What’s SUPP with that? The Beginner Guide to Supplements

Hello again! Today, we’re tackling pill-popping, so strap in for a long ride :)

As a supplementation specialist (cert DotFit via NASM) I have found that supplements are often the most widely misunderstood and misused health and fitness tools. SO….it’s only fair if I impart some supplementation knowledge so YOU can see results. Don’t get overwhelmed! We’ll only be tackling a few supps per post. This inaugural post will cover the BASICS and a very special supplement you may need to add.

Ready for some SUPP knowledge? Let’s get to it!



These seemingly small things can cause mass confusion in the health and fitness world. It’s confusing when you walk into a supplements super store, chain store, or even the pharmacy aisle at your local grocer. The MAIN question you need to ask yourself is “What is it I NEED?”.

Your supplementation needs should coincide with your current health and fitness as well as your goals. Chances are, you don’t NEED most of what is on the shelves. For our purposes, we’ll talk about what the average person (beginning or intermediate exerciser) would need to add to their current diet. As we move forward, I must make this very clear: Supplements are meant to supplement a healthy diet……say that 4 times fast. Seriously, don’t rely on pills and powders for health. The supplements you choose should better your health, not confuse the crud out of your body and have you popping more pills than an addict….


What do we need?

The basics are, well, pretty basic. Check it out:

  1. A whole foods based multi-vitamin. These need to be high quality and capsules are better than horse pills. The one I’m REALLY digging right now is Jaime Eason’s Lean Body for Her Multi. Beverly International Fit Tabs are also very high quality. MOST multi-vitamins are going to contain a bit more than you need, but your body is a highly efficient waste management system and will excrete the extra goodies. Just remember, more is not always better. Multi-vitamins are intended to fill the micronutrients gaps we have in our diet due to stress, poor food choices and/or poor assimilation.
  2. Vitamin C. OK, so you should get some of this in your multi and in your diet (so long as you’re being awesome and eating a variety of brightly colored fruits and veggies), but it has been shown in recent years to be a powerhouse. Vitamin C is the only vitamin to not really show an upper limit (a limit at which it is considered harmful) and many studies have shown that taking 3000mg of vitamin C per day can reduce the risk of certain cancers by regulating free radicals. SWEET! The powders seem to work better within the system than the pills, and you are encouraged to up your intake (3000mg/day) during cold and flu season.
  3. Probiotic. Your gut health makes up over 60% of your immune system, so it’s wise to keep it in check. We don’t all need to pop pills for this, as many of us can get active cultures from foods like yogurt or fermented foods. If you feel like your digestion is a bit sluggish or your energy is just a bit drab, consider adding 1-2 probiotic pills before bed. Note: these do NOT help if you simply over ate, so don’t go there.

The extras, for those of us living a bit of a full life :)

  1. Protein powder. Many of us do not get the required amount of protein, especially if we are quite active. The ADA sets the required amount on a large-scale of 0.6-1.6 grams per pound of bodyweight. Of course, the amount YOU need depends on lifestyle and goals. Women in particular seem to struggle with protein intake. Am all-natural whey protein isolate can help boost your protein intake SAFELY. The 2 I am loving right now are Jaime Eason’s Lean Body for Her (the whole line is really phenomenal) and Isagenix Protein. I do recommend 1 shake per day, preferably post-workout. You may have days where 2 shakes are unavoidable, but be aware of failing into the trap of using protein powders ALL THE TIME just because it is easy…trust me, I’m a recovering addict.
  2. Amino Acids. You can drink these throughout the day to help increase lean muscle mass (assuming you are working out) and beat fatigue. These do come in pills, but I find the powdered forms to be far superior. Amino acids are necessary for cell function and found in proteins. Our bodies break them down and pull the aminos out, sending them to repair damaged tissue. The powdered amino drinks offer the break down already so that you can speed recovery. Recommended dosage is 5-10 grams before, during and after your workout, especially if your workout will last an hour or more OR is quite intense. You can also add 5-10 grams to your afternoon bottle of water for stimulant-free pick me up. I LOVE BSN Amino X, Beverly International Aminos, and Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy (which DOES have a little jolt of caffeine).
  3. Glutamine. This is the most readily available amino acid in our bodies. During training sessions, glutamine levels take a nose dive though which can result in slower recovery, more fatigue, and even a compromised immune system. Many protein powders contain glutamine as part of their profile, so if you are already utilizing those then you may be getting enough. If you find that your recovery is lacking OR you’re sick all of the time, consider adding 5 grams of glutamine pre and post workout. I really like Muscle Pharm (unflavored) and Beverly International.


So, now you are armed with the knowledge you need to get started on the road to optimum health and wellness. Remember, You’re only seeking that which you NEED. It is important to know your lifestyle and goals when embarking upon a supplement regimen. If you’re confused, contact a supplement specialist (you can email me through the site) and ask! We’re always happy to help you get healthier.

Tune in for the next SUPP guide as we tackle some supplements that are highly misunderstood.

See you next time!


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