Mindset of Young Athletes

The following is an excerpt from John O’Sullivan’s excellent book Changing the Game.  If you would like to see more about his book, or Carol’s Dweck’s Mindset book, links are provided at the end.

The influence of state of mind on performance has been confirmed through decades of research by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck. She has discovered that beyond talent, intent, and actions, a person’s approach and what she calls “mindset” play a tremendous role in achievement and performance. Dweck has discovered that people have either a fixed or a growth mindset when it comes to performance. The view a person adopts profoundly affects the way she lives her life, how she performs, and what she accomplishes.
Fixed-mindset individuals believe that their abilities and qualities are carved in stone and that every activity is a test of one’s innate, unchangeable ability. Whether it be in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in a relationship, fixed-mindset individuals view every situation as a confirmation of their intelligence, ability, character, and even their personality. Challenges are to be avoided, obstacles are reasons to give up, criticism is ignored, effort is worthless, and the success of others is threatening. Fixed-mindset people do not believe in growth, only validation. You’ve either got it or you don’t!

Here are some things that fixed-mindset people say:
“I don’t play much. I am just not a good soccer player.”
“I failed the test. I won’t ever understand algebra.”
“I am not an artist. My brother got all the artistic genes in our family.”

Do any of these sound familiar? Do you know anyone whose every failure is a repudiation of his ability? Do you see a player who has potential but is not applying himself? “Why even try?” says the fixed mindset person. “I am just not good and never can be.” On the other hand, Dweck has discovered that growth-mindset individuals believe that one’s abilities are starting points and that talents are capable of being cultivated, nurtured, and developed. Effort, commitment, risk, failure, and disappointment are all components of development and not a reflection of permanent traits. Everything is a part of the journey, and every success or failure is a reflection upon where one is today, not where one might be tomorrow with some effort and application. As a result, challenges are embraced, effort is the path to
accomplishment, criticism is helpful, persistence is celebrated, and the success of others is inspiring.

Hopefully we have heard some growth-mindset statements from our kids:
“If I’m going to break into the starting lineup, I need to practice
harder and more often.”
“I got a C. I need to do some more studying for our next test.”
“Wow! That was the most challenging practice we ever had. I like our
new coach!”

Growth-mindset individuals love challenges, take risks, try new things, and focus on the process—not the outcome—of achievement activities. Through her research, Dweck has developed a series of mindset workshops and tested her theories on students of all ages. In one of her studies, she taught a portion of a class a fixed-mindset approach (the brain does not develop, skill is innate and cannot be learned, etc.), while others were led to adopt a growth-mindset approach (this can be learned, ability can be developed). Over eight sessions, both groups of students were taught study skills and how to apply them to learning challenging new concepts. Their teachers were not told which kids were in which group, but they were asked for feedback on student performance. Throughout the study, teachers singled out far more students in the growth-mindset group for making huge progress in both their motivation and improvement. At semester’s end, Dweck looked at the students’ grades in math. The growth-mindset group showed an improvement and was far more inspired to learn and put forth effort. The students in the fixed-mindset group did not improve their grades. In spite of receiving everything the growth group did, except for the growth-mindset training, their motivation to learn and apply their new study skills did not change. Their mindset held them back!
From toddlers to adults, Dweck’s results are astounding and consistent. Every study confirmed that the growth-mindset individuals learned more, demonstrated more improvement in testing, challenged themselves more often, and enjoyed themselves more than the fixed mindset groups. Every time! The highest-performing athletes are likely to have a growth mindset when it comes to sports. Of course, young athletes and even pros may perform well on a fixed mindset, but they will never reach their true potential. They will constantly seek validation and need to prove themselves instead of focusing upon improving themselves. In the long run, they will be surpassed by those athletes with a proper growth oriented state of mind.
The great news is that mindsets can be changed. Dweck has developed workshops and exercises that help students, athletes, and others adopt a growth-oriented mindset. Sometimes it is as simple as watching a short video on how the brain grows and develops throughout life. Other times it is simple statements of praise that have the desired effect. Once people are open to the possibility that nothing is fixed, they can get on with
learning and performing their best.

