The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between
Ultimate Physique Rules #9 ~ Stick to the “Basics”

Ultimate Physique Rules #9 ~ Stick to the “Basics”

Many people are enamored with the hope of taking a pill and miraculously watching the fat fall off their body.  Sadly, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

If that’s not the case, then what role do supplements play in achieving your Ultimate Physique?

This is a tricky question, but I’ll start with this example:

Have you ever thought that medicine heals your body?  If you do, then you’ve been duped, because that’s a fallacy.  The only thing that ever heals your body, is your own body.  Medicine simply allows your body’s natural defenses to become strong enough to heal itself.  Don’t get me wrong, medicine is very important in that regard and without that assistance your body would probably never have a chance to heal itself. But medicine has never built up new tissues and may never (although nano-biotechnology is fast advancing).

In a way, supplements do the same with fat loss.  Supplements won’t help your body burn more fat.  What it will do is allow your body’s natural fat burning structures to become strong enough to burn fat as effectively as possible.

With that said, there are countless supplements out there with varying benefits that can be tailored towards individual’s needs.  The following list are the top ones I think anyone should take, no matter your age (18 years or older) and your gender.

*Quick note before reading any further:  Any recommendations are for informational purposes only and as always you should check with your doctor before adding any supplements into your current regimen.  Also, I don’t have any vested interest in any of the recommendations I make.  In other words, I’m not trying to sell you any supplements.  These are the supplements I’ve personally taken, by brands that I trust, not only for myself but also for my friends and family.

1 – Fish Oil – There are so many reasons to use fish oil that it’s almost staggering.  Honestly, if there were a wonder drug that helped with almost every chronic disease that Americans now face, this is it.  If you’re trying to lose weight, this supplement helps.  If you’re trying to gain muscle, this supplement helps.  If you have heart disease, are at risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc, this supplement will help and the list truly does go on and on.

Most studies have shown that there aren’t many added benefits to increasing dosages above 3 grams of Omega 3′s per day.  What this means, if you’re using a “cheap” brand, is that it would take 9-12 pills to get those 3 grams of DHA/EPA. If you’re obese, you can probably get away with using more per day.  The reason for this, is that studies have shown that if you are deficient in Omega 3′s you are more apt to have feelings associated with depression because of a disruption of serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is primarily made in the gut though, and by adding in more Omega 3′s you will start making more serotonin.  This should help you to actually want to move while increasing your motivation to exercise (feeling better doesn’t hurt either).

How To Use:  A – Purchase a good brand – My favorites are Charles Poliquin’s line along with Biotest’s Flameout.  Purity is rare when it comes to supplements, and truth be told, with solvents, PCB’s and mercury in fish, it’s important to get trusted brands (which, yes, means spending more money).
B – Store the fish oil in the fridge.  There have been some studies with cheaper brands actually increasing oxidation levels when taking expired or bad fish oil.  Oxidation is like rusting on a car – it’s something you don’t want to happen.  So keep the fish oil fresh by keeping it in the fridge.
C – After 6 months of high dose fish oil usage, add in GLA, or use a type that has GLA in it.  After 6 months, you’re body will use up it’s stores of GLA with high dose Omega 3′s and the fat-burning effects will diminish.
D – Note with Fish Oil: It usually takes about 3-6 months before the benefits truly kick in.  The reason for this is because it’s helping to restructure the phospholipid membrane of the cell.  In other words, each of your cells is made up of fats (the phospholipid membrane).  The fats that make up your cells contain the fats that you eat.  Eat a lot of french fries and hydrogenated oils and the cells become rigid because of trans-fats (not a good thing for fat loss).  As you start to consume more Omega 3’s your cell membrane starts to incorporate them making them less rigid – which helps the flow of important nutrients into the cell and waste products out.  This process though takes some time, usually 3 – 6 months.

2 – Protein Powder – I like a high quality Whey protein powder that’s easy to use.  Higher protein diets (30% and above) have been shown to hold onto muscle better when dieting and is obviously a bit more effective with adding muscle while in a caloric surplus.  You don’t need the fancy, super-duper supplements, and honestly, as long as you are switching between brands, I think you can use the protein powder daily without any negative side-effects or stomach distress.

