Day 18, Let’s Talk About Supplements

It’s noon and I’m trying to fend off hunger for another hour. After doing IF consistently for 18 days I’ve noticed that it’s easier for me to not eat at all than to just eat a little and try to control it. As the day goes on, I have a tendency to increase the size of my eating window. Last night, despite hitting all of my macros and calories by 8pm, I was starving around 9:30. And I didn’t just suck it up and stay hungry. After trying some gum, I ended up eating 1/4 can of tuna with mayo and a few tortilla chips. Not the best solution I know, but at least the tuna kept me from eating too many chips.

So I’m thinking that maybe on rest days I might change my eating window from 1 to 9 instead of 12 to 8. It probably doesn’t make that much of a difference actually. More importantly I think I need to save more calories for the evening. It would be great to have a large meal around 8pm knowing that I’m still within my cutting restrictions. I don’t typically do well with a light calorie dinner. It usually leaves me hungry for more a few hours later.

So again, in order to fend off my tummy rumbles for another hour I thought it would be interesting to write about my supplement stack. Now, some people are totally swayed by the supplement industry marketing hype while others avoid all supplements completely. I seem to find myself right in the middle. I will try something that has some decent data behind it, but I’m quick to stop using it if I don’t see a benefit. Some supplements are hard to evaluate because I don’t really know how much different my progress would be if I hadn’t used them. And obviously, because they’re not regulated there’s a lot of trial and error and of course some safety issues as well.

My current supplement list is as follows:

greens-first61pbZFH7uEL._SX425_Greens First and Navitas Naturals Maca powder – Every day in the morning during the fast.

I’ve been taking Greens First daily for about a year. It’s basically a drinkable salad and nice to have when I don’t get enough veggies during the day. But I’m convinced that the pre and pro biotics it contains have single-handedly cured my acid reflux. It’s for this reason alone that I continue to take it.

Macca claims to aid in energy, recovery and libido. I take one teaspoon a day and I’m not sure how effective it really is at that dose but I’ve noticed minor improvements in these areas. I might increase the dose to 2 teaspoons and see what happens.

1872605_setTrue Athlete Energized Training Formula – Pre workout

I workout at 6:30 so it’s either this or coffee. The thing I like about this PWO is that it’s all natural and doesn’t contain any crap. Each scoop has 1gm of Creatine, which I don’t take at any other time so I doubt it’s having any effect. I like the taste and the buzz I catch from it. Plus it mixes well with my BCAA powder and negates most of the horrible taste.

1721208_setBodytech BCAA + Glutamine powder – Pre and post workout

As recommended by most proponents the LeanGains method of IF, if you train fasted taking 10g of BCAAs before working out and then every 2 hours after working out before the first meal can help preserve muscle mass. Since starting IF and fasted training a few months ago I’ve been taking BCAAs pre and post workout. After recently running out I decided to add Glutamine to the stack. As far as its effectiveness, I have no clue since I haven’t trained in the past 3 months without it.

1588821_setTriple strength Glucosamine + Chondroitin + MSM (Vitamin Shoppe brand) – 2x day

I’m getting old and I have arthritis in my right knee. This is the number one recommended non medication solution for my problem. I started taking once/day consistently since day 1 but changed to 2x/day this week to see if more helps. Most research suggests trying it for at least a month to determine if it works.

14365051Krill Oil (Target Brand) – 1x/day

Just as effective as fish oil but easier to swallow and digest. Krill Oil is supposed to help with inflammation and arthritis as well

Optimum-Nutrition-Gold-Standard-100-Whey-Double-Rich-Chocolate-748927028614Optimum Nutrition Whey – As needed to meet protein goals

I’ve always supplemented with whey, except for the time when I went vegan and tried the plant based powders. There’s a growing demand for natural, grass fed whey but it’s very expensive. The ON protein tastes fine and mixes well (even in just water). I’m not happy about the artificial sweetener (mainly sucralose), but I really don’t take it more than once/day.

2015-03-26 20.17.56Quest Protein Chips – As needed to meet protein goals

It’s no secret that these are my new favorite way to get protein. I love salty and crunchy and these chips work for me. Most people will decide that they taste bad or at least “strange”, but they’re fine for me.

