Seven Supplements You Should be Taking Every Day

The majority of adults in the United States take one or more dietary supplements on a regular or semi-regular basis. Dietary supplements come in various of forms including pill form, powders, as well as drinks and energy bars. If your diet is lacking a nutritious variety of foods, supplementing can help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. When you’re on a training regimen, it is even more important to make sure your body has everything it needs to stay strong, healthy and recover to the best of its ability. Supplements are a great way to achieve this, but they can be tricky. If not ingested in correct form or in the right amounts, your body may pass them through as waste, which is basically money down the drain. (Literally) For this reason, you want to make sure you pay attention to the recommended serving per day and break it up appropriately between morning and night.

That being said, what supplements should you take? Where do you even start?

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First and most importantly, the Multivitamin. A good multivitamin in the morning will start your day off right in terms of diet so you’re not having blood sugar crashes, or craving sweets or snacks throughout the day, because your body is starting the day out with most of the nutrients it needs. In order for your body to absorb the vitamins efficiently, I recommend taking one that’s made from whole foods. This one from NewChapter Organics is a good option because it’s made from organic vegetables and herbs which are easily processed by the body, and can be taken on an empty stomach. The one I take has added nutrients for Immune, Stress and Hormone Support. Who doesn’t need that?

New Chapter Only One Multivitamin

 

B Vitamins. B Vitamins help convert food into cellular energy. They’re also necessary for normal functioning of the nervous system. This Super B-Complex formula contains high levels of all your needed B Vitamins and Vitamin C for added antioxidant support and to help support the immune system. In addition, most report a better mood and increased mental focus when supplementing B Vitamins. Since this produces energy, it is best taken in the morning as opposed to in the evening.

Nature Made Super B-Complex

Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to healthy bone, breast, prostate and immune support. The truth is, in this day and age where most people are deathly afraid of UV rays, a significant portion of the population is Vitamin D deficient. Ideally, one would have levels measured to determine their ideal dose, but most would benefit from taking 1000 to 2000 IU daily of vitamin D3. In my personal opinion, Vitamin D should be taken in the morning, since naturally you would be absorbing most of your Vitamin D in the daytime, but I haven’t heard any scientific arguments against taking it in the evening instead.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code® RAW D3™

 

Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 reactions in the body and is unfortunately often lacking in the standard American diet. Magnesium deficiency can cause constipation, heart palpitations, or muscle cramps. I like this Calcium and Magnesium powder because it’s formulated to avoid excess dietary calcium depleting the body’s vital magnesium supply, and to avoid symptoms associated with low magnesium and high calcium levels. This formula includes nutritional co-factors to facilitate the assimilation, distribution and utilization of calcium. I put it in my night-time tea and it dissolves instantly. I like to take my magnesium in the evenings because I find that it has a relaxing effect on my muscles.

Natural Vitality Natural Calm® Plus Calcium Unflavored

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These are essential for brain health and mood support as well as keeping inflammation down. The most common way most individuals get their omegas is through ingesting fish. Eating fish or taking fish oils is a fine way to get your omegas. However, if your diet is a little more strict, or you are worried about the pollution and mercury levels in the fish that live in our modern day environment (me), another great way to supplement your omegas is with Flax Oil. I like to put a tablespoon of this Nature’s Way EFAGold in my protein shakes every other day. The days I don’t use flax oil, I’m using coconut oil, which is basically a cure all for everything, but that’s an article for another day. Nature’s Way EFAGold contains:

57% Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

17% Omega-9 oleic acid (OA)

15% Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA)

Nature's Way Organic Flax Oil 57% Omega-3

 

Glucosamine Chondroitin VS Collagen. Glucosamine chondroirin is a supplement that you can take if you tend to have joint issues, especially while training.

Glucosamine. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring chemical found throughout the human body, including in the fluids surrounding joints.

Chondroitin. Chondroitin is another naturally occurring chemical, found in cartilage around joints in the body.

