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BowTiedOx Supplement Guide
Welcome and hello. This is our final installment of our 3 part beginner series. After this guide you will have all the knowledge you will need to take your health and fitness in your own control. Anyway, onto this guide, this will teach you the basics of supplementation that will aid in your performance in the gym, improve your overall health, provide greater longevity, and even improve cognitive performance. I want to disclaim first and foremost that I am not a doctor, and this is not professional medical advice. However, now that disclaimer is out of the way, I will take the knowledge gained over almost a decade of study, experimentation, and application to hopefully teach you something that can improve your day to day life.
I want to also be very clear, no supplement is magic, they are at the nd of the day “supplements” by definition this means they are to enhance a desired effect, not make it happen on their own. This is not to say certain supplements cannot be life changing, even potentially save your life, this is just saying that without proper exercise and nutrition this is just a band-aid on the problem, not the fix.
We will break this down into 3 parts, 1. Workout/Performance supplements, 2. Health and Longevity Supplements, 3. Brain and Mood Supplements.
The fitness supplement industry is garbage, let me open with that statement right there. Are there great products? Yes, but most are underdosed garbage put into a pretty package to take advantage of the uninformed customer. I’m am going to dig through the hype and nonsense and give you certain ingredients and doses so you will be able to identify what is and isn’t a good product when you go shopping for supplements.
I will categorize performance supplements into 3 categories 1. Preworkout, Intraworkout, and Postworkout/Recovery.
Supplements in the ‘Preworkout’ category will be just that, supplements you take before your workout to improve your performance/outcome in the gym. The goal with any preworkout supplementation will be energy and focus, blood flow, and force production.
Obviously going to be the a big driver in energy and focus, caffeine will translate to overall better gym performance. A dose of 150-400mg will be what you are looking for. This will provide a nice boost and improve motivation and mood in the gym. Completely optional.
I’ll try to avoid arguing the nuances between Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline as there are arguments for both. What Citrulline does is acts as a nitric oxide booster, which increases the dilation of your blood vessels getting more blood into the muscle. This is great for a much better pump and thus nutrient flow into the muscle. Citrulline will also aid in the removal of metabolic waste from the muscle which is beneficial to muscular performance.
Beta Alanine: 3g
This is the ingredient known for causing the itchy, tingling feeling. Some people love it, some absolutely can’t stand it, but the underlying ingredient provides some great benefits in gym performance. Beta alanine increases muscular endurance while offsetting muscular fatigue. It’s effects become prevalent when working in higher reps ranges (8-20 reps).
Betaine increases the anaerobic output, think strength and power gains. Betaine works as a osmolyte which is a fancy word for maintaining cell volume and and fluid balance. This causes increased muscle protein synthesis and muscle mass.
Tyrosine is personally one of my favorite ingredients for a preworkout due to it’s profound effect of increasing dopamine, your neurotransmitter that promotes motivation. It will keep you motivated, focused and elevate your mood in the gym without the overwhelming stimulant feeling commonly associated with other dopamine boosting agents.
Creatine is one of the safest, effective, and most studied supplements on this planet. Shrouded in myth, this not some dangerous supplements that can even be compared to steroids. Creatine will help you squeeze out an extra 1-2 reps by increasing the conversion of ATP, the energy system used when lifting weights. It also increases the volume of the muscle by increased water retention inside the cells, so you should drink more water when using creatine. There are also other health benefits like increased cognitive activity and increase in bone density.
Glycerol attracts water into the muscle, this promotes a better pump and cellular hydration. Combined with creatine, glycerol is know to give lifters a much better pump than with glycerol or creatine alone.
There are plenty of other supplements you could take preworkout, but for the sake of covering all of your basis, these are the ingredients and doses you should be looking for in a preworkout supplement whether you decide to purchase a product, or create your own mix using the raw ingredients. I left out electrolytes as these are important, but your diet should provide you with the electrolytes you need (I like eating a banana before lifting for potassium to prevent muscle cramps).
