Supplementation is of major importance on your fitness journey. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused by all of the options out there, but once you learn the basics it’s really quite simple.
I’ll list my favorite supplements below, how / when to take them, and why I take them. Keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget you don’t need all of these to get results.
I also want to note that although I am a Beachbody coach, I won’t hesitate to recommend products outside of Beachbody that are great alternatives. I use many myself that aren’t from Beachbody and you’ll see them listed below.
Ladies don’t worry about these making you buff. This article applies to both sexes for optimizing body fat reduction and toning up.
1. – Whey or Casein Protein – A staple in supplementation. Picture 1/3 a cup on average as 3oz of lean chicken breast or roughly 100 calories. This supplement makes it easy to hit your calorie and protein goals daily and is very lean.
I take this right after waking, shortly after meals, and sometimes before bed. Whey is faster absorbing, Casein is a slower digesting protein (more optimal for bed). I currently use Costco’s “Cytosport Muscle Milk 100% Protein” 6lb bag because it’s cheap. But my next batch will be “Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey” for variety. Both are great options. They also mix well with Shakeology for extra calories.
Read this educational article to learn more about Whey / Casein Protein.
2. Recovery Drink - This supplement is best taken immediately after exercise. It refuels glycogen stores, and causes the pancreas to create an insulin response which makes the muscles more receptive to protein. This drink comprises of 1/5 protein, 4/5 simple sugary carbs, the perfect combination to refuel and repair. It reduces muscle soreness, and makes you feel great after a workout instead of zonked. Keeps your muscles anabolic.
I take this immediately after exercise. I then don’t eat or drink anything except water for 45-60 min so that I do not disrupt the 4:1 carb to protein ratio as it digests. P90X Results and Recovery Formula is the highest quality Recovery Drink I personally have found. However the most affordable one I have found is Accelerade which I still use on and off for variety (many flavors) and is still a great quality product.
Read this educational article to learn more about recovery drinks and the anabolic timing factor.
3. Shakeology - There are many meal replacements on the market but Shakeology takes the cake. Comprising roughly of 75 calories of the highest quality whey protein and 75 calories of low glycemic carbs for a balanced mix and optimal anabolic environment. It promotoes regularity, natural energy, vitamins, lower cholesterol, and a convenient healthy way to knock out a chunk of your daily calories. It also contains Suma Root (amongst many other ingredients) which has been called “Nature’s Steroid” with no side effects and helps stabilize hormones, calm nerves, and provides boosted energy levels.
I take this in the morning or 1 hour after recovery drink for convenience and since at these times the body is more receptive to vitamins. I usually mix it with almond milk, extra whey protein, fruit, almond butter, and ice to keep it simple and keep me full for hours.
4. Creatine Monohydrate – This is produced naturally in the body so it has no harmful side effects whatsoever. When taken it provides you with more power, strength, intensity, and faster recovery during your exercise. It’s most beneficial for resistance training, HIIT, or anything lasting 10 seconds – 2 minutes (all things P90X or P90X2). It can still benefit sustained cardio routines like Insanity or Turbo Fire by offering faster recovery time between sets. I use the micronized monohydrate from Optimum Nutrition. No calories and tasteless.
Muscles will retain more water while supplementing with Creatine, giving you a more toned look within days. It’s suggested use is 2 months on, 1 month off. I start with a “Loading Phase” where I take roughly 5g servings after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed for 5 days in a row. After this is the “Maintenance Phase” where I take 1 serving of 5g with my recovery drink post exercise daily (or with a meal on rest days).
Read this educational article to learn more about the benefits of Creatine.
Click the link below to order Creatine through Amazon.com
5. Glutamine – During intense training, Glutamine levels are greatly depleted in your body, which decreases strength, stamina and recovery. What can supplementing it do for you ?
- Prevents muscles from going catabolic. It helps maintain cell volume and hydration speeding up wound and muscle tear recovery (soreness). It allows for more of a pump during exercise. It raises growth hormone levels by over 400%. It boosts the immune system to prevent illness. It repairs structural integrity of the bowels, and it cures ulcers in 92% of people who take it within 4 weeks. It’s also been shown to decrease stress levels and help maintain a feeling of calm. It’s all natural in the body and has ZERO side effects. It’s also fantastic if you’re on a calorie deficit and want to maintain muscle mass. Get on it!
I use Optimum Nutrition for my Glutamine. I take Glutamine immediately after waking, roughly 45 minutes before exercise, 30 minutes after exercise, and right before bed. If I’m cutting body fat I’ll also have it roughly 30 minutes after each meal of the day.
Read this educational article on the wonders of Glutamine.
Click the link below to order Glutamine through Amazon.com
6. C4, E&E, NO3 – Pre workout supplements are a great way to give you mental focus (tunnel vision), energy, more strength, more power, burn more fat, and get you in the mood to BRING IT during exercise.
You can’t have caffeine anywhere else in your diet if you plan on taking these. I currently take NO3 for increased blood flow, pump, and faster recovery time between sets or more endurance during high intensity training. I take NO3 60 minutes before starting my warm up.
I take C4 as I’m popping in my workout dvd, this way by the time warm up / stretching is over it’s in my system and I’m focused and ready to go. Beachbody released “Energy & Endurance” recently which is like C4 except all natural ingredients. I will replace C4 with E&E as soon as my stash runs out, then I’ll post my review of it here!
Read this educational article on the benefits of Nitric Oxide.
(You can get C4 and NO3 through GNC or amazon, and E&E through Beachbody.)
Omega 3 - This is one vitamin I refuse to go without. It promotes a healthy heart, brain, and joints. Lots of vitamins will get you expensive urine, but this stuff is a must have.
If you’re not taking Shakeology, then I also highly recommend a quality multi as well (not a cheap $20 one with 200 servings, a quality multi should cost you about $30-$40 a month)
I take my Omega 3 in the morning after breakfast and sometimes again after dinner.
Read this educational article on the importance of Omega-3 and healthy fats in your diet.
(I purchase from NatureMade at Costco, or you can get them through Beachbody)