Tag Archives: creatine

Zinc & Magnesium (ZMA) Supplements – Worth It?!

zinc-magnesium-zma

Quick Take: Zinc and magnesium are important for a healthy immune system and optimal testosterone levels.

If you’d like to read more about them, the Examine page about ZMA gives a nice summary.

 

My View On Supplements

I’m not a huge fan of supplements. I prefer to stick to the following basics:

Whey Protein, if needed to top off protein requirements.

Creatine, if you want the extra boost it provides.

Beta-Alanine, if you want to improve recovery. I usually don’t take this one all the time.

 

So… GET TO THE POINT! Is ZMA Worth It?!

With all that being said, I ordered some ZMA (30mg of zinc, 450mg of magnesium and 11mg of Vitamin B6 per serving) with my last protein order and have been taking it for a couple days now. My sleep has improved (I sleep like a rock for 8-10 hours) and I feel like I got less sore from my training sessions. If you think you might be deficient in either one or both minerals (zinc and magnesium), then you can either get blood work done to make sure or get yourself some ZMA and see if it improves how you feel.

A good ZMA supplement is the one from ON. If you’re male, take 3 capsules 30-60mins before bedtime. If you’re female, take 2 capsules 30-60mins before bedtime. That means the 180 caps will last men 60 days and women 90 days.

zma

 

That’s all. As always, I’m not a doctor or personal trainer. Take my advice, if you think it might be a good idea. Don’t take my advice, if you think I’m an idiot.

Xmas Gift Ideas for People Who Work Out

gifts

If you’re looking for gift ideas for people you know that are into lifting or exercise in general, here are mine. You could also add these to your own wish list or simply buy them for yourself. I have broken them down by price.

 

$1 – $20

First off, an ab wheel. This is easily one of the best tools to develop your abdominal muscles. For slightly under $13 with free shipping, you can’t go wrong. It’s also rated 5/5 on Amazon with 81 reviews (when I checked).

ab-wheel

 

And who doesn’t want a Superman t-shirt? For $13 with free shipping, you can’t beat it.

superman-tshirt

 

Next up… a pair of yoga blocks for just under $13 with free shipping. 5/5 based on 165 reviews when I checked. These are terrific for yoga (obviously), stretching, self-myofascial release, etc.

yoga-block

 

Lacrosse balls are just about essential for self myofascial release. I would suggest getting three: One for trigger point release and two as a lacrosse ball peanut (to work on thoracic extension). You can get three white ones for $17.95 with free shipping (the cheapest color is blue at $18.95 with free shipping for 3 balls).  If you end up buying only one, most of the colors cost $6.95. Note: The ‘size’ option on the page is actually just how many balls you want. The balls are all the same size. They are standard lacrosse balls.

lacrosse-ball

Foam rollers are awesome for recovery work and you can get one for under $20! The one below got rated 5/5 with 1,014 reviews (at the time I’m writing this) and you can get the 36 inch version for $19 with free shipping. You could also go to a home improvement store and buy a PVC pipe for $3, but it will hurt a lot more. 🙂 If you’re new to foam rolling, this is likely a better option. I’ll add some more expensive foam rollers that are also excellent in the price categories below.

foam-roller

Lifting chalk is awesome to keep a grip on those heavy barbells. Under $13 with free shipping for a pound of the stuff is a great deal. 5/5 rating with 161 reviews makes this stuff a no-brainer, if you even lift.

chalk

The eco ball is my favorite chalk alternative. It’s like regular chalk, except it doesn’t leave a mess. $5.95 with free shipping makes this an awesome, yet inexpensive, gift for any lifter or climber. 5/5 rating with 66 reviews. I personally use this, because my gym doesn’t allow normal chalk, and love it.

eco-ball

Liquid Grip is a liquid chalk that doesn’t leave a mess. You can get the 1.5oz bottle for $5 with free shipping or you can get an 8oz bottle for slightly under $20 with free shipping.

liquid-grip

Under Armour t-shirts are awesome for keeping relatively dry when you’re sweating your ass off. Usually they cost slightly more than $20, but some size and color combinations can be had for less than $20!

under-armour-tshirt

Similarly to the Under Armour t-shirts, UA boxers will keep you from having epic swamp ass. For under $20 with free shipping and a 5/5 rating from 210 reviews, you can’t go wrong with these. I wear them to the gym all the time.

ua-boxers

Lifting straps are usually good to have. You can get them for under $6 with free shipping.

lifting-straps

Other gift ideas under $20: Deadlift Slippers for $13.95 with free shipping | Bacon Socks for $9.90 with free shipping | Shaker Bottle for under $8 with free shipping | 600g of Optimum Nutrition creatine powder for under $15 with free shipping

$21 – $50

I’ll start this price category off with some Under Armour shorts, which you can get for just under $25 with free shipping. 5/5 rating based on 145 reviews.

under-armour-shorts

Fat Gripz are awesome to make your grip stronger. You can grab some for under $40 with free shipping. Rated 5/5 based on 222 reviews.

fat-gripz

The Stick is a great recovery tool. Depending on which one you pick, you can get it for slightly under $28 with free shipping.

the-stick-massager

A ton of the mobility tools available at Rogue can be purchased for under $50. What I’d specifically recommend would be: Monster Bands, lacrosse balls, Voodoo Floss Bands and a Knobber.

rogue-mobility

Other gift ideas under $50: 13 inch Grid foam roller for $39 with free shipping | 12 inch Rumble Roller for $45 with free shipping | 2lbs of Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder for $28 with free shipping | Rehband Knee Sleeves for $43 with free shipping