This will be supplements you take during your workout to enhance energy, output, and the pump during your lift. Intraworkout will typically be mixed into a drink as I can’t imagine most of you want to pop capsules during your lift, I know I 100% would never do that. You will then start sipping your intraworkout drink during your lift. The ingredients listed will have a profound effect on your recovery and sustained energy as you get deeper into your workout
Essential Amino Acids (EAA): 10g-25g
The most basic building blocks of muscle, EAA’s are huge when it comes to preventing muscle breakdown and promoting muscle protein synthesis and recovery. When taken Intraworkout, EAA’s will substantially increase recovery and promote better performance.
Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD): 25g
This is a rapidly available form of carbohydrate with a rapid gastric emptying rate. AKA this is a fast acting carb that your body will rapidly digest and use as fuel for performance, when combined with EAA’s you have a recipe for very enhanced muscle protein synthesis and recovery. This will help push you through the hardest workouts and maintain stable energy levels. The effect of the carbs can also have a profound effect on creating greater muscle pumps.
Again we will throw another dose of creatine in your intraworkout to replace what you are using during your workout. I have always found this to have a greater effect on gym performance as multiple other fitness professionals have as well.
Glutamine is a very useful nonessential amino acids that aids in recovery, hydration, and most importantly gut health. It is the primary fuel source for several cells that line the wall of your gastrointestinal system which through the mechanism of blocking bacteria will also increase your immune system. It has been found to reduce soreness and increase recovery when taken around or during your workout.
As with the preworkout sections, there are plenty of other supplements that will aid you during a workout, but the intent here to to give you a guide that will cover your basis and give you the best ROI. These supplements are not necessary, but the benefits are definitely worth looking into as recovery and performance will directly effect your results in the gym.
After your workout the key will be to start the recovery process. If you follow the intraworkout protocol, your body will already be starting the process of recovery, not the goal is to further optimize that recovery so you are ready to get back into the gym the next workout and be ready to crush another workout. Recovery is where the muscle actually grows so you can see why postworkout supplementation is extremely important.
Protein Powder: 25-50g
Protein powder, especially whey if your body responds well, is an extremely rapidly digested protein source that will spark muscle protein synthesis almost right away. I like to consume a rapidly digesting protein source within 90 minutes of my workout. Ideally the sooner the better as you want to start the recovery process as soon as possible.
The most powerful amino acid when it comes to promoting muscle protein synthesis (a common trend you can see is the importance of MPS) and activating the mTOR (pathway for muscle growth). This should be taken immediately post workout to prime the body for muscle growth before you protein shake/meal.
*IF* you did not take creatine during intraworkout, this is the other best time to consume creatine as you need to replace what you used during your workout. Do not be afraid of consuming creatine as it will not have an adverse effect on the liver/kidneys in healthy individuals.
Potassium is largely responsible for cellular hydration and electrolyte balance. As muscle is comprised mostly of water, it is important to ensure proper hydration so optimal recovery is possible.
Again this is to ensure proper electrolyte balance within the muscle cells and prevent cramping which can be common postworkout. Most athletes are deficient of magnesium which can cause a wide array of problems.
This list will definitely suffice as most of these supplements can be found in a single product, and will cover all your basis postworkout. Again the goal here is to ensure proper recovery is both initiated and and able to happen in a way that is optimal for the body.
Health and Longevity Supplementation
The goal here as the title states is to make sure you are both healthy and promoting a long, healthy life. Getting all of the essential nutrients and ingredients to support optimal health would required a highly specialized diet that most people simply do not eat. This means to ensure you are covering your basis you will need to have some sort of supplementation. There are 100’s of supplements that can help promote health and longevity, but to save time and keep this from turning into a 100 page document, I will list the supplements that you should be taking at a minimum.
