Slowly but surely, my way of thinking about fitness and health is changing.
In the past, I'd always enjoyed my ability to seemingly eat whatever the heck I wanted and get by with an OK bod. But since I got Lyme disease, I've had to change my eating habits so that I can do things like, well...live a normal life unassisted, and do the things I love, like ride and rope. Since I met Lacey, ok virtually met Lacey, I've been so inspired to become the cleanest, healthiest, strongest version of me that I can be! I've always shied away from taking supplements in the past because I have the attention span of a gnat and forget to do things like that, but the last 2 weeks I've actually been taking my vitamins consistently! Whoop whoop! :)
I think for us cowboy-girls/Buckaroo Barbies, we need to take special care of our bodies because the better shape we're in, the longer we'll be able to do what we love, right?! So take a look at all this amazing information that Lacey has put together for us and put it to good use, dolls!
xo xo Liz
Deciding on the right supplements can be a frustrating task, but I can assure you it is not as hard as it seems. Don’t get me wrong - it can definitely be overwhelming to walk into a supplement or health food store and see the endless supply of vitamins, minerals, fat burners, proteins, weight-gainers, pre-workouts, etc. Oh, and not to mention, the usual super-ripped guy who throws the most expensive supplement at you to “try out.”
I have done a bit of research to find which supplements actually benefit me and which ones we do not necessarily need, depending on our goals. I have a few staples that I feel everyone should use plus a couple added boosters that will help you grow and repair after all your hard work in the gym.
Multivitamin – I think everyone needs (I emphasize need) to be on a daily multivitamin. The foods we eat today do not give us the daily-recommended vitamins and minerals our body needs to be fully nourished. Be careful when looking at vitamins; make sure that the USRDAs (recommended daily allowance) are high enough to meet the needs of your new active lifestyle but safe from toxicity. A safe zone I recommend is from 100-500%. I am currently taking GNC Women’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak and highly recommend it.
Calcium – Calcium is the essential mineral found in our bones and teeth. In most multivitamins, there is not enough to get the full amount of calcium our body requires. I suggest getting a separate calcium supplement to add to your multivitamin. It will help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and weak, brittle bones.
Omegas – These are essential fatty acids our bodies need to build healthy cells for our brain and nerve function. The only way to get these fatty acids is through food. Omega 3’s come from salmon, mackerel, tuna, walnuts, or flaxseeds. Omega 6’s, CLA, or linoleic acid comes from plant oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. I recommend taking one three times daily or as instructed.
L Carnitine – This is an amino acid that helps the body produce energy. It is also important for heart and brain function along with improving muscle movement. Take with multivitamin.
There are now many protein options to choose from that will help benefit your fitness and dietary needs.
Whey – Whey protein is the fastest digesting protein and comes in multiple options: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. Concentrates have higher levels of fat and lactose compared to isolate and hydrolysate that may be a little more expensive. The fast digestion of this protein makes it a perfect option for post workout, but I have also read it is great for increasing protein synthesis if taken before a workout as well.
Casein – Casein protein is a slow digesting protein that is separated from milk by ultra-filtration. This source of protein is optimal for reducing muscle breakdown especially at night while we are sleeping, releasing protein and amino acids for up to 7 hours. It is also a good source to use when meal replacing.
Egg – Egg protein is a fat and cholesterol free, medium digesting protein. It is usually combined with other protein sources but can also be purchased alone. It is recommend to be consumed throughout the day in between meals but not for post workout.
Soy – Soy protein is very similar to whey protein. It is a fast digesting protein source and is high in antioxidants, which makes it great as a post workout recovery shake. Soy is a great option for vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant.
Hemp – Hemp protein is a very low protein source but is great if you have allergies to soy. It is a fast absorbing source like whey, but it is also very high in fiber. Hemp protein is also high in essential fatty acids, which will help reduce inflammation. It is recommended to use as a post workout shake or in between meals.
Rice – Rice protein is a great option for lactose intolerant or as a protein source for vegetarians. It is very closely related to whey protein other than the fact it contains more carbohydrates. It is a fast absorbing protein that is also gluten free. It can be consumed as a post workout shake.
Pre-Workout – Taking a pre- workout before a gym session is designed to put you in the zone to improve your performance, increase strength and endurance, decrease muscle breakdown during training, increase protein synthesis, improve energy and focus, improve nutrient delivery and assimilation, increase metabolic rate, and create an optimal hormonal environment.
Amino Acids/BCAAs – These are the building blocks of life which help provide energy for the body and maintain and repair muscles, bones, tissues and cells, along with our hair, skin, and nails. It is recommended to consume these before, during, and after each workout to ensure that you are repairing and growing your damaged muscles.
Creatine – Creatine helps regenerate the body’s muscle energy source to help with longer sets and more reps during a workout. Supplementing with creatine increases the body’s creatine stores. Resulting in more phosphocreatine available for use by muscles which means more phosphate is available to ADP to help regenerate ATP. Creatine will help you gain in lean muscle and strength.
Fat Burner – Fat burners are stimulants that help speed up the body’s metabolism to help shed extra unwanted fat. One of the most used stimulant is caffeine, which gives you and extra energy boost by elevating your heart rate. The stimulants work by stimulating body to produce adrenaline and putting the body into the “fight or flight” response. This reduces the feeling of pain and lethargy. There are many negative side effects that come with fat burners and they should be used in small quantities. They are known to increase blood pressure and stress levels, which can put a strain on your heart and immune system. They can cause dehydration and mess around with your sleep patterns. There are also fat burners that use growth hormones that can lead to side effects such as abnormal growth in organs. My recommendation for a fat burner would be consuming foods that contain fat burning substances. A lot of people I talk to get the impression that by consuming a pill that “burns fat” it will reduce their time in the gym and kitchen because this pill will do the work for them. That is 100% incorrect. If you consume a fat burner you need to make sure that your diet and exercise on point. My concept is if there is a pill that could make us fit and skinny then we all would be fit and skinny!
Green Tea Extract – Green tea is a more natural way to speeding up the fat burning process. It is derived from the plant Camellia sinensis and is used to improve mental alertness and thinking. The extract contains 2%-4% caffeine and is even known to help treat diseases such as Crohn’s and Parkinsons, stomach disorders, bone loss, chronic fatigue, help lower blood pressure and also help prevent against cancer.
That is my list of supplements I am currently taking to help keep my muscles fully recovered and ready for action! I highly recommend looking further into each of these if you decide to try them out and always talk to your physician to make sure that they are suitable for you.
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- Lacey Arbaugh