Abigail, didn’t you already post something about all of the supplements you include in your fitness routine in the past few months? Yes, yes I did, and if I’m being honest, that post was awful. The quality was not something of which I was proud, and I’ve wanted to re-post it since the day I hit publish. So, we’re revisiting the topic, and I’m including some new products I’ve added into my routine. Enjoy!
This post has been one that I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I was very concerned that people wouldn’t want to read it. But is that really the point of this blog — writing things only for the sake of others might want to read? The answer to that is no. I’m here to be my true, authentic self and to talk about things that I love! And today that just happens to be the supplements that I’m taking at the moment.
I feel like when you tell people who aren’t in the fitness industry that you’re taking supplements, their immediate thought is “OMG you’re on steroids.” And honey, no. That is far far far from the truth. Supplements are intended to help fill nutritional gaps and take training to the next level. They’re not miracle substances that will get you a six-pack or make you ripped. But they will help you achieve your fitness goals.
This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure here.
Protein – Daily
If you take any supplement, let it be protein. Protein is ESSENTIAL to build muscle. Yes you can get protein from whole food sources like meats, eggs, and greek yogurt, but there comes a point where it’s hard get the adequate amount of protein you need from whole foods. Protein powders are typically a cheaper and easier alternative to carrying around chicken breasts to eat after a workout.
Please don’t carry around chicken breasts to hit your protein goals…
There are a ton of different protein powder options out there, and it can be pretty overwhelming. Plant protein, whey protein, casein protein, pea protein, hemp protein. You name it, it’s out there.
I look for one that is mainly made up of whey isolate, has around 20-30 grams of protein per serving, and has a very minuscule amount of carbs and fat. I stay away from protein powders that are higher in carbs because personally I’d rather get my post-workout carbs from a banana than from a protein shake.
If I’m not in the mood for a protein shake but I still need to get in some protein, I’ll opt for a protein bar. Read my entire post about all of my favorite protein bars and maybe you’ll find your new favorite!
While I’m a big advocate for protein powders simply because it makes hitting protein goals just a little easier, I don’t advise the average person or average lifter to eat them with every meal. I usually only have one a day and that’s after my workout.
My appetite is very low after a workout, but I need to get in some kind of protein. A protein shake with almond milk is quick, easy, and effective.
Electrolytes – Daily
Y’all these are my new favorite things. I don’t know if I’m not getting enough salt in my diet or what, but a lot of times during the day and throughout my workout I get lightheaded. Whatever the cause may be, I’ve found that by sipping on electrolytes during the first half of my workout, the problem goes away almost completely.
Of course I could drink a Gatorade or something like that, but I am not all for all that sugar and artificial colors. Instead I opt for these amazing electrolyte tablets. They’re virtually calorie-free and they taste amazing.
I just throw one tablet into a water bottle before my workout and let it fizz away. I’ll sip on it during my warmup and I’m good to go. They come in all different flavors and types. We’re talking electrolytes + vitamins, electrolytes + caffeine, and the list goes on.
You can find these at Target in the protein powder aisle or Amazon.
Creatine – Daily
I’m going to admit I was hesitant about taking this at first. In fact, a lot of people are hesitant about creatine. It’s encompassed in such a negative light. But after doing a lot of research I figured I’d give it a try. It’s one of the most well-researched supplements out there, and unless you’re taking a ridiculous amount, it’s perfectly safe.
So what is creatine?
Essentially creatine helps the body produce more energy, or ATP a.k.a. adenosine triphosphate (remember that from biology?). It’s naturally found in the animal protein sources and also produced by the good ‘ole human body. With the production of more energy, a user can train harder which in turn will help with strength gains and the growth of lean muscle mass.
I’ve been taking about 3 grams a day since February of 2017 and I have definitely seen a difference. My lifts have improved and I have seen a growth in muscle mass and definition.
The best part about creatine is that it’s cheap and it dissolves pretty well in drinks. There’s a lot of options out there, but this is what I’m using for now.
To take my creatine, I usually mix it in with my daily cup of coffee, or if I forget to take it in the morning, I’ll add it to a glass of water and add a water flavoring. My favorites are the Mio Energy because they taste delicious and there’s just a bit of caffeine in them.
Pre-Workout – Occasionally
I used to be an occasional user of pre-workout. Stimulant pre-workout that is. And although my usage has increased, I still classify myself as an occasional user of pre because I’m not taking it every day before every workout.
I have, however, fallen in love with PE Science’s High Volume.
Well, it doesn’t contain any stimulants (aka caffeine) which means I can take it at night and get all that amazing pump action without the downside of not being able to sleep for the rest of the night. Love the pump, love the flavor, love the results.
C4 is one that I take VERY RARELY. I save this for those days where I’m just done. I don’t want to workout. I have zero motivation. And I need something to get me focused and pumped for the gym (pun intended).
C4 is a well-known, entry-level pre-workout that you can really find just about anywhere. I take one scoop 20 minutes before my workout. You can mix it in water and sip on it, or my preferred method is to dump a scoop in my mouth and then down some water.
Coffee is a great alternative to a pre-workout, and in my opinion it’s even better because it’s natural and calorie-free.
BCAAs – Occasionally
BCAAs or branch-chain amino acids are becoming more and more popular within the fitness community. Basically they help prevent the breakdown of muscles by keeping the body in anabolic state. They increase the rate of protein synthesis in the muscles and increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis. So all in all it’s a win-win situation when it comes to BCAAs.
I’ve started to stray away from BCAAs and go for my electrolyte tablets instead. But if I am using BCAAs, I’ll add one scoop to my water at the beginning of the workout and sip on it throughout the remainder of the workout.
The only reason why I’ve started to stray away from these are because of the taste.
A lot of them are overly sweet, and the artificial colors love to trigger my migraines. They make unflavored options, but I do not like the taste of that at all. But, it’s all a personal thing so try them out and see if they’ll work for you!
Still have questions about the supplements I use? Ask away in the comments below!