A Little Better Now…A Lot Better Later

(The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of NOW Foods) Implementing change is difficult, both on a large scale and a small. If you have given up of bad habits, picked up and moved across country, switched jobs, or ended a relationship, then you have experienced some of the curveballs that life will throw you. Life can often demand change on a large, unsettling scale. Now, when it comes to your health, your body, and your fitness, that same grand change is not necessary. In fact, acute and radical shaking up of your lifestyle, diet, or physical activity is more likely to be ineffective. Small, easy, maybe even imperceivable changes that can be automated are more likely to yield the ultimate impact you want. 

When it comes to your health and fitness, as I see it, there are three general realms in which you can affect change for the better. You have your physical fitness, altered by working out. You have your nutritional intake, altered by attention to what you use to nourish your body. And you have your lifestyle, altered by conscious behavioral modification. While the three realms can be separated as I just did, in reality all interact with each other. That means, if you effect sustainable change in one domain, then its very likely you have done the same in another. Hopefully, if you are reading this article, you have already put in place a physical fitness routine (regular exercise and spontaneous physical activity) and improved your lifestyle choices (sleep, de-stressing, getting outside etc). If you are like most though, diet and training nutrition probably still remain a daily struggle. Don’t worry, there is hope.

Changing food intake is a difficult process, mainly due to the ritualistic and emotional aspects of eating that we all participate in every day. So, instead of talking about strategies to alter food choice or portion size, I want to share with you some supplements that you can add into your nutritional plan to positively impact your diet, training, and lifestyle. Supplements are not magic, though. They do have the potential to assist in small improvements, that might be difficult to detect in the moment, but by consistently enacting the supplemental change you can create an environment extremely conducive to progress. Stacking small changes leads to the onset of big change over time.

Recently NOW Sports Nutrition sent me an array of their products to try, and I am going to share with you how each of them helped me make small changes in my nutrition plan that led to noticeable results.

Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder (Non-GMO)

Protein FrontProtein Back

Most of you have probably heard about whey protein powder, but there are now a variety of protein powder options available for anyone who lives a vegan lifestyle or just wants to explore their choices. The NOW Sports Nutrition offering is a Non-GMO Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Concentrate that is a perfect addition to a nutritional plan. It is unflavored, and mixes very well, meaning you can add it to different foods or smoothies to increase the protein content of your meal or snack.

While whey protein has always been viewed as the gold standard of protein powder choices, recently a study was done comparing whey to rice protein and the researchers found that the effects of supplementation between the two proteins was very similar. “Both whey and rice protein isolate administration post resistance exercise improved indices of body composition and exercise performance; however, there were no differences between the two groups. (1)”

That means the NOW Sports Nutrition Sprouted Rice Protein can improve your adaption to your workouts and affects multiple realms of your health and fitness. How I Like to Use Sprouted Brown Rice Protein: I added 3-5 tablespoons of the Sprouted Brown Rice Protein to my morning oatmeal, blueberries, and chia seeds.

Pro-GH

Pro-GH FrontPro-GH Back

Pro-GH is an amino acid (L-Arginine, L-Ornithine, L-Lysine, L-Glutamine, Glycine, GABA) and carbohydrate (small amount of fructose) supplement designed to improve performance and adaptation to training. Each amino acid in Pro-GH has its own unique effect when supplemented, and when supplemented together, they can work synergistically. Below I have provided links to a fantastic analysis on each amino acid included in Pro-GH.

L-Arginine

L-Ornithine

L-Lysine (Couldn’t find a good review of lysine)

L-Glutamine

Glycine

GABA

How I Like to Use Pro-GH:

The directions for Pro-GH say to take it with an empty stomach either prior to training or before bed. I tried both and I have to say, I appreciated the product’s effects more at night, before bed. After taking Pro-GH I would experience a feeling of calm, which I preferred at night rather than during my training sessions when I need to be a little hyped up than calmed down.