A lot of people have reported stomach issues when supplementing with glucosamine & chondroitin mainly because most of the time these supplements are derived from sulfates. For this reason and many other reasons, I usually suggest Collagen Types 1 & 3 in place of glucosamine & chondroitin. I believe collagen to be a better supplement for this purpose because it also covers many other purposes. It’s not only good for the joints and bones, but also your hair, skin and nails. Collagen is a complex structural protein that maintains strength and flexibility throughout the body. As we age, collagen depletion can lead to common signs of aging in the skin, hair, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. I really like this Super Collagen +C which contains clinically studied BioActive NeoCell Collagen which supports healthy collagen formation throughout the body. Using NeoCell’s technologically advanced hydrolyzation process, large collagen molecules are enzymatically hydrolyzed into small peptides that are both bioavailable and bioactive in the body. NeoCell Collagen has been shown to increase skin hydration by an average of 21% and up to 50%, with 92% of test subjects experiencing increased skin hydration, and 60% experiencing firmer, softer skin. The serving size is a bit large at 6 capsules per day, so I break this up by taking 3 in the morning and 3 at night. NeoCell also makes a powder version of this that can be put directly into a protein shake.

NeoCell Super Collagen + C™

 

Protein with BCAA’s. Supplementing with protein is SUPER important if you’re training or trying to build muscle. (Yes, even lean muscle) Whey Protein Isolates (WPIs) are the purest form of whey protein that currently exists. You should consume approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight through a combination of high-protein foods and protein supplements. If you’re wondering what foods are high in protein, check out my “Food” tab at the top of the page for information and recipes. For the best results, consume your daily protein over several small meals, spread evenly throughout the day. Take a look at your protein label to make sure you are getting all of your BCAA’S (Branched Chain Amino Acids). These are CRUCIAL for muscle growth and recovery. You can buy your BCAA’s separate from your protein, but most good protein powders will have them included.

amino-acid-chain

As a protein supplement, I really like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, which has 24 Grams Protein and 5.5 Grams of BCAA’s per serving. If you’re looking for a protein that is veggie based instead of dairy based, another favorite of mine is the Vega Sport Brand, which has 30g Complete Protein and 6 Grams BCAA’s per serving and is more easily digestible for the body. This one is more expensive than the Whey alternative, but I really do believe you get what you pay for here. If whey protein powder tends to hurt your stomach, definitely try the Vega option.

Vega Sport Protein Powder Vanilla

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Double Rich Chocolate

 

Digestive Enzymes. Enzyme deficiencies may result from a combination of age, diet and lifestyle. These deficiencies can lead to a variety of digestive discomforts, including occasional gas, bloating indigestion and irregularity. A good digestive enzyme helps the body break down carbohydrates, fats, fiber and protein and converts food into energy. Digestive well-being improves concentration and increases vitality. I like Digest Gold for individuals seeking a high-potency enzyme formula.

Enzymedica Digest Gold™ with ATPro™

As a disclaimer, you should always consult your physician and be alert to the possibility of unexpected side effects when taking a new product. Supplements are rare to cause serious side effects since whatever your body doesn’t need, it will pass through as waste. They are most likely to cause side effects when people take them instead of prescribed medicines, or when you take too many supplements in combination. Dietary supplements can also interact with certain prescription drugs in ways that might cause problems. Here are just a few examples:

  • Vitamin K can reduce the ability of the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent blood from clotting.
  • St. John’s wort can speed the breakdown of many drugs (including antidepressants and birth control pills) and thereby reduce these drugs’ effectiveness.
  • Antioxidant supplements, like vitamins C and E, might reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.

Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving them (beyond a basic multivitamin/mineral product) to a child. Most dietary supplements have not been well tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.

So there you have it, a pretty good starter pack of daily supplements. For more information or questions, feel free to drop me a line here, on Facebook, or Instagram. Subscribe for more articles and videos on health, fitness, and overall wellness.

How To Expand Your Consciousness Past Your Physical Experience

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Hey HFF viewers!! I know I haven’t posted in a while. Okay, a LONG while. About a year to be exact. I’ve been working on some really exciting things to share with you that are coming very soon! The thing I’m most excited about is that I have worked up 2- eight week fitness plans to share with ya’ll that will be available for purchase right here on healthyfitfabguide.com! Yayyy!

In the meantime, I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something that we haven’t talked about much, but that I believe has the utmost importance when it comes to our degree of wellness. Now, before we dig into this, I’m asking you to have an open mind. I know that for a lot of people, as soon as the word “meditation” comes up, your mind automatically goes to a place of weird, tree-hugger, spiritual guru nonsense… But listen, I’m telling you there is really something to this.

