Supplements (A common sense approach)

#supplements #nutrition #diet #health #wellness #food #exercise #fitness

Now this is not going to be a scientific writing like most of my collogues and very knowledgeable Fitness Professionals would give you. Some of which are not only Fitness Professionals, but also Registered Dieticians, Holistic Dieticians, Naturopaths, Chiropractors, Pre-med graduates, Nutrition majors, have some advanced nutrition certifications and a small handful are Physicians. This will hopefully be a somewhat common sense approach with less science.

If you want science (Which is also very important, don’t get me wrong) and common sense approach. I will hopefully give you some resources for that too.

This is from somebody who is for the most part like you. I just liked to “Fish”, meaning seek information for myself. So I could find what was best for me. If it worked for others, so be it. If it didn’t work for others, hopefully it helped them fish, seek professional help or both (Doing both I think is one of the best methods).

So a little about me and my background. Got involved in working out close to the mid “80’s”. Got involved in high school football and bench contest. Later, got involved in bodybuilding. Started bodybuilding in “89”.

My education in lifting started with my dad, then my high school coach and gym teacher, my friends, as well as books in the library sometimes. Finally, of course, bodybuilding magazines.

Now in my opinion bodybuilding magazines got a bum rap. When I started personal training and eventually got certified. Taking several certifications throughout the years. Many organizations criticized bodybuilders and the bodybuilding magazines.

What was interesting is when I started personal training, a lot of people liked there results and referred people to me. Even before I was blessed to start personal training, people were saying if I was a personal trainer or certified they would want to work with me. But guess what? Most of what I learned came from sports/athletic training and bodybuilding magazines. The very thing most certification companies used to criticize. Thankfully they have kind of lightened up on bodybuilding today. Especially since the industry is so focused on a holistic approach, meaning a little of everything. The fitness industry is now more client focused, meaning what’s best for the client. Nothing cookie cutter.

Now you may be wondering, when am I getting to the supplements.

Well this is the kicker. For years I never used supplements. All I did was eat food.

For the most part, I had a classic American diet, along with being blessed with pretty good genetics for certain body parts. Plus my mom had a brother who was a bodybuilder. Yet she didn’t know what he ate, she just knew he ate a lot of it. So that’s what I did, eat a lot of food, Now this type of eating was before I got involved in bodybuilding.

By the time I got involved in bodybuilding, i was blessed to learn a little more about nutrition from the bodybuilding magazines, as well as trial and error.

Sure I used something called Brewers yeast sometimes, but not on the regular. Took those one tablet a day multi-vitamins sometimes. But then found out the ones that I was taking were pretty much ineffective, for the body wasn’t absorbing them. They were just passing through the body. Plus the chemicals and fillers in those things (In some of the brands out then. Some are still out today, but hopefully they are better). Drank some of those meal replacement like drinks. Most full of sugar. But nothing really as consistent as I did food of course.

Now I did make my own shakes as well. I remember the ingredients I used to this day-

  1. Skim Milk or 2% (Today I would use whole milk, Organic or Grass fed)

2. Yogurt (During those days I choose the ones with the fruit on the bottom so they may have had a good amount of sugar as well)

3. Wheat germ

4. Banana

It wasn’t until the mid “90’s” that I tried a protein supplement for the first time. A friend gave me a chocolate protein powder and then I bought a protein creatine mix later. Used it for about a month or until it was done. So if people want to say I was blessed to build this body on a month of a supplement, feel free, ha!

I was very picky on the supplements I choose, if it had to may artificial sweeteners or additives, I wasn’t interested in it. whatever I used I wanted to be as close to nature and real food as possible. When I read it, all I wanted to read was vitamins, minerals, what was derived from food and in food. But it was very short lived for again, I only used them for about a month.

It was also in the mid “90’s” that I really began to expand my knowledge beyond the bodybuilding magazines. There were a few books I was blessed to read. One of Joe Weider’s many books (can’t remember the title), Arnold Schrwartzenegar autobiography, “The Scientific method of Bodybuilding” by Fred Hatfield, and “Power Eating” by Susan Kleiner

It wasn’t until 2012 and I began working for a company called Lifetime Fitness. That I began using supplements on a semi regular basis. What’s interesting is that, I had not competed in bodybuilding since “2000”. So this was 12 years later and I’m finally starting to use supplements on a semi regular basis.

The supplements I used starting out were the Lifetime Fitness brand of supplements and “Garden of Life”.

I had 2 reasons for starting to take supplements.

  1. Working for a company that sold supplements.
  2. To help supplement or add to my daily nutritional regimen since I had become so busy in life. My time management wasn’t the best either, food prep wise. So a quick protein or meal replacement shake would come in handy.

So, what is my “Common Sense” approach to supplements to me. I mean choosing by ingredients. Choosing by what you know is to be natural or learned to be natural by research.

For me, I attempted to choose supplements that were low in food additives or had none. Low in sugar and used natural sugars if need be. I wanted natural protein sources and for me, plant based. If non-planted based grass-fed, organic or both for the most part. If it wasn’t, then as straight up as possible.

So bottom line, I choose my supplements and vitamins by reading ingredient labels. Of which if most people did, a lot of these supplement companies would be out of business.

So these are the supplements I found to be pretty cool. I have either used them or just like what I read on there ingredient labels.

Garden for Life (Sports series)

Vega Sports


Giant’s Nature’s Way

Lifetime Fitness’s brands

Red Mill




Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Pea Protein


CVS Pharmacy used to have a pretty good store brand but I think stopped selling it.

Look these brands up and read the ingredients for yourself.

Also speak with your Healthcare Provider and a Registered Dietician.

Here are some people who are way more knowledgeable then me. Who may or may not agree with me, plus give you more scietific info to prove there points.

Jim Stoppani

Tom Nikkola

Joe Cannon

Paul Kriegler

There are many more, yet speaking with an RD, specifically a Sports RD, even if you’re not an athlete. Better yet, speak with both.

So to conclude, for me the most important thing is food. Everything else should compliment what you do with food. Next in importance or up there with it, is reading ingredients.

Learning how to read ingredients and how to eat properly, not dieting, is another article all together 🙂

As always please feel free to follow or view my Facebook page. It has years of content if you scroll through.

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Be well, be healthy and thank you

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