The Supplement Stacks I Use and Why I Use Them…Do they work?

Warning: This is a hotly debated topic among the fitness world. Some people really swear and live by them, and some people say they are not needed or only certain supplements are needed.

When I first started my fitness journey, supplements seemed to be popping out of the wood work. I could look at a fitness article without there being at least three adds for what would help me with energy, recovery, and muscle building. Or do I want the best performance for the time I put into working out? If so then use this product!

My head was spinning and I was so leery of being scammed that I tried to do as much research as possible. Because who does not want to get the best out of their workout, and not waste their time doing their workout? I decided to just change one thing at a time. I just wanted to get my body moving, and find a workout that I did not hate. That was my goal. I focused on working out then on my diet, trying to get all the nutrients in that I need. Because I thought and still do, that you can get most of the nutrients you need out of the food you eat. So even though I did research I still sat on all my information and just ruminated on it.

Now I do take supplements but use them just as what they are supplements. I take them to supplement my nutrition. I do not rely on them however have found them to be helpful.

If you are just starting out, and or just working out 2 times a week, at a very moderate to light level. Then I really don’t think you need to take these supplements. If you tighten up your nutrition and can get your protein, carbs, and fats in through food. Stick to that.

However, if you are training hard, doing HIIT workouts, training more than twice a day, and more than 30 minutes at a time… then I have found for my body, the supplements actually have helped me. Again, all I can speak to is what has and is working for me at the time. Experimentation is the key. Find what works for you and your body. Also of note, I am not a great meat eater. As a matter of fact I prefer plants to meats. Just as something my body processes better. So for that reason these supplements actually help me.

Ok So my “stack” of supplements I take are as follows:

(note: I am not sponsored by any of these companies and I am not paid by anyone to say this)

Pre-workout – BCAA’s + Caffeine – I take ON BCAA’s

Post workout – Recovery after strenuous workout, contains BCAA’s, B vitamins, electrolytes, replenishes glycogen, and carbohydrates –I take Vega Sport Recovery

Nuun – is an electrolyte replacement for hydration, low calorie, and low sugar. (15 calories, 1 g sugar, 300 mg sodium, 150 mg potassium, 25 mg magnesium, 13 mg calcium

Every day – Multivitamin, vitamin D, Glucosamine and Chondroitin ( This was prescribed to me by my doctor after my herniated disk. But is a great addition to your supplements as you get older for joint and cartilage repair.)

What is a BCAA? There are 20 amino acids your body uses to synthesize proteins. Nine of the 20 are considered essential, and your body cannot make these you must ingest them. Three of the 9 essential amino acids are the branch chain amino acids or (BCAA). They are Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine. As a primarily plant eater I have a hard time getting in quickly soluble proteins. When you take the right supplement, you get all the BCAA’s that your body needs to repair your muscles from a strenuous workout.

These are the 4 benefits of BCAA’s:

  1. Decrease muscle soreness- BCAA’s decrease muscle breakdown that can lead to soreness, so you have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for a shorter period of time.
  2. Builds muscle – BCAA’s leucine activates protein synthesis, to help build muscle
  3. Prevents muscle wasting – When your body is low on BCAA’s it will break down your current muscle and re-synthesize its proteins for what it thinks you need. This breaking down and re-synthesizing is normal body process, and the BCAA’s help prevent that even if its just a little bit.
  4. Reduce exercise fatigue – BCAA’s are used up when you exercise, and as the levels of BCAA’s decrease in your blood, your body releases tryptophan to your brain, which makes you brain think you are tired and fatigued. The theory is taking them before workout keeps the levels high in your blood and therefore you can work harder for longer.

You don’t need the BCAA’s before every workout, and you don’t need to drink the Vega Recovery after every workout. You want really want to take them only if you did or are going to do a hugely strenuous workout. Also you want to take time off taking the preworkouts that have added caffeine in them.

Here are some BCAA’ rich foods:

  1. Greek Yogurt
  2. Eggs
  3. Chicken
  4. Turkey
  5. Tuna
  6. Beef
  7. Milk
  8. Soy Powder/Milk
  9. Whey powder

Why Are These Supplements Great For Me?

Here is why they are great for me. Over the holidays, I ran out of BCAA’s. I went for a month without them, and I was doing fine. However, I noticed that my muscle fatigue and soreness was sticking around a bit longer. I took it again last night and had a much better sleep this last night. I woke up not feeling like my muscles had been run over.

Also during Thai Camp, I became desalinated. I took my BCAA’s in the morning and made sure I was drinking plenty of water. This is great for a normal workout but after about 4 hours of working out that day, water and pre BCAA’s was not enough. I got a major cramp in my calf, and needed magnesium, potassium, and salt replaced. It also took a massage therapist to help me calm the muscle down. I was facing another 3 to 4 hours of training that day, and I made sure I replaced what I lost in sweat, and what my body was burning through.