Over the last few years, I’ve really been digging deep into yoga and meditation and experimenting with various types and degrees of both. As you may know, the two often go hand-in-hand as I believe that yoga, especially “Yin” is really a stepping stone directly into a meditative state. Not only does Yoga help to stretch and strengthen your muscles and the deep connective tissues within the body, but it also helps slow your mind and align your entire being, mentally, spiritually and physically. It allows you to feel grounded, centered, secure, and connected with life and the creator of life… however you think/believe in that creator. This is not religion-specific. This is literally for everyone! The transformation that you can realize in yourself, even after a few weeks, is something truly worth trying to achieve. Less anxiety, better sleep, better relationships, less irritability, more control over your own experiences, and a deep feeling of love and connection… If that’s not something worth at least experimenting with, then you can stop reading now.

So, let’s start with meditation. What is meditation? How do you do it? Well the truth is that the answer is different for everyone. For some people, praying is meditation. Some people like to focus on a mantra, a desire, a good feeling, and empty the mind of everything else. Meditation is really just getting to know your inner self. (mind, body, spirit connection) The most important thing to realize is that meditation is a “practice”. This means that it is not something that comes easy at first, you must work at it. And the more you do, the more you realize that you’re getting better at it, and start noticing subtle changes in your life. You have to give up any thoughts of “Am I doing this right?” and just focus and be mindful of your own unique experience. The fact that there are tremendous benefits to strengthening this practice/skill/whatever you’d like to call it is impossible to ignore.  Research has shown that monks who meditate for thousands of hours alter the structure of their brains and significantly decrease emotionally reactive behavior. However, we in Western cultures are trained to think that we don’t have the time or patience for these types of practices. We don’t have much free time, and the time we have is far too precious to spend it sitting and doing nothing, right? WRONG!! The fact is, the less time and patience you think you have for it, the more you need it! Last year Harvard research found that even those who had never before meditated, saw benefits in five different regions of the brain from just 30 minutes of practice per day, over the course of eight weeks. There are different types of meditation, so it’s important to find the type that is right for you. I’ll go over some of them briefly.

  1. Mindfulness – Here, you train your mind by focusing on your breath, or on sensations in the body. The goal is to purposely pay close attention to your experience with acceptance, patience and compassion. By intentionally focusing into the moment, we train ourselves to live less on auto-pilot, be more present in our own lives, and more comfortable in our own bodies. This type of meditation helps you to increase focus and release stress. This is a meditation you can even do while doing other things like walking or commuting. Although it is best done sitting in a comfortable, quiet place where it is easier to focus.
  2. Loving Kindness – This one’s pretty simple. It’s all about surrounding yourself with love. Connecting to the infinite loving power, or God if you so choose, and sending good thoughts, care, kindness, and love out to the universe and others. You start by focusing your attention on your chest area or “heart chakra”. As you focus on your inhales and exhales, you can imagine this area expanding and sending out love. Mantras such as “I am loved”, ” I am happy”, “I am grateful”, “I am safe” or “I am surrounded by love every day” can help this process. This type of meditation can decrease self-criticism, release emotional tension and blocks, and reduce risks for tension-related health issues like migraines. Also, the more love and gratitude you send out into the universe, the more love and things to be grateful for come back to you like a boomerang. BOOM! Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
  3. Moving – If you really cannot fathom sitting still for 20-30 minutes, then there are also physical practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, which involve mindfulness, breath work, and movement. If you’re not sure where to start, you can sign up for a yoga or tai chi class. Or, if you’re still shy of doing these with other people present, just try searching YouTube for videos you can do at home. In any of these physical practices, you link breath to movement, which encourages a mind-body connection and focuses your attention on the present moment, which is the ultimate goal of all meditation.

