I don’t think I will ever get used to drinking protein shakes. Yuck!
That being said, I find that supplements are sometimes a necessary evil. When I am really pushing my workouts hard and over the top, I just can’t seem to get enough in my diet to compensate. I mean, I love being all natural and I still try to find supplements that are but just the fact of using the supplements means I’m not doing something natural. But like I said, necessary evil. So here are some of the supplements I use regularly and why I chose them over others!
1. Healthy N Fit Nutritionals Whey Pro-Amino
I think anyone who has read up on fitness knows that at some point, you are going to drink a protein shake. My problem with 99% of them is that they contain artificial sweeteners. This one uses stevia so I find it to be better than others. The ones that use sugar as their base are like 3 times the amount of calories. Give and take. Also, the friendly guy at Vitamin Shoppe recommended this one since they haven’t change the formula (or label) since they 80s. Why change a good thing? I’ll go with it. Its not bad, I’ve had worse. Just chug.
2. Kre-Alkalyn Powder
Again, the very nice, knowledgeable worker at Vitamin Shoppe helped me on this one. I wanted to start using Creatine since I knew I was doing Insanity and figured it can’t hurt. It is used to help build muscle so weight lifters use it mostly. Trust me, I am definitely using muscles in Insanity! I use 1 scoop or less and it doesn’t taste like anything (I mixed it in water and didn’t taste a thing). This particular one is also pretty natural with minimal ingredients. Ladies, it will not make you bulk up. Also, creatine usually doesn’t agree with people’s stomachs but check out this handy description from Vitamin Shoppe on this particular product:
“Kre-Alkalyn is buffered to minimize creatine from being converted into creatinine, a by-product of creatine metabolism. This helps to increase absorption into muscles and to alleviate the negative digestive effects that some users experience with ordinary creatine. In clinical trials, Kre-Alkalyn has been shown to increase muscle performance in strength training exercises.”
3. Scivation Xtend™ Intra-Workout Catalyst
I have been using this one for a long time on the recommendation of a friend (Jess) who has been running for forever. The guy at Vitamin Shoppe told me I couldn’t pick better either. So basically, this is an amino acid drink for endurance sports. It is complete in that is has all the amino acids (BCAAs, L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Glutamine)you need to keep going plus electrolytes (Potassium, Chloride, Sodium). Its like Gatorade on crack. And on top of the two recommendations I got already? The new book I am reading (The Paleo Diet for Athletes) recommends its competitor drink (Accelerade) but this wasn’t out at the time the book was published. So basically, if you endurance train, you should be drinking this as your electrolyte drink (or something similar). And the watermelon is pretty tasty. Mix it with the lemon and you have some nice pink lemonade. The only downside is the artificial sweeteners. If you find an equally awesome drink without those, you let me know.
The major downside to the Xtend is that it is recommended for endurance events above 90 minutes to have a 4:1 carb to protein (amino acid) mixture. Well, Xtend with its sugar-free-ness doesn’t have any carbs at all. So I have Gu. And yes, it has a texture exactly like it sounds. The chocolate reminds me of brownie batter in taste and texture. The vanilla reminds me of pudding. The fruity flavors aren’t for me. I can’t WAIT to try the peanut butter flavor I just bought. And the Roctane have added caffeine which seriously work (I ate one and the skimped out on my workout one time. I think I cleaned my whole house in less than 2 minutes!). Basically, it provides back the energy you are using up during an endurance event. As you deplete your body of carbs, you have to replace them or you will hit “the wall”. SO, the ingredients aren’t the best and you could try new ones like those by Cliff (Cliff Shot Energy Gel) or by Honey Stinger (made from honey) but I prefer Gu. You might hate it but then you’ve got to find something else. My advice is just learn to like it. Your muscles will thank you later.
So those are pretty much my top supplements. I have vitamins I forget to take all the time by Nature’s Code. I have some Gu Brew (the tablets) which is delicious (like Xtend) but is fizzy and likes to leak out of my water bottles and dribble down my legs. I’ve tried Cliff Shot Blocks, Power Bar Energy Blasts (with the liquid inside), Honey Stinger Gel, Cliff Shot Gel, Jelly Bellies (oh those are good too!!), etc. etc. I just buy one pack and see how I like it. I’ve found what works for me which might not work for others. You have to experiment. And like I said, I only use these things when I am really pushing hard in workouts. If I’m just going along doing the usual daily workouts, I can pretty much cover my bases with food but with distance running and the like, I need a little extra!
What are your favorite supplements?
PS. I am not sponsored or endorsed by any products at all so these are my honest opinions. You can feel free to use any product you like and I feel that everyone’s situation is different. What works for me might not work for you. Be smart in your supplement choices and made educated decisions by reading or asking advice of a professional.