Again do your research, find something that will work for you. If you are vegan or vegetarian a great product I like and its called Vega. As with everything, look at the ingredients and make sure they source their ingredients from reputable places, and with good nutrition.

As always thanks for reading. My respects to you, and have a great day!

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Healthy Lunch…Tasty Tuna Salad on a Ricecake

Tired of the boring tuna salads. Try this one it is got great flavor, awesome texture, and loads of crunch.

I had to make lunch for myself and my husband. I had tuna, I thought I had pickles but alas my kids ate them all. But good thing they did remove the old empty jar out of the refrigerator. So instead I used Giardiniera. Giardiniera is a pickled vegetable mix. It is hot/spicy and tart. I added onion, tomato, and some mayonnaise. On the one rice cake I put sliced avocado, with some lime juice, and topped it with the tuna salad mixture. On the other rice cake I put sliced of cucumber then topped it with the tuna mixture. I added no other salt. The salt from the Giardiniera and the tuna itself was plenty.

My husband loved the avocado one better, but he liked both of them. I loved both of them.

If you are looking for a lunch version without extra carbohydrates, I like to put my salad a half of an avocado and just eat it that way. You lose the nice crunch of the rice cake but it is still equally tasty.

Tasty Tuna Salad Recipe: (Yield, 4 rice cakes or 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  1. 2.5 oz of Tuna (I used Tuna Creations this one is herb and garlic, you can use a canned tuna as well. I would add some powdered garlic)
  2. 10 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
  3. 2 tbs or 20 g of onion diced
  4. 2 tbs or 20 g of Giardiniera diced
  5. 1.5 tbs or 21 g or mayonnaise
  6. 4 rice cakes
  7. 1/2 avocado
  8. 20 sliced of cucumber

Directions:

Cut veggies. Mix together Giardiniera, onion, tuna, tomato, and mayonnaise. Arrange rice cakes, layer veggies on the rice cakes, and then add your tuna mixture to the cakes. Serve and enjoy.

Stats/Calories for 1 serving or 2 rice cakes

Caloires 368, Fat 19.1 g, Fiber 9 g, Carbs 41.2 g, Sodium 475 mg, Protein 13 g.

Stats/Calories for the entire recipe or 4 rice cakes

Calories 736, Fat 38.2 g, Fiber 17.1 g, Carbs 82.4 g, Sodium 954.7 mg, Protien 26.1 g.

Tips: you can add pickles instead of the Giardiniera. You can omit the mayonnaise, but I would add something like mustard to give it a binding ingredient. If you are going to omit pickles or pickled veggies, I would add the juice of a lime to give you some acidity.

Healthy lunch… Lime Tilapia Herb Salad, with Rice

Not feeling stellar about myself today. So in order to avoid going back to bad habits of not eating or avoiding eating, I made myself this lunch. It is so tasty.

So enough talking here is the recipe.

Lime Tilapia Herb Salad, with Rice

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of cooked rice -cook rice to directions on package
  2. 70 g or about 2 cups of herb salad mix
  3. 2 radishes or 25 g sliced
  4. 1 tbs or 10 g rosemary olive oil
  5. 100 g or 2 filet of fish pan seared
  6. Cayenne pepper to taste
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Ground black pepper to taste
  9. 1/2 lime

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to instructions
  2. Place a tsp of oil or spray pan with pan spray. Let pan get screaming hot, add tilapia and sprinkle with salt, cracked black pepper, and cayenne. Cook about 3 minutes turning only once. Squeeze lime over fish toward end of cooking.
  3. Place 2 cups or 70 g of herb salad mix in a bowl. Slice up the radishes and add to the bowl. Add 1 tbs of oil to the salad bowl. Add salt and and squeeze of lime and toss. Add hot fish flaked in the pan to the bowl.
  4. Plate rice, and salad and enjoy

Recipe stats:
Calories 429, Fat 17.3 g, Fiber 3.8 g, Carbs 40 g, Sodium 70.2 mg,
Protein 38.6 g

I hope you get a chance to try it. Let me know what you think. When ever I have days like this, I try to do the opposite of what my bad habit is. I try to do the healthy positive option that is the opposite. In this case for me it is eating healthy and enjoying good food, instead of avoiding it. Thanks for reading. My respect to you and your family.

Muay Thai Camp day 2… Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

Day 2 is here, and day 1 is over. I wake up slightly sore from day one, and ready and raring to go. Now the fear of the unknown is over. Its the fear of not being able to complete the whole camp. Failing to finish. Day one was slow compared to day two, three and four.

I was warned by several people who have experienced Thai camp that day 2 was the worst day. In my experience day 2 was very hard. My body was just tired. It wanted me to sit down and relax with a glass of unsweetened iced tea in the shade of a tree with a good book. But that is not what I did for day two.


