Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Should I Take Supplements? What I Use and WHY!

Hey everyone!

I wanted to touch on a subject that I have been asked about a few times by friends and family, especially when I was in competition mode last year. Crazy to think how fast that year went by, and now I am post-show finding a healthy balance. What am I talking about today? Supplements!

Do you need supplements? Short answer: No

Do I take supplements? Yes, I do, but not the typical fitness or bodybuilding supplements. I don't take fat burners, I don't take pre workout (despite having a container in my cupboard from last year), and I don't take anything to enhance my performance in the gym.

Okay, so what do I take then?

I wanted to show you the everyday things I take, as well as the "sometimes" and the "not so often."

Categories help organize everything, ja feel? ; ) Let's jump into it.

My Everyday:

Zinc: I have been using zinc for the last two months or so from the advice of a local nutritionist. In case you don't already know, I get eczema on my skin in the creases of my elbows and behind my knees. Since I started supplementing my diet with zinc, I have noticed a difference in my eczema and the overall texture of my skin.

Why is zinc beneficial? Zinc helps hormone production, can be anti-inflammatory, aid in digestion, acts as an antioxidant and can help with fighting free-radical damage (to name a few). I chose this zinc from MegaFood because it also contains some extra vegetable-based vitamins, is dairy free, and also contains silica.

Probiotic: Probiotics are live organisms that can help promote a well-functioning digestive system. They are good bacteria that can help rebuild the digestive system, or at least calm digestive issues cause by anti-biotics, medications, and poor diet. Probiotics can help with eczema (the number one reason why I take them!), and help heal leaky-gut syndrome as well as benefit oral health, too. I picked up my probiotic supplement from Thrifty's grocery store, though you can purchase probiotics from any health food retailer.

My Sometimes:

Hair & Nails: When I take this consistently, I notice a huge difference in my nail growth and how shiny my hair is. This can be attributed to the biotin and bamboo in this supplement, as both biotin and bamboo can aid in better skin health and strengthen the hair. I actually took some of this over the weekend when I was taking these photos, so maybe they will land back in my rotation.

Multi-Vitamin: I am on the fence about this one, mainly because I don't 100% trust the giant, bright purple bills inside this One A Day vitamin. Gimme a veggie capsule where I can see the actual stuff inside, you know? I started taking these in mid-February I want to say after a nasty cold, thinking that having a multi-vitamin would help my immune system. I can't confidently say that it has, but on the other hand I can't say that it hasn't. While I do think supplementing your diet with a multi-vitamin is a good idea, I would look towards the health food store rather than a commercially made supplement. A little voice in my head says that there are some unnecessary fillers in these ones.

My Not So Often:

Whey Isolate: Whey isolate is an excellent source of clean protein, and I like the Kaizen brand because it is low in sugar and carbs. There are hardly any additives, and it mixes well as a protein shake and in oatmeal. Although I am not using it consistently now, when I was in competition prep last year I probably had a shake a day, especially after my work out. Protein helps rebuild your muscles, and so this was much needed after my long workout sessions, when I didn't prepare a meal ahead of time, or when I was on the go and needed to get a meal in. Personally, I am not taking protein powder right now because my workout regime has drastically changed since last year, but it is nice to have on hand in case I want to add it to a bowl of oats after a morning long run.

BCAA's: Branch chain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. This is different than a protein powder because it contains amino acids only and can help rebuild the muscles after a work out. It is not a whey product, unlike the Kaizen protein. I have maybe had this a handful of times within the last six months. You mix this with water, and it is especially refreshing with ice!

Nuun hydration: This is another drink supplement to help hydrate your body after a tough work out. I drink this after long runs with lots of ice, as it is super refreshing and is not overly sweet. While this is not one of those drink mixes that is supposed to pump you up or give you a caffeine buzz, this does help prevent dehydration thanks to the electrolytes in each little drink tab. I would recommend this to any runner, hot yogi, or every day person who feels extra parched and thirsty after their work outs! This could probably inch up into the sometimes category, too!


So, that is that! Those are the supplements I take every day, sometimes, and not so often. 

What kind of supplements do you take & why?

Until next time!

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