- Confused about supplements? It's time to clean out your cupboard and re-fill it with only the proven, essentials.
- Weight loss advertising works and it can suck you into spending a bunch of money on products that offer empty promises about your dream bod.
- Supplements are meant to supplement your food and activity, not substitute or replace them.
- There's no replacement for effort and habit change.
- Of the thousands available, there's actually a short list of proven supplements that aid in optimizing your health, performance and body composition (and they don't have ridiculous names like Lean Dreams or Phuck Fat either <-- true story).
- We recommend just 6 supplements to participants starting our 8 Week Transformation: A greens supplement, krill or fish oil, protein powder, gut health supplementation, MCT oil and apple cider vinegar.
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Yeah okay ... I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here. I know you're not going to fall into the trap of this horrid infomercial and buy that magic miracle pill.
But that doesn't mean we all don't some times fall for clever marketing ploys or testimonials from non-experts, like this women's endorsement of BikiniBOD ...
There's probably a little more "hmmm ... this sounds like it could be legit" because you're able to relate to this woman more than the outright infomercial above.
And if it's not her ...
maybe it's some jacked guy who's muscles you want to imitate. Or maybe it's some health chick that seems a little more down to earth than the woman in the video above.
Either way, even if you're skeptical, there's just still some part of you that wants to try it out and see if it really works. That's why the vitamin and supplement is a multibillion dollar industry.
It's true BikiniBod does include some good stuff (L-Theanine and biotin), but it also contains bitter orange (a stimulant) which is used in many fat burners and hasn't been proven to help people lose weight and is possibly unsafe when taken as a supplement.
Most people that purchase these products are truly struggling to find a solution that will make them feel better. Many want a quick solution to drop pounds without having to put in the effort to change habits, and most people are confused about what works because there’s literally thousands of supplements to choose from.
The supplement list we present you with here isn't about quick fixes for fast weight loss and don't include synthetic or natural fat burners. They're designed to optimize your body's functioning, so that when you do exercise (whether it's for weight loss, muscle building or improved performance) your body has what it needs to get it done efficiently and most effectively.
That’s right. Because they’re actually supplements.
What is a supplement anyway?
Think about the word itself. Supplements are meant to supplement other things, like the food you eat and the exercise you do. They are not the solution.
They’re meant to aid or support, not replace or substitute.
Companies can (and actually do) lie about what’s contained within their products. The FDA does not need to approve their products prior to market, and so companies can basically claim whatever they want in order to sell you their product (soooo gross and unethical).
And, if you hear about a supplement that’s claiming it is your solution, then it’s probably got a bunch of shit in it that’s bad for you (even worse, can kill you) or hasn't been proven legit through peer reviewed studies.
Point is, there’s just no secret sauce or pain-free pill that will provide you with weight loss results that truly last.
Just ask our member Karleen. She tried short-term solutions like Herbalife supplements and all of the usual suspects that promise weight loss in an attempt to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. But they didn’t work.
What did help her lose 18+ pounds? Taking ownership over what she put into her body and making the decision to take action in exercise.
That being said, some supplementation can definitely help aid and optimize our health, performance and body composition goals.
What’s the best part? The list of supplements that are actually proven to help with healthy, sustained weight loss is super short!
It’s simple. We only recommend 6 supplements for our 8 Week Transformation program participants.
6 Supplements to Optimize Your Weight Loss
1. Greens Supplement
If you don’t know why you need vegetables to burn fat, check out our article 6 Reasons You NEED Vegetables to Build Muscle and Burn Fat.
Now, that you know why you need your greens ... are you actually getting enough fruits and vegetables to support your metabolism and other bodily processes? The recommended daily servings is 5+.
And how many people are getting 5 or more servings of fruit/vegetable each day?
- Less than 1% of men & 4% of women ages 18-24
- Less than 6% of men % 9% of women ages 25-34
- Less than 14% of men & 16% of women ages 35-49
- Less than 24% of men & 22% of women ages 50-64 (source)
Sooooooo, it's safe to say that most of us aren't doing that great. Chances are getting your daily servings of fruits and vegetables is a bit of a struggle.
While again, aiming to get your daily servings from real, whole foods is ideal. Sometimes, it’s just not possible. And that’s why having a greens supplement stashed in your cupboard or bag, can be super clutch for those busy, overwhelming days.
What to buy? Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients
This greens supplement has a serious ingredient profile. With everything from organic kale, dulse extract and broccoli sprouts to Jerusalem artichoke, a powerful prebiotic. (Marlena says get the black cherry flavor!)
2. Krill Oil
A fish oil supplement can come in handy for your weight loss goal (along with other health and fitness goals), especially if you don't eat fish on a regular basis or you want to reduce the amount of fish you eat because of the high level of toxins (mercury, PCBs, etc.) that are found within the bigger fish we tend to consume.