Training Day 2:
(notes: curtesy Khun Kru Krysta, and Kru Caro)

~7 am :

We start shadow boxing, then Ajarn Greg Nelson leads everyone in stretching.

We then do 1.5 mile run. Even though I had that really bad charley horse due to desalination, and my calf was really sore. I decided to do the 1.5 mile run anyway. My calf felt like it had a small muscle tear or really bad D.O.M.S. set in.

We get back and Ajarn Chai starts us off with the combos that we will be working on for the day. We start with a combo and work on the variations each day. This day he wanted us to focus on addressing the incoming strikes and entering with knees. As always he wanted us to think about counter attacks.

Combos for today:

  1. Lean to avoid head kick, step back with back leg lean back with shoulders straight, right hand covering right hand side of face with glove.
  2. Left hand down by hips
  3. body cross
  4. overhand left
  5. right knee
  6. right kick
  7. teep
  1. Opponent grabs your neck and shoulders with one hand and knees you
  2. You defend knee by stepping and turning to spike knee with elbow
  3. You return an uppercut
  4. You return an elbow 4 and
  5. Then you plumb up, in full clench with duck feet
  1. Opponent throws a kick
  2. You shield kick and teep
  3. Opponent they punch
  4. You parry cover
  5. You knee
  6. You throw and elbow 8
  1. Opponent throws a left body kick
  2. You lateral back away from kick so that they miss
  3. You return an overhand
  4. You return 3 elbow
  5. You return number 4
  6. You clench
  1. (speed is the focus)
  2. You catch incoming jab
  3. Return jab
  4. Return Cross
  5. Return Jab
  1. (Speed is the focus)
  2. You block the cross,
  3. You return a cross
  4. You return a jab
  5. You return a cross

~ 9 am

Same as day one we broke for breakfast and a rest.

Today I was focused on getting enough energy into me and making sure I had the minerals and salts I needed to get me through the day.

My focus was so much more on packing in the nutrients and water to keep my body moving. It was a change in my view of the food.

~11:30 pm

We all came back. We stretched and shadowboxed. Ajarn Chai then had us working with each other in partner drills. He really wanted us to get the combos down.

We did one lap of 5 stations, each station being 4 rounds, then 30 second burn out for knees, and 30 seconds rest before lunch. However, the focus again was slow it down, learn the technique first.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

Quote everyone, I have heard it from so many people

Learn the technique, and the speed will follow. I have heard this so many times as well. So I tried to take this to heart.

~ 2:30 pm

We break for lunch. Again the emphasis is on eating resting and getting ready for the circuits we will have to do. we ended eating and going back to the house. I took advantage of our return. My feet hurt, and we were in an air conditioned house.

The food was fantastic at camp. My thanks go to the kitchen staff again, and especially Ajarn Chia’s sister for cooking for the lot of us. I decided to put my feet up and take a nap. Boy did I need it, and boy did I miss it the next few days.

~4 pm

We return. We all get ready, stretch, reapply sun block, and then shadowbox.

Then begin the circuits again… whew this was rough. It was two laps of 5 stations. We had, bag work station, shadowboxing station, flow/timing station, Thai pad station, and clenching station.

I put my head down, and just focused on getting to the next station. Doing the best I could while I was about ready to drop to focus on form. That is hard when your body just does not want to move any more

After those circuits of the stations. We lined up, and were spread out on a hill facing down hill. This is where we were supposed to do 100 x 8 count body builders, all in sets of 10. This killed me. I was unable to keep my balance facing down hill and so I opted to do squats instead of hurting myself and my back. Ajarn Chai always says if you cannot do something just listen to your body. He is very kind. I was a little bummed that I did not finish those, but here is hoping next year I will. On the flat ground I got 40 in the day before.

Day 2 was amazing an I was so happy I completed it. I did not know if I would be able to. But when we were done, I felt such a feeling of accomplishment. Going from trepidation, and excitement on the plane, to excitement and annoyance from my calf the previous day, to this day. I made it I did it. I did not have to quit, and I stuck it out.

I had upped my intensity while drilling, but its not the intensity of the rounds, is the sheer amount of them that is most difficult. Ajarn Chai, wants strength, flow, timing, focus, and form, but don’t kill yourself going so hard that these things suffer. No matter how hard or slowly you take the rounds the amount you do, and how long the day is will sap your muscles. We ended up completing 60 rounds on Day 2. *boggles the mind* That in itself is amazing.

Thanks for reading Day 2 of the 4 day Thai camp write up I am doing. I have two more to unpack and will get to them as I can. I hope you liked it, and if you have questions let me know. My respect to you and your family.

shadowboxing

Lobster Guacamole

For those of you who are here for the recipes this is for you. =) It has a story that goes with it as well so bare with me.