2015-04-03 22.59.59CLIF-Builders-Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Protein-Bar-CloseMP Combat Crunch or Cliff Builder’s Bar – As needed to meet protein goals

Just like whey powder, I’ve been eating protein supplement bars for a long time. I’ve tried a lot of different kinds but these two are my favorite. They all have too much sugar and carbs and I would do better making my own from scratch, but who has time for that?

1481323_setBodytech ZMA – Daily, before bed

This is the most controversial of all the supps I take. Extra magnesium is always a good thing especially for someone like me who is prone to migraines. Extra zinc is also always a good thing especially for someone like me who has 2 little germ farms running around the house. But as far as its effectiveness to increase muscle gains, the jury is still out for me. Like BCAA, I’m not sure where I’d be today without it. I have about half a bottle left so I will finish it up before deciding to get another.

Things I don’t take:

Fat burners – I had great results with the Ephedrine-based fat burners back when they were legal (jeez, that was over 10 years ago!). I’ve tried a few of the replacements but none of them really did anything for me that coffee couldn’t do. But I’m always willing to try a new one if the formula seems to be effective.

Appetite Suppressants – At one point I was convinced that Hoodia was going to be my ticket to losing weight. After taking it 3 times a day for a month, I didn’t lose much. It seems to be most effective when you to have the proper mindset. In other words, if you have your heart set on bingeing, you will binge, regardless of hoodia.

Creatine – As mentioned above, I don’t take creatine, primarily because in my experience it’s done more harm than good for me. After taking 5g/day for a month my strength didn’t increase but my tendency for muscle cramps certainly did.

Multi-vitamin – Frankly the only reason why I don’t take a multi anymore is because every formula I’ve tried made me nauseous. I think I’m getting just about everything I need from the rest of the supps and my diet.

And there you have it. A complete profile of my supplements AND I’ve managed to go another hour without eating. Sweet!


Day 16, The sloooow grind of rest day…

I’m determined to blog at least once/day during these 12 weeks, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll have something interesting to write about for each of these posts. Today has been very slow but now that 3pm has arrived and I’m treating myself to a combat crunch bar, I can see the end of the work day in sight.

I’m one workout away from running out of BCAA powder so I went and bought more on my lunch break today. They had a sale on BCAA + Glutamine so I decided to try it. Since I work out in a fasted state the recommendation is 10g of BCAA 10 minutes prior to working out and every 2 hours after working out prior to the first meal of the day (which for me is only once).

Jeez, this is boring. But at least I blogged about something!

Day 13, What Happened?

The scale is a finicky beast, reading 209 this morning! Of all the things that contribute to me abandoning a program, it’s the emotional swings of the scale. I won’t quit this time though. I just need to remember that as much as I enjoy seeing the scale go down 3 pounds overnight, I have to expect that it will go up 3 pounds overnight too!

Yesterday was the first of many diet challenges for the weekend. I took the kids to the movies and then to dinner at On the Border. In planning for this, I calculated exactly what I could eat in order to stay within my macros. But this is harder in reality than it is on paper.  I had a few too many handfuls of popcorn and a few too many chips and ended up 300 calories over, the majority coming from extra fat.

Tonight is dinner with friends, which will include drinks. My plan is to fast normally and the only eat protein and fat until dinner. We’ll see how that goes.   2015-04-03 22.59.59

In other news, I found a seriously good deal on combat crunch bars at With shipping I got 3 boxes for $75. That’s $30 cheaper than anywhere else and comes down to $2 a bar. Considering that these taste like a Nestle Crunch mixed with a Reese’s, I will be very happy to eat them for the next 6 weeks! 

Day 4, Protein Bars

Went to GNC on my lunch break to get a bag of my new snack obsession, Quest Protein Chips. They had a sale going on so I decided grab a couple flavors of Quest bars that I hadn’t tried before.

Previously I’ve had the chocolate peanut butter (which I liked) and the double chocolate (which I didn’t like). Since then I’ve tried MP Combat Crunch which are seriously the BEST tasting bars on the market, but very expensive and eventually went back to Cliff Builder’s bars because they taste great and they’re really cheap compare to all the others. But I’m not really a fan of some of the ingredients of the Builder bars (specifically the sugar). So I’m still on a quest for the perfect bar. I should really just suck it up and buy the Combat Crunch bars, but wanted to give quest another try, since I like their chips so much!

2015-03-26 14.03.52Anyway, I grabbed what I think are the 2 most popular flavors. Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Not sure which one I’ll try first.

I’d love to hear suggestions from anyone who has a favorite bar that they swear by.