I had received several questions concerning my thoughts on the best supplements. Here are some of my thoughts.
Supplements are a huge topic in the world of fitness and bodybuilding. There seem to be many schools of thought. On the extremes ends of the spectrum, there is one side that touts the belief the body needs large amounts of supplements from broad-based products to very specific enzymes and amino acids. The opposite end of the spectrum believes that the body takes in enough nutrients through our food and no supplements are necessary at all.
Your goals, your nutritional program, and your particular sport may all play a role in deciding which supplements, if any, are right for you. Keep in mind, no amount of supplements are going to make up for poor nutritional choices.
This may seem out-of-place in the bodybuilding world, but I do not use a lot of supplements. I read a lot about different ones, and I see people with long lists of supplements they take on a daily basis, but I am not one of them. A while ago Dr. Jim Stoppani, whom I follow and gather a lot of information from, posted a picture from one of his travels with all of the supplements he had packed with him. The pile was enormous! Given his background degrees and occupation, I am sure he has very scientific reasons why he uses each one. I don’t dispute the value of supplements. The picture struck me just because of the sheer volume of supplements he had.
I have this, possibly strange, ability to eat the same foods everyday over and over again. I can plan out my foods, not in terms of taste necessarily, but as means to a goal. In other words, how many calories do I need and what is the make up of those calories – carbs, proteins, and fats. I then choose the foods that meet those needs, build my daily meal plan around those and I will follow that without much problem. I don’t claim it is the healthiest practice, as variety is a good thing, especially when it comes to healthy nutrition and vitamins and minerals. It is just a way I have been able to eat, meet my nutrition needs and stick with it.
There was a time I was eating some enormous amounts of food. At one point I was drinking a gallon of milk a day, 1-2 dozen eggs, chicken by the coop, peanut butter and jelly by the loaf, and carbs like it was my job! I don’t do that anymore, but sometimes I sure miss those days!!
I do use some supplements – protein powders. That’s it. I use a whey protein, a casein protein at night, and a protein mix after workouts. I wasn’t using any until I started competing again and found it easier to use a protein powder at times as my food intake and calories were becoming more strict. Also in terms of pre and post workout nutrition I find them to be a quick way to reach the muscles and get the nutrients into the body.
Since I have been asked, my choice of protein powders are all from Optimum Nutrition. I chose Optimum Nutrition because at the time I was looking into using supplements all the reading and searching I did all pointed to their products having what I was looking for in terms of ingredients, and nutrition. I am very loyal and once I find something that meets my needs I will usually stick with it. But there are other supplements companies out there who are very reputable and put out good products. I use the 100% Gold Standard Whey, 100% Casein, and for my post workout shake I use Platinum Hydrobuilder. I mix my Whey and Hydrobuilder with water. Most of the time I will mix my Casein with skim milk, except when I cut milk from my pre-contest eating plan. Personally, when mixed with milk I would swear that casein shake is as creamy as a milkshake!
When it comes to natural bodybuilding and fitness I guess that is about as natural as it gets. I am not against supplements and continue to read about many products with great attributes and uses in the body. I just haven’t experimented with too many of them. I am sure many of you have different supplement regimens and would love to hear about them.