I hear a lot of talk about supplements and ‘clean eating’. Do supplements work? If I don’t use any supplements will I still get results? Are supplements bad for me? Do I have to eat clean? How clean really is clean eating?

So many people are so hung up on supplementing and eating clean that they think it’s the only way to build muscle and burn fat… Wrong. Supplements aren’t necessary for neither building muscle nor burning fat, in fact, most people you see with that dream body who are - super lean or big - probably just take 1 or 2 different supplements.

I’m all for clean eating, I personally think it’s the better option when looking to build good quality lean muscle. I feel much better when I try to stick to an 80% clean diet with treats and the odd ‘If it fits my macros’ day.

Back to supplements… stick to the basics. Supplements are created to supplement a clean, sturdy diet and only count for a very small percentage of your results. So don’t go crazy and spend your entire wages on all different fat burners and weight gainers!

Supplements are extremely beneficial for example if you are in a rush and have no time to food prep, you can simply blend up a protein shake or grab a protein bar/snack and hit your daily macros without falling behind. They also let you boost any lacking vitamins/minerals you have in your diet… greens powder/ zinc etc. Finally, there are many supplements that aid muscle recovery and boost performance. So don’t cut supplements out of your diet just yet… 

I keep it really basic with my supplementation, I should probably use more, but I’m just very un organised! I currently use five supplements: Protein powder, greens tablets, ‘Active woman’ (My protein), BCAAs and Fish oils (omega 3’s).

If I was to set a plan for one of my clients, these would be the top supplements I would consider using: 

  • Protein powder: whether you decide to use Whey or Whey isolate, protein powder is a great way to hit your protein macros. You can also mix them into oats or make protein pancakes etc. Protein powder is extremely versatile and handy to have with you at all times. I always stock up a few of the ‘Whey protein sample’ packets from my protein as they are ready to go 25g sachets so you always have them in case you’re running low on food! I wouldn’t recommend replacing whole foods with protein powders, simply because of the health benefits of whole foods (such as chicken, beans, pulses, tofu, nuts) however, they are definitely convenient to have.

  • Greens tablets: I always add these into my plans when coaching my clients… in no means replace them for your veggies and still eat your 5 a day but greens tablets are great for extra vitamins and goodness.

  • BCAA’s: Branch chain amino acids. They aid muscle growth and repair (building blocks of protein). Muscle protein synthesis occurs after eating protein/ a meal and tends to drop roughly 4 hours post meal. If you have a meal at 10am and know you won’t be eating until 3pm… make a BCAA drink and take it out with you to make sure protein synthesis doesn’t stop!

  • Fish oils: packed with omega 3 (polyunsaturated fats). Fish oils are known for a numerous amount of benefits: reduce heart disease, cancer, reducing joint soreness.

So in a nutshell, if you are going to supplement, then keep it basic! Don’t over compliment your supplementation and don’t feel like you need to use supplements! Sure they will help to boost your results but they definitely won’t sort out an unclean diet or poor training!

If your still having trouble with your diet and need some help, write me for fitness and coaching plans @courtneydblack