John O’ Sullivan’s site

Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset

Personal nutrition

Everybody has heard of personal training.  It is ubiquitous in every gym.  You join, they set up an appointment with a trainer, you discuss goals, frequency, duration, training history, time of day, etc.  It is the “personal” part of personal training.  You get a training card with your exact routine:

  • If you want to gain muscle, it is probably a body part split, with reps between 8-12, 3-4 days/week.
  • If you want to get super strong, it is a powerlifting style, with lower reps and heavy weight.
  • If you want to burn fat, it may be a metabolic style with several exercises grouped together with the goal of burning calories.
  • If you “want it all”, it is a total body routine that is repeated 3-4 days/week.

Could the same be said for “personalizing” your nutrition?  If you read ten different books, each with their own twist on how be lean, eat healthy and look/feel your best, you would likely be more confused than ever.  So, if we take the time to write up exercises, design programs and teach proper form, exercise progressions, recovery methods, etc, shouldn’t we treat nutrition pretty much the same?

Personalized nutrition is as much science as it is art.  Training methodologies work for the vast majority of trainees; the same cannot be said for nutrition.  It is much more about the person and how they need to eat than training.  For example, Brian and myself have extremely fast metabolisms and are afforded the “luxury” of eating whatever we want.  While it works for us, it is not recommended for everybody.  Others simply have to look at food and they gain weight.  It comes down to experimenting with several different habits, not diets, until you find the formula that works.

So, you may be wondering, “How can this work for me”?  It is a two part process:

Part 1 – Develop habits.

Part 2 – Experiment, refine and repeat those habits.

Here are a few habits to consider:


In the past, I have been guilty of taking more about diet/nutrition than building habits that include nutrition, but are not grounded in nutrition.  Some of the habits above (journalling, gratitude, planning) are not directly about food but about a habit involving food.  They could also be about anything else in your life!

There is not a “one-size-fits-all” answer when it comes to nutrition.  It is a never ending questSpeedBump to learn as much as you can about your own unique physiology, brain chemistry, metabolism, genetics, and digestion among other factors.  The key is to never give up the journey to find your formula to personalize your nutrition.

If you would like to chat more about this topic, let us know and we can go down the rabbit hole together until we find the answers!



I have been really thinking about what the culture is, and should be, at ASF.  While it is hard to define, it may be the most important IMG_20141206_142204_930_1component of a business.  Most businesses have Mission Statements and some even have Vision Statements, but what about a Culture Statement?  While these are more of a brain dump than a true statement, it was too hard to narrow it down…so, here goes nothin!

  • A physically active lifestyle is more important than exercise (there is a difference).
  • Everyone is an athlete, they just don’t know it yet.
  • ASF is a playground, not a training facility.
  • We are successful if we can move people from needing activity DSC_0065to choosing activity to loving activity.


  • Each class/session has the following three goals attached to it (stolen from Mike Boyle):
    • Did they have fun?
    • Did they learn something?
    • Do they want to come back?
  • Fun is a prerequisite for all coaches.
  • The biggest thrill we get as coaches is to help people discover their Awesomeness.



  • Our business plan is centered around our Core Values; on people, not numbers.
  • We encourage everyone to be their authentic self inside these four walls.
  • We are dialed-in on who on we are a good fit for, however, we are not for everyone.
  • We understand the power of a collective group of like-minded individuals who can forge personal relationships into a community.  We love the Tribe that ASF has become and welcome the opportunity to have us in your life and to have you in our family.


Glutes = horsepower (part 1 of 2) – Brian Macdonald

Any athlete who has been to Adrenaline for performance enhancement training can tell you there’s a heavy dose of glute work in just about every training session. Hip thrusts, band hip abductions and glute bridges are just a few of many examples of what you might see athletes performing. On the flip side, new athletes usually have a look of absolute confusion or shock when we show them how to do a hip thrust. “I have to do what!!?? Why???”. The gluteus maximus is the single largest muscle in our body, but the majority of people do not use them correctly or know how to activate their muscle group known collectively as the glutes. It is also critical when it comes to athletic performance.

