sfh_cubeWhen I first began truly fighting for my health, I trained with a personal trainer.  Being a certified trainer myself now, I understand why he made the recommendations that he did when he started me on supplements.  At first, my main mission was to clean up my diet.  It made no sense to add anything until I was already eating lower calorie, healthy food.  Some say that is all anyone ever needs, but in my experience, a few supplements have proven vital to keeping me on track.

In my opinion, the first supplement anyone should look into is a protein, especially if you are beginning a training regimen that includes resistance exercises.  The science behind this is simple.  If you are switching your diet to whole foods, like lean meats, vegetables, and fruit, you will likely be taking in less calories than your former diet which was probably higher in starches and sugars.  If you are combining this with a workout routine that includes weight bearing exercise, it will not be easy to get enough protein to fuel the muscle breakdown and rebuilding process or enough calories to feel energized and satiated.  A protein supplement can satisfy both needs more conveniently than say, having to down raw eggs in a glass like Rocky Balboa.

bigHydrationMy next favorite supplement is Branch Chain Amino Acids.  These usually come in a powder form, and are recommended for consumption right before, during and/or after a workout.  Of all of the supplements I have tried, this one has the most immediate impact on my stamina and recovery.  It is my understanding that amino acids are like taking a “shot” of the broken down form of protein, to directly impact muscle metabolism.  Although not completely devoid of artificial ingredients, I use Max Muscle’s XTR.  

Some trainers would argue the case for vitamins and fish oils taking the first place rank.  Personally, I have noticed that I do not process manufactured vitamins very well, especially in pill form.  Perhaps it is some of the additives that come with them that causes me to get headaches and some stomach issues.  When I remember to take my fish oil, however, I definitely feel more energized and have more mental clarity.  (But that requires taking the fish oil so that I have enough mental clarity to remember to take the fish oil, but that’s purely a personal issue).

After putting my body through a complete Paleo detox, I learned that supplemented protein and fish oil is really all I need, and the protein only if I am in a hard training cycle (i.e. not rehabbing an injury or sick).  As I mentioned above with the vitamins, it is extremely important to research the makeup of any supplement, ensuring that it has little or no artificial ingredients.  These additives can cause more harm than the supplement does good.

opc_box1Tara and Dennis, who are my nutritional heroes at the moment, have done extensive research on supplements and actually have what they use available for sale at the box.  Check out their supply of Stronger, Faster, Healthier products, which include different formulations of protein and a fish oil powder that comes in many flavors (helpful to avoid fish burps).  They also endorse Genesis Pure products for pre-workout, hydration, and products for added boosts during competitions.  Tara highly recommends trying Aliven Lab’s OPC Factor, an antioxidant that she attributes to keeping her healthy even during this violent cold and flu season.  Finally, but not currently for sale at Talon, is the LuRong Living Essential vitamin that according to their website, “is a whole food that provides powerful nutritional components that are otherwise missing in the typical American diet.”

The bottom line is that we want to avoid the “typical American diet” in the first place, and attempt to get all we need from natural, whole foods.  However, my experience has shown me that I perform my best when I supplement my protein, feel my best when I remember my fish oil, and recover much better when I take my BCAAs.  If you are ready to try taking your health to the next level, give some of these Talon endorsed products a try and save on shipping by asking Tara what we have available at the box.