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My P90X Before and Afters Plus “Supplements: What I Use”

So many of you have been following this blog since the very beginning (or near to it) and have seen my life evolve over the years. Today marks another day in the journey I’ve been on towards better fitness and overall health. I’ll admit, what began as a way to shed the baby weight I’d gained with my second child, turned in to an all out life dedication to health and fitness. I would not go so far as to say I am obsessed, but I am, a little bit. I love being healthy. I love feeling strong. I can’t stress this statement enough: “Strong is the new skinny”. I just feel good. I love the way feeling strong makes you feel like you could take on any challenge the world throws at you. I have more than my fair share of confidence these days.

I LIVE health and fitness, I breathe it, I am it. I talk to people about it daily on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in real life, at kindergym, to my friends and family (to their annoyance, I’m sure), anyone who will listen. I feel like I am changing lives. I know I’ve inspired people to get into health and really care about their bodies. It’s not about starving yourself, it’s about eating and moving our bodies. These two simple things are in everyone’s power to use. Anyone can do what I have done, you simply must make the time in your life. Care about yourself and your body, what goes into it and what power (or lack thereof ) comes from that.

Last year I had a goal. I wanted a six pack by summer. I really wanted it, but I didn’t act like I did. I continued my bad eating habits and I never did see that six pack (though if you squinted you could just almost notice it).This year though, being a part of the FitFluential Ambassador program, I have upped my game a lot. It’s a great thing to be involved in such an amazing, inspiring organization and I commend every member for their continued hard work. We are inspiring people across the continent to get up and move their butts!

If you tuned in last June, you would have seen my Beachbody Insanity before and after photos. Well now I want to compare those photos from last June to now. This is after continued Insanity workouts, plus a couple rounds of Insanity: The Asylum, running, hot yoga and in the last three months, P90X. I credit my good change in diet plus Tony Horton’s amazingly put together P90X program. In the time I’ve been tracking changes in my numbers I’ve done the following: Lost 18 pounds, lost five inches off my waist, four inches off my hips, (sadly) five inches off my chest, three and a half inches off each thigh. I also lost an inch off each upper arm, but the fat that was there is now just pure muscle…:)

Let the photos speak for themselves:

From left: 75 days into Insanity (not following nutrition guide), Insanity after 8 rounds (not following nutrition guide but calorie cutting),  11 weeks into P90X  (following macro nutrient profile of 20/40/40)

But It’s not just my diet and exercise that are helping me achieve my goals. There are also added supplements that I wouldn’t go without. So let’s talk a little about those supplements and how they fit into my clean eating diet. As I’ve said to a few people already, I don’t think that most protein powders could be considered to be “clean eating” but they are essential to my daily life. I’ve already covered the basics of protein powder in my last post, so I hope you’ll read that if you have any questions.

First of all I want to go over what “clean eating” really means. To me the definition of clean eating, put at it’s most simple, would be eating foods that are whole, unaltered foods and foods you made yourself from those whole foods. But put in a more complicated way, clean eating can be described as a person that:

  • Eliminates all added and refined sugars
  • Eliminates saturated fats
  • Eliminates dairy
  • Eliminates all refined carbohydrates
  • eats under 1500mg of sodium per day
  • Cooks healthy meals for themselves and their families
  • Packs healthy meals whenever they will be away from home (work, travel, etc.)
  • Makes healthy choices when dining out
  • Drinks 2 liters or more of water a day
  • Eats 5-6 small meals a day
  • Eliminates alcoholic beverages (or significantly limits it)
  • Always eats breakfast
So that’s a clean eater in a nutshell. But I know there are variations and I know there are limits to our abilities to stick to a regulated list like that. For example: I eat no dairy, but I do take protein supplements derived from dairy, though it is a whey isolate, it still originated in a cow. If I could find a similar replacement that had all the good qualities of the whey isolate, I would switch, but so far I haven’t found one that is good on a sensitive tummy, has a high level of protein, low calories, little fat and no carbs. It’s a tough search, so let me know if you have the solution!

But let’s talk about the other supplements I take and why I recommend them.

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is an important amino acid known for promoting growth and development, fat-burning, increasing energy, and improving resistance to muscle fatigue it can also help transport fat to the muscle to be burned as energy. In promoting better utilization of body fat, it may aid in weight loss and improve athletic performance. Clinical research has also suggested L-Carnitine supports athletic performance in endurance athletes. Through a greater reliance on fat for energy, the body reduces depletion of muscle glycogen. This combined with the reduction of lactic acid accumulation in muscles can extend exercise capacity before fatigue.