So why do we put so much emphasis on glute training? First and foremost, strong glutes directly help to improve posture. All of the athletes we train, and certainly a great number of adults we train, are stuck at a desk or driving the majority of the day. This is a recipe for tight hip flexors, over stretched weak hip extensors and dysfunctional glute activation. All of this contributes to poor posture and associated chronic low back pain. By strengthening the glutes in conjunction with stretching the hip flexors, we can pull the pelvis back alleviating the common issues caused by a constant anterior (front) pelvic tilt. Second, and probably most importantly, is injury prevention. I previously hit on the importance of glutes and how they collectively support the low back, but lets talk about how it can affect the lower body. The glutes are hip stabilizers as well, which means when weak, can completely screw up our lower body alignment. If we don’t have proper alignment from the hips to the knees, this can make us more prone to ACL sprains, iliotibial band syndrome, tendonitis, etc. This will obviously trickle down the kinetic chain to our lower legs and ankles. Injuries such as Achilles ruptures, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints), even ankle sprains can become more likely due to improper alignment stemming at the hips and weak glutes. Lastly, we have their contribution to athletic performance. As the title suggests, our gluteal muscles are collectively the strongest muscles in the body. They are able to produce massive amounts of force which is directly related to how fast we can run and how high we can jump. The more powerful we are with hip extension, the more we can propel our bodies forward, laterally, and vertically.
It should be clear that training and strengthening our glutes is a critical component of all protocols we implement at Adrenaline, whether it is an athlete with a goal of increasing their vertical jump and 40 yard dash, or an adult with the goal of living a more active lifestyle. Hopefully, this helps answer the question I know so many people have either asked, or are thinking:  Why do we train the glutes so damn much?

Part two will go into some specific exercises, why we use them, who they are for and how to properly execute.

Drills must have purpose – Brian Macdonald

If there is one thing that has drastically changed the most since I became a coach, it is how I watch sports. Don’t get me wrong, I still get insanely jacked up when my team scores or makes a big play, but my spectating does not stop there. Instead, I am analyzing mechanics such as arm swing, knee drive, posture, hip level, etc., etc. This is partially due to the fact I am analyzing mechanics for hours a day 5-6 days a week with my athletes, so it just happens without me even realizing it at times. Also, while watching games, I am thinking to myself, “How can I make that situation into a drill?”

For example, I was watching a high school lacrosse game, and I instantly noticed how much the defenders were over-pursuing attackers crossing midfield. Fast forward two weeks later, and I am implementing a drill directly linked to helping with that problem. Not a lacrosse specific drill,  per se, but rather a defensive specific drill involving acceleration, deceleration, change of direction paired with defensive reactivity. It would apply to any team-based sport involving an opponent.

My point with this is all of our drills have purpose to them. Anyone can throw some cones down and do some fancy agility drill that looks cool, but is there purpose behind that fancy drill? Drills must be meaningful and must match the demands of what they will be experiencing on the playing field. When we implement drills, we know there will be direct transfer to what they will experience during competition. The question we always have to ask ourselves as coaches is, “What is there purpose behind this protocol, or will it simply be mindless repetition?”
For example, we have skill days strictly devoted to offensive cutting that we do quite often. That is the major skill set we are covering, however there are a number of different cuts utilized to create space. One of these is what we term as a spin cut. If you happened to catch the Ohio State vs Virginia Tech game in the season opener this year, you saw this exact cut when Braxton Miller broke some ankles on his way to a touchdown. This was a fantastic example of how we tailor our skill protocols to result in direct transfer to competition.   Here are two videos to illustrate what I am talking about:

For coaching purposes, here is what a spin cut drill may look like:

This is a pretty big deal around here.  We always discuss the importance of teaching the skill, not the drill, although the two are linked together.

Random Thoughts (September 2015)

Every now and then, we will drop some quick bits of info that are more just thoughts than a complete blog post.  If there is enough interest, we can then develop specific topics at a later time. (The coaches name is in parentheses who submitted the idea)