I’ve found that a combination of Mindfulness, Loving Kindness and Yin Yoga works best for me, but it is different for everyone. Yin is a practice that encourages slowing down and introducing the kind of stillness that can lead to the expansion of consciousness. It’s a nice counter-balance to the intense physical practice I’m incorporating into my daily routine. When we do high-intensity workouts, we’re activating the sympathetic nervous system, which if not countered, can lead to anxiety, anger, aggression and competitiveness. Yin works to activate our parasympathetic nervous system which switches our body into a “rest and digest” mode, so that we don’t get stuck in that “go go go” mode which can be stressful and exhausting. Yin not only counter-balances the intense workouts we’re incorporating in our lives, but releases emotions and tensions that we are holding deep within our body and mind. It changes the patterns we’ve created in our body from feeling constricted, to feeling free. It releases our entire being in layers from physical muscles and organs, to emotional and spiritual blocks, allowing for an expanding of consciousness.

There is a direct connection between our physical, spiritual and emotional health. The amazing thing about these practices is that in practicing them, you are able to take the lessons you learn during your yoga/meditation and apply them more easily to your life. This allows you to slow down, be more aware and make better choices day-to-day. I will be getting more into this in future posts as I start posting yoga videos and sharing a few accounts, apps, etc. that have helped me in this journey, and will hopefully help you as well! But for now, I urge you to watch the short video below that I thought was a cool intro.

Video Here

We can’t talk about health, fitness and wellness and not dig into this critical factor. I’m really looking forward to sharing with you some of the amazing things in the works for Healthy Fit & Fab. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please click the “follow” button at the top of the right-hand banner here and do so. As always, feel free to comment, or contact me via the contact tab at the top of the site to let me know anything you are interested in discussing or may have questions about.

Til next time! 🙂

How To Survive the New Year Gym Resolutioners


Is there anything worse than being a die-hard gym “regular” showing up on a “regular” day for your “regular” workout only to realize the gym has been taken over by newbies, and there doesn’t seem to be one single machine available that you need? I know this can be frustrating, but try to remember these are people who are trying to make positive changes in their lives, and dealing with your obvious frustration isn’t making them feel any better about achieving their new fitness goals. Don’t you want to live in a world full of people who are healthier? For those of us who have been a gym rat for so long that we can’t even remember what it’s like to be one of those newbies starting out, trying to get on track with a healthier lifestyle… It is our job to be supportive and help motivate people to keep at it. But how do we keep up with our own goals when we only have one hour to work out and there aren’t any machines open!? I hear you. Here are three tips to help you survive the “resolutioners” until some of them drop out. 

1. Free Weights: The use of free-weights is a great way to still get your complete workout done, without waiting for a half-hour at a time for people to get off the machine you need. You can work every muscle group you need to, and all you need is a couple dumbbells and a corner of the room big enough for you to lunge out in either direction. Don’t believe me? I’ve been doing total body workouts with free weights for years, and the longer I’ve been doing it, the more new and innovative ways I am able to come up with to work different muscle groups. Flys, presses, curls, squats, lunges, deadlifts, and the list goes on! If you want to get your heart rate up even more, try incorporating compound movements into your exercises. If your weight is heavy enough, you are able to get the same (and sometimes better) results than with machines.

2. Camp Out: No, I don’t mean sit down on a bench and sulk or stare down the person who jumped on your machine until they make eye contact and you can give them the, “That’s right I’m waiting” look. No need to be rude. What I mean by camping out is this: There are several machines at the gym where you can get a total body workout by using it in different ways. If you are patient and wait for these to open up, you can camp out on them until you have completed your entire workout. But be warned, you may have to deal with the same, “That’s right I’m waiting” looks from others. Here are two of my favorite examples:

A. The Cable Cross Machine: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this machine. You can use the cables to do chest pressses, bicep curls, tricep presses, lateral shoulder raises, cable squats, assisted one-legged squats, butt kickbacks, lunge step-outs, cable ab crunches, etc. There are even ways to do the same muscle group in various ways on this machine. 


B. The Assisted Chin-Up Machine: Chin-ups in and of themselves work a variety of muscles. If you alternate your hand position, you are getting even more of a variety. On this machine, you can also do tricep dips, and work your legs and butt by doing push-downs. To work your abs, you can put the leg part down and turn around to do hanging crunches. Work all four of these into Supersets and you’ve got most of your workout done already. 


These are only a couple examples, but you are a pro gym-rat by now right? Just think creatively and you can figure out how to use the machines in different ways than what the sticker shows. 

