I’m On Steroids?
The idea to write this post came to me on Friday when I was at the Doctor’s office. I was about to have my first physical. I had no idea what to expect (as you’ve probably heard many jokes about it), but the doctor said that it wouldn’t be invasive. I assume she meant that she wouldn’t be sticking her fingers into any orifices. That’s always good to hear.
Upon arrival, I had to fill out a form. One of the questions was: What supplements are you currently taking?
Well, well, well. I take a lot of stuff. So much, in fact, that the doctor kept pushing me to admit that I was on steroids…especially after I asked if we could check my testosterone levels in my blood. For the record, I’m not.
Although, I’m going to tell you exactly what supplements I’m taking these days, and why. Unless stated, I buy 90% of my supplements from Canadian Protein. Here it goes:
I originally started taking magnesium to help me de-stress at night so I could get a better sleep. Since taking it, I just feel amazing every day. Studies show that magnesium pretty much helps our body do everything like a champ; especially those who are active. These days, I take 300mg around 5-6pm, 300mg before bed (chelated forms). Also, I will take 500mg of Magnesium Bisglycinate postworkout (to help detox cortisol), as well as a topical oil behind the knees, on my chest, abdomen, and upper arms on nights that I am really wired. Definitely one of my favourite supplements.
Ok, so I know it’s not a supplement, but I use it like one. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are an amazing source of probiotics, and even some enzymes. I used to suffer from killer stomach problems, and eating sauerkraut before each meal aids in digestion, and helps me feel amazing after meals. It also helps me eat huge amounts of food when I am putting on muscle. Buy it fermented, not with wine. I buy mine from the Ukrainian lady down the street, but a brand like Bubbie’s is good too.
Acetyl L Carnitine
This is one of those supplements that I just finished a trial run with. I initially started taking it because of the supposed increased fat loss effects (helps mobilize fat), and to increase work capacity, strength, and focus in the gym. So far, the focus it gives is incredible. Taking it in the morning while fasting and getting work done is the equivalent of having a gun to my head telling me “you need to finish this work or I’m going to pull the trigger”. The focus is phenomenal. I’ve been playing with it to help me “get into the zone” while training, and it’s pretty awesome for that as well. I’ll continue to take this one for a while before I make any decisions on how well it works for me. I’ve been taking 1g per day, but may try experimenting with 3-9 grams per day.
Like magnesium, most people are deficient in zinc. One way to tell is if you get white spots on your fingernails. I used to always have these spots. These days: not so much. If you are deficient, you will most likely have lower testosterone. This means you might have trouble getting lean. It’s a cheap supplement with awesome benefits. Take 25mg per day.
Even though I eat a ton of good quality, awesome food, it’s still a good idea to keep my bases covered. Cooking your vegetables will also decrease some of the nutrients, so that is another reason to take a multi vitamin.
I originally started taking Vitamin C because I was afraid of getting sick. It definitely helped so I continued to take it. Last year, I was speaking with Andy Dube, and he was saying that dogs make their own vitamin C in their body. Dogs that are in shelters make up to 14 grams per day compared to domestic dogs; who only make 1-2 grams. This is due to the stress. Humans can’t make their own vitamin C, so it’s a good idea to take it, especially if you are stressed. I currently take 2g per day unless I am getting sick, then I will take 3g.
This is actually a hormone. I take vitamin D3 because it helps keep my bones strong and my joints from aching. I also find that it helps me put on muscle easier. I currently take 2000IU per day in the summer and 4000IU per day in the winter.
Fast Joint Care+
Awesome anti-inflammation supplement. It is made out of egg shell membrane. Back in the 1800’s, farmers’ wives used to boil egg shells at the end of a hard day, and the farmers would drink it to help get rid of their aches and pains. I will be taking 1 a day for the rest of my life. This stuff rocks.
Green Tea Extract
Here’s another one I’ve been experimenting with lately. For the past few months, I’ve been noticing acne breakouts on my upper back. After supplementing with 1g per day, 90% of it is gone. The increased fat burning is just a bonus.
I wrote a whole blog post on fish oil and why almost everyone should be taking it. I’m currently taking 1-2 tablespoons of Carlson’s Liquid Fish Oil per day.
Studies show that caffeine helps lower your insulin sensitivity. So why the hell would I take it? Here’s the deal, taking it peri-workout will desensitize the tissues (fat and muscle) to insulin. Exercise will activate GLUT4 and GLUT12, allowing your muscles to take in glucose. This means that most of the glucose will be sucked into your muscles, and fat will just be sitting around wondering what the hell happened. I take 200-400mg around the workout unless it’s late in the day.
More studies show that creatine works and is safe for you than otherwise. Drop the act. Quit being a scaredy-pants, and start taking it. Besides increasing your work capacity, it helps block myostatin production. Myostatin tells your body that your muscles don’t need to grow any bigger. Think of how much larger your muscles can be if myostatin is blocked. I take 10g on workout days, and 5g on non-workout days.
Leucine activates the pathway of cellular hypertrophy by signalling mTor. In other words, it tells the body to build muscle. It’s one of the three Branched Chain Amino acids, and the most important one (in my opinion). Right now, I’m in fat loss mode, so I’m take in 3-6 grams in the workout period. When I start transitioning to gaining muscle, I will probably be taking upwards of 20grams per day. I’ll keep you posted.
Newer research has been showing that glutamine helps leucine signal mTor and protein synthesis. If you think of the sodium potassium pump, leucine and glutamine work the same way with cells. Unless you are taking in crazy amounts of whey peri-workout, you might want to consider adding in glutamine.
You know the burn you get in your muscles while working out? All the lactic acid? Well beta alanine helps you get in more reps before you start feeling the burn. This translates into increased work capacity and better results. Some doctors even say that supplementing beta alanine and creatine together are the best legal performance enhancing supplements available.
When you want to get a certain amount of protein per day, it can get tough (especially if you are in a caloric deficit). While I don’t really look at whey isolate as a supplement, some people do.
This is basically a simple sugar (glucose). Take it post workout to spike insulin quickly and prevent catabolism. If you are building muscle, backloading with it may have some merit to refill glycogen stores in the muscles.
This is a funny supplement. The past 3 years, I’ve always craved sushi. Generally, cravings are your body’s way to tell you that you need a certain nutrient. I figured since sushi was salty, that it was salt that I needed (which was a dumb assumption anyways, because if you crave salt, you could be deficient in anything including zinc, magnesium etc). I increased my salt intake, and the cravings continued. My next hypothesis was that I was deficient in iodine (seaweed has huge amounts of iodine). Bingo. I take 1-2 drops per day.
Last but not least, Greens+ are amazing. I eat over 6 cups of veggies per day, but I still supplement with greens powder. Cooking your veggies can rid you of some phytonutrients, and I’m not one to always eat my food raw. The greens powder helps me feel incredible every day. Even though it tastes like absolute shit, the pros outweigh the cons.
That’s all folks. If you can imagine, this list of supplements got my doctor a little surprised. There’s a reason that I take each and every one of these supplements. I’m not saying that you should take the exact ones as me, but as a general rule, if a supplement helps you feel awesome, then keep taking it. It’s not strong science, but the logic is there. People have been using this logic for years. It’s how babies are made.
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