  1. I used to be skeptical about Probiotic supplements, but no more.  Although the jury is alignout about their efficacy, there is no denying the branch of science that deals with the microbiome living in side us.  If we can nurture and feed those little critters, we are so much healthier for doing so. (Tony)
  2. Some of you know I have a serious left shoulder issue and will likely need surgery sooner than later.  I am delaying it as long as possible, and recently tried dry needling with positive results so far.  Here is where I go. (Tony)
  3. I recently joined a gym as it is very hard to train at ASF…too many distractions.  What I have seen has re-confirmed our coaching style as the biggest difference compared to that of a commercial gym environment. (Tony)
  4. By far, the coolest part of our day is getting to know everyone’s story.  The diversity of adults and kids never makes a dull moment!  Thank you for sharing your lives with us. (Tony)
  5. We will be sending out a beta version of a new service, called Progress Reports, to a few parents as a test to see how it goes over.  It is a way to track the progress of your son or daughter as they move through our program. (Tony)
  6. I still don’t know what “in shape” means. (Tony)
  7. Have we forgotten the power of play?  This week, we had just finished our 5:00 class, and per usual a few kids stuck around to play the next warm-up game with the incoming 6:15 class. This happens quite often, but it never really struck me until I chose not to participate and just observed. I instantly noticed the pure joy on each kid’s face and how for some, this is the highlight of their day. The other thing that sticks out is how much “speed and agility” training is present within these games. This is the best form of speed and agility training you can ask for:  a chaotic and reactive environment. I may step in for a few seconds to tell an athlete how they could have been more effective on that play, but a lot of it is self exploration and problem solving on their own. I can give them the tools to work with (technique), but it is up to them to implement and utilize these tools I have provided in this chaotic environment they have to perform in. (Brian)
  8. Keep it simple.  I often hear the question “when can I use those cool parachutes?”, or “when do I get to run with sleds for an hour?”. This goes back to the concept of what people think we do compared to what we actually do. Our philosophy is hammer the fundamentals, and everything else will follow. Every championship caliber team we see in sports all have one thing in common, and that is fundamentals. They have practiced the basics over and over and over until mastery is achieved. The basics are our foundation to athletic development. Without our foundation, our structure will collapse. If there is one thing my athletes will know before their training is finished at ASF, it is the fundamentals of movement. (Brian)
  9. We have one of the few jobs around where we look forward to Mondays and are sad when it’s Friday.  Most people have the opposite feeling. (Tony)
  10. More is Less. I’ve really taken this statement to heart recently and I have been more productive over the past few weeks than I have been in awhile. Simply by committing to fewer things, removing projects from my “to-do” list, and lowering my training volume I’ve gotten more done, and actually gotten stronger. By focusing my energy on one to three main things, I’ve been getting more done. (Neil)
  11. Doing stuff versus getting stuff done. Tony brought this up a few weeks ago and it has been an absolute game changer of an idea for me. No longer am I just running around doing things, I’m doing fewer things at a time but getting them done. Checked off the list done, not just started and set aside. The example he used was running on a treadmill versus running outside; you’re still running, but outside you’re actually getting somewhere. (Neil)
  12. You are awesome! Seriously, you all are. M2 classes, strength school, athlete’s alike, you absolute kill it every single day. You inspire me to continue to train my hardest even when I don’t feel like it. Seeing you psycho’s at 5:30am is crazy inspiring and I love it! Keep up the good work everyone! (Neil)

