Straight off the bat lets set the ground rules on supplements.
It is very easy to be mislead on supplements (usually due to all the misinformation supplement companies and the media spread.
Often times people think that supplements can solve all their problems quickly but the truth is they can't. Those who think they can take short cuts and get incredible results will fail.
There's a reason why supplements are called that - because they are meant to supplement your existing life. Your diet, your sleep, your life - supplements are meant to help, not meant to replace.
At pH Nutrition we love supplements, we think they are great and can really help both performance and health. They just need to be used in the correct way. And this is what we are here to help you do!
+ Week 1 - The basics, do's and dont's
The #1 question we get is "what supplements should I take?"
And our answer is always the same - it depends on what your goals are and what you need help with.
For example, if you suffer from arthritis and really bad DOMS, supplements that help with joint health and muscle recovery would be great! For someone that doesn't have these problems, there wouldn't be a need to take them.
Supplements should be taken in a targeted manner - you need to identify what your goals are, and take supplements that will help you achieve them.
Why take nutritional supplements?
- Farming practices have led to declining nutrient composition in our soil and ultimately to our food supply.
- The reliance on nutrient void, processed foods has increased.
- The number of chemicals and toxins our bodies are exposed to has increased.
Supplements definitely have a place in our diets and we like to focus on using nutrients that
- Our bodies can't synthesis
- Are as natural as possible.
When performing any type of exercise we stress our body. We need to create energy, remove by products and support regeneration. Therefore we create more demand for nutrients that are co-factors in these processes. If we eat a balanced diet then we are doing the basics....supplying our body with nutrients from whole food sources.
THIS IS A NON NEGOTIABLE.
However as we mentioned what if the food we eat doesn't supply enough or we are restricting our intake to help drop weight?
Liam (owner of pH Nutrition) has performed hundreds of blood tests with elite football clubs and clients and has seen common deficiencies across the board. Coupling this with anecdotal evidence from working with hundreds of CrossFitters we have a few basic recommendations to get to started.
1. Follow our recommended list - We test all of these products and only advise on the ones we trust.
2. Buy quality not quantity - Likewise with food - quality over quantity always.
3. Consistency is key - There are very few supplements that have an acute effect. Most supplements need to be taken over a period of at least 10 days to notice a difference.
4. Top 4 supplements to take for CrossFit - Fish oil, Vitamin D, Creatine, B vitamin. These are just the ones we see have the biggest effect on both performance, recovery and overall health.
The do's and don'ts
Often those of us taking supplements do so because our friends take them, we have seen an athlete promote them or Holland and Barrett have a penny sale so we thought we would stock up.
See when one person gets amazing results with a supplement it doesn't mean you will.
They may have been deficient in that nutrient, and treating that deficiency resulted in a big improvement in symptoms.
For you - who isn't deficient - you won't see the same effect.
The biggest DON'T with supplements - DON'T TAKE JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE IS
Don't do this
Buy only because it is in the sale
Buy because your mate told you to
Take out of date supplements
- Read all the information we have provided before buying supplements
- Think about getting some blood work done and basing a supplement protocol on this
- Talk to a qualified practitioner to get advice!
TASK FOR THE WEEK
Write down which supplements you are taking now and which you have taken in the past. Make a note as to why you are taking them and which you feel have made a noticeable difference.
The link below is to the best resource on supplements - examine.com. We use this all the time! Bookmark for future reference.
That is all for this week! We will use this later :)
+ Week 2 - Nutrients and their function
As one of our principles is FOOD FIRST we need to understand were we can get nutrients from in our daily diet. It is also so important to know the function and signs of deficiency.
In our consultations we build a "symptom picture" with clients. Looking into signs of deficiencies allows us to tailor food and supplementation plans. You should now know we ask you to be aware of signs and symptoms and how you are feeling. Using these tables will give you a better understanding of what foods you should be focusing on in your diet.
TASK FOR THE WEEK
The task this week is to read through the nutrient table and make a note of any signs of deficiency. Then we need to make a note of the foods we can include in our diet to help supply these nutrients. There will be crossover in a number of foods so we can start to include some of these straight away.
A smoothie is a great way to start including some of the dark leafy greens and more nutrient dense foods straight away.
+ Week 3 - Blood testing and genetics
At pH Nutrition we use a holistic approach to nutrition. This basically means we look at the whole picture. Our staff have trained in functional medicine, kinesiology, blood interpretation alongside more traditional University programmes. Functional medicine is an approach that looks at treating the cause not just the symptom. We use this approach to ensure optimal health and performance of every one of our clients. The exciting thing is that functional medicine is for everyone.
If you are not assessing you are guessing
Functional testing helps to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how your body is currently functioning, and as a result allows us to design a more individualised NUTRITION strategy. It allows us to accurately monitor progress and thus increasing the chance of success. Using these test we can track biomarkers to help –
- Optimise health and performance
- Provide a detailed insight into your current health status
- Provide an in depth analysis of specific deficiencies or imbalances
- Identify the root cause of chronic illnesses
The information gained from these tests is AMAZING.
It can also be very dangerous as you can start googling all sorts of info based on your results. DO NOT DO THIS!
You need to work with someone who is qualified to interpret the results and KNOWS YOUR LIFESTYLE.
Blood work the double edged sword
If you perform a blood test it will give you a snapshot of what is happening in your body RIGHT NOW. Your results will be next to a reference range. If you are outside of that range you will get a little star next to your results and that is often when all of the Googling starts.
Stop right there.
Firstly, these reference ranges are set based on the general population. So if you are someone who trains 6 times a week your results are going to be different to those who do not train. Take CK (creatine kinase) for example.
Creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme that plays a role in energy production. Higher amounts of CK are found in the muscles attached to the bones, heart tissues, and the brain. CK is released into the blood when the cell membranes are disrupted due to injury or low oxygen levels (hypoxia) [R, R].
CK blood levels may be used to determine whether or not someone had a heart attack, muscle damage, or muscle inflammation (myositis). CK blood tests are also used to monitor continued damage.
Your CK levels may increase with age. Men also have higher CK levels than women [R, R]. Exercise/training is the main cause of increased CK levels. Athletes also have higher CK levels compared to non-athletes [R, R, R].
Other causes of high CK levels include:
- Larger body size and increased BMI (especially in men) [R]
- Obesity and diabetes
- Low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia) [R, R]
- Low potassium levels in the blood (hypophosphatemia) [R]
So you can see if we just take a snapshot result and do not take into account other lifestyle and training factors we can be in danger of making some rash decisions based on one blood result.
YOU NEED TO HAVE THE WHOLE JIGSAW, NOT JUST ONE PIECE
So what should you do?
We recommend you work wit us when getting blood work done. We offer a blood interpretation package (£50 interpretation only or we incorporate into any of our coaching services). We use 2 companies for our testing.
They offer a huge range of tests that provide some excellent information. They are based all over the UK and you can drop into a partner clinic to get your blood drawn. To get started the best way is to head over to our resources section (linked below) and take a look at our recommended tests.
One of the leading experts in blood testing and analysis. They offer specific profiles that help with health and performance optimisation.
You can order in Europe and the UK but the full tests are available in the USA.
Click below and order the tst and you can get us to interpret your results for you!
Blood work is an area tat we highly advise everyone doing twice per year. However it is an area that is so vast it can often lead us to go down rabbit holes if we are doing it alone. We use numerous different resources, software packages and years of training to interpret results so trying to do it via Google and the basic interpretations you get from the test results just won't cut it!
As a special member offer we will interpret your first test results for free. Just email us below with your results and we will be in touch.
TASK FOR THE WEEK
- Take a look at our resources and recommended testing companies.
- If you have test results already then email us and we will interpret for free!
- If you have any more questions then email us below
+ Week 4 - Our supplement guide
The vast number of supplements that are available these days can mean we get overwhelmed so easily. What we want you to do is realise that supplements can be super beneficial....if we use the right ones for us.
Just to give you an idea when we work with athletes we will periodise their supplementation protocol over the year based on their training and competitions. We do not just load them with everything that could "potentially" help.
You have to have a reason for taking something, whether this is a symptom of deficiency or you have had a blood test or want to support a specific training training cycle (i.e strength).
Our supplement guide provides the tried and tested products we use on a regular basis. These are the basics. Using more advanced supplements or specific blends should be something we discuss one on one or after testing.
Task for this week
Download the supplement guide and look at what you are currently taking. Does it match your goal? Ask yourself why you are taking your current supplements and use the info, links and resources we ave provided to think in more detail about your supplement protocol.
As always reach out to us if you need any advice!