$51 – $100

For around $60, you can get a nice powerlifting belt with a lever.

powerlifting-belt

A blender to make some badass shakes can be had for under $80 with free shipping!

ninja-blender

Whether or not you get the blender, Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder is a great choice because you can mix it into water or milk with just a spoon. It tastes great and boosts your daily protein intake with ease. Under $54 for 5lbs of the stuff is pretty damn good!

on-whey

$60 with free shipping gets you a nice food dehydrator, so you can make your own jerky and dried fruits. Apple chips are delicious!

dehydrator

$100+

This is where all the really awesome gift ideas will be of course. I’ll start with the Excalibur food dehydrator. You can get one for $255 with free shipping to make homemade beef or turkey jerky, dried fruits, dried herbs, etc.

excalibur-food-dehydrator

For just over $100, you can get yourself an Olympic barbell. The best start to any great home gym.

olympic-barbell

For $450 you can get an awesome Vitamix blender. Pricey, but arguably the best blender out there. I’m not sure who argues about blenders though…

vitamix-blender

Need more ideas?

If you need more fitness-related gifts and found nothing you liked in my list, browse through the Rogue site and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. I wish I could buy almost everything on there…

rogue

Honest Supplement Review from Elliott Hulse

honest

One of the reasons I really like Elliott Hulse’s YouTube channel strengthcamp is his no bullshit approach to both training and nutrition. In the video below, he goes through a supplement box he received from Jacked in a Box (you may also have heard of Jacked Pack).

Cliffs (with a dash of my opinion):

Most supplements are terrible and a waste of money, while there are some supplements that don’t suck.

The supplements Elliott Hulse actually takes are a greens drink from Living Fuel and PaleoMeal (I found it available in vanilla, chocolate, berry, strawberry banana, and strawberry flavors). I also saw that the same company that makes PaleoMeal makes a greens drink called PaleoGreens, which is a little cheaper than the Living Fuel one.

Judging by what he says in the video, coffee is his pre-workout. Mine is also coffee. If you’re too lazy or unable to make coffee, another alternative to get some caffeine would be caffeine pills. They’re way cheaper than most pre-workout supplements. Or maybe instant coffee will work for you?

Elliott thinks a well-balanced diet is most important and supplements should be used to supplement your diet. The only other supplements I remember him ever recommending have been basic ones like creatine and whey protein (I’m linking Optimum Nutrition’s whey because it’s fucking delicious). He’s also mentioned that he takes krill oil in a previous video.

 

I hope that helps some of  you weed through the lies a lot of the supplement companies are telling you.

Some Supplements That Don’t Suck

This is going to be a short list, because most supplements are either borderline worthless (i.e. fat burners) or completely worthless. By no means is this a complete list of supplements that actually have some benefits, but it’s a list of supplements I’ve personally tried and which at least have some medical research backing them.

 

Fish Oil

It’s great for essential fatty acids, reducing inflammation and improving heart health. It’s also relatively cheap, when you compare it to other supplements. If I was only going to take one supplement, fish oil would be it.

krill-oil

Bonus tip: Krill oil contains the same fatty acids and might be better absorbed by your body. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it to spend more money on krill oil for you personally. I take fish oil.

Further reading about fish oil: Web MD | Examine.com

Further reading about krill oil: Web MD | Examine.com

 

Protein

The debate over protein supplements is ridiculous. It’s an easy way to increase the amount of protein in your diet. Most other supposed benefits have very little scientific backing, if any. If you need more protein in your diet, my advice is to buy some protein powder you like the taste of and that’s about it.

Don’t waste your money on ‘special’ protein powders. Remember that supplements should supplement your diet… you should still be eating a variety of real foods to be healthy. With that being said, below are a few of my favorite protein powders.

I’m only going to list whey and casein powders. Whey has been shown to be digested faster than casein protein, so casein might be a better protein powder to take before bed or if you do intermittent fasting and are about to begin your fasting period.

whey-gold-standard

optimum-nutrition-natural-whey

optimum-nutrition-casein-protein-powder

Further reading about protein powder: Examine.com about Whey Protein | Examine.com about Casein Protein

 

Creatine

It can help. It’s not a steroid. Get the cheapest kind, so creatine monohydrate. Only buy it, if you have the extra cash.

creatine

 

I have to say it: Creatine… Not Even Once! (Not serious.)

creatine-lol

Further reading about creatine: Examine.com

 

Multivitamins

I don’t think they’re needed or beneficial. Read this.

 

Beta Alanine

It may help with muscle endurance and possibly soreness. It might make your entire body tingle, but this side effect is harmless.

beta-alanine-powder

Further reading for beta-alanine: Examine.com

 

Vitamin D

I’d recommend supplementing with Vitamin D, if you don’t get enough sun exposure. That’s where Vitamin D comes from naturally! Some benefits of getting enough Vitamin D are improved bone health, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, and also improved immune health overall. It might even raise your testosterone levels, if you’re currently deficient. It’s best to take it with fat (i.e. fish oil or olive oil), that’s why I personally prefer the soft gels where it’s already in oil.

vitamin-d

Further reading for Vitamin D: Examine.com

 

BCAA

Supplements containing branched chain amino acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) might benefit you, if you train fasted. I can’t really recommend buying a BCAA supplement otherwise, because protein powder is much cheaper.

xtend-bcaa-supplement

Further reading for BCAA: Examine.com | Lean Gains (Intermittent Fasting)

 

That wraps up this article. Remember that I’m not a doctor, so don’t take my word for anything. Ask a doctor or do your own research before taking any supplement, if you don’t believe me.