8 Week Photo Shoot Ready Challenge Supplements
Note: The supplements I recommend stay relatively consistent regardless of which phase, or which program, you are in. I firmly believe in their effectiveness, but I do not feel like you need to take 20 different types of supplements to reach your specific goal. The supplements I recommend are ones I take myself, throughout the year. If you have never taken supplements before, consult your physician before doing so.
Supplements do exactly what their name says – they supplement an already balanced, healthy nutrition plan and consistent training program. Following the meal plan and eating the real, whole foods on this program is more important than any supplements you can take.
That said – I firmly believe in their effectiveness, both in my own program and with my clients. The right supplements can help you build muscle faster, burn fat more efficiently, increase energy levels, boost strength and speed up the recovery process to help keep you in the gym and functioning at maximum capacity.
Different people are going to recommend different things, of course, but below are the products I highly recommend, if you choose to add supplements to your arsenal. I know the sheer number of supplements on this list can be intimidating to some so if you have to choose, the first three on this list – Multivitamin, Whey Isolate Protein Powder and Branched Chain Amino Acids – are the three I feel are most important. These are the three I take on a daily basis throughout the year, and ones I recommend to all of my clients.
That’s why these are the three products that I created when starting nPower Nutrition. I am involved in every step of the process in creating these products, and I proudly stand 100% behind every ingredient we use – so I can recommend them to my family, friends, the thousands of clients I have trained over the years – and to you!
The only supplement you absolutely do need from the below list is the Whey Protein Isolate, since the program calls for post-workout shakes after all of your weight training workouts. Also, a few of the recipes in this plan contain Whey Protein Isolate in the ingredients. If you choose a brand other than nPower Nutrition, just make sure the macros match up so you don’t throw off your nutrition plan.
If you are purchasing nPower Nutrition supplements, here is the exclusive code to use at checkout to save 15% off your order:
MULTIVITAMIN (PHASES 1, 2, 3)
One of the most important items on this list – and one that a lot of people often overlook in favor of the more “flashy” supplements. Even if you are following a healthy, balanced meal plan, you still might be missing out on some crucial micronutrients. A good multi will help with a number of important roles in the body and will help you maximize your potential to build lean muscle, lose weight, increase strength, get leaner and be healthier overall.
What To Look For Choose a multi that provides 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most of the vitamins and minerals in that supplement. Some nutrients – like calcium and magnesium, for example – are rarely included at 100% because the size of the pill would be way too large.
Living an active lifestyle can take a toll on your body, which can lead to a lack of energy, slower recovery times, an inability to lose weight and even a breakdown of your immune system.
The Adrenal Support in nPower Multi is designed to help prevent all of those things from happening, even during the most mentally and physically stressful times in your life. Meaning you’ll be able to attack each day with the energy and enthusiasm to take on any challenges that come your way!
What To Avoid Stay away from any brand that are manufactured with GMOs (genetically modified organisms). If the label doesn’t state that the product is “GMO-free” or “Non-GMO”, it more than likely contains ingredients derived from GMOs.
Take It This Way One serving daily with breakfast.
WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE (PHASE 1, 2, 3)
This is about as “must-have” as it gets if you are looking to build muscle and decrease body fat. Muscle is made of protein, and to build muscle – and maintain it – you need to plenty of it. How much varies, but I always tell my clients to shoot for 1 to 1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight every day. That means if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be taking in 140 to 210 grams of protein – every day.
Why Isolate? It’s the fastest-digesting protein powder available,it’s easy to digest and – since the filtration process is different than with forms like protein concentrate – it’s a more protein-packed powder. Meaning you are getting more protein per scoop, and less fillers, than you get with other forms of protein. Since it digests faster, it is also easier on the gut and causes less bloating – even more so when it contains digestive enzymes like nPower Nutrition Isolate!
What To Look For A grass-fed option sweetened with stevia, with at least 20g of protein per serving. Stevia is a natural sweetener, as opposed to sucralose which is artificial. Along with being a more natural option, stevia is (for most people) easier on the stomach than sucralose. Grass-fed whey comes from the milk of grass-fed cows, meaning it is hormone and antibiotic free.
