This is a follow up to my post on Intermittent Fasting Results. Check that out if you haven’t already.
Isn’t supplementation for the muscle head dudes at the gym? Definitely not for girls. An absolute a no-no. Taking pills and powders to boost your fitness, nutrition and athletic performance is wrong… isn’t it?
First things first. There are supplements on the market that are well known and rooted in science to be effective when used as directed. We’re not talking about some of the craptastic stuff that Dr. Ozzy shills on TV. Here’s my advice: Anytime someone suggests a product/supplement/idea to you (including me), I encourage you to play the sleuth, do your own research and decide if it’s right for you before jumping in head first.
Why I Supplement
Supplementation helps me perform at a higher level during my workouts (higher level = greater results) and also aids in muscle recovery and muscle growth. It prevents my body from breaking down, especially on the days that I might not get the ideal amount of nutrition through food. In an epic nutshell, it supports my fitness efforts to the max. Supplementation wasn’t necessary back in the day when a whole bunch of too-much-cardio filled my workouts. However, with my dedication to strength training as a way of life, supplementation has been needed.
Sidenote: I don’t take a pre-workout supplement or eat a pre-workout meal. Even before Intermittent Fasting I always chose to train in a fasted since I’m an early riser. My workouts begin at around 6am each day.
BCAA’s: Branched Chain Amino Acids
Holy guacamole. This is a must for me. BCAA’s are essential nutrients found in protein-rich foods. The BCAA’s leucine, isoleucine, and valine are “essential” because they cannot be synthesized by the body. They must be obtained through food. BCAA’s are primarily metabolized in the muscle tissue, opposed to other amino acids that are metabolized in the liver.
Intake of BCAA’s during fasted training provides a quick and most direct source to feed muscles, providing energy while preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue. Unlike health shakes and other foods, you do not need to wait 30 minutes to an hour for BCAA’s to digest and “activate” before you begin your training. BCAA’s absorption takes place quickly, within 10-15 minutes of ingestion. This is why BCAA’s are a vital tool for training during Intermittent Fasting. I suggest you read How to Use BCAAs for Optimal Results for more info. It’s a great article, including an explanation on how it aids in fat loss.
My BCAA of Choice: NOW Sports Branched Chain Amino Acid Powder
I do not take BCAA’s on my rest days — only on the days that I strength train, which is typically 5 days per week. After a ton of research into if BCAA’s were right for me, I then began to read up on which particular product would be best. I learned that BCAA in pill form meant taking a lot. Way too many. Most of the powder forms I came across (the kind you mix with water in a blender bottle) turned out to have artificial flavors & artificial sweeteners to mask the taste.
Prior to receiving my first shipment of NOW Foods Branched Chain Amino Powder (100% pure, no additives), I read that the stuff is super nasty, but I didn’t believe. How bad could it be?
Ohhh my freaking GAWWWD! The stuff is butt-ugly-nasty. But after playing the mad scientist, including a few failed experiments, I came up with a concoction that masks the taste without artificial crap, while “costing” me only 5 calories to ingest.
A packet of 100% natural True Lemon is the answer. Find it at your grocery store in the Kool-Aid aisle. It’s got no artificial crap in it. True Lemon contains crystallized lemon juice, 1g sugar, 1g carb, Vitamin C and Stevia. It masks the tastes wonderfully. Although it technically contains 5 calories, I don’t count this as “eating” while on my fast, because 5 calories is so darn insignificant. The True product line has a bunch of other flavors as well.
How I Mix My BCAA’s
- approximately 17 ounces of water in blender bottle
- 1 packet True Lemon
- 3 teaspoons NOW Sports BCAA Powder
Shake all in blender bottle. Then shake some more. Do a dance while you’re at it. That’ll shake it extra. Okay…now shake again. The stuff is hard to dissolve, but if you wait a few minutes it works out fine. There may be some BCAA residue at the bottom of your bottle with your last gulp. Always shake before drinking. It helps. This mixing suggestion ends up tasting like lemonade. There may be a very faint taste of the BCAA, but it’s not even worth complaining about.
I start sipping my BCAAs during warm up and I’m ready to re-fill my blender bottle by mid-workout. So that makes two full bottles of BCAA lemonade that gets slurped throughout my workout. It’s suggested by other BCAA users who fast to drink a 3rd helping around mid-morning, but I stop at 2 bottles, then have hot tea for the remaining duration of my fast. It’s just a preference.
Full list of supplements that I take on the days I strength train:
- NOW Sports Branched Chain Amino Acid Powder
- NatureWise High Potency CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
- Dymatize L-Carnitine
- NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate: only sometimes, if I need additional protein intake
- Optimum Nutrition Casein Protein Powder: again, only sometimes. It’s a slow release protein best taken at night. You can make ice cream with it.
I did all my research and compared various brands before deciding on these specific products. All of this may seem like overkill, but I train hard. This is what I do to support my training.
Daily vitamins I supplement with include Vitamin C (a total of 6,000 mg daily), Biotin for my hair, skin & nails, Vitamin D and B12. I use Nature Made vitamins. It’s a top notch brand.
Related Yum: 4 Natural Fat Burners for Weight Loss
I’ll be posting more Intermittent Fasting progress pics in the near future, so stay tuned for that. And as always, please leave me your wonderful comments and inquisitive questions that I appreciate so very much. You can also send me tasty desserts if you dang well please. That would be fantastic.