As discussed in Gourmet Nutrition, optimal health, body weight, and performance hinge on two things:
1. Regular physical activity and exercise.
2. A complete, well-planned diet.
Of course, a complete, well-planned diet is easier said than done. Nowadays, with the hectic, on-the-go lifestyles many of us lead, few of us get all the essential nutrients we need every day, nutrients that are very important to our health and well-being.
Need a few examples? Well, here are just a few of the nutrients many of us are falling short with:
1. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients. Fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients – all essential to our health and performance.
The minimum recommended fruit and veggie intake is 3-5 servings per day, but many people fall well very short of that. In fact, only 3% of men and 7% of women eat 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Bottom line: antioxidants and phytonutrients help fight cancer, improve heart health and build better bodies – but most people are missing out.
2. Healthy Oils. Fish oils contain the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA – both critical to our physical and mental health.
While the minimum recommended amount of EPA and DHA per day is 900mg, the average North American barely gets 1/3 of this (300mg) each day.
Bottom line: EPA and DHA help stop heart disease, manage blood sugar and burn fat – but again, most people are missing out.
3. Protein. Although there’s been quite a lot of debate in the past about how much protein is required for optimal health, many experts today recognize that exercisers would benefit from about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day.
This means that the average 120lb woman would require 120g of protein per day and the average 160lb man would require 160g per day.
As the average daily protein intake for women is 80-90g and the average daily intake for men is 110-120g, both men and women would benefit from a protein boost.
It’s for these reasons above that many people choose nutritional supplements - to fill the gaps between what they should be doing and what they’re actually are doing. And it’s also for these reasons that we recommend a few specific nutritional supplements.
Now, keep in mind, we don’t sell supplements directly. We just provide this resource to help you locate the supplements and brands that we’ve had success with in the past and currently recommend to our clients, customers and readers.
We use the products below with our clients and don’t hesitate to say that they come from reputable companies and taste great. If you’re going to use a protein supplement, 40g/day is a good amount while 80g/day should represent an upper limit of supplemental protein intake. Of course, protein supplements should never be used as one’s exclusive protein source.
|Whey Isolate by ThorneFX
Our top recommended whey protein choice, it's sourced from cows not treated with hormones and is cold-filtered to reduce the risk of denaturing its proteins. Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners and comes in chocolate or vanilla.
|VeganPro Complex by ThorneFX
Our top recommended vegan protein choice, it's a great-tasting, dairy-free, vegan protein using a blend of rice and pea proteins. The result is a protein powder with an amino acid combination that closely resembles whey.
|Low Carb by BioTRUST
This is an all-natural, hormone-free, milk protein blend that tastes really good. It's one of our favorites and makes a thick, tasty milkshake.
|proteins+ by Genuine Health
An excellent, high quality whey isolate protein supplement with digestive enzymes and no artificial ingredients, from Canada's most trusted nutritional supplement company.
|Vegan proteins+ by Genuine Health
Another excellent protein blend from Genuine Health. Contains 5 veggie protein sources, 8 essential amino acids, vitamins & minerals, and no animal products whatsoever.
While greens can't replace a diet sufficient in vegetables, the blend of antioxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals in these products can be extremely helpful. Adding a serving of greens to every protein shake you drink is a good strategy. Further, when on the road, greens can really come in handy.
|greens+ by Genuine Health
The best, most research proven greens product on the market today.
If exercise performance is important to you, workout supplements can help by providing amino acids, carbohydrates, and/or other ingredients – during the workout itself – to enhance blood flow, to boost oxygen delivery to working muscles, and to kick-start recovery.
|Activfuel+ (whey protein) by Genuine Health
Our favorite whey-based workout supplement, containing protein and carbs, as well as other exercise enhancing ingredients: taurine, coconut water, creatine, rhodiola, and appleboost. Comes either caffeinated or caffeine-free.
|Activfuel+ (plant-based) by Genuine Health
Our favorite plant-based workout supplement, containing protein and carbs, as well as other exercise enhancing ingredients: taurine, coconut water, creatine, rhodiola, and appleboost. Comes either caffeinated or caffeine-free.
|Amino Complex by ThorneFX
Our top recommended essential amino acid formula in powdered form, it offers more than just BCAAs and has been shown to have positive effects on development of lean body mass, exercise capacity, aerobic metabolism, and support of mitochondrial growth. It's great for use during workouts.
|Fast Recovery BCAA + Creatine
This is our favorite BCAA product in powdered form. As a bonus, it contains creatine too. Great for when following a lower-carbohydrate diet or when extra carbohydrates aren't required during or after training.
|BCAA Matrix by BioTRUST
This is our favorite BCAA product in capsule form. Great for when following a lower-carbohydrate diet or when extra carbohydrates aren't required during or after training.
