The question “what supplements should I take?” is one of the most frequent questions we are asked. It’s a legitimate question. What you would like to read right here, right now, is exactly what you should be taking to help you reach you goals. If someone would just tell you, just share the secret, you would go buy them right now and take them faithfully to get your results.
There’s only one problem. They may not matter yet.
What?! Of course they matter! They are all over the place, everyone is taking them, and I’m reading about them all the time! Surely there is something I should be taking, that is the answer for my ____________ (weight loss, hard-gainer muscle building, inflammation, muffin top, joint pain, overeating, heart health, peak performance, cellulite, digestive disturbance, slow metabolism – you get the picture). I’m pretty healthy, I’ve been dealing with this a while, and I’m not getting anywhere. I know I’m missing something. The answer is out there somewhere. I want to know what I should be taking to get results. Someone just tell me and I will do it!
Here is the hard truth: supplements don’t matter until you build the foundation.
Would you build a house on a damaged foundation? No. Would you paint and put new wheels on a car that had no engine? No. So why would you invest in supplements to try to enhance or boost something that is not there yet? Sure, we are learning more about supplements that can benefit our overall health. We’re not talking about someone with specific health needs, or telling you to disregard new science. But our point is this – without having the fundamental components in place allowing your body to first run the way it should, taking supplements for enhancement makes about as much sense as a bald guy hurrying to a haircut appointment.
Why are we willing to spend money and be faithful to quick fixes, but not the basics? The fundamental components aren’t new and they aren’t sexy. They are the things most people DON’T WANT TO DO, because they require focus and discipline. Here they are:
If you don’t get enough sleep, and we mean 7 or more hours a night, you are basically undoing the effort you put in during the day. Make this a priority! Supplements can’t help you if your hormones are out of whack, you’re exhausted and running on fumes, your body can’t recover from workouts and you can’t control your eating because you can’t think clearly. Stop cutting your sleep short!
Your body is like a machine, and if you want it to run well, you will give it plenty of water. Even small degrees of dehydration can negatively impact function. Supplements to enhance your workout performance are wasted if you are voiding them out with dehydration. Muscle repair will be slowed if you’re dehydated & nutrients can’t be shuttled in to the tissue.
3. Clean Eating
Your body is tough and smart. It will try to make do with anything you throw it. Just don’t expect your body composition to be high lean and low fat if you’re not going to give it the fuel it really needs to perform, repair and grow. You are slowing your results if you’re giving your body plenty of food, but not plenty of nutrition. There’s a difference, and it’s about more than just protein. Your body needs lean, clean, whole, fresh, unprocessed food. Until it gets that on a consistent basis, money is wasted on diet pills, fat burners, expensive protein powders and random vitamins. Give your body what it needs with real food. If you can’t get enough whole food in each day, make a balanced protein, veggie, fruit, fiber, healthy fat smoothie in your blender or drink Shakeology. It’s the only meal replacement we use and recommend.
You can lose weight without exercising. It’s completely true. Problem is, that weight is going to be a mix of water, lean mass and fat. Lean mass is a precious commodity. Exercise and proper nutrition will help you keep it. Cutting calories, cutting out entire food categories and most dieting tactics just make you a smaller version of the bigger you. Your body is designed to move, so get up and get moving. Consistency and intensity matter. You can reshape your body and build strength, size and speed without supplements.
5. Stress control
Stress is killing us. It impacts all the other components. If we can’t sleep, we’re drinking everything but water, we’re grabbing comfort food on the go, and we’re not getting our workouts in, THEN STRESS WINS, AND WE LOSE. Ditch the sleeping aids, alcohol, caffeine loading and macaroni and cheese. Work on the other components, do whatever it takes to get some down time, find your perfect stress tactic. Make this a priority.
So there you have it. Sleep, water, clean food, exercise and controlled stress. Concentrate on these things. Put in the work it takes to master them with a high level of compliance. THEN your body will help you know exactly where it needs extra assistance!