Lately, a lot of people have been asking me about supplements.
Which ones will make me better at sex? Which do I need to lose fat and build muscle? Which will give me more energy and make me feel more awesome and alert? Is cocaine considered a fat burner? (yes, someone really did ask that).
Here’s the deal…
If you’ve ever tried to buy supplements before – you’ve most likely likely been assaulted by flashy labels promising you a magic solution and fitness experts pushy salesmen telling you how much you need this product.
Here’s the deal with supplements. They are exactly as their name implies: supplements to your diet and training program. Without your nutrition, training, and sleeping habits on point – relying on supplements to get the job done for you will definitely help you shed some weight in the wrong area: your wallet.
The truth is you can and will get results without supplements.
With that said, supplements can and will rapidly speed up your results, but ONLY if your training program, nutrition, and sleep habits are up to speed. They are completely optional, but some are strongly recommended.
What nobody will tell you:
You might be surprised to learn that the FDA does not test, monitor or approve sports supplements.
This means that out of the hundreds of thousands of supplement brands out there promising to get you a six pack of abs, you have no idea what you’re really getting.
The FDA leaves it up to individual companies to test and monitor their own products. These are the three most common offenses:
- Many companies do not hire qualified registered dietitians, nutritionists, or medical doctors to formulate their products based on the latest research. This usually leads to products that lack safety standards and just flat out don’t work.
- Many companies use artificial and low quality ingredients that are often contaminated or ineffective. These are not manufactured in an FDA rated facility under the strict government approved good manufacturing practices. Most are made in dirty, unregulated warehouses, garages, or motel rooms.
- Many companies do not test their products to ensure the ingredients match what what is listed on the label, nor do they test for safety and check if the product is free of contaminants. They simply ship the products and let the customers be the guinea pigs when it comes to quality.
For example, take Jack3d, a popular supplement sold at GNC’s across the country. Jack3D is a pre-workout booster that promises “ultra-intense muscle-gorging strength, energy, power, and endurance”.
Jack3d contains DMAA – which as described by the FDA “narrows the blood vessels and arteries, which can elevate blood pressure and may lead to cardiovascular events”. DMAA is linked to heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure. As of February this year, the FDA ha received about 80 reports of problems in people who took Jack3d – including five deaths in apparently healthy individuals.
Combine this complete disregard for safety with shady marketing tactics – such as company funded “studies”, fake before/after pictures, or my favorite, the fake doctor testimonial – and you have the supplement industry in a nutshell.
Still, the supplement industry reports an estimated $25 billion in yearly sales, and seems to be increasing every year.
Even Optimum Nutrition, arguably the most popular protein powder on the market, was recently sued for deceptively marketing an ingredient in their products. [If you bought an ON product in the past few years, click HERE to file a settlement claim for up to $48. Use that money to buy some of the trusted supplements I’ve listed below].
But the fact remains…
Aside from the sketchy garbage out there, supplements can and will rapidly speed up your results, but only if your training and nutrition is up to speed.
The truth is that without the convenient role supplements play in a program, neither me nor my clients could have enjoyed some of the results we’ve achieved.
The trick is learning to separate the good, from the useless, from the deadly.
GMP brands – separating the good from the bad.
The supplement companies that I use and work with are the opposite of the above. I only use FDA certified Good Manufacturing Practices companies – which means the owners of the companies spend a lot of extra money and time getting this certification – which guarantees you’re getting exactly what’s on the label. It’s also why you wont see these brands at your local supplement store.
These companies implement intensive research and testing protocols into product development. The products are made with only all natural ingredients and formulated by world-class doctors, nutritionists, chemists, and fitness experts.
The manufacturing goes down in an FDA-registered laboratory and gets extensive third party assurance testing – which means you’re getting exactly what’s on the label. Before the product gets shipped out, it goes through an extensive scientific advisory review to make sure it’s safe, and more importantly, that it works.