L-Carnitine plays a crucial role in cardiovascular metabolism and weight management. L-carnitine is very similar to the nonessential amino acid carnitine. It performs some of the same functions, such as helping metabolize food into energy. It is also great in dieting, as it can reduce feelings of hunger and weakness. L-carnitine transfers long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into mitochondria (a cell’s energy powerhouse), where they may be oxidized to produce energy. Some studies show that oral carnitine reduces fat mass, increases muscle mass, and reduces fatigue. Other studies suggest people taking L-carnitine may be less likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack or experience chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms.

L-Carnitine is found in red meat and dairy but I prefer taking capsules to ensure I am getting a high concentration.

Omega 3s (1700mg)

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (EFAs), meaning your body cannot produce them and therefore we must get them from our food. To an endurance athlete (or even the weekend warrior), omega 3s are important for a number of reasons, a major reason being that they help reduce inflammation which is a side effect of workouts. You tear your muscles down after a heavy lifting session or a mean 10km run and you need help to get those muscles back to their original state.

Omega 3s also help promote heart health, improve nervous system function and increase blood vessel elasticity.

Omega 3s are found in most cold water fish such as wild salmon, mackeral, halibut, sardines, herring and anchovies. Other sources would be flax seeds, walnuts and tofu.

Vitamin D (1000 IU)

I take vitamin D because I’m a red head and I live in Canada. I never go in the sun for more then 20 minutes without 60+SPF sunblock and although the daily requirement for sunshine sourced vitamin D is 20 minutes of full sun, this only counts if your whole body sees the light. I ain’t getting buck naked in my garden to get a little sunshine. First, I’d burn my whiter then translucent ass and second, the neighbours might think I’m weird. Vitamin D is also crucial in maintaining bone strength, nervous system and heart health. You can get Vitamin D from eggs, fish and butter.

Vitamin C (2000mg)

An immune boosting powerhouse, Vitamin C also helps to improve muscle soreness after strenuous activity. Anything that helps me feel great after a workout is a big plus in my books. Plus I eat the chewables, which brightens up my vitamin taking routine of swallowing big, ugly pills.

Creatine (1500mg)

Creatine supplementation for women is a somewhat controversial subject. Mostly it comes down to women thinking that taking creatine will make them gain weight. I’ve been taking it for about a month now and have only maintained or lost weight (I fluctuate about two pounds up and down).

Creatine is one of the most widely studied supplements and is shown to increase muscular strength and power and improve performances in relatively short-duration, high-intensity activities. It might also help allay the fatigue which can be caused by a drop in muscular pH and reduce the susceptibility to musculoskeletal injuries among training athletes. It also reduces lactic acid build up in your muscles (this is what makes you sore). A big reason wimen should get on the creatine bandwagon? Muscle burns more fat then fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Get more muscle.

Just don’t be afraid that creatine will make you bulk up, this is as silly as thinking that weight lifting will make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mix it up. Do your cardio, throw in some yoga or pilates and make sure you do some weights.

Right now I’m not sure how long I will take it, but I have noticed an increase in my weight lifting abilities. I can actually pump out the pushups and pullups I struggled so hard with in the beginning.

BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)

These are the essential aminos leucine, isoleucine and valine which are not broken down in the liver but in the muscles. Skeletal muscles break down the amino acids during trauma, starvation or exercise.

From B-Rockstrong.com:

  • build muscles by increasing raw materials of your muscle tissues which contributes to muscle building.
  • increases stamina because strenuous exercise automatically decomposes proteins and uses up BCAAs to compensate for the lack of energy source. BCAAs could help speed up recovery of damaged muscles, prevent muscle soreness, fatigue and other symptoms of muscle damage.
  • improve recovery from fatigue by suppressing lactic acid production. Lactic acid is a fatigue-causing substance. Continuous exercise increases lactic acid blood levels which results in the decrease of pH in muscles. This results in a sudden difficulty to contract muscles. Amino acid can replenish your body’s BCAAs, halting the elevation of lactic acid, even if you’re performing intense exercises.
  • reduces mental fatigue

For an intense overview of why BCAAs are important for any training athlete or weekend warrior, read this article at Bodybuilding.com

Glutamine

From Popeyes Supplements Canada:

Glutamine is the single most abundant amino acid found in the skeletal muscular system and is heavily metabolized during endurance and weight training conditions. Clinical studies reveal that supplementation with glutamine helps support recovery after intense training by promoting energy repletion, maintaining a healthy immune system, buffering against lactic acid build-up and most importantly increasing muscular growth. Additionally, studies have found that consuming supplemental glutamine stimulates the release of growth hormone, volumizes your muscle cells and promotes intestinal integrity increasing the absorption of other nutrients. Glutamine also helps control the toxic ammonia that occurs within individuals who weight train or are on a carb-restricted diet. Because your body will digest its own muscle to get glutamine, providing an outside source of this amino acid during times of heavy training or dieting prevents that catabolism.

