Why Supplement?

I get asked about supplements all the time. “Should I take this?” or “Did that work well?”. But I really want to address the question of “Do I need supplements to get results with P90X or Insanity?” A lot of people are just trying to figure out whether or not they want to shell out the cash for something that might not even be necessary. I am right there with you though! I have a tight budget and if it isnt going to produce results…I dont want it! Another reason people ask this question is because they dont understand the purpose of supplements; why or why they shouldnt take something.

Before we answer this burning question, lets make sure you know what exactly a supplement is. Wikipedia has the best definition: A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet.

So lets say that you are following My 1900 Calorie Diet and once you have calculated your Nutrition Intake Requirement, you find that you need 237g of protein per day. Thats a whole heap of tuna! It would be next to impossible to get this much protein from a normal food source. This is where a supplement could provide what your diet lacks: the ability to eat that much tuna, lol. I personally use protein whey powder as a supplement to my normal protein intake to get my daily required value of protein. Another thing that supplements can do is replace what is lost during a strenuous workout. We deplete our bodys stores of a certain substance like glycogen or electrolytes, etc., and a supplement can replace that item more efficiently and more quickly than using our diet to gradually restore the depleted substance over the course of the day (or several days). The same goes for vitamins. If you diet does not provide you with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals, then a supplement of a good mulch-vitamin can make up for what was lacking.

So are supplements necessary to get great results?

The truth is NO! You can absolutely get amazing results with programs like P90X or Insanity without taking any supplements. However I will say that I believe it will take longer and it will be harder to achieve those results. I am not just trying to get you to buy supplements here, lol. Think about it though; if you are not taking in supplements that are aiding in building, recovery and repairing muscle, then you really are at a disadvantage compared to someone who is supplementing and not leaving holes in their nutrition. The fact is that if you are not fueling your muscle with what they need to repair and grow to their full potential, then your results will not be at their full potential either.

What if I cant afford supplements?

If you cant afford supplements then I would suggest taking a look at your budget, and seeing where you can re-allocate so that you can afford what I beleive are some “best bang for you buck” supplements. Like I said before, I am on a tight budget too, so I have to be sure I am getting the best results out of a supplement if I am going to continue spending my hard earned dollars on it. My supplement list is very very basic and I have gotten great results!

Here are my supplements that I feel are the best bang for your buck when it comes to cost vs. results:

  1. Shakeology
  2. Whey Protein
  3. Creatine
  4. Glutamine
  5. Multivitamin

Here is a video on My Supplements. Like I said, very basic, no fancy stuff.



So how much do these 5 supplement cost me each month? It comes out to about $150/mo. But since my top two supplements are actually replacing food that I would eat, I am not actually spending $150/mo in addition to my normal food costs. The actual cost is more around $100/mo. This might be too much for you or you might be willing to spend some more on pre-workout supplements or the P90X Recovery Formula (which I highly recommend, but cant afford at the moment, lol. I have used it before and it is amazing!) You have to decide what works for you.

I always like to get the opinions of people more educated than myself, so here is what Steve Edwards, a consultant for Beachbody, has to say about supplements and supplementation strategies.  He sums it up well:

“Using proper supplementation strategy can help us live healthier and perform better, especially when we train hard and even more importantly when we’re dieting and exercising.

I break my supplements into basics and situational. Basic supplements are things I take pretty much all the time. Situational are those I use depending on what I’m doing. Let’s look at these first. In the same way that your diet should reflect what you are doing, so should the supplements you take.

For example, two of the most proven supplements in history are creatine monohydrate and 4 parts carb to one part protein recovery formulations. Neither are daily tonics. They are for given situations. Creatine is useful when you’re training hard and trying to build muscle or anaerobic strength. If those are not your goals it’s not only a waste but can interfere with your diet by encouraging your body to retain water to increase cell volume. Recovery formulations are only for when your glycogen stores are extinguished which takes hard exercise or starvation. No one eating well and exercising 30 minutes a day or less would ever need a recovery formulation. In fact, it would be terrible for you. However, when your training hard, eating lean, and using up your body’s limited glycogen stores the stuff is more valuable than gold.

Basics are things you should take everyday, like food. Since it came out Shakeology is on the top of my list. It’s like a healthy insurance policy in a glass.”

I hope this helps you with some of your questions on supplementing so that you can make the best choice for you, your goals, and your budget.

What supplements are you taking? What has worked best for you?

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Hey Todd, besides Pre and Post Workout formulas, what other supplements do you recommend?