Pre-training Strategies – Neil Platt

I hate being reactionary. I despise having to spend time rectifying a situation that could have been avoided simply by being proactive. This post is in reaction to something troubling that I have noticed over the summer. I am not angry or disappointed in anyone other than myself for this problem. I could have done much more to try and avoid this situation all together, but here we are, spending time writing this post. The problem? Athletes and adults alike who come to train on empty (or poorly fed) stomach’s, with inadequate levels of hydration, and are suffering from sleep deprivation.
Before nearly every training session, I like to ask our athletes what they ate for breakfast. It would be safe to assume that nearly 80% of the answers I get go something like, “well, I woke up at 8:45 (for a 9am session) so I didn’t have time to eat anything.” Or another common answer is, “I woke up but mom wasn’t there so I had a pop-tart (or some other kind of sugary breakfast pastry).” Occasionally I’ll get a kid tell me they had eggs, toast, and a glass of OJ. Obviously, the kid with the well balanced breakfast is in the clear. Option number two: Kid with the pop-tart; while not ideal, is in better shape than the kid who ate nothing. Expecting to come in and train hard on an empty (or poorly fed) stomach is equivalent to expecting your car to get you to work without any gas in the tank… it‘s not going to happen. Occasionally, somebody will say that they can’t train after they eat, and I totally understand that. To avoid this, try eating something small, such as a granola bar or piece of fruit. You could also try eating a meal about two hours prior to training. This will allow for enough time for digestion and give you the energy and stable blood sugar that you need. Worst case scenario, drink a protein shake or even a glass of juice. Ideally, you eat some form of protein (lean meat, eggs…) prior to and immediately after your training. Make sure to include some form of carbohydrate as well. This can be as simple as having an apple or a few slices of toast. I personally can’t eat right after training so I drink a protein shake that is high in carbohydrates and then eat something about an hour after that (shameless plug: the Gatorade shakes that we sell are amazing!).
It is currently August in Ohio; it’s freaking hot and humid. Hydration, or in the case of training, re-hydrating is absolutely essential. Again, you would not believe how many kids (and adults) don’t take re-hydrating themselves seriously. When it’s as hot as it is outside, you sweat. This is the body trying to cool itself. This cooling mechanism can only work when the sweat you produce is evaporated. When the humidity is as high as it is, you can’t evaporate sweat, therefore you keep sweating. This constant cycle quickly leads to dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your body cannot perform the basic functions that it needs at optimal speeds. You become sluggish, dizzy, and nauseous. All of these symptoms, along with being dangerous, severely hamper your performance. The best way to check your hydration status is to check your urine color. You should be aiming for a clearer color more so than a yellowish one. When re-hydrating after exercise, replenish 1.5 times your body weight, in ounces, lost during activity. So if I lose one pound during exercise, I should drink about 20-24 ounces of water. I constantly have a cup of water with me and I aim to fill it up at least five times a day. It is unlikely to become over hydrated so make sure that you are drinking enough to help in the recovery process. When it comes to dehydration, if you’re thirsty you’re likely already dehydrated. Aim to stay ahead of it.
Finally, we get to sleep. The benefits of sleep on activity and as a performance enhancer are so numerous that I’m saving this topic for an entirely different blog post. The takeaway from this post: Get more sleep!! So many kids come in sluggish, tired, groggy, basically no motivation to train. You ask them what time they went to bed and they’ll tell you “oh probably around 2 or 3.” Younger athletes should be aiming for about 10 hours of sleep a night. Everyone has different sleep needs, but a vast majority need a minimum of 8 hours to function properly. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, there a few things that you can try. Make sure that all electronic devices are shut off and try to avoid doing anything on your phone for at least an hour before bed (I’m more than guilty of not doing this). You can also try stretching, foam rolling, and meditation. All of these help to active your para-sympathetic nervous system which causes you to relax.

There you have it, the pre-workout recipe:

Get 8-10 hours of quality sleep the night before training.

Be sure that you have been hydrating yourself throughout the previous day and before your training session.

Do your best to get some sort of food in your system prior to training. Again, this can be as simple as having a granola bar or a piece of fruit. You just need something to give you the energy to get through your workout.

Supplement 101- What the coaches use, part two

By Brian Macdonald

This is part 2 of my supplement series which will cover my post-workout supplementation. This implies what I take immediately following my workout. Any one who has the least bit of knowledge regarding exercise, and our body’s physiological response, understands that results rely heavily on the effort we put into recovery. A well balanced diet is obviously the critical aspect of recovery, or in other words, how well we fuel our body. There are times where it is extremely difficult, and expensive, to achieve all our body’s needs through diet alone. Someone who may be training more frequently and intense than average may require supplementation to achieve all the body’s nutritional needs. I will use myself as an example:  I am very active on a daily basis simply as a product of my position as a coach, but I am also training for a physique competition. With my goal of adding some additional lean muscle mass, as well as keep up with my caloric expenditure throughout the day, I have to take in upwards of 3,500 calories a day, and as high as 400 grams of carbohydrates.  There are days where I am practically force feeding myself in an attempt to reach these needs. That is where supplementation comes into play. It helps me achieve these nutritional needs while also taking away the pain of stuffing myself. So lets dig into these supplements.