How To Use:  A – Purchase at least two different types of protein, such as a pure Whey protein Isolate (My favorite from a purity standpoint is from Blue Bonnet) and a Whey protein Concentrate (True has a low cost one that can be purchased by the pound).
B – Use One brand on Day 1, and the other brand on Day 2 and continue to alternate.  Don’t drive yourself crazy with OCD, but try to stick to that schedule.
C – If you’re trying to lose fat, taking a shake after a workout will help keep your muscle and aid in recovery from the workout.

3 – A Greens Drink – A greens drink is usually freeze-dried fruits and vegetables in a concentrated form that allows you to take in the equivalent of 5-12 servings of fruits and vegetables in one serving.  Obviously you don’t get the fiber content of 5-12 servings of fruits and vegetables, but you get the vitamins and minerals found in that amount. These supplements have also been shown to help with blood alkalinity, which for what it’s worth will typically help make you feel better and more energized – two things that help immensely while trying to lose fat.

How to use:  A – Purchase a good brand – My favorites include MacroGreens, Biotest’s Superfood, Greens Plus and Primal Greens.  B – Take daily at breakfast or after a hard workout.  Lactic acid build-up (from a tough workout) will typically make your blood more acidic and this will help to mitigate that feeling.  C – I would switch up from a standard freeze-dried fruits/vegetables mix to a “Greens drink with added supplements” brand every bottle.  In other words, I would use MacroGreens for a bottle, then the Biotest’s Superfoods for a bottle, so on and so forth.

4 – Probiotics – I think Probiotics are one of the most under-rated supplements out there.  The reason why I feel this way is because most overweight and obese people will have “compromised” gut bacteria health from a high sugar diet and over-consumption of anti-biotics.  Studies have shown an enhanced mode of fat loss, a lower incidence of colds, better breakdown of certain foods along with better absorption of certain vitamins and minerals with the use of probiotics.

How to use:  A – Purchase a brand that has at least 15 billion (not million) active organisms per serving.  B – Store in a fridge.  C – Take at least once per day at the end of one of your meals.  If you have meals with dairy in it, take the capsule at the end of that meal.  My favorite brand is from Charles Poliquin, although I’ve used a couple other brands without any incidence.

5 – HCl – This is really a big thing with Charles Poliquin and truth be told, ever since I started taking this supplement, especially with larger meals, I feel better.  I feel like I’m actually using the food for energy and not simply using all of my energy in breaking down the food. This is his first step and although it is usually associated with my first steps, it isn’t always the first.

How to Use:  A – Read this article. B – No seriously, read this article and learn how you should use it.  C – For other digestive issues, this is my favorite article.  It’s one of the few that pull it all together and has good recommendations in about 2-3 pages.  I knew all of this information before I read this article, but I had gotten the information from a lot of disparate sources with a lot more nonsense included.  This article broke it down simply.

6 – A Multi-Vitamin -Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies can inhibit fat loss, cause low-energy, depression, lack of motivation, along with many health issues.  Doctors will say if you eat a good diet you can get all your vitamin needs from foods.  I think that’s complete BS. 

The bottom line is that 50 years ago, that may have been true, but I really don’t see that being backed up by any science in the last 20 years.  Numerous studies have shown that most American’s are deficient in multiple vitamins and minerals.  With a depleted oil that is usually fertilized with 3 minerals and not 17 of a healthy soil, I just don’t see how you can get your requisite needs by food alone.  Combine those reasons with the fact that most Americans also have low stomach acid (thereby inhibiting the absorption of Vitamin B12, Zinc, and others), and inadequate good bacteria (which also limits absorption and production of vitamins and minerals) and it is just a wise bet to take a good Multi-Vitamin/Mineral. 

In addition to that, we face a lot more environmental toxins than we did 50 years ago.  Your liver is your main detoxification system in your body and Phase I detox uses a number of vitamins and minerals in order to move the toxins to Phase II detox.  If you’re lacking a certain vitamin or mineral, then you’re more likely to store those toxins in your fat.  Also, when you start to lose fat, you start to release a number of toxins that your body then has to detoxify.  In other words, a Multi just makes sense. 

How to Use:  A – Purchase a good Multi-Vitamin.  I like to alternate between Multi-Intense (I use 4 caps per day or more if I know I’m going to be drinking alcohol) alternated after every bottle with Garden of Life Men’s Multi.  The Multi-Intense has a body usable form of Folate which helps the liver in the methylation process of detox.  Many people are lacking an enzyme which makes it hard for people to use this detoxification pathway.  The Garden of Life multi is a food-based source vitamin.  Food sourced vitamins not only include the “usable” form of vitamins and minerals, but many of the co-factors that are typically missing from a “regular” multi.  B – Spread the capsules over at least 2 meals and take with food.  I like taking all of my pill-form supplements with meals, as the HCl that gets released in order to break down the food also helps break down and utilize the supplements.

