Below is the list of supplements that have helped me maximize my results during my P90X / Insanity / P90X2 transformation. There are others I’ve tried, but I didn’t feel they gave me as much “bang for my buck” as these. This is not to say that you NEED these. I am just saying that I wouldn’t want to put in the time, effort, and energy into an intense workout program like P90X or Insanity without having these supplements to maximize the benefits of all that hard work. With that said, here’s my favorite supplements — the ones I feel are ABSOLUTELY worth the cost:
I have THREE supplements in my “Must Have” list — things I think are essential and will help your body be at it’s very best =
1) Shakeology = This is by far my favorite Beachbody supplement (in fact, it’s the only one on my “Must Have” list). I gave it a trial run just to see what the hype was about (they offer a 30 day guarantee so you have nothing to lose). Well, after the first month on Shakeology, I signed up for home direct and have been using it EVERY day since. There seem to be 2 types of people when it comes to Shakeology – those who haven’t tried it and are skeptical about the price, and those who have tried it and now rave about it. It does cost twice the amount of regular whey protein, but it’s got hundreds of nutrients and supplements in it, so comparing it to plain protein powder isn’t a fair comparison. You’ll have to decide if it’s in your budget or not, but to me it’s worth the money. To learn more, click here.
2) Whey Protein Powder = You will need to consume a lot of protein to fuel your muscles. You don’t have to use a protein powder if you plan on eating enough lean meats to meet your protein quota, but on a fat shredder diet that will take A LOT of meat!! It’s more practical to plan on using a protein powder to help you meet your daily requirements. Beachbody sells Whey protein powder, but I primarily use GNC’s Wheybolic Extreme 60 and Dymatize Iso-100 because they are a little more affordable and have a higher protein content per serving. They also have enough glutamine in them that I don’t have to supplement it separately. That’s handy for the budget. Your body should get about 10g of glutamine per day in total, so if you don’t get that in your protein powder, you may need to buy some separately, but most good protein powders will give you that much, especially if you take 2-3 servings of protein powder each day (which I typically do). To learn more about protein powders, click here.
3) Results / Recovery Formula = When you push your body hard, it is critical to get out of the “catabolic” state and back into the “anabolic” state as quickly as possible. Intense exercise depletes your body’s stores of glycogen, electrolytes, and naturally occurring creatine and glutamine. It also causes your body to release cortisol (which will break down muscle for energy). We want to exercise hard, but we want to reverse this catabolic process as fast as possible, and that’s why a recovery drink immediately after a workout is so important. It needs a small amount of protein, a lot of fast absorbing carbs, electrolytes, creatine, and glutamine. The Results / Recovery Formula has all of that, which is why I use it after every intense workout. To learn more about it, click here.
This concludes my list of “MUST HAVE” supplements. A person with just these 3 can expect PHENOMENAL results with their fitness. But there are a couple extras that are in the “FUN TO HAVE” category, especially if building muscle mass is a priority of yours ….
4) Creatine = This supplement helps volumize the muscles with fluid so that they can draw more nutrients in to aid with recovery and muscle building. Creatine is also used by the body to generate energy during intense exercise (through ATP) which can improve performance and allow you to get those extra reps, thus pushing your muscles harder. I get my creatine monohydrate from GNC (plain monohydrate …. NOT a mix with sugar and calories in it). There is a lot of research out there about creatine (how to use it and what versions of it are “best”). To learn more about creatine, click here.
5) Pre-workout Energy Booster (like E&E / 1 MR / Jack3d) = I like the intensity and energy of a pre-workout supplement. I have used Jack3d , N.O. Loaded, 1 MR, NanoVapor, and E&E. Pre-workouts aren’t designed to taste good LOL, but they work great! Most have creatine in them (the exception to that is the E&E, which does not have creatine in it). They will also have stimulants like caffeine, and vasodilators like beta alanine. Pre-workouts can affect different people differently, so it’s typical for people to have different “favorites”. To see more on the E&E Pre-workout, click here.
6) Intra-workout (like Xtend or Purple Wraath) = Since I work out on an empty stomach in the mornings, I like to get a little fuel (in the form of branched chain amino acids, or BCAA’s) during my workout. It gives my muscles a little fuel, helps prevent a catabolic situation (like I talked about in the recovery formula section), and the intra-workout supplements also have some electrolytes and vasodilators which help with blood flow and getting a “pump”. This isn’t a necessity, but when working out on an empty stomach I find it definitely helps me push harder and transition to recovery better. I currently use Scivation Xtend, but have also used (and liked) Purple Wraath and Intrabolic.
I’ve addressed these supplements in my updated nutrition / supplement video, which you can watch below =
Coach, do I need to take intra-workouts only on the lifting days or I can take them on cardio days? I'm finishing P90X and starting Insanity, so I need to know if I should take it during Insanity. Another question - I also take 1 scoop of whey protein before workout (since I'm working out early on the morning) for P90X, should I continue to do it for Insanity as well?
Coach, I have a question. I was browsing bodybuilding.com for some intra-workouts and recovery supplements and some recovery supplements (like Amino Recovery or Amino Build) have 0-30 calories and contains mostly BCAA and glutamine. I understand that it might be very good as intra-workout supplement, but I am not sure if it is suitable for recovery (since P90X R&R contains carbs/protein). Should I trust the label and use (if purchased) for intra and recovery ?
May I ask you for advice? According to the P90X guide, they suggest to take multivitamins (and promote their P90X multivitamins) for best results. Currently I'm taking daily Shakeology, multivitamin pack (from GNC, their vitapak mega men), creatine (kre-alkalyne, 4 pills) and fertlity blend (for my needs). Isn't it too much, in your opinion? Should I cut on something?
