Supplementation can really help maximize your results in any program. I suggest using
only basic supplements – you don’t need anything fancy. How you use them and when is what really gets you the results! I will go through what to use, exactly when to use it and why. I will be listing them in order of importance.
I’ll have a chart at the bottom of the page laying out exactly when you’ll be taking each supplement that I recommend here.
A Highly Recommended Supplement Company
Before I get into the recommended supplements, I wanted to give you something special…over 10 years ago I partnered with JayLabPro Nutrition (formally ProGrade Nutrition). If you’re not familiar with JayLabPro Nutrition, they are one the FEW supplement companies I have no trouble fully recommending. I actually know the owners and lead product formulator personally and can vouch for their integrity.
What the label says is in the bottle IS in the bottle and all ingredients have been thoroughly researched for effectiveness.
On this posting, you’ll see several of their products that I recommend (multivitamins, EFAs, protein and a fat burner). They offer a number of other excellent products on their website as well.
First are multivitamins. They are especially important during dieting because of reduced nutrient intake, especially during the any low carb or calorie restriction phase of any diet.
Plus, most food simply does not have enough nutrients in it these days to allow even the healthiest eater to get optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals, even when eating regular meals. Think of a multivitamin as an insurance policy. It helps to protect you from any deficiencies you could get and not even know about.
- Don’t take generic, low-quality multivitamins. You may as well be swallowing little rocks for all the nutrients you will get out of them.
- Most vitamins (including popular brand names) that come in tablet form are so compressed that they can’t be broken down even by stomach acid.
- Look for multivitamins in capsule or gelcap form. These will be the most absorbable.
- Potassium intake is very important during the low-carb phase. Be sure your multi has at least 90 mg of potassium in it.
When To Take It :
A multivitamin should be taken everyday. If your multivitamin serving calls for mulitple doses, you can separate them over the course of the day for optimum absorption, e.g. morning and evening.
This is the first product I recommend for you: VGF25+. It’s a high quality multivitamin/mineral formula with specific nutrient profiles for both men and women.
If you’re looking for a good multivitamin, this one is my top pick.
Men’s Formula – click here
Women’s Formula – click here
Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. Without enough protein, all your training efforts will be for naught because your body won’t have the raw materials to recover and rebuild!
Protein is readily available in food but protein-containing foods are not always the most convenient to prepare or eat. When was the last time you packed some scrambled eggs into your backpack for a snack?
- Immediately After A Workout
If you only take protein once per day, this is the absolute best time to take it. Immediately after you finish your workout, your body needs raw materials to rebuild and recover with. If you don’t supply the raw materials through eating, your body will break down muscle from elsewhere in your body in order to rebuild the damaged areas. This is very counterproductive as you can well imagine.
By taking in some protein (20 to 30 grams or so) within minutes after exercise, you provide your body with the raw materials it needs to recover without breaking down it’s own muscle tissue.
- An Hour After A Workout
About an hour following a workout, your body has settled down from the excitement and is ready to really start rebuilding.
The protein that you took in immediately following the workout has been metabolized and your body is looking for more.
Another protein shake at this time is a good way to help speed recovery. Try to take in another 20 to 30 grams about an hour after working out.
- First Thing In The Morning
Immediately upon waking, or as soon after that as you can manage, take a scoop of protein powder. Your body has just been through an (approximately) 8 hour fast and is hungry for nutrients. Feed your body!
Protein powder is more quickly assimilated than solid food and gets into your muscles faster. This protein shot gives your metabolism a boost, which can help with fat loss. Be sure to follow it with a good breakfast, of course.
- Last Thing At Night
Prepare your body for the long overnight fast by giving it a little something to work with. A good combination for this purpose is to mix a scoop of whey protein in with a small glass of milk.
Whey is what’s known as a “fast” protein, meaning that it’s digested quickly, while milk protein (casein) is what’s known as a “slow” protein, meaning it’s digested relatively slowly. At night, you want your protein to be metabolized slowly so that your body gets a more even supply over the course of the night. By mixing “fast” and “slow” proteins, you get the benefits of the higher-quality whey with the slower digestion time of the milk.