In the fitness industry, glutamine is what we call the “Anabolic Amino Acid”. Used in conjunction with weight training, this supplement can produce exceptional results in strength, muscle growth, and accelerated fat loss. Glutamine is a powerful anti-catabolic supplement and is compared to the popular supplement creatine.

Greens

I take a greens supplement to support healthy immune system function, increase my energy and insure a healthy PH. I take Magnum Performance Greens. The list of ingredients is a bit overwhelming, but there is so much good stuff in there and I love the taste mixed in my morning smoothie.

Morning Energizer

Some people drink coffee. I drink a green fizzy stimulant free liquid. Every morning before I work out, I down a drink from Magnum Nutraceuticals called Opus. The claim is that Opus creates an “anabolic firestorm” in your muscles delaying the onset of fatigue, revving you up without stimulants and by increasing blood flow and hydration to your muscles. I love the taste and I love the way it makes my fingers and arms tingle.

Water

I know, I know…water is NOT A SUPPLEMENT. But it is SO IMPORTANT to my overall health and well being that I just had to mention it here. Drink your water people! Hungry? Drink some water. Feel like a coffee in the mid afternoon? Drink some water. Having lunch and need a bevvy? Drink some water! I can’t emphasize this enough. I drink 8 16oz glasses a day. Yes I have to pee a lot, but I also feel the benefits daily. Radiant skin, no dryness, and an overall feeling of well being. Water is essential to all functions of the body. DRINK IT!

 

Disclaimer: I am by no means a nutritionist, dietitian or even a fitness trainer. Any of the suggestions, advice or other information listed on my site is purely my own opinion and garnered from 11 years of being either dieting, weight lifting, working out, researching nutrition or otherwise being face first in health and fitness related materials. Before beginning any diet or exercise program, be sure to speak with your doctor or other health professional.

30 comments to My P90X Before and Afters Plus “Supplements: What I Use”

  • Okay, 1) So happy to have just discovered your blog! 2) Awesome transformation pictures! You rocked it! and 3) I like your supplement list. It’s nearly identical to mine. I do love supplements but tend to stick to just aminos and natural products. What kind of BCAAs do you use?
    StoriesAndSweetPotatoes recently posted..Eating Disorders and Food AllergiesMy Profile

  • Adrian

    Wow. Seeing the three pictures side by side is pretty amazing. Congratulations Elizabeth! A coworker was three shades of green with envy about how lucky I am to have a highly motivated woman in my life. And her being married to me to boot! You have changed my life from a scrawny stick figure to a bulkier muscled stick figure. I’m going to keep pushing as you are living proof it works. Love you sexy lady!!

  • Curlsz

    Not sure if this fits your criteria but have you checked into vega protein powders, the company is called vega. They have quite a bit, I’ll be ordering some soon but havent yet

    • Elizabeth

      I have tried Vega before. i actually used it for a long time, but I prefer the taste, texture and creaminess of the whey isolate. Also the Vega bothered my stomach.

  • DUDE! Awesome work =)
    Natalie recently posted..Winner of the Goddess Market draw!My Profile

  • Gio

    I gotta say, I am loving the avocado in your sleeve! I know I’m very private about my ink, so I’d understand if you were too, but I’m sure we’dlione to hear about your new inky addition!

  • You are amazing, Elizabeth! Your post rang so true to what I have been saying to myself (and people who ask, “How did you do it?”) throughout my own weight loss/strength gaining journey – just move your body! Thanks for all of the information on the supplements. I don’t currently take any, but will look into your recommendations with renewed interest.
    Cookin’ Canuck recently posted..Ten Vegetarian Recipes for the GrillMy Profile

  • I just looooove this! I’m a total water whore, so I feel ya!
    Bev @ Bev Cooks recently posted..Chicken and Wild Rice CasseroleMy Profile

  • Thanks for sharing more about your regime…you look fab…I’d kill for your tummy!
    Winnie recently posted..One Simple Change: Eat a Variety of Foods (Plus Quinoa with Sauteed Grapes, Avocado, and Brie)My Profile

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you! Loads of hard work Winnie. I hated the way it used to look after two kids. Diet and exercise, the best cosmetic surgery around!

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you Winnie! I HATED the way it looked after having two kids. Diet and exercise, the best cosmetic surgery around!