Fish/Krill Oil: 3-5g
Critical for heart, brain, mood, and multiple aspects of health. Most diets are not sufficient in the amount of Omega-3’s so supplementation becomes necessary. Fish oil will lower cholesterol, promote brain health by preventing cognitive decline, reduce the the risk of heart disease, and even improve mood disorders such as depression. Places that consume the most Omega-3’s usually have the highest life expectancies.
Citrus Bergamot: 1g
Combined with fish oil, the effects of citrus bergamot on your cholesterol profile is profound. Citrus bergamot will lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). This is huge for lowering the chances of blood clots and heart disease.
Vitamin D3: 5000iu
Unless you spend all day outside in the sun, you are not getting enough Vitamin D3. This is not good because Vitamin D3 ism responsible for a lot of bodily functions to include bone, heart, and hormone health. Vitamin D3 has been found to support healthy testosterone levels.
Vitamin C: 3g
Vitamin C is a powerful essential nutrient critical for supporting a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also protects the body from cellular stress by eliminating free radicals in the body. Your body cannot produce Vitamin C so it is crucial that you are getting it through diet or supplementation.
Boron is a very overlooked supplement with a wide variety of benefits, namely the increase of testosterone. Boron is found to maintain calcium and magnesium levels, increase vitamin D3 availability, helps build new bone, and increase free testosterone levels.
Greens Powder: Serving Varies
Most people do not get enough greens through their diet, this is not good because greens provide an immense amount of the bodies micronutrients and aid in the digestive process. The benefits of greens are vast from heart health, skin health, digestive, pretty much all major bodily functions. If you do not eat 3-5 servings of greens a day, you should look into a greens powder with pro/prebiotic support.
Vitamin B Complex: 1g
Vitamin B’s are crucial for overall health. From reducing fatigue, regulating a healthy metabolism, improving cognitive function, slowing the agin process, and improving mood. One of the most profound benefits you will find if you are deficient in vitamin b’s is the increased energy you will have when you are consuming an adequate amount.
There are many many many more beneficial supplements, but to save your wallet I have given you the most crucial for overall health and to promote longevity. In future Substacks I will dive into much more supplements in much greater detail, but for most of you, just stating to implement the supplements listed above will have an immediate impact on an overall healthier life. Please suggest all your favorite supplements in the comments below!
Brain and Mood Supplementation
This is one of my favorite supplements categories as productivity, high energy, and good moods are extremely important to me. Most people don’t know that by taking the proper supplements you can see very large increase in your general mental well being. I particularly thrive on supplements that give me and edge to focus longer and harder to concentrate on whatever tasks are in front of me (like writing a Substack)
Bovine Adrenal Extract: 200mg
Adrenal extract of a bovine (probably an Ox), can help reduce adrenal stress and improve function, lower cortisol, your stress hormone, and make you better suited to deal with stress.
As listed above in the performance section, caffeine gives you an extra boost of energy, focus, and wellbeing/motivation all while supporting enhanced cognitive function.
Alpha GPC: 300mg
Known for improving focus, cognitive function, mental acuity, and memory.
Rhodiola Rosea: 100mg
Rhodiola helps balance brain neurotransmitters without causing any kind of fatigue or drowsiness.
This ingredient is huge for reducing stress and promoting mood. Ashwagandha has shown to have anti-anxiety properties, with secondary effects, namely the reduction of cortisol, that can lead to greater production of testosterone.
Without overwhelming you with more supplement protocols and potential grey area products, this will more than suffice with increasing your mood, energy, and focus. I personally take all of the above 5-7 times a week to give me the edge I need to stay on top of a busy/stressful life.
I hope you find great use in this general supplement guide. As stated this will be more than enough for the average person to make a great benefit to their lives relatively fast. In future Substacks we will delve into much greater detail different supplements and protocols to further enhance your health and performance. I would love to hear in the comments what supplements you have tried that have made the biggest impact. Please mention anything you think I might have left off as many of you are extremely smart and will have great recommendations. I appreciate all the support and new subscribers, I hope you are ready for many more new guides to come in the future.
- Your Friend, BowTiedOx