While strength and endurance training and competition promote a host of physiological benefits, both types of exercise stress the body. Fortunately, the body is designed to respond to this stress by providing a short post exercise period designed for recovery. Well designed post-exercise carbohydrate – protein supplements can help both support training as well as accelerate this recovery process.
|Surge Recovery Fuel by Biotest
This is a carbohydrate + protein recovery product Dr Berardi designed based on the most recent research and on his own dissertation work.
|ActivRecover+ (whey protein) by Genuine Health
An excellent whey-based recovery product containing fast-digesting protein and carbs, and as other unique ingredients: tart cherry and lemon verbena extracts. Free of artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors.
|ActivRecover+ (plant-based) by Genuine Health
An excellent plant-based recovery product containing fast-digesting protein and carbs, and as other unique ingredients: tart cherry and lemon verbena extracts. Free of artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors.
We believe continual, low dose, creatine supplementation is essential for good health as well as athletic performance. While creatine has been discussed in the athletic context quite extensively, it has some amazing regenerative effects on all tissues of the body including brain. 3-5g per day is recommended.
|Creatine by Biotest
Top-notch creatine from Biotest. The highest purity of creatine available.
Fish oil supplements
Fish oil is rich in DHA and EPA, two powerful fats responsible for things like: increased metabolic rate, improved fat burning, and reducing our risk for a host of diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes). For coaching clients, we generally recommend 1g of total fish oil per % body fat for 2 weeks. Then we have them cut back to ½ g total fish oil per % body fat.
|Super EPA Complex Liquid by ThorneFX
Our top recommended fish oil product, it's high in EPA and DHA, comes in great-tasting raspberry lemonade, contains astaxanthins for antioxidant support, and is extremely pure.
|o3mega by Genuine Health
This excellent product contains a high concentration of EPA and DHA. As with the Thorne product, we prefer liquid as it's easier to get higher doses of fish oil in liquid form vs. capsules.
|Super EPA Complex Softgels by ThorneFX
Another excellent ThorneFX product, this one provides fish oil in capsule form and is free of heavy metals and toxins. It also contains peppermint oil for a more pleasant taste.
Multi-vitamin supplements have been endorsed by the most respected medical organizations in the world for their ability to help reduce the risk of nutrient deficiency. Excessive vitamin supplementation isn't necessary. However, having a daily multi very well might be.
|Multi AM/PM Complex by ThorneFX
This is our top pick and it's not your typical multivitamin. Formulated with superior forms of vitamins and minerals, this is actually two unique formulations. The AM formula is designed to support daytime energy, while the PM formula is designed to support better rest and recovery in the evening.
|multi+ complete by Genuine Health
multi+ is a convenient daily multi-vitamin with a full array of high quality and easy-to-absorb vitamins and minerals.
Probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements
Probiotics and digestive enzymes act as a powerful one-two punch for folks with digestive complaints and inadequate gut health. (Note: if you haven't been exercising regularly or paying attention to good nutrition, then that's probably you).
|Probiotic Complex by ThorneFX
Our top pick, this is a proprietary blend of three human-derived strains: Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum. Each dose delivers 5 billion CFUs in an acid-resistant capsule to ensure delivery to the intestines.
|Pro-X10 by BioTRUST
Pro-X10 is an advanced probiotic formula that helps reduce bowel inflammation, promote regularity, boost immune health, and restore a healthy intestinal lining.
|HCL Enzyme Complex by ThorneFX
Our top pick, this product has been formulated to aid in the breakdown of food to macro- and micronutrients so they can be absorbed and keep you on the path toward better health, improved fitness, and maximum performance.
|AbsorbMax by BioTRUST
The AbsorbMax digestive enzyme formula supports nutrient breakdown and absorption, boosts digestive and immune health, and combats food intolerances.
Please keep in mind that we have nothing to do with the ordering, shipping or delivery of these items.
If you're looking for product-specific information or information about ordering these products, please contact the manufacturers or distributors directly by clicking any of the links above.
A few notes
Your favorite supplements or brands might not be on the list.
It’s inevitable that among the thousands of supplements and hundreds of companies that make each one, our lists may not overlap. Don’t send us hate mail. This article is not an indictment of your favorite brand. Rather this is our preferred list of supplements and manufacturers, a list of supplements that we’ve personally had success with.
We’ve chosen these because we like the ingredient lists, we like the quality control, and we like the prices. There could be other products out there that meet our standards that we simply haven’t used. Besides, it'd be impossible to review every single product on the market.
This list represents the supplements we MAY use in certain circumstances.
It's important to know that each supplement or grouping is used for specific circumstances. In other words, few of our clients will ever be on all of them at once! So don’t think that we’re suggesting you should be taking all of these. Rather, this is a list of supplements that we draw from when considering what one of our clients might need.
If a supplement category isn’t on the list, we probably only use them in special situations.
For example, we do recommend some sports supplements - like glutamine, beta alanine, or HMB - for some of our athletes in specific situations. However, these are needs-based and that's why they're not listed here.
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