Coach, how taking creatine and pre/intra-workout supplements affect health? I'm a bit worried to take them because of side effects. Currently, I'm working out (P90X) early in the morning on the empty stomach. After all workouts (except yoga and stretch) I take a R&R (1 scoop) and 30 minutes later I take a protein shake (GNC wheybolic amp ripped whey protein with banana). This is all my supplements. I can tell that some workouts (like Back and Biceps) are really tough and at the end my muscles are very tired and I can hardly do enough reps (especially for superset in the mentioned workout). Do you think that taking those supplements can help me to do more reps/weights without harm to health?
Hey coach i am reporting back in to tell you 1 mr vortex is probaly the best pre workout ive used since c4. I Loved c4 when i tried it. the feeling of wanting to go in and crush some weights but I would get a little fatigued towards the end a little bit and i would build up a tolerance. With 1 mr vortex its good clean energy and the scary thing about it is I was shaking today during my workout because i did 2 workouts but my arms were still going. I started off with bulk shoulders and didnt want to stop for the day so i did bulk chest and i went up in weight while keeping the same pace as the people on the video. I know youre a fan of clean energy and no jitters but you also want to crush the workout as well. I was a lttle skeptical at first when i tried it because i didnt get the tingly feeling that you get with c4. You might not feel it when you take it and wait the recommended time to wait and then workout that much but during the workout you will feel increased strength and stamina. Ive come to the conclusion that this would be a good pre workout for you and you really should try it. I think you would like it. I felt like I was unstoppable during the workouts I finally stopped after 2 hours. You should try to get a sample to see how you like it because every body reacts to pre workouts differently like you told me but i think its definitely worth it. Last thing that i forgot to tell you is its almost micro dosing. Its also creatine free.
I bought the Amplified Whey Extreme to drink after the work out...I also bought a GNC BCAA 5000 to drink while working out. Is that ok? I read that the WE has BCAA's also. Is that too much to consume? Thank you!
Not sure if you know anything about Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein but do you know if it contains any glutamine? It doesn't specify it on the nutrition facts, but does say on the label that it contains 5g of BCAAs. Just trying to make sure that I get my 10g of Glutamine. I also use Xtend.
Hey Coach W. I have yet another question lol. I just want to make sure I'm 100% dialed in. Here's my supplement setup so far:
Jack3d, GNC Creatine Monohydrate, ON Gold Standard Whey, and Shakeology.
Like I said below I'm pretty much planning on following your 1900 cal sample diet to the T. I'm building my garage gym in a week or so and plan on starting pretty immediately after that. That being said, and I'm sure you've probably answered this for someone else a hundred times, I'm just trying to decide how critical the P90X recovery drink is and if I should take it on lift days, cardio days, or both? I'm assuming not yoga or stretch. Also, someone told me I probably didn't need to count it towards my 1900 and your sample diet doesn't list it. Is that true or balogna? Thanks again!
Hey coach, thanks for all the replies to everyone!
I just watched ond of your shakeology recipe videos and was curious if you still take benefiber with your shakeology or no? Do I need it if I'm going to do fat shredder with mostly chicken, fish, steamed veggies, a little fruit, and protein shakes? Thanks!
@ARob75 That is a great combo. All protein has BCAAs naturally. They are the building blocks of protein. So the chicken you eat could even have "BCAAs" on its label. The BCAA supplement you bought is free form BCAAs. They don't have to be digested and go right into your blood stream. That is great for intra-workout.
@BrandonKester I didn't count it towards my 1900 because I was at such a large deficit (-1000 from level 3 - 3000). If 1900 is a smaller deficit for you, like only a -600 deficit, I would track it. I always made sure I "earned" my R&R. I had to go all out to get it.
Hi Coach! Thanks for the answer! What did you mean by "just make sure your stomach is ok with whey before intense cardio"? I just started Insanity today (my second day actually, first day was a fit test) and since I started a workout at 5am I took (after some hesitation) a whey protein. I'm not sure may be I just should skip whey and use intra-workout?
Another thing - is it really necessary to wait 30-45 minutes after taking a whey protein to workout? I am in the same situation as you described yours - I wake up around 4:30-5AM and start my workout (I have to finish my workout before my wife wakes up for her workout, otherwise I have to move to another place..., so time is precious...). So, I don't wait 45 minutes - just 10 minutes while I'm preparing for workout. Is it acceptable?
Thanks, Coach! Do you take creatine every day, even during recovery week/rest days? I pulled a trigger and ordered a Kre-Alaklyn EFX, since you mentioned in your video that loading/unloading phase is not needed.
Another question - in your opinion, what is preferred - intra-workout supplement or pre-workout supplement?
@Sergey19 Sorry to jump in... you might just get an upset stomach eating or drinking something before you workout. If you are ok with it, you can workout right away. It is all what you can handle. It just seems a lot of people get upset stomachs from working out right away.
@mtbnguyen I would think that is the most likely to cause anything. There are other post workout drink out there, but they are all whey and a simple carb (no much different). I would probably just stick to a protein shake post workout then.
Thanks, coach! Do you take creatine (all 2 pills) after workout or during the day?
So, am I getting this right that I will be fine if I take either pre-workout or intra-workout supplement (not both)? I don't want to take too much supplements. Since I workout very early on the mornings (about 5-5:30AM), would I be fine if I use only intra-workout? Or it is better to take pre-workout in this case? Sorry, if this is a trivial.
@Sergey_ Yes, take it every day. It's about maintaining elevated creatine levels, so take it on recovery weeks too.
For intra, I recommend BCAAs. Some of the best are Xtend. Lots of BCAAs in each scoop and no secret blend nonsense. They taste and mix the best too. The other option is to use AmiNO Energy from ON. That has caffeine in it, so be careful if you are using a preworkout too.