- In-between Meals
A quick protein shake can be a great snack in between meals. It helps keep your body supplied with protein all day long. This is especially useful if you tend to have long periods of time in-between meals. It could mean the difference between losing muscle and building or keeping muscle!
- With Meals
Taking a protein supplement with meals is a handy way to increase the protein content of a meal. This is perfect for when you make a meal that is somewhat low in protein.
- In The Middle Of The Night
This is a trick that bodybuilders sometimes use in order to keep their muscles supplied with protein throughout the night. Keep a pre-mixed protein shake right beside your bed. Although some trainers have been known to set alarms to wake up to drink it, I prefer to have it there waiting just in case I wake up, but I don’t try to wake up on purpose. If I don’t wake up, it’s right there ready for me to drink first thing in the morning! This strategy is more targeted for muscle growth rather than fat loss.
A Note regarding Pre-Workout Protein
Personally, I’m not a big fan of taking in a protein shake before training, even though there is research that supports it. If it works for you, that’s fine, but in my experience, drinking a protein shake means that this protein will be sitting in your stomach while you’re training, which diverts blood to the digestive system, rather than to the working muscles.
Also, when on the low-carb phase of a diet, you’ll want to avoid ANY food before training as we actually WANT your body to be in a deprived state when you train. The idea with that is to maximize growth hormone release, which will be blunted if your body is processing food.
This protein supplement is an excellent choice for whey protein. It has only 2 grams of carbs per serving, contains low temperature micro-filtered and ion exchanged whey protein isolates. Also, unlike most protein powders which can make you bloated, constipated or give you an upset stomach, Prograde Protein includes a combination of lactase and Aminogen – working with your body to break down amino acids and sugars for superior absorption and digestion.
PROTEIN (choose Vanilla or Chocolate) – CLICK HERE
The only two other options I suggest would be Myoplex by EAS and then IsoPure
3. Fish Oil/Essential Fatty Acids
Essential Fatty Acids are so-named because it’s essential to get some in your diet. Without them, health and body composition will suffer. Unfortunately the typical North American diet is low in Linoleic Acid (an omega 6 fat) and in Alpha Linolenic Acid (an omega 3 fat); therefore we typically have to seek additional supplementation.
Furthermore, even if the EFA content of the diet seems acceptable, the all-important ratio of omega 3 fats to omega 6 fats is often askew, with far too much omega 6 and far too few omega 3s.
While the omega 3 fat Alpha Linolenic Acid is important in the diet, the downstream metabolic products of ALA (DHA and EPA) are powerful fats responsible for things like:
- increased metabolic rate
- improved fat burning
- increased carbohydrate storage in muscle
- better glucose and insulin tolerance
- reduced blood lipids
- reduced risk of platelet aggregation
- cardiovascular disease
To get your DHA and EPA, you’ve gotta go with fish oil or krill oil. There are lots of fish oils and krill oils on the market to choose from and manufacturers make it confusing to decide which is best. Quality makes a HUGE difference with fish oil and krill oil, though, so I definitely don’t recommend the cheap Sam’s Club bulk bin types of fish oil.
When To Take It:
You should take EFAs on every single day.
4. Fat Burners
Fat burning pills, with a few exceptions, are highly overrated for the most part. You can get much better results by properly targeting your nutition and training and relying on your naturally-enhanced metabolism than you can by looking to mildly or non-effective fat burning supplements.
Supplements such as L-carnitine that support the fat burning processes in the body can be useful but the new “ephedra-free” fat burning supplements rely on ingredients that don’t have much research behind them and can have negative side effects almost as bad as ephedra itself.
And if you’re interested in a a detailed review of fat burning supplements, I highly recommend Will Brink’s eBook “Diet Supplements Revealed”.
When To Take It In The Phases:
If you’re using a good quality fat burning product, like the one below, you can use it every single day of the program. Definitely follow the instructions on the bottle with regard to dosage.
Supplement Chart Supplement When to Take It
- Multivitamins/Minerals – Every single day
- Protein – Every single day
- Fish Oil/EFAs – Every single day
- Fat Burners If you’re taking the recommended product “Metabolism,” take every day of
the program. If not, take as directed on the label.