What Supplements do I need?

I often get questions around supplements.  Why should I use supplements?  What supplements do I need?  What supplements do you use?  All of those are very common questions.  And it’s very understandable because there are a ton of supplements out there and it can be pretty confusing.  If you picked up a GNC catalog you could easily get a little overwhelmed.  There are pre-workouts, intra-workouts, post-workouts, protein, thermogenic boosters, and the list goes on.   Personally I try to keep it fairly simple, and I try to get most of what I need from the foods I eat, but there are probably always a few holes in most people’s diets.

So to answer the first question, “why should I use supplements?”, I would say that you should use supplements for a couple reasons.  First is when you don’t get everything you need from your normal diet.  Obviously try to fill what you need with whole foods, as those are the best sources, but if you’re on a restrictive diet and are trying to lose weight, of if you’re eating a vegan diet you might miss out on iron or B12, so those would be cases when taking a supplement isn’t a bad idea.  Or for example, if you live up north in MN like me, and during the winter you don’t get out in the sun much, a vitamin D supplement is probably a good idea.  Also, if you’re doing something the average American isn’t, like doing extreme workouts 5-6 days a week, your body probably needs something that everyone else’s doesn’t.  That’s where I think a recovery drink makes sense, and depending on your goals, so does creatine, glutamine and potentially a protein supplement.  Your body needs to recover after intense workouts, and recovery drinks are designed to help restore your muscles and repair them.  So those are a couple good reasons why I think it makes sense to take supplements.

The question of “what supplements do I need?” really depends on your goals.  What does your diet look like?  Are you trying to lose weight or are you trying to bulk up?  What workouts are you doing?  Your answer to all of those questions can really make a big difference in how you should supplement.  You might need a multi-vitamin, or a recovery drink, or specific supplements that help with mass building.  It really does depend on your goals.  Or maybe you have joint problems and a joint support formula might be very helpful for you.  It really depends on your situation.

The question I can answer most easily is “what supplements do you take?”  I try to keep my supplements very simple.  Right now I’m trying to increase in strength and drop my body fat.  I’m doing P90X2 5 days a week and typically play basketball or do some other form of cardio on my “off” days, so I’m working out pretty hard.  I also eat a vegan diet, so I need to be aware of my iron and B12 intakes.  Keeping that in mind, right now I take 4 supplements.  I take creatine, glutamine, P90X Results & Recovery formula and Shakeology.  I take creatine because it definitely helps me with my goal of increasing strength.  It helps my endurance during lifts and I have noticed gains from using it.  I take glutamine because during intense workouts your glutamine stores are depleted, so I know I need to replenish them.  I take the P90X Results & Recovery formula because I know that immediately after a workout, the best meal you can have is 4 parts carb to 1 part protein, which this has.  It also has some creatine, glutamine and arganine in it, so it’s a great post-workout option.  You can learn more about it here: P90X R&R formula.  Lastly, I take Shakeology, and have been for just about a year now.  I take Shakeology because of the overall health benefits.  It is all-natural and non-processed and gives me all the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, etc. that my body needs.  This was especially important when I was eating at a calorie deficit, because I needed to make sure my body was still getting everything it needs.  It also has a good amount of iron and B12, which is important to me.  I don’t take a multi-vitamin because I don’t need to when I have Shakeology, and it replaces one of my meals for the day which makes it very affordable.  You can learn more about it here: Shakeology.

I’m not a huge pre-workout supplement guy, because I usually shy away from things with controversial ingredients, which many PWO’s have.  But I did just pick-up Beachbody’s new E&E PWO to see what it’s like.  I’ll right a review in the next couple weeks and may think about incorporating it into the routine.  I also do take a vitamin D supplement on winter days when I don’t get out in the sun at all.

So if you have had questions about supplements, hopefully this has been a helpful read.  Not everyone needs the same things because not everyone has the same goals or are doing the same workouts or eating the same diets.  If I had one supplement to choose, it would be Shakeology hands down because it is the most complete.  Another factor to consider is your budget too.  Obviously not everyone has an unlimited budget, and you have to be wise with where you spend your money.  So that’s definitely a factor to consider.  If you’ve been wondering “what supplements do I need?” or what I actually take on a daily basis I hope this answers your questions.  Feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an e-mail.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Youtube