This is Lobster Guacamole, and if you have been reading my blog you know I am heavily into martial arts. I do Muay Thai, and Kali mainly, but also work in JKC (Jeet Kun Do), Silat, and Krav. Well when we do JKD we learn new terms for the passing and trapping skills. One of those phrases is Lop Sau Gwa Choi.

My instructor said gua choi sounds like guacamole, and I said lop sau sounds like lobster. So we have a joke now about lobster guacamole. When we are working on lop sau gwa choi. We say lobster guacamole.

We celebrated her birthday yesterday and I made lobster guacamole for her. She really liked it and it made her laugh. That was all I wanted for her.

Anyway enough of the preamble… here is the recipe:

Lobster Guacamole

Ingredients:

  1. 2 avocados
  2. 1 lime juiced
  3. 1/2 small diced red onion
  4. 1 tsp of granulated garlic
  5. Salt to taste
  6. 1 x 1.33lb live lobster – (using pre cooked or frozen lobster is an option as well)
  7. 1 jalapeno diced + a few slices ( seeded to be milder, or leave seeds in for more heat)

Directions:

  1. Humainly kill the lobster. Either place in freezer to make it go dormant and kill the brain, or place while lobster in boiling water.
  2. I tend to do the freezer method. It puts them in a dormant state and they fall asleep.
  3. Twist off the tail, twist off big claws and put entire lobster in boiling water. Boil lobster 7 minutes for first lb, and 3 minutes per additional lbs.
  4. When done shock in ice water, or cold water, to stop cooking.
  5. Remove lobster meat from tail, claws, and legs.
  6. cut up all produce and put in bowl
  7. squeeze lime onto produce
  8. Smash all ingredients together to make guacamole.
  9. Dice up lobster meat and mix in all but a tablespoon of the meat into the guacamole.
  10. Garnish with a twist of lime, extra lobster meat and extra jalapeno.

There you have it… its delicious. It is actually relativity healthy. Serve with chips or crackers or just put on rice cakes.

1/2 cup of guacamole is about 150 calories.

Thank you for reading. I hope you are having a great day. Keep being the best you that you can be. I hope you can try this recipe, and much respect to you and your family. Let me know what you think.

Lop Sau Gwa Choi – lobster guacamole

Caprese Salad

One of my favorite all time salads. Could not be any easier to make than getting out of bed and putting on a pair of pants. Even if you think you can’t cook, you can “cook” this. You can make this.

My kiddos and husband love this salad. This is vegetarian, a good source of protein, and just wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

Ingredients:

  1. Tomato sliced
  2. Mozzarella sliced
  3. Basil
  4. Balsamic Vinegar
  5. Olive oil
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice tomatoes, Slice Mozzarella
  2. Layer tomato, then layer mozzarella, layer basil leave.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar, and olive oil
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper

Nutritional Info: Per Serving: 250 calories (160 from fat), 18g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 9g carbohydrates, (2 g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 14g protein.

You don’t have to give up flavor and taste to eat well. You just have to know the ingredients to put together. If you are having trouble coming up with things that will be tasty and healthy, a good rule of thumb is, if it grows together then it will probably taste great together.

From the Mediterranean area, lemons, olives, and fish are fantastic together. From South America region, mango, chilies, and poultry go great together. From South East Asia, coconut, green papaya, chilies, shrimp, are a staple combo. I think you can get the picture. I study food and where it comes from, and I love tasting new things.

This is an old dish. I did not invent it, but I certainly love it. I know those of you who follow my blog for recipes have been waiting… so here you go. Sorry for the wait. Been busy… =)

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a fantastic day!

Healthy Simple Vegetarian Lunch… Veggies and Za’atar Yogurt Dip,and a Rest Day

Today I made a quick easy lunch because I had to work in the morning, and have to work again tonight. So quick, healthy, and easy is the name of the game for today’s food.

I just got done with a two day Muay Thai seminar. I am giving my body a rest day. Normally I would do my run and weight lifting workout today.

So today’s lunch was cut up veggies (radishes, sweet peppers), boiled eggs, dates and a 1/2 cup of yogurt with Za’atar mixed in.

Za’atar Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  2. 1 tsp of Za’atar seasoning/herbs
  3. Salt to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Stats for Yogurt Dip

Calories 75, Fat 4 g, Fiber 0 g, Carbs 5.7 g, Sodium 56.3 mg, Protein 4.3g

Stats total meal

Calories 328, Fat 14.7 g, Fiber 4 g, Carbs 32.5 g, Sodium 180.8 mg,
Protein 18.4 g

Over all I am feeling great. I have not had a D.O.M.s hit at all. I am a little tired. I can feel the fatigue in my muscles but not a lot of pain.

I am thinking this is great. I loved the seminar, and learned so much.

Thanks for reading, and I will be back to my regularly scheduled program soon. Keep being awesome, and keep working to be the best you that you can be.