7 – Vitamin D – This is less of a concern in the summer time as the sun on your skin will help you make this “vitamin.”  Most doctor’s recommend 15 minutes a day of sunlight to get high enough Vitamin D levels, although those with darker skin will need more time in the sun to produce the same levels.  Vitamin D is actually a pro-hormone and is one of the two substances that can be used by every tissue in your body.  Vitamin D’s health benefits are like fish oil’s – absolutely staggering. 

How to use:  I can’t put up how I would actually use this, but my recommendation is to simply go to your doctor and get your Vitamin D levels checked.  There’s an “average” range and an “optimal” range.  Most doctors’ “optimal” ranges are in conflict with what the research has been shown to be effective.  The research has shown most people need a minimum of 75 ng/mL is the minimum that you would want to achieve. 

With all of that said, here are two links that discuss Vitamin D a lot better than I could:
1 – Think I’m overstating the fact that most people need more Vitamin D?  If so, read this excerpt by Dr. Allan Spreen on how pharmaceutical companies are manipulating sound research.  Read the article here
2 – This post on the many benefits of Vitamin D and it’s implications is pretty staggering.  Read the article here

The bottom line
Do you “need” to take supplements to lose weight?  Not at all.  Does it help most people?  Yes.

Therefore, with all of that said, if I were going to start anywhere, I would probably start with 4 supplements and a little more sun.  MacroGreens (google it for the best price), as it has food based vitamins and minerals, along with probiotics.  I would add Fish Oil, a standard multi and at least a Whey Protein Concentrate.  These supplements would run about $50-$80 per month and would shore up a lot of potential problems that could arise.  If you have the money and inclination, this is where I would start. 

If you don’t, I still think a Multi-Vitamin and fish oil are just two things you need in today’s environment. 

This has been a long post, but if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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5 comments found

  1. I’ve been taking a multi-vitamin and fish oil for a few years now, but after reading this I might have to add more to my fundamental supplement intake.

    I might have missed it, but could you clarify the reasoning of alternating between whey protein isolate & concentrate every other day?


    1. Hey John,

      Good question. I originally got this idea from John Berardi and in fact he recommended 3 different brands to ensure that you’re not becoming “sensitive” to one. I don’t think three is necessary and two should suffice.

      Basically, the reason why I endorse the use of at least two is for a couple of reasons. 1 – All of my recommendations are for long-term health. This means, I want my clients to see results, but I also want them to be healthy enough to keep exercising forever. Therefore, although a single-protein may not change the results dramatically over the short-term, over the long-term the person is more susceptible to building an intolerance to either lactose (which is higher in Whey Protein Concentrates) or the additives that are usually added into protein powders. 2 – Almost all dietary practicioners understand that proteins are the key to many food intolerances. This can range from gluten and casein to egg whites. This is why many will recommend a food rotation diet, where the meats eaten are changed daily. Again – do people necessarily need to do this for short-term results, probably not. Does it help to prevent slight food intolerances, which seems to be increasing overall – probably.
      Therefore, with alternating between the protein sources, your less apt to build up an intolerance to either type of protein and therefore can continue to take the protein supplements without any incident.

      Also, as a quick FYI – proteins are the cause of many food intolerances because that’s what your immune system codes for when it’s building up anti-bodies. In other words, if you don’t digest your food very well and have leaky gut syndrome, while eating the same foods (taking the same protein supplement) all the time, you are more apt to have one of the protein particles not be digested well and that may cause a small immune response in your body. If you don’t eat that food again, for a couple of days and your body is digesting the food better, then you will probably not have any issues. If on the other hand, you have that food, over and over, multiple times per day, everyday of the week, your immune response will continue to grow. As your immune response grows, your immune system will then start to code for the specific antigen (which in this case will be the protein particle from the food). So until your stomach heals (which is why food elimination diets can work), your body will be more prone to attack itself in the presence of that food – or in this case, protein powder.

      Therefore, I think it’s just a safe way to keep from having this be the case. Although, with that said, protein powders in general are typically already pre-digested and easily assimilated. The Whey Protein Isolate has almost no lactose, which is easier on those who have some lactose problem, and is easily digested. It’s the Whey Protein Concentrates that I think give more people stomach “issues” and therefore should be alternated with the Whey Protein Isolate. I think I might’ve rambled here, but if you have any other questions, let me know.


