As I post about my NPC Bikini progress, people often ask me what supplements I am using and why. (Note: I am doing a drug tested competition.)
I currently use quite a few products from powders to pills so I want to give you a peek into just my favorite ones (plus which brands I prefer) and why they are necessary for my training. **Disclosure: If you click through and purchase any of the items I recommend, I could be compensated a small amount. As usual, I keep it real! My full disclosure policy can be read here.**
Before we dive in, I want to stress a few things…
What I use to supplement my fitness is based on my goals and my nutritional needs. My personal trainer who is also certified in nutrition has hand picked these for me. Although my supplements have great benefits, they might not be a good fit for you or your goals. Always ask your doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer before you start using supplements that you see other people promoting.
Supplements are called “supplements” for a reason. You should not be eating garbage all day and then expect a miracle pill/powder or anything to make you look great. That’s unhealthy and it makes me cringe. The goal here is to get your nutrition on point and then supplement to enhance your results.
Now the fun part!
The Rebuilt Mass supplement is designed for quite a few things from preventing muscle breakdown while adding intense cardio, boosting muscle recovery to regulating water levels. I use the Strawberry flavor because it’s delicious and I can mix my BCAAs (see below) in with it versus having to drink them separate. So. Much. Water. I love that you can mix it into water, juice, milk or bake with it. I have even put it in my oatmeal!
100% Whey Protein Powder
Whey isolate is designed to dissolve easily in water and digest quickly to feed muscles fast. I am using Dymatize Iso Whey or I also like Isopure (dying to try the Toasted Coconut flavor!) because both are a really clean protein, great flavors, and they are readily absorbed by the body.
100% Casein Protein Powder
Unlike whey, 100% Casein protein powder is digested over a period of about eight hours. I use this before bed so that my muscles are fed overnight to promote recovery and build lean mass while preventing muscle breakdown from being in a fasted state. My favorite way to eat it is as pudding! Just add enough water to get the pudding consistency you want and chow down! I am currently using Body Tech (Vitamin Shoppe brand) but Optimum Nutrition could be another good option.
Linoleic Acid belongs to the omega family of fatty acids, which perform vital functions in the body and are necessary for optimal health. The conjugated form is a combo of different forms of Linoleic Acids that occur in nature. CLA can help to enhance muscle growth and reduce body fat. My diet is LOADED with healthy fats right now to assist my body in using fat for fuel especially when my nutrition goes through calorie/carb deficits.
This is my favorite supplement of all time. ZMA is a zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B6 supplement which helps to enhance REM sleep. I take this right before bed on an empty stomach and sleep soooooo hard. We know that sleep is essential for muscle repair and growth, so this is key. In addition, zinc has been found to be critical for muscle recovery and growth. Magnesium is also an essential mineral important for healthy function of the cardiovascular system, and metabolism. Vitamin B6 aids in the utilization of these minerals in the body. Stacking these minerals together can help to enhance muscle size, muscle strength and fat loss. Winning!
Pre/Post Workout Recovery
Beta-A is found in most pre-workouts like C4 and Neurocore. It is a non-essential amino acid that helps delay muscle fatigue by regulating acid buildup during intense workouts. I do not use a pre-workout, but I take one pill pre and post workout to help with acid buildup. I notice a big difference in muscle soreness from using this. I am rarely sore even with triple workout days!
Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential nutrients naturally found in food. BCAAs can help to increase muscle retention and maximize fat loss by increasing the rate of protein synthesis and increase the body’s capacity for protein synthesis. So instead of just ingesting more protein, BCAAs actually enhance the protein digestion. They can also help to reduce the amount of Serotonin produced during exercise which helps to decrease the perception of fatigue. Along with using Beta-Alanine, I 100% attribute the lack of soreness to these supplements.
Acetyl-L Carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body metabolize fats to produce energy. It is important for heart, and brain function as well as muscle movement.
Again, let me stress that just because I am using these supplements means that YOU should!