A beginners guide to supplements (part 2)

Supplements….. where to start? So much information out there, so many different opinions and so called ”facts”. If anything, we can’t really call any of the opinions about supplements facts because as we all know, every body is and will react differently to things, including supplements. It’s not just the body reacting differently to things but everyones goals and needs are different. For example, If you’re trying to lose weight it’s not smart to take a weight-gainer, whereas somebody that lives a busy lifestyle and trying to gain weight can benefit from either a protein shake or weight gainer.

Last time I talked about 2 of the most used and well-known products out there in protein powder and creatine (check it out here). I covered the basic science/knowledge behind it, what it is meant to be used for and the potential side-effects. This time I will cover some products that are still relatively well known but people rarely seem to know why they’re taking it. This is where this blog comes in, to clear some things up and give you an in-depth look into these products.


BCAA stands for: Branched Chain Amino Acids. Amino Acids are simply building blocks to our protein structure. Imagine an ordinary brick, you can have the shape of the brick, but without the cement to form the actual brick you won’t get very far. It’s the same story for our protein, without the proper amino acids the protein molecule is ”hollow”, there’s no benefit or substance to it.

Amino acids are divided up into 3 different groups: 1- essential amino acids, 2- semi (non) essential amino acids, 3- non essential amino acids. All of the amino acids are necessary to keep our body running properly but the difference is where we get them from. Group 1 can only be obtained through outside sources (nutrition), group 2 gets produced by the body but possibly not enough, group 3 gets fully produced by the body and we don’t need to obtain more through outside sources. BCAA’s have been shown to help with recovery (because it is protein) and help you maintain a little bit more energy in the gym while you’re in the middle of your workout session.

Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with taking BCAA’s as a supplement, just like any supplement treat it as such. Make sure that supplements don’t take over your life because you will miss out on a lot of other important vitamins, micro nutrients and anti-oxidants if you do. If you do end up buying a BCAA supplement make sure it contains the right amino acids and the right ratio. A good ratio would be a 2:1:1 or 4:1:1 ratio of Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine (all essential amino acids).


All of the different pre-workouts out there use a bunch of different focus/energy enhancers and stimulants because that’s exactly what the product is designed for. Pre-workout is designed for people who lack energy or for anyone looking to enhance their focus while working out.

The main ingredients for most pre-workouts are caffeine and beta-alanine. I don’t think it comes as surprise to anyone here that caffeine is one of the main ingredients because it raises your energy levels significantly. Remember, that caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy because it’s not an energy source, it just gives you a boost/rush. Beta-alanine is a different story, this ingredient is one of those non-essential amino acids that we have talked about before. Science has shown that even though it’s a non-essential amino acid, your body can still benefit from supplementation. Beta alanine gets tasked with enhancing your endurance and muscle recovery between sets.

There’re a lot of different options to get the same effect as a pre-workout does. If you sleep a little bit more each night your energy levels and focus levels will rise already. You could drink some coffee to get that caffeine in if you really need it. Again, this supplement is just like any other, created to make things easier/more convenient for you.

Fish oil

Fish oil is one of those supplements that most people can benefit from. whether you workout on a regular basis or not, fish oil can help you maintain a more balanced fat intake (which is important for reasons we’re about to get into). Fish oil is also a great way for vegetarian and vegans to get more healthy fats into their system that are hard to get from other sources while living a vegan lifestyle.

These healthy fats that I am talking about are the omega 3 fats. In comparison to the omega 6 fats, omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory whereas omega 6 fats are inflammatory fats. Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. Obviously avoiding foods that create such inflammations is a great way of keeping our body healthy and pain free.

Go back 1000’s of years and our consumption of omega 3 and 6 fats were pretty much the same. Now a days our omega 6 fat consumption heavily outweighs our omega 3 intake. Fish-oil supplementation improves the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and reduces the inflammatory responses in the body. Supplementation with fish oil can improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular function, nervous-system function, immune health, memory, and mood issues. 

There’s not a lot that can go wrong by supplementing with fish oil. If you eat wild caught fish a couple of times a week, you shouldn’t worry about buying an extra fish oil supplement.

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Welcome back to part 2 of this series, nutrition rules to follow. Really what this blog should be called is nutrition rules that you COULD follow. There’s already enough people out there that will tell you exactly what you should be doing and how to do it. Instead, I just want to give you the…

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Welcome back to another blog where we cover the wide topic of nutrition. The reason why I keep coming back to different topics related to nutrition is because the nutrition space is filled with false and misleading information. My goal is to simplify the message and give you honest information. I never want to tell…

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Categories: Fitness, nutrition, supplementsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

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