In full disclosure – I work with these companies. That means I get paid for getting the word out about their superior and trustable products. It’s how I’m able to keep this blog and newsletter completely free. Keep In mind – I only recommend products I’ve used, trusted, and deemed beneficial to myself, and my guinea pigs clients.
Athletic Greens Super Food Cocktail
If I could only take one supplement for the rest of my life – this would be it.
I take this stuff every morning and feel a significant difference in my energy levels almost immediately. Plus I haven’t been sick since I started taking this stuff over a year ago. Even super-genius best selling author, Tim Ferris, calls this stuff his “all in one greens insurance policy”
In a nutshell – it’s the highest quality vitamins and minerals from over 70 different whole food ingredients, providing more than your daily needs in just 27 seconds a day.
But don’t take my word for it – check out their site and see for yourself.
BioTrust Low Carb
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you understand how important of a role protein plays in losing weight, building muscle, and just being awesome in general. You’re probably trying to figure out how to sneak more protein into your diet . Protein supplements come in handy when you have trouble meeting your daily needs.
To be successful in your efforts you need protein at every meal and throughout the day. Protein supplements are one of the most popular supplements because they provide a cheap and easy way to get more protein into your diet. Because, let’s be real – not all of us have access to cayenne seasoned chicken breasts 24/7.
This is the best protein supplement on the market. It’s made from the purest hormone-free cows, and not processed or filled with artificial ingredients, like many other companies. It’s also a blend of different time-released proteins. One serving of this stuff will keep your muscles (and wallet) happy for up to 8 hours.
And I must say, it’s one of the most delicious powders I’ve ever used. And I’ve been through A LOT of different brands.
My favorite is the milk chocolate flavor blended with almond milk and a banana. It’s the perfect meal replacement when you don’t have the time or money for real food.
They also have some of the most delicious protein bars and cookies on the market (second only to Quest bars) – which is a breath of fresh air, since most bars you see on the market, are nothing but glorified candy.
Athletic Greens Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 (also known as essential fatty acid) is a supplement everyone of all ages should be taking – not just for fat loss and better fitness, but for overall health. Even my grandma takes this stuff.
Arguably one of the most popular supplements in the world, Omega 3 has been shown to:
- Decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease headaches
- Improve liver function
- Improve brain function
- Improve vision
- Promote fat loss
- Reduce joint pain
- Reduce stress and depression
This stuff is the highest quality fish oil on the market today. Seriously, two of these pills is equivalent to about 10 pills from another company.
Don’t just take my word for it though – you can compare the different brands for yourself on their site. This stuff is essential for optimal physical and mental well being.
The above listed is what I consider the bare essentials – the most helpful supplements that can and will speed up your results. My approach to supplements is very basic in nature, but there are a few more I recommend depending on your goal.
If you’re worried about losing muscle while on a calorie restricted diet where you’re trying to shed fat – BCAA is a wise choice. This stuff helps your body hang onto your calorie burning lean muscle and keeps your metabolism high while you diet. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to lose fat – so you definitely want to hang onto ALL of your muscle, especially while dieting. (you too, ladies). Get some HERE
And for you dudes trying to pack on some size fast – you might want to look into the safest, most well researched, and effective sports supplement of all time – creatine
I also recommend Melatonin for those who have trouble getting a solid night of rest, which is arguably one of the biggest pieces of the fat loss puzzle. Not to mention the epic dreams this stuff promotes.
What would a post about supplements be without some FREE SUPPLEMENTS?
My friends over at JackedPack are giving out two packs for readers of this blog. If you’re not familiar with them – every month they send you the best and newest supplements from some of the best brands on the market – so you can decide on what works for you and what doesn’t – without breaking the bank.
Things in my JackedPack: Chocolate Chip Protein Bar, Vanilla ice-cream flavored protein powder, slice of protein bread, 3 different pre-workout supplements, energy boosters, and some badass stickers.
But here’s the thing – I’m reserving these packs for the strong men and women on my weekly e-mail list.
UPDATE: Congrats Annie and Mike!