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A Quick Guide to Supplements

Great results take hard work. There is no magic pill to lose weight, no cream to make your cellulite vanish, and no sports drink that will make you deadlift 1,000 lbs. Sorry to rain on your fat-burning pill parade.

I am often asked for suggestions on how to improve a workout or create a better diet. If there’s one piece of advice that I give everyone who asks it would be this: you cannot out train a bad diet. Clean eating (lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and dairy if you can tolerate it) is the way to go. I suggest implementing the 80/20 rule: eat clean 80% of the time, so you can still enjoy all of the delicious “cheat” foods on occasion. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, “But Nicole, my nutrition is already on point. Egg whites, chicken and broccoli all day! I want to take my fitness to the next level.” If this is the case, you are taking the first steps to a healthier way of life.
Supplements are tempting, with their flashy labels and outlandish claims that they will give you superpowers, but please remember what the word supplement means.

Supplement: (noun) something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole. 

They are NOT a replacement for healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Got it? Good. Now that were clear on this, here are the supplements that I take, and why. **DISCLAIMER** I do not get paid/given free products for endorsing any of these companies. However, I’d be totally cool with doing that, so if you’d like me to try your product and review it, let me know!

Morning:
Fish Oil- When it comes to fish oil, all products are NOT created equal. I have purchased bargain fish oil in the past, and lets just say, you get what you pay for. The qualities I look for in a good fish oil supplement are as follows: 1. DHA/EPA Potency-   2. Purity- must meet health standards on contaminants and toxic chemicals. Look for a Certificate of Analysis. 3. Taste- no fishy flavor (or dreaded fish burps!) 4. Cost/value- I’d prefer not to blow my entire paycheck on supplements.

Pre-Workout:
Tea- Yup, thats it. Just plain old Green/Black tea, depending what I have on hand that day. I like a little afternoon pick-me-up at work, and this usually lasts through my workout. I have also heard of people who like to drink coffee pre-workout, but I am not a fan.

PWO: True Athlete Energized Training Formula– On competition days, or when I am seriously lacking energy, I will take this pre-workout. I selected this product over other brands because of the ingredients. If you look at some of the PWO products on the market these days they are straight chemicals. This product has these 7 ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, Arginine, Beta-Alanine, Caffeine (50mg), Astragin, Beet Root powder, Stevia. I like the Watermelon flavor.

Post Workout:
Protein: Carnivore Beef Protein Isolate (Chocolate)– I cannot tolerate Whey Protein, and the plant ones I’ve tried all taste horrible. (I use Plant Fusion for baking). No, I’m not lactose intolerant, I can drink a glass of milk just fine. So far I have been able to digest the Carnivore protein really well. I don’t take it every day, sometimes after a workout I will have eggs, or a sandwich, or something along those lines (protein+carbohydrate). In a pinch, this protein powder has been working great for me.

Evening/When Hunger Cravings Strike:
Casein: Dymatize– Casein is a slow-digesting protein made from cow’s milk, which contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s). Slow-digesting means that unlike whey protein, your body will absorb the amino acids in casein slowly, over 6-8 hours, in a steady manner. (Whey, on the other hand, gives you an immediate boost of BCAA’s upon consumption, making it a better choice for post workout).I love taking casein in the evening right before bed, allowing for overnight muscle repair. I like to take chocolate casein and mix it with just enough cold water to form a pudding consistency, and eat it with a spoon. (sometimes I mix in fruit or peanut butter too).

For more info, check out these helpful sites:
http://www.breakingmuscle.com
http://chriskresser.com/the-definitive-fish-oil-buyers-guide/

I hope you found this info to be helpful. What supplements do you take? Leave a comment below with any questions, and be sure to check out my foodie friends here!

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