  • You’re smokin’ hott!
    Sometimes I wonder if I slightly drown myself everyday with the amount of water I drink… But, I’m still breathing, so apparently I haven’t drowned yet.
    I need to get on the supplement bandwagon, thanks for all the details on the ones you take, that’s helpful!
    Julia recently posted..Asparagus and Corn SaladMy Profile

  • Wow!!! Great job!!! Congrats on your transformation!

    Exercise, eating right, and drinking plenty of water makes a HUGE difference!!! I’m finally motivated and on the same path. Its been 2+ months and I’ve lost 10 pounds and finally have some muscle definition. I still need more toning but am happy to know I’m on the right path and healthy.

    You go girl!!!
    Yvette ~ Muy Bueno Cookbook recently posted..Agua Fresca de Pepino (Cucumber Lime Cooler)My Profile

  • jenny

    congratulations!!! I had deja vous reading your post because I did 3 rounds of P-90-X eating and drinking whatever I wanted…….needless to say, no 6-pack. Nutrition is probably 75-80% of equation. I also did P-90X + just cutting carbs. I saw better results, but then I read 4-Hour Body and bought kettlebells. You MUST try- or head on over to Lauren Brook’s http://www.ontheedgeoffitness.com. If you tire of the 60-90 min. rounds of P-90X, try kettlebells!!! They are the best kept secret because minimum effective dose is probably 20-40 minutes and they provide both cardio and strength training.

  • Wow, what an awesome transformation indeed! Bravo to you- you must feel absolutely wonderful!! I’m totally devoted to the idea of “when you feel hungry in the afternoon, drink some water!” Often times, it’s hunger that I’m thinking I have, but it’s really thirst that my body is craving!
    Lori @ RecipeGirl recently posted..Tex Mex Layered SaladMy Profile

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Lori! Water water everywhere….it’s true. If I’m hungry, I drink water first. Keep’s your body going, skin hydrated, so many benefits and it’s free!

  • Holy Toledo!You go girlfriend!!

    1.) I am so proud you for sticking with it.
    2.) I want, need those arms!!
    3.) I’m inspired 😀

    xoxo Muwah!
    Tickled Red recently posted..Summer Braise ~ BBQ & Beyond {Carolina Vinegar Spare Ribs}My Profile

  • Melanie Reed

    Your tummy looks fabulous. I will have to try the p90x as well. It must be so effective if you got such results.

  • I discovered you blog while reading up on Magnum Quattro Protein Isolate. I’ve been taking chocolate love flavor and I’m contemplating if I should get another tub of a different flavor, just to have more choices. This is my fifth month on this healthy lifestyle and I’m only taking protein shake and multi-vitamins now. The varieties of supplements that you are taking is astonishing, I wonder if I will ever move down that track in time to come. I’m taking things slowly when it comes to supplement, probably introduce more when I see the need for my body. I’m trying to build an abs now too and gosh it’s damn hard! I’ve been advised to increase my protein intake but I’m cautious about the calories. Do you ever have this concern? If we are taking all these supplements, is eating meat still necessary? I’m having difficulties in getting meat into my menu. I’m loving the recipes you share, do share more recipes which uses protein shakes – I love to see whatelse I can churn out with them.

    Sorry for the long comment. I will be linking up your blog to mine. 🙂
    Shirley recently posted..Workout #21062012My Profile

  • Ashley

    Awesome work!!! How I wish I was you 🙂 Your tummy looks fabulous.
    Ashley recently posted..http://www.kimkardashiantapenews.comMy Profile

  • Kelley

    Wow! You’re an inspiration with those pictures!
    My weight has been bouncing up and down for the last 5 years due to a very busy work schedule and lack of motivation. I’ve started and stopped several diets and fitness regimes over the years, but lately haven’t done anything to get back down to my goal weight. I think the large amount I have to lose (35 lbs) is what’s discouraging me.

    You’ve given me the kick in the pants I need to get started again! I’m going to look into all the supplements you’ve listed and see what works for me. Keep up the fitness posts!

  • Not just another Whey Protein… Many studies conducted on whey protein suggest that ‘Whey Protein Isolate’ is one of the main proteins, which supports muscle building, provides strength for training and recovery from.Allmax Isoflex

  • Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!

  • A beautiful inspiration! I would love to have that tummy. I’ve been working out for months and I am very hopeful that I can achieve that of yours.
    BQuick Nutrition recently posted..BQuick LEAN 120 Capsule with Clarinol® CLAMy Profile

  • Looks amazing! Taking supplements in conjunction with working out will really help you achieve the results you are looking for. Thanks for sharing!

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