I’m used to writing about exercise, nutrition, and supplements from a scientific standpoint—and, as a scientist, I usually try my best to use language that doesn’t suggest I am recommending certain supplements or products, as doing so could affect my objectivity in the field. However, I’m always happy to share what I personally incorporate into my daily routine. Here, I’ll walk you through a typical day of mine and break down what supplements I take when and why.
My morning supplement regimen changes from time to time depending on what diet strategy I’m currently using. Since intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet have always been great for my body composition and health markers, I’m usually using one of those tactics.
If I’m in a fasting phase and plan on training in the morning, my morning supplements are primarily ketones and BCAAs. Yes, I admit that consuming these supplements renders this “fast” not actually a true fast. Still, I have the mind of a meathead and want to ensure I maintain muscle and strength, even during a diet, hence the BCAAs.
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Because I have a busy lifestyle, I’ll usually toss down a multivitamin and multi-mineral as well. In addition to being a researcher, I’m also the CEO of the Applied Science and Performance Institute, which is basically the Disneyland of sports science and cutting-edge training. I don’t always get in three square meals a day, so taking a multi helps me take in some important micronutrients that I may not be able to get from food.
Before getting into the ketogenic diet, I would also take fish oil in the morning for heart and joint health. It really helped me stay on top of my game when I was huge into bodybuilding and powerlifting. Since I have no problem getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in now that I follow keto, I don’t supplement with them anymore.
If I work out in the morning (which depends on when my cat, Diego, wakes me up), I’ll also chug some pre-workout. Usually, I look for a pre-workout that has caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and either beetroot or l-citrulline malate. These ingredients improve performance, recovery, and help me get a better pump. I used to be huge on caffeine, but I don’t triple scoop pre-workouts like I used to. I generally aim for around 150 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, 1.6 to 3.2 grams of beta-alanine, three to five grams of creatine monohydrate, and four to eight grams of l-citrulline. When it comes to beetroot, the dosage depends on the concentration of the extract, so how much I take varies.
After my workout, I usually just slug back a whey protein shake. Whey really is the ideal protein source for building muscle; it digests well, has all of the essential amino acids (EAAs) in good quantities, and has super-high amounts of the amino acid leucine, which makes it very efficient for muscle building. When I train fasted, I typically double up the scoops in my protein shake to ensure my body gets back into a muscle-building state afterward.
Throughout the Day
Throughout the day I take ketones for a little boost of energy and focus as I work on research or business projects. Dark chocolate also gives me a little boost and most of the folks at ASPI know that if they see me eating chocolate, it’s time to get out of my way!
If I’m too busy for full meals, I’ll chug some more whey protein or EAAs, depending on what I have to mix them in. If I haven’t run out of almond milk, I’ll whip up a whey protein smoothie with peanut butter, flax seeds, creatine, and any other treats lying around our food science lab that might taste good in a shake. If I’m stuck with just water, I down some EAAs and keep grinding.
If Diego lets me sleep in in the morning, I might work out after I get home. Whether or not I train after work, though, I usually end the day with a UC-II collagen supplement. After 20-plus years of heavy lifting, my joints aren’t too happy with me and I’ve been experiencing great results when it comes to joint comfort since adding collagen to my supplement stack.
One last supplement worth mentioning is berberine. I use berberine before and for a few days after special occasions when I eat a meal that contains carbs, which are few and far between on keto. The dessert menu is just too good to resist at a few of my favorite restaurants and berberine is usually a good bet for improving insulin sensitivity, so it can be helpful for a ketogenic dieter like myself who is trying to stay in ketosis more often than not.
Known as ‘The Muscle Ph.D.,’ Dr. Jacob Wilson has a knack for transforming challenging, complex concepts into understandable lessons that can support your body composition and health goals. A skeletal muscle physiologist and sports nutrition expert, Wilson is a leader in muscle sports nutrition. As the CEO of The Applied Science & Performance Institute and researches supplementation, nutrition, and their impact on muscle size, strength, and power.