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I have an interesting relationship with supplements. On the one hand, I think they are overrated by many gym-goers, and I am well aware of the dishonesty that a certain element of the supplement industry provides. On the other hand, I am sick and tired of fitness “experts” who pretend that supplements have no use when there is an abundance of evidence that certain supplements can be beneficial.
In this guide, I will be promoting products that I actually use myself. This is literally a list of the products that I have in my cupboards right now. I don’t take a pre-workout powder, I just have a double espresso and a banana. I don’t take a post-workout, I just have my evening meal afterwards. Here is how I use my supplements each day:
In the morning I have a whey protein shake (1 scoop) mixed with water. My current flavour is Strawberry and cream, but I much preferred my previous flavour. This was Chocolate Peanut Cookie Dough (Protein Works Affiliate Link), I really enjoyed the taste. There are 23 grams of protein per scoop and just 117 calories, which is a great protein to calorie ratio. It’s also very reasonably priced.
At the time of writing this, the UK is just coming out of winter, so I am still taking a Vitamin D supplement. Thanks to being in lockdown and the lack of sunshine, I may be at a slight risk of vitamin D deficiency which is why I take it. To be honest, I probably could have stopped a couple of weeks ago, but I still have half a pack left and I’m not throwing them away!
I take chewable gummy vitamin D from Amazon (Amazon affiliate link) and it tastes amazing! Like eating a little gummy bear. I have one a day, and try to take it in the morning as I like to have a simple routine to follow. I also take a chewable omega 3 gummy (Amazon affiliate link) mainly because my partner hates eating fish, so our omega 3 levels are probably a little low.
This sounds like a lot of supplements, but really it’s just one protein shake and a couple of gummies. I then have my actual breakfast, which Monday to Friday is Fat-Free Greek Yoghurt with berries and a zero-calorie syrup from the Protein works (Protein Works Affiliate Link).
I only take one supplement at lunchtime and that is a greens powder (Protein Works Affiliate Link) which is a good way to ensure that I’m hitting all my micronutrient targets on days where my fruit and veg consumption isn’t quite up to scratch.
The only other supplement that I take is creatine monohydrate. I use the flavoured powder from The Protein Works because it is cheap and the flavour mixes well with water (Protein Works Affiliate Link). You could get plain creatine monohydrate powder, which is ridiculously cheap, but personally, I don’t like the lack of flavour.
I also have one protein bar per day, which I don’t really think of as a supplement, more as a treat! I know that a lot of fitness professionals talk about how good Grenade Carb Killa bars are (Amazon Affiliate Link) but personally, the best ones I’ve found are Fulfil Vitamin and Protein bars (Amazon Affiliate Link) which have a better consistency and a nicer taste. Both are great though.
It is certainly possible to build an amazing physique and improve your health without supplements, but I don’t subscribe to the notion that avoiding supplements completely is somehow superior. Creatine monohydrate is almost impossible to get through diet alone (at sufficient levels to improve performance). Whey protein is one of the cheapest options for increasing protein (worked out at cost per gram of protein).
Protein bars, greens supplements, vitamin D, and omega 3, can all be replaced via diet, and I would class these as luxury supplements. But I eat a protein bar instead of a regular chocolate bar, I take greens supplements because otherwise I worry that I wouldn’t hit my targets, and thanks to a lack of sunshine and a draconian household ban on oily fish, I would be deficient otherwise.
Please remember, talk to your doctor before embarking on a new supplement regimen. All of the supplements described are perfectly safe, but everyone is different. The products I have mentioned do not constitute health advice, and I am not a medical professional.