My post-workout regimen consists of a protein blend (See Neil’s description of Beverly UMP in our previous blog regarding supplementation), along with a two part post workout regimen by JYM and Jim Stoppani which utilizes a combination of key ingredients to aid in recovery. The Post Jym Matrix, as previously stated, utilizes a scientifically-backed ingredient line-up proven to aid in recovery. Many of these ingredients are identical to that of Pre JYM which I covered, in detail, in our part one of this series. Those ingredients are BCAA’s, creatine HCL, beta-alanine, betaine, and taurine. All of which are effective when taken before and after a workout session to achieve desired strength, power, and muscular results. The difference in Post Jym are the glutamine and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate. It contains three grams of glutamine which is an amino acid in our body that aids in muscular recovery and growth. There are countless scientific studies suggesting glutamine speeds up the recovery process. Research also suggests it optimizes our immune system function which is an obvious plus. Many people do not understand working out is in fact breaking down our body, part of which can include our immune system, so it is through the recovery process that we achieve our gains. The other ingredient, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, is considered to aid in the recovery process due to it’s ability to increase Nitric Oxide. This increases blood flow therefore increasing the amount of nutrients and oxygen to our muscles.

The last post workout supplement I use is the Post JYM fast digesting carb (dextrose). During a workout, our main fuel source is muscle glycogen, and research suggests the best way to replenish our glycogen stores is by ingesting high glycemic carbohydrates immediately following your training. Dextrose is a great source simply because it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized in replenishing those glycogen stores. If you want some additional information regarding post workout carb intake, take a look at this article by Jim Stoppani. as it goes into quite a bit more detail on glycogen, insulin, sources, etc.

Lastly, I just want to reiterate the importance of recovery in training. So many people think the more you can train in a day, the better your results. Any one who has done an ounce of research on the topic knows this could not be further from the truth. If you do train multiple times a day, you have to make sure you are devoting as much energy towards fueling your body and recovery. Also, we can talk as much as we want about supplements and how we should eat, but everyone forgets the magical answer to recovery…..SLEEP! This has to be a top priority when talking about recovery. Here is a sleep recommendation chart from the National Sleep Foundation to give you a good idea of where you should be at based on your age group.


Why Choose us?

As I was reflecting on entering our tenth year of operation, it occurred to me that there are a lot more options out there compared to 2006.  So, if that’s the case, why choose us?  Since there are more choices, what makes ASF better?  If you are reading this, there is a good chance you have already trained, or are training, with us.  That makes us happy [icon name=”smile-o” class=””].  This post will hopefully define why someone would decide to train with ASF compared with other training facilities.

Ironically, there are a lot of reasons why someone would NOT train with us:  no air conditioning, off the beaten path, duct work showing, zombies on the wall, not a lot of fancy, gold-plated, logo-emblazoned equipment, etc.  We get it:  We are not for everybody.  In fact, that is by design.  So, in another twist, the fact that we are not the generic training location is reason number one why people choose us.

Reason number two is the proud fact that we have a lot of fun while we are here.  The coaches have embraced a culture of laughter, enjoyment and fun, many times at the expense of ourselves.  Not every business can say that (hardly any that I know).

The third reason comes down to what many of you pay for in the first place:  results!  We know this formula to be true:

Relationships + Experience = Results

The greatest part of our day is getting to meet so many interesting people who share their story.  It really is amazing the diversity of everyone that trains here.  While the outcome (quantifiable and/or qualitative) is important, it can’t happen without a great relationship from the very beginning.

The fourth reason comes down to being different or being better.  Or in our case, both.  We feel that the biggest reason people stick around is because of the fact that we try to be different and better than everyone else.  We do some things that are very unique to us, and others that are done elsewhere, but maybe it is tweaked for a better experience.

Finally, a fifth way is the backbone of ASF:  The coaches.  Since day one, I knew that other facilities would have many things in common – turf, weights, medicine balls, supplements, etc.  But…

Would the coaches be passionate?

Would they love their job and who they work with?

Would they be chasing money?

Would they be making a difference?

We all have degrees, have top of the line certifications, experience playing sports, but the missing link that makes a good coach into a great coach is the sincere desire to make someone better, to find their awesomeness, to inspire them to do great things.  I love every coach who has worked here, and know they were a better person for having done so.



At the end of the day, being the best can be often overrated if you lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing.  We never give up on improving, growing, evolving to give you the best that we have to offer.   Our target has always been the “WHY” of our job as the reason folks continue to join our family.