  2. Great article. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on supplements effective for sleep insomnia that kicks in around 3-5 AM. I fall asleep well, but always wake up for a washroom break around 3 and often can’t get back to sleep until 5AM.

    I’ve been eating strict Paleo (no grains, dairy, beans or sugar) for 8 weeks and have noticed wicked fat loss but my sleep still sucks. I’ve tried melatonin, GABA etc but nothing seems to fix it. If I have too many bad sleeps in a row (which is often), I can’t train or even work properly as my energy is in the toilet.

    I’m sure it’s a cortisol related issue, yet I can’t seem to crack it. I’ve even gone TV, computer and reading lamp free 1-2 hours before bed and have also tried black out curtains to no avail.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Hey Ian,

      I’m sorry to hear about your broken sleep. In the BioSig course, the times that people wake up between are related to different deficiencies or a weakness in a certain system. Waking up regularly between 3 and 5 am is means that you need to increase your anti-oxidants. I would start with eating more berries, oranges and other fruits/vegetables with high orac scores.

      If you go the supplement route, Charles Poliquin has a product called Anti-oxidant Supreme, which has a slew of different anti-oxidant plants. With anti-oxidants though you would want to ensure that you’re switching up the main source. So I would also buy Uber-C and his Perfect E 3.0 and take 1 or 2 from the Anti-Oxidant supreme on Day 1, 1 or 2 Uber-C on Day 2 and 1 or 2 Perfect E on Day 3 , while keeping to rotate the three. I’m not going to lie though, I’ve never had anyone try this protocol or have any personal experience so you’re going to have to see the results for yourself.

      With that said, if you think it’s a Cortisol issue, than that protocol would be different. In order to fix my low morning energy and consistent late-night energy, this is what I did. In the morning and upon rising – Pantethine – 500 mg. At Breakfast – Pantethine – 500 mg and 2 Licorice Supreme tablets. At night, one scoop of Uber-Inositol in water, 2 Uber Mags, 4 sprays of Topical Mag behind each knee, 2 Yin R-ALA and a 25 mg tablet of DHEA.
      The pantethine serves to act as the precursor for the production of Cortisol.
      The Licorice serves to extend the half-life of cortisol. This means that your circulating levels of cortisol will stick around longer which gives your adrenals a break from needing to produce so much cortisol.
      The Uber Mag and Topical Mag increase your magnesium stores which helps to calm most people and therefore makes sleep easier.
      The Uber Inositol helps to rebalance one’s neurotransmitters, while the Yin R-ALA helps by increasing anti-oxidant properties and the Taurine acts to relax you a bit more also.
      For me, I added the DHEA at night because DHEA levels counter cortisol’s effects.
      Also, Holy Basil at night and then again at lunch helped not only with sleep, but also with concentration and sustained energy throughout the day.

      Random, but important notes
      1 – All of the supplements were Poliquin brand, except the DHEA and Pantethine.
      2 – If you try the Uber-Inositiol, start with a low dose – maybe 1 gram – and slowly increase to 4 or 5 grams by the end of the week. You shouldn’t need to use it for more than 8 weeks.
      3 – Be careful if you have high blood pressure with the Licorice Supreme. In fact, the first time I took it, I felt very “weird.” I only needed one bottle of this and really, you shouldn’t take any licorice containing products for more than 4-6 weeks at a time.
      4 – I would watch the video about the Holy Basil on Poliquin’s page as he suggest starting it on a Saturday.
      5 – I’m not sure if you would need all of these supplements and really, I would ensure that I’m eating enough Calories to begin with. Low calorie diets (paleo or not) for an extended period of time will definitely disrupt sleep patterns. So I would ensure that I’m eating enough (maintenance level calories), for at least for a week or two before adding in any of the supplements.
      6 – If I were you, after eating at maintenance levels for a couple of weeks, if that didn’t work. I would probably start with the different antioxidant supplements before trying to correct the cortisol levels.
      7 – I did a shotgun approach when trying to normalize my cortisol levels. I never recommend a shotgun approach to anyone and really, if you go with the cortisol level route, I would start with the Uber Inositol and Uber Mag. See how those work first and if that doesn’t solve it, add in the Pantethine and Licorice Supreme. All of the others are supplements that I took were individualized for my specific needs.

      Hope this info helps and good luck with getting better sleep. If you have any other questions, let me know.

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