Legionnaire:

Supplement 101: Your Basic Foundation

It only makes sense to start with your foundation. It wouldn’t make sense to start putting up the walls of the house before setting that foundation would it? Of course not, if you do that the house wouldn’t be too strong would it?

Unfortunately, that is where many supplement companies would make you think you have to start. They often market the flashy, easy recognizable things, or products you “feel” right away, with no regard to whether you have a foundation of nutrition and nutrients to even benefit from their product. Products such as Pre-Workouts, Protein supplements, BCAA supplements, Beta Alanine supplements, and many more fall in this category. Those are all helpful … but later down the road after you have built your foundation.

What Supplements Should I Take?

If you’re asking yourself “What supplements should I take,” the truth is there are probably quite a few you could use to increase your results. BUT, what you want to do is look at what is MOST important first, then work your way from there. That is the purpose of the Supplement 101 Series, to layout what will have the biggest impact on your health and results and work from there. I always suggest a quality multivitamin. I know it is not sexy… or the first type of product you tell your buddies you just bought… but the importance of a high-quality Multivitamin… or better yet an Essential Nutrient Pack cannot be skipped over!

Essential Micronutrients

No matter what your fitness goal is, you can, and should take a Multivitamin or a daily nutrient pack that covers all of your baseline needs as a living, breathing human being. Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals each and every day to effectively function. They are like the tools your body uses to do work on itself. If you were to build a house or make home improvements… you would need some tools, wouldn’t you?

There are many health issues that stem from deficiencies in either vitamins or minerals, and being low in them can cause some roadblocks towards your fitness goals. Just a few of those roadblocks include:

  • a slow metabolism
  • inability to recover from training
  • decreased brain function
  • increased signs of aging
  • decreased hormone production
  • decreased energy levels

… and the list goes on.

Most people do not eat nearly enough vegetables to provide their body with all the essential vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants it needs. On top of that, if we cook or process our veggies, the nutritional value goes down even more!

Luckily, you can get all those vitamins and minerals in a quality capsulated multi-vitamin or an essential nutrient pack that uses all capsules. So if you’re not a big veggie fan, or you know you don’t eat enough vegetables, then you should definitely be taking a multivitamin or daily essential nutrient pack.

There are many multivitamin supplements out there to choose from, but it is always best to go with a capsule when it comes to multi-vitamins. This is because when it comes to hard-pressed tablets, some companies will put a million things on the label and then compact it (with tons, literally tons of pressure) and press it together to make it swallowable, but it ends up being so compact that your stomach acid struggles to break it down before you pass it.

Some even use petroleum-based coatings to make them easy to swallow, but that just makes it even harder for your body to get those nutrients out… which means you get little to no value from vitamins that are a hard-pressed tablet.

Greens & Superfood Supplements

A high-quality greens supplement is one of the best things that you can do for your body. I know we just covered supplements to get your vitamins and minerals for the day … but I don’t want you to think greens supplements are second to a well rounded daily nutrient pack … because ideally they should be taken together as one!

If that is true, then why don’t companies put their greens product as part of their daily vitamin pack? Well, that would mean adding an additional 8-12 pills depending on the serving size. The daily nutrient pack would be as thick as a deck of cards!

So what’s the scoop on greens?

Greens are very alkaline and can help to balance dietary acids. This directly impacts our health and results as an imbalance of acidity and alkalinity allows unhealthy organisms to flourish, damages tissues, slow our metabolism, rob our bones and organs of nutrients, and wreaks havoc on our immune system.

Regular exercise training can increase acid production in the body due to repeated muscle contractions. Now let’s go ahead and factor in the stress that we put our body through due to the fast pace of society… the late nights … long days… and before long we can create an unfavorable environment within our body. It becomes very obvious that steps need to be taking to reduce the acidity in our body so it can operate at optimal levels, and Greens help with that!

As with any supplement, the product is only as good as the ingredients are. Therefore you want to look for a greens supplement that uses Low-Temperature Processed ingredients.

Why are Low-Temperature processed ingredients important to your results?

Utilizing low-temperature processed nutrients ensures maximum bioavailability of the greens, grasses, and superfoods in the product. This is because enzymes are normally found in raw foods, but through the processing and cooking of our food, many get destroyed. Using low-temperature processed greens and grasses helps to prevent that from happening.

Supplementing with greens supplements will improve energy, recovery, antioxidant status, and bone health. While also improving digestion and increasing absorption of nutrients, promoting a healthy gut, a stronger immune system, as well as reduce bloating!

Essentially … when you use a greens supplement that uses low-temperature processed ingredients, you are actually getting the benefits of a greens product!

OMEGA-3’s & FISH OIL

Let’s touch on Omega-3s as well, as they go hand in hand with multivitamins, essential nutrient packs, and greens supplements! Omega-3’s should be a fundamental item in your regimen. There are too many benefits from taking in enough Omega-3 fatty acids, to not add them to your diet. From heart health, joint health, cognitive function, regulating blood pressure and even aiding losing excess weight, fish or foods rich in Omega-3 need to be a staple of your diet.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for most people. If you find yourself struggling to get enough fish in your diet which means 3 servings of 4 ounces or more of wild-caught fatty fish… I highly recommend a high-quality Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement, that provides a high concentration the Omega-3 fatty acids, EPAs and DHAs. I could write for hours on how important Omega-3’s are… but I don’t want to bore you!

Taking all of this in… I would always get a quality multivitamin or daily nutrient pack that is in capsule form as well as take a low temperature processed greens product. Then round out your foundation with a high-quality Omega 3 supplement. That is where you want to start.

We can always build on that… but get that foundation down first! The next blog in the Supplement 101 series covers the best supplements to use after a workout. You can read more about that HERE.

*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.

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