Pills and Powders and Supplements OH MY!

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One of the things that overwhelmed me the most when I started working out regularly, especially lifting heavier at Crossfit, was what supplements should or shouldn’t I take?



If any of you follow #fitspo people on social media, these products may be getting shoved down your throat. I see ads for all sorts of supplements all the time. I can’t open my Instagram without seeing them.


So, how do you know what’s good, and what’s not so good?


I start with the ingredients label. If it’s chock full of artificial sweeteners and things I can’t pronounce, I put it down. If it advertises tingling sensations or anything else that sounds ludicrous to me during a work out, I put it down. I try (keyword is try here) to keep what I put into my body as clean as I can. Artificial stuff is a no go for me, well most of the time. It’s hard to avoid these days, am I right?


Another thing I do is ask. Never be afraid to ask!


My Crossfit coach, Tony, is a great resource for me. He is super honest, and wouldn’t recommend anything he wouldn’t put into his own body. Tony is a little intense, because he is shooting for the Crossfit Games, but someone that dedicated and informed is a good resource. I don’t have the time to sort through articles and reviews and stuff to figure out the best products (and quite frankly it makes my head spin). Tony does, and so do your coaches!


I have a feeling I know what you are going to ask next. So, Sara, what do you use for your workouts?


Well, funny you should ask! As of right now, I only use protein powder. I use a whey isolate, chocolate flavor (of course) powder that I mix with almond milk. The brand I use is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard. The only criticism I have of this powder is the sweetener. They do use an artificial sweetener, but that is a problem you will run into with most protein powders. Here’s a link if you want to give it a try (this is not an affiliate link, so I don’t get any money for you clicking on it).


I drink my protein shake right after a WOD and even after yoga. Most people look at me funny when I say I drink protein after yoga, but that’s how I roll. I may not have picked up anything heavy or run a mile, but I still worked those muscles, and I want to feed them. I drink 1 scoop with about 8 ounces of almond milk. Water is fine as well, but I like my shakes thicker in consistency. It’s a preference thing.


If wanting to know more about protein is something you’re interested in, leave a comment below and I will add it to my ever-growing list of things to talk to you about!


I have asked Tony recently what he recommends as a supplement. He told me the one thing he would recommend to anyone is beta alanine. What does it do? So, the way it has been explained to me, and in my other research, is that it balances the pH level in your muscles. What does that mean? It means your muscles wont get as tired as fast, and recovery from intense workouts is quicker. Tony recommended to me 1 scoop of this stuff daily.


I have some of the beta alanine waiting for me at my box that I need to pick up. I’ll try it out, and let you guys know what I think. That may become a regular thing. I try products and practices, and let you know what my experience has been with it.


I am also getting back to taking a multivitamin. I am so bad at taking vitamins you guys! Recently, my health hasn’t been that great though, so I am trying to get that back under control. Being proactive by taking a vitamin is a good place to start.


I picked a women’s vitamin that has a B complex in it. B complex is known for giving more energy, which I need, because after internship naps have become a regular occurrence.


I also take zinc and magnesium (not the most consistent with it if I’m being honest) because I have had some muscle tension issues lately. I have been told this is stress related (yay to my last year of graduate school!). These two are a good combo for muscular health, but aren’t really necessary unless you are having some problems like I do at the moment. My boyfriend, who is also a Crossfitter and knows a thing or two about supplements, recommended I add these in for the time being. I don’t intend for this to be a permanent addition to my supplement regime. With a good diet and a good multivitamin, you shouldn’t need these either.


When it comes down to it, knowing what sort of results you want to see, and how you want to feel before, during, and after a work out is going to determine what supplements you choose. Personally, I don’t like to take a lot of extra stuff (even though I am right now). You can get most of what you need from a balanced diet.


I am also going to say that if you have health issues, consult your doctor before adding any sort of supplements to your daily routine. I am not a nutritionist or dietitian, I am just speaking from my experience.


Leave some love below if you enjoyed the article! I love to hear from you! This won’t be the last on this topic and I look forward to updating you when I try the new stuff!

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Yoga. Crossfit. Sarcasm. Inspiration. I'm a girl in my 20s sharing a little about what I do to stay healthy and happy!
  • Leigh Ryan

    This is a really great post! The number of supplements is overwhelming…and some popular supplements contraindicate others, in terms of results. Definitely worth talking to a pro to find out what’s best for your goals!!

    I stick to protein powder, BCAAs, glutamine and L-carnitine, plus fish oil and multis.

    • Thanks so much Leigh! It took me forever to familiarize myself with these things and I still feel like a rookie sometimes! I always talk to my coaches about what would be best for me and my goals, so I would definitely second that recommendation! I’ve been meaning to add in fish oil like you have, but I’m scared of the fishy aftertaste!
      Thanks for the comment!

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