour post training window
1 x 30 minute partner session with y PT client (Med ball squat throws – high knees, push up partner claps – plank, med ball sit ups – Russian twist) – 9.30am
RPM Workshop – 45min 1.30pm
Dietary record for day 35:
Late breakfast: Omelette (2 eggs, 1 rasher bacon, 1/4 red capsicum, 1/4 yellow capsicum, mixed greens, 1/2 cup grated cheddar), served with additional greens to balance the acidity of the eggs, 2 x omega 3 capsules
Snacks: (After lunch) 1/2 Lemon slice – recipe below!
Lunch: Homemade pizzas on spelt base – recipe here . Homemade tomato sauce on base (thanks Jade), mixed greens, ham, cheese, tomatoes, red onion
Dinner: Lamb Meatballs with zucchini spaghetti (still not sick of it yet!) recipe here
Dessert: Other half of homemade lemon slice – amazing and kids love it!
This is a combination of 2 recipes I found as the orginal one used oats, shredded coconut and dates in the base which I found tasted a little too much like white Christmas! I have used a nut meal base instead.
Blend 3/4 cup ground almonds ground and 1/4 cup rolled oats ground into a flour forms. Add nut 1 cup almond butter (or another nut butter), 1.5 tablespoons each of coconut oil (melted) and rice malt syrup and 1/4 teaspoons each of cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir until a sticky cookie like dough forms.
Press into muffin tins and top with lemon sorbet like mixture. T make topping, blend 2 bananas, juice of 3 lemons, 1/3 cup melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup of rice malt syrup – so easy. Set in freezer and remove about 5-10 minutes prior to serving as topping will melt!
Dietary record for day 36:
Upon waking – 500ml water with 1 cap apple cider vinegar (amazing)
Breakfast: Choc berry protein shake (1/2 cup coconut cream, 1/2 cup water and small leftover serve of omelette from Sunday, 2 x omega 3 caps
Snacks: Apple-Cinnamon protein slice (recipe shared below), green tea, long black with 1 teaspoon cream
Lunch: Leftover lamb meatballs with zucchini spaghetti (post strength workout)
Dinner: Chicken Parmigiana with steamed broccoli
Home strength session (TRX and Kettlebells)
RPM Xtreme (60 min) 6.30pm