What To Avoid Stay away from protein powders that contain more than 3g of sugar, 2g fat, 4g of carbs and less than 20g protein per scoop.
Take It This Way You can take 20-40g, up to three times a day, but the most important time for me is right after my weight-training workout.
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS (EAAS) (PHASE 1, 2, 3)
EAAs are highly recommended by coaches, trainers and athletes. They have been shown to support lean muscle growth, help you recover faster and help preserve muscle – which is especially important when you are trying to lose weight and body fat. They can even aid in increasing energy levels and speeding up fat loss.
What To Look For A 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine and valine, widely shown by studies to be the most effective ratio. I prefer taking a product that contains electrolytes for hydration.
What To Avoid Some products will bump up the ratio – 8:1:1 or even 10:1:1, but it turns out that using a EAA supplement that has a ratio much higher than 2:1:1 can work against you for energy, fat loss, and even muscle growth.
Take It This Way 5-10g, up to three times a day. The most important time for me is during my workout.
PRE WORKOUT (PHASE 1, 2, 3)
A quality pre workout will help increase muscular endurance, blood flow, energy and strength.
What To Look For There are number of quality pre workouts out there, so it really depends on your unique makeup and what works for you. One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is, Do I want a stim or non-stim preworkout? A stim-based pre workout will have some type of energy/metabolism booster – caffeine or green tea extract are popular ingredients in many. If you are taking a fat burner as well as a pre workout, you may want to rely on your fat burner for the stimulant and go with a non-stim based pre workout.
What To Avoid Any product that lists ingredients as a “proprietary blend.” This is typically a telltale sign that the company is not being fully transparent with all of their ingredients.
Take It This Way Take the prescribed dosage roughly 15-30 minutes before you weight train (depending on the instructions for your specific product). If the supplement contains a stimulant and you are sensitive to them, you may want to avoid taking it at night so it doesn’t prevent you from falling asleep.
L-GLUTAMINE (PHASE 1, 2, 3)
The most common amino acid in your body, glutamine inhibits muscle breakdown, speeds up recovery and boosts immune function.
What To Look For I prefer powder since it is easier for me to take. I have seen some brands that call for taking 6-10 capsules per serving and it just gets to be way too much for me.
What To Avoid Any glutamine that comes with sweeteners.
Take It This Way 10-20g a day. Take 5-10g post workout and 5-10g before bedtime in your protein shake or drink of choice.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFAs) (PHASE 1, 2, 3)
There are two essential fatty acids the body can’t produce, meaning you have to get them from your diet or your supplements – Omega-3 (alpha-linoleic acid) and Omega 6 (linoleic acid). These fatty acids help with a number of essential functions in the body – including boosting your immune system, which is an absolute necessity when you are working out as hard as you will be – and have been associated with number of other health benefits (heart health, brain function, hair/skin health and more).
What To Look For A supplement that contains a 3:1 ratio or higher of omega-3 to omega-6.
Take It This Way These are available in capsules or oil (I prefer capsules). Consume up to 3g per day.
FAT BURNER (PHASE 2, 3)
A quality fat burner will give you a boost of energy and increase core body temperature, which will help you push harder and burn more body fat during and after your workouts.
What To Look For Choose a fat burner that contains ingredients that will increase metabolism, heart rate, energy and focus. I recommend choosing a reputable company and not buying the cheapest on the market.
What To Avoid Consult with your physician before taking any supplements, but especially before taking any type of stimulant. If you have high blood pressure, this is one you should likely avoid completely. Avoid taking any stimulants after 3 pm to avoid disturbances in sleep. Do not take fat burners/stimulants for longer than 8-10 weeks before “cycling off” and taking a break for a week or two.
Take It This Way If you have never taken a fat burner before, start with the lowest dose to assess tolerance. If it is a capsule, take one in the morning before breakfast preferably on an empty stomach. If you take a powdered fat burner, start with ½ scoop. After a few days, depending on your tolerance and how the product is affecting you, increase the amount you are taking to the recommended dose.