As my workouts have shifted from more of a cardio driven routine to a more weight training routine, I’ve realized more than ever that cardio alone is NOT the best use of my time for the fitness goals that I have.
Note: If you want to maximize your efforts at the gym, see results faster and keep those results longer load bearing exercises with short burst (HIIT) cardio is the way to go.
The best way to support that kind of activity is to make sure I am giving my body the fuel it needs.
Put simply, I’m a busy wife and mom and I don’t have the time to waste on exercising in a way that doesn’t give me the absolute best return on my investment.
I used to think that supplements were a waste of time and money. That is no longer the case.
I do not find ALL of these to be completely necessary, and mind you, my knowledge in each of these products is limited. I am no expert. I am not a certified nutritionist. I’m self taught and I use what works for me. But, I know that everyone is different, so take it all with a grain of salt.
I’ll share why I use each one and what the benefit it serves. I’ve ranked them from my most preferred to my least important, yet every thing on this list is my “must-have’s” list.
I love food based vitamins and that’s what these are. I typically eat well, but taking a multi-vitamin every day helps me with peace of mind concerning anything I might be missing. With the stress that exercise can put on my body and the pressure of my everyday life, it’s the best way to make sure my diet is balanced and healthy. It has iron, which many women do not consume enough of, calcium and Vitamin D for bone health, and folic acid (folate) which helps make healthy new cells and helps maintain blood health. Lean Body® for Her Food-Based Multi-Vitamin not only contains all of the aforementioned, but it also has in a Veggie Juice Complex and Complete Digestive Support, which means it’s derived from natural ingredients and gentle on the stomach.
I’ve never ever had a stomach ache from taking these.
Protein helps my muscles repair and grow and get the nourishment they need more quickly than from other slowly digested proteins. In this particular one there is no gluten, lactose (**I personally cannot have much lactose. I’m super sensitive to it. Unlike other proteins I’ve tried I have NEVER had trouble with this protein), artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Some protein powders contain one or all of those things so be careful what you choose to buy.But don’t get confused with proteins. There’s lots of flavors (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon bun, peanut butter, salted caramel). And there’s basically three options for how you can purchase it: powder, ready to drink (RTD’s), and individual packets (for on the go).
**When I drink my normal protein shake just before I work out I almost always use the chocolate. Mixed with ice, water, and a bit of coffee it’s my personal favorite. I also drink it right after a super tough workout when my muscles are starved for more sustenance.
**I typically use the other flavors for baking and cooking.
Ex: I use the vanilla flavor in cookies and breads (there are SO many amazing recipes online), I use the peanut butter mixed into my greek yogurt, as a topping on my oatmeal, or as a spread when mixed with water, and the cinnamon is perfect to make protein pancakes for breakfast!
I never knew what these were until I began weight training so if you’re in the same boat I’ll help explain. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of three amino acids – leucine, valine, and isoleucine. BCAAs play a significant role in building and repairing muscle after a workout, and also act as a “signal” to your muscles that nutrients are available for increasing muscle mass.
**Put simply, my muscles are destroyed when I lift heavy. BCAA’s help repair them and they also work like a train carrying the protein into my muscles.
This particular BCAA also provides, jumpstarts recovery, supports immune function, and replenishes your electrolytes lost while training. And that’s why I love it so much!
These are to optimize and enhance your strength, endurance, mental focus, and recovery. Pre-workouts have seriously changed my world when it comes to staying consistent with my workouts!!!! And I’m totally not joking! There are many days when it is tough to get motivated and my head in nowhere near the game, much less in it. But taking this every day has completely changed that.
**Funny Story: I bought my first pre-workout and honestly didn’t expect much. I followed the instructions and took the recommended dose. I drank it all up during my drive to the gym and was totally shocked that I actually enjoyed the flavor. For me, that is saying a LOT! (You can ask Matt, I’m crazy picky.)
By the time I had checked in and gotten my kids settled in the child care room and made it upstairs to the treadmill for my warm up it had begun to kick in. Honestly, though, I had forgotten that I’d taken it. Most supplements that I take do their “thing” but I don’t feel any different, but this was not the case! I normally do a light jog for my warm up, but on this particular day I felt like running! And fast! I had the treadmill cranked up as high as I could go and was basically sprinting the entire warm up! At a 3% incline!
Once I got to the weight floor I was adding more weight, and bouncing around like a puppy eager to get to the next exercise. I felt focused, happy, and “on” the whole time. For the life of me I could NOT figure out what had made the difference…until I got back in my car and saw my shaker bottle! Then it hit me! “OHHHHHHHH!!!! SO, THAT’S WHAT THE FUSS WITH PRE-WORKOUTS ARE ALL ABOUT!!!!”
Duh to me.
Well, I learned that day that I needed to tone it down juuuust a little bit and that don’t actually need a full scoop every day. I take about 3/4 of a recommended serving because it works almost TOO well on me. But everybody is different, so if you get this my advice is to start small and work your way up! 🙂
Oh, and moms, sometimes I take a half scoop of this before I have to take all five to the store. Costco is much more manageable with a pre-workout giving me some extra energy! 🙂
- Green Superfood-This is basically one more way to get some extra vitamins and is safe for everyone in the family! It’s USDA Organic, vegan friendly, contains probiotics and enzymes to aid in digestion and support immune health. It is also rich in chlorophyll, which helps support detoxification.
**I put it in my shaker with my pre-workout so it’s less to have to think about. This one I LOVE because I sneak it into as many different foods and drinks for the family as I possibly can! The kids are getting their veggies and have NO idea!
This one isn’t on my “must have” list, it’s more like an extra perk.
This one: Helps reduce excess water weight, is a natural detox formula, supports natural weight loss, and helps me feel more energized
**The directions say to take this at night and then in the morning you’ll wake up with far less bloating and water retention. Personally, it keeps me awake at night so I’ve switched to take this in the morning instead. It’s perfect for those times when I have eaten more salt than I should have or during my cycle when water retention is higher.
Naturally Reduces Exercise Induced Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S.), Accelerates Workout Recovery, Improves Muscle Gains and Performance
**Okay, so that can get really wordy, I know…so put simply, this one is UHMAZING and helps me not be so stinkin’ sore!!!!! I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of D.O.M.S. but I do know that if I lift really heavy I sometimes can’t walk the next day, or the following three days. When I take this it drastically improves the speed of recovery. This means I can heal fast and get back to wrestling with my kiddos! 🙂
If you have ANY questions, please ask. I’ll try to help as best as I am able, and if I don’t know an answer I will most definitely find an answer from someone who does! 🙂