a few months into my fitness program, i started using supplements to either give me a boost during my workouts or help me recover faster from them. i'm not a supplement freak nor am i a pill popper but i carefully choose what i take and what i put into my body.
luckily my RMT - who happens to be a personal trainer, a physiotherapist and has a degree in sports science - is always availble to chat with me about all things fitness so he gave me some ideas how to improve my performance and overall health.
active green tea extract. apparently, this is supposed to help with weight loss and increase fat-burning. i'm not into taking pills or drinks for weight loss but during a chat with my RMT buddy, we had a pretty indepth discussion whether green tea extract really does boost weight loss. he said it really helped him but i called bullshit because for real yo, if this really was proven to help burn fat faster, wouldn't this be the most popular product in the world? so, i decided to do a little experiment on myself: i started taking these regularly with an objective to prove him wrong.
after nearly a month of taking this (3 capsules daily with food, which is the recommended dosage), it's beginning to seem that he's right [wipes egg off face]. since i started taking it, i've been seeing a significant difference in my most problematic area (mid-section). although i lost a lot of inches in that area with insanity, i didn't see the ab definition i wanted however since taking these pills, i've noticed that my midsection seems even more toned, smaller and i can actually see the lines in my obliques without much flexing.
a good, quality multi-vitamin. not all multi-vitamins are made equal. many have a lot of filler crap in them so it's best to head over to a health food store and purchse one that's geared for active people (it'll also cost you more). when you're working out regularly/hard, your body uses up a lot of important vitamins and minerals. while food plays the most important role in providing your body with required nutrients, taking a multi-vitamin can be an effective and quick way to replace what you've lost, especially if you're on the go or if you have dietary restrictions.
multi-vitamins for active people typically contain double (or more) of what you find in regular multi-vitamins. your body aborbs what it needs and excretes the rest through urine, depending on your activity level. i noticed that on days when my workouts aren't as intense (cardio days), my urine is brighter (sorry, TMI) and during days when i push my muscles past the point of exhaustion (interval weight training), my pee is clear. this tells me that my body absorbs/requires more during very intense workouts.
CLA - conjugated linoleic acid. mainly found in red meat and dairy products, CLA is an important amino acid that helps build muscle, reduces the conversion process of glucose to fat and helps reduce the process of converting dietary fat into physical fat. that statement alone works for me.
because i use high-intensity workout programs and my consumption of red meat and dairy are very limited, i decided to take CLA supplements for the muscle building component only; i had no idea it's being marketed as a "fat loss supplement" until i bought it.
has it helped me or have i seen a difference? hard to say. perhaps this is working in conjunction with the green tea extract (and my workouts) to shrink my mid-section but who really knows. all i know is my muscles are becoming more defined, i'm getting stronger, my clothes are getting bigger and clothes i haven't worn in years (like my capris circa 2006) are even loose on me.
aside from the above, i regularly drink the following:
unless my workouts finish right before lunch, i drink this instead. your body is primed to receive proper nutrition within 1 hour post-exercise and recovery formulas are an effective and quick way to replenish glycogen levels (via sugars, carbs and protiens), reduce muscle sorness and assist in muscle building/repair. i find that it definintely helps me as my muscles don't feel as wasted a few hours after i drink this (or the next day). i like the vega sport line because it's natural and plant-based. this flavor i bought (apple berry) tastes like ass so i just chug it but next time, i'll by the lemon/lime one.
please note that supplements alone will not help you lose weight. there is no magic pill or drink that will make you lose weight. healthy weight loss must be done through a clean diet and regular exercise. when combined with these two things, supplements can be a healthy way to provide your body with the nutrients it needs in the event of certain dietary restrictions or if you're on the go.