Thanks for reading!


Supplements 101 – What the coaches use, part one

The following is a summary of what supplements the ASF coaches use on a regular basis.  It does not mean this is the right program for you; consider it more of an educational piece than a recommendation.

Neil Platt:

What supplements should I take? Which ones work and which ones don’t? Should I take them at all? Isn’t creatine illegal? These are typical questions that are asked by our athletes and adults on a daily basis and I’ve decided to do a brief write up about the supplements I take and why I take them. This is not a comprehensive list and it is in no way a recommendation, just an overview.

Probiotic: I generally start my morning by eating breakfast and taking myalign probiotic. My probiotic is from a company called Align. The benefits of probiotic use are lengthy, and still being researched. It is a small capsule that is filled with tons of live, healthy bacteria that your digestive tract needs. These bacteria aid in the digestive process, as well as a number of other functions. Probiotic use has been shown to help alleviate certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowl syndrome. I recently read a study that showed a link between probiotic supplementation and a reduction in depression like symptoms. I started using it a few months ago and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how my digestive tract is operating.

Multi-Vitamin: Multi-vitamin use seems to be a hot topic. Some people say that eating a well balanced diet that includes plenty of veggies and fruits is enough to get in all of your vitamins and minerals. However, the research shows you would have to eat a ton of different types of veggies, lentils, and grains to get in all of your vitamins and minerals. Truthfully, it is nearly impossible for all of us to eat a well-balanced diet so I use a multi-vitamin to plug any nutrient holes I have in my diet. I’m not a big fan of veggies so I have plenty. No need to get too fancy with your multi-vitamin. I use Centrum for men. You can find it in any grocery store for about fifteen bucks.

Glutamine: Glutamine is a common amino acid found within the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. I take this product during and after my workouts as glutamine supplementation has been shown to reduce muscle breakdown (catabolism) and improve muscle building (anabolism). This product also contains sufficient amounts of the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, all of which are absolutely essglutamineential to building muscle. Glutamine supplementation has also been shown to have positive effects on your immune system, and your digestive system. The direct mechanisms by which this works are not yet known but having glutamine in your system during times of stress (working out, illness…) can help to alleviate many common issues. I get Glutamine Select from Beverly International.

Creatine: Yes, I take creatine and I’m still alive to talk about it. For whatever reason, creatine has gotten a horrible reputation. Your body uses creatine every single day for every single movement you make. Your muscles are able to work due to the energy that is supplied by adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is nothing more than an adenosine molecule combined with three phosphate molecules. When a phosphate group is split off, energy is produced and used for muscle contraction. In order to restore ATP to its normal state, it must gain another phosphate. Where does this phosphate come from? Creatine!! (well creatine phosphate, but for the sake of conversation we‘ll just say creatine). That was a very simple (quite possibly 100+ steps left out) of muscle activation. Creatine restores your muscles ability to contract. Taking creatine can possibly increase the amount of stored creatine in your muscles. More creatine = higher work capacity. If I can work harder AND longer, I may be able to increase my muscle mass and strength. Creatine is not, I repeat, IS NOT illegal and has no (based on legitimate studies) negative side effects. I usually take one serving prior to my workout. Creatine Select is a Beverly International Product.

Protein: I’m currently taking the Beverly International Product called Ultimate Muscle Protein, or UMP. I usually drink one after my workout and another as a snack during the day. UMP has a combination of fast digesting protein (whey) and slow digesting protein (casein). The whey gets into your system faster to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue following exercise and the casein provides a slower release to help you feel full longer and sustain the rebuilding the process. Following my workout I will add some form of fast acting carbohydrate to my shake, such as chocolate syrup. I’ll even eat gummy bears or some form of sugary candy. What?? You eat sugar after you exercise? Yes I do. Following exercise your body is starving for carbohydrates to replenish what it has just burned. The best time to get in your sugary fix is immediately following your workout. Every now and then I’ll drink a Gatorade Recover shake. These shakes are full of carbohydrates and have twenty grams of protein, plus they taste amazing.

So there it is. Those are the supplements that I am currently taking and a brief overview of why I take them. As I mentioned previously, this list does not include every supplement out there