But, not all fish oils are created equally. Many fish oils are oxidized, made with poor quality ingredients or are made from fish species that are endangered.
When looking at fish oil, natural triglyercide oil is superior to both ethyl ester oil and synthetic triglyceride oil in terms of absorption.
New research has shown that krill oil may be superior to fish oil in terms of the bioavilability of EPA and DHA. This is because the omega-3s in fish oil are bound to triglycerides, whereas in krill they are bound to phospholipids, making it simpler and easier for the intestines to absorb.
Krill oil also contains various antioxidants, including vitamins A & E and astaxanthin, and because of its short lifespan there is less exposure to ocean toxins.
What to buy? Krill Oil
3. Protein Powder
Of course we can't forget protein. This one is sort of a no-brainer, even for people who have yet to enter into the world of fitness and health.
But deciding which one to buy can definitely do your head in. There are whole articles devoted to which protein is the best, how to choose the right protein powder, and what to look for when buying.
We recommend a plant-based protein, such as hemp, rice or pea protein. Whey proteins often cause gas, bloating and other digestive issues, and most (of course, not all) are full of crap like artificial flavors, aspartame and other added sugars. Even heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury have been found in surprisingly high amounts in protein powders and drinks you’d find in your local GNC.
What to buy? Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein
4. Gut Health Supplement
Our gut is the home of approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. It also contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like one of the most complex things I’ve ever heard of. Pretty badass, actually.
Why would we want to keep all those little buggers happy and healthy? Well …
Our gut microbiome has been linked to several fundamental aspects of our overall health, such as providing protection from infection, regulating our metabolism, and affecting our mental state including anxiety and depressive disorders.
But, what does this have to do with your fitness transformation?
Having a healthy and diverse gut biome influences the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full (4).
Luckily researchers are starting to find out what a healthy gut looks like and how to make it thrive in your favor.
A combination of probiotics (which introduce good bacteria into the gut) and prebiotics (which act as a fertilizer for the good bacteria that’s already in your gut) (5) are the ticket.
Getting these into your diet can be challenging considering the majority of people I know don't regularly consume foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso or tempeh (probiotics) or Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens, raw garlic, raw asparagus, raw onion, raw leek, avocado or apple cidar vinegar (prebiotics).
What to buy? Onnit's Total Gut Health
BONUS: On top of providing a high quality combination of pre- and pro-biotics, it also contains a digestive enzyme formula which helps you break down your food into readily absorbable nutrients. Say goodbye to bloat, gas and stomach issues (especially important when you start eating all those veggies!!!)
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
As mentioned above, apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic which keeps your existing gut bacteria healthy and aids with digestion. But that's far from all that ACV does for your health. From lowering cholesterol to relieving muscle pain from exercise, this is a liquid that's been used since ancient times to help with a myriad of health issues.
But let's zero in on how it's beneficial in terms of weight loss. Some research has shown that apple cider vinegar may affect satiety (how long before you start to feel hungry again) by delaying gastric emptying and has shown to lower the glycemic index of carbohydrates eaten at a meal (6), (7), (8). This means you're likely to consume less calories and therefore can aid in your weight loss goal.
How to take: For most purposes no more than 1-2 tablespoons per day is recommended mixed with at least 8 oz of water.
What to buy? Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
6. MCT Oil
The bulk of fatty acids found in our diets consists of long-chain fatty acids (think olive oil, salmon and walnuts). This type of fat is absorbed into the body through the lymphatic system and transported into systemic circulation, and is a relatively slow process when it comes to energy transfer within the body.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) take a short cut. They are absorbed directly into the portal vein, transported rapidly to the liver for beta-oxidation. This fast rate of oxidation leads to greater energy expenditure and so research have begun to indicate that MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss (9), (10), (11).
What to buy? Onnit's MCT Oil
BONUS: NO PALM OIL!! It's mega difficult to avoid products that contain palm oil. It's almost in everything (including cosmetics, soaps, detergent, food, biofuels, etc.), so you honestly can't avoid it entirely.
But at least you can feel good knowing you're not supporting one more product that's contributing to the destruction of tropical rainforests, the home of endangered species (including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos) and indigenous rights abuses.
Don't think these products are right for you?
We've given you our recommendations, but there are of course other brands out there for you to choose from. When hunting out there on your own, it's important to look for a company or brand that you can trust.
How do you know who to trust? Look for a company ...
- that is completely transparent about the ingredients that their products contain and preferably one who explains why they’re using certain ingredients (backed by research)
- that uses organic, non-GMO and sustainable ingredients
And don't take their word for it either. Delve into who they are as a company, read reviews and check their sources and claims.
Still confused about supplementation and weight loss?
Get the guidance and support of an experienced nutrition coach to help you drop inches and keep them off.
Speak with one of our coaches to find out if our 8 Week Fitness Transformation is the right program for you.