L-Leucine

Leucine FrontLeucine Back

Leucine has been receiving a lot of press recently and for good reason. The amino acid has a very intimate role in protein synthesis, which is an obviously integral part of adapting to training. According to examine.com:

“Leucine is one of the three Branched Chain Amino Acids and sometimes referred to as the ‘main’ amino acid due to the most popular benefit of BCAAs (muscle building) being mostly due to leucine. Leucine is an activator of the protein known as mTOR, which then induces muscle protein synthesis via S6K; the other two BCAAs may also activate mTOR, but are much weaker than leucine in doing so (and as such, 5g of leucine will be more effective than 5g mixed BCAAs). (3)”

Having a leucine powder on hand to take after your training or with a meal that has a low protein content is a convenient strategy to stimulate protein synthesis throughout the day. Research has discovered that there is a leucine threshold that needs to be reached to maximize protein synthesis, and the dosage that will result in the threshold being met is about 2-3 grams (2) (½ tablespoon of NOW Sports Nutrition L-Leucine).

How I Like to Use L-Leucine:

I added about ½ of a tablespoon to my post workout creatine and amino acids. I eat a good amount of protein at my normal meals so adding the leucine to regular meals isn’t necessary for me, but if you have trouble getting protein in on a regular basis (every 4-6 hours) then the leucine powder could be very useful for you.

ZMA 

ZMA FrontProtein Back

This has been one of my favorite products from NOW Sports Nutrition. Zinc and Magnesium are important micronutrients that some can be deficient in (not everyone and talking to your doctor about supplementing with zinc and magnesium is a good idea). Deficiencies in magnesium and zinc, if corrected through supplementation, can confer beneficial effects. If you are not deficient in zinc or magnesium, then supplementation probably do much. Zinc and magnesium are also lost through sweat, meaning if you are an athlete that trains in hot conditions and sweats a lot, then maybe supplementing with ZMA could help restore those micronutrients and maintain your performance. I encourage you to read up on magnesium and zinc to see if supplementation could be useful.

How I Like to Use ZMA: I would take the recommended dose for men of 3 capsules on an empty stomach (avoid taking in calcium with ZMA) before bed. I would say my sleep and recovery from training have certainly improved since taking ZMA from Now Sports Nutrition.

L-Citrulline

 Citrulline FrontCitrulline Back

Citrulline has experience a boom in popularity as a better option for increasing nitrous oxide production and improving vasodilation which has some serious performance enhancing effects.

“The functions of citrulline as it pertains to supplementation included a reduction in fatigue and promotion of endurance in prolonged exercise, and it appears to apply to both aerobic and anaerobic. There is not enough evidence to support an acute increase in power output with citrulline supplementation, only a preservation of power output throughout exercise. (4)”

How I Like to Use L-Citrulline: I have been taking 2 capsules with meals and 1 capsule before training. While my training style (Olympic weightlifting) doesn’t really benefit as much from the improved nitrous oxide production and blood flow as bodybuilding would, I can still sense a slightly improved resistance to fatigue during my training sessions, which can last up to three hours.

Wrapping It All Up

Small change is sustainable change and if you stack enough small changes together, for a long enough time, you can allow for big changes to take place. The kind of changes that you and other people notice one day. Perhaps the change is a better body composition, less fat, more muscle. Or maybe the change is feeling more rested when you wake up in the morning, ready to take on the day. Or you want to feel stronger inside and outside of the gym. Whatever the big change you wish to see, start making the small changes today. If you want to train a little harder and recover a little better today, then consider some of these product and others from NOW Sports Nutrition, and get ready for some serious improvement.

Be A Little Better Now…A Lot Better Later

About NOW Foods

NOW Foods, a family-owned company since 1968, is a leader in the nutritional supplements industry and dedicated to providing customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness by offering a variety of high-quality, natural and affordable products. Founded on the belief that natural is better, NOW Foods is proud to offer more than 1,400 natural products that are specifically formulated to help support optimal health through good nutrition. NOW Foods product offerings range from nutrient-rich foods and supplements to personal care and sports nutrition items.

Visit http://www.NOWFoods.com for more information on NOW Foods products and local retailers.

References:

(1) http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/86

(2) http://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/ArchivePDFS/ArchivePDFS-228.pdf

(3) http://examine.com/supplements/Leucine/

(4) http://examine.com/supplements/Citrulline/

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