3. Home Workouts: The last technique I will talk about when it comes to surviving the resolutioners appeals to some more than others. Home workouts are a fantastic way to fit an entire workout into a tight schedule without panicking because the gym is packed. If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have a lot of what you need already. A pair of dumbbells, a resistance band, maybe a stability ball… If you don’t, these things are not expensive and can be found at WalMart. Not difficult to obtain. You know what you need to work on. You can achieve most of what you need to do by using these three items. If you’re not sure how, Google is your best friend, and YouTube is a close second. If you want a more tailored workout and need it quickly, that’s what I’m here for. You can contact me and we will figure out what you need together. 

All things considered, the bottom line is that it’s already half-way through January and sadly, most of these people will drop off. Hang in there and you will have your gym back very soon. 

The Verdict is In : Muscles Don’t Need Meat!

What is up, all of my lovely peeps!? I’m taking a minute today to write about something that I don’t talk about a lot. (On purpose) And that thing is…. drumroll… being Vegan. Ugh, welp, that’s out there. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say right off the bat that I am what I call “dirty vegan”. Many people have difficulty distinguishing the difference between “vegan” and “vegetarian”. Here’s the diff. Vegetarian = No meat. Vegan = No animal products at all, whatsoever. This includes dairy. The term “dirty vegan” refers to someone who is vegan most of the time, but will occasionally make an exception with eggs or dairy. I prepare all of my food at home completely vegan. The recipes I post here are 100% vegan. However, if I go out to eat and there is butter in something, I’m not going to throw a hissy fit. Because, well… you just can’t always do that. And let me also state that if I find myself on a farm, where I see the farmer gently collecting milk and see the chickens roaming free and sitting on their nests, I have ZERO problem with consuming the eggs and milk that comes from this, but most of you probably (at least slightly) know… that’s not what happens before these things hit the shelf at your local grocery store. I have had people say to me, “I’m vegetarian, too! I don’t eat any red meat, but I still eat chicken and fish.” At the risk of sounding condescending… PEOPLE! STOP! PLEASE! Look up “vegetarian” in the dictionary because I’m pretty sure chicken and fish are still meat. Like, that’s not even a gray area. The term “pescatarian” actually refers to someone who does not eat other meats, but still eats fish. There is your Biology 101 lesson for the day. Anyway… I digress…

The reasons for my lifestyle choices are many, and that’s a post for another day. But coming from a family where, if you can’t go out back and shoot it or chop its head off yourself, it ain’t food… Let’s just say I have grown accustomed to not always being understood. I am, however grateful and extremely blessed that my family tries so hard to accommodate and accept my personal choices. However, I just moved to the South about a year and a half ago, where “vegan” feels like a bad word. I cannot tell you how many times I have been sick ALL night because someone said there were no animal products in something, when they clearly didn’t know… Or, I’ve requested something with no meat and it comes back with bacon in it… What??? Okay I get it… I’m the minority. So, I try to keep my personal food preferences to myself and of course you all, when sharing recipes. I also have learned to eat at home most of the time. However, after soooo many questions/comments of “how”, “why”, and “I could never”, I think it’s high time to answer some of these concerns. The biggest being how I’m able to maintain my training and build muscle when I don’t eat meat… I mean, “Where do I get my protein!!?” (My personal fave.) So, let’s talk about it!

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Leg Circuit

It’s #WorkoutWednesday! How about a simple leg circuit… because every day is leg day! Do 4-5 sets. You can do more than 10 reps for each move, and you can also add dumbbells to your step-ups if you wish. I guarantee you’ll feel it tomorrow!

HGH – OMG – WTF?

HGH

Okay, I just want to take a minute to talk about something that has been on my mind and all over the media as of late… What’s with this “human growth hormone” thing!? I actually think I’m a little behind the craze, but lately, I’ve been seeing the infomercial for the SeroVital HGH Liquid Concentrate which promises a miracle cure for aging. This product promises wrinkle reduction, increased fat burning, improved mood, better sleep, and even a heightened sex drive. I kid you not, every time I turn on the TV, I see this risk free, fountain of youth, miracle supplement flashing in front of my face, and I’ll admit I had the same thought that I’m sure every woman above the age of 25 thinks when they see the ad… “Maybe I’ll try it for 30 days and see if I notice a difference.” Right? But here’s the thing… I’m not sold. There were so many questions running through my mind, just as there are before I try a new supplement of any kind. It got me thinking… Read more

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