Over the years, I have been very open and adamant about being a natural athlete; I don’t personally care if someone is not natural, but I have found that the less I take, the better my body responds to training and diet. In 2011 I took 26+ supplements including fat burners, estrogen blockers, and diuretics. That year I didn’t get my period. At all. Soon after I came off of all those sups, I got pregnant. Through pregnancy, my hormones leveled out and everything - energy, weight maintenance, mood - just got easier for me. Those two events were all the proof I needed that being natural was the best approach for my body.
Someone recently asked me though, what does “natural” mean to me. Well what an fascinating question that is! I never really thought of being natural as interpetive, but I suppose it is! To me, being natural means I don’t take any banned or illegal substances – anything you would find on the WADA list. I do, however, take vitamins, and as I also get a lot of questions about my supplementation I figured I would share what I have been taking for the last few months. **Please bear in mind that I am NOT a nutritionist, nor have I consulted with nutritionists about my supplementation. I am also not a sponsored athlete - I buy what’s affordable :P
The main issues I face are: joint pain, muscle recovery, and hormonal health, so the vitamins/supplements I take address those issues only. For me, less is more, and now that my figure competition is over I will likely cut out quite a few of these items and focus on eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and balancing my hormones with lifestyle changes.
Here is my list of supplements:
Krill Oil: Provides Omega 3’s and helps relieve joint pain
Collagen: to lubricate joints and for healthy skin and nails
Glucosamine: for cartilage and joint health
Probiotics: While I don't have any issues with my GI tract, I learned that probiotics can help with cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue.
Zinc: Involved in the maintenance of ideal hormone levels, which affect athletic performance. Helps metabolize melatonin.
Melatonin: for sleep. I actually notice the difference in my sleep quality when I take melatonin vs. when I don’t - I don’t wake up as easily when I take it, and if I do wake I go back to sleep readily.
Vitamin B12: Aids in utilization of proteins, carbs and fats. Essential in the formation of red blood cells. In retrospect, I could have probably phased this one out as I was eating LOTS of meats during comp prep.
Magnesium: Affects the muscle’s ability to contract and relax (that’s why when you get a cramp in your leg, people tell you to eat a banana) and aids in producing energy. I use this as part of my recovery strategy.
Vitamin D: I started taking this because I wasn’t going outside very much. Now that I have more free time, I hope to cut this one out.
Creatine: useful for explosive athletes as it helps regenerate ATP (a quick energy system). However, I'm going to cycle off this one for a while as it's not recommended for long-term use.
Magnum Rocket Science: pre-workout energy.
*I never use anything other than coffee while pregnant, and usually not while breastfeeding either.
Whey: to help me hit those protein goals! I like to take an Isolate so I get a high level of protein per scoop, and I take products with as few ingredients as possible. Right now I’m loving Diesel, but my all-time fave (and the only one I used while breastfeeding) is Lean Body For Her. Honestly, I'll probably take this until the day I die - I add it to cereal, smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods... it's just so yummy.
As a final note, I wholeheartedly believe that it’s better to eat whole foods rather than pills and encourage a clean diet always! I would love to hear your perspectives on what you deem to be “natural”, and even what your thoughts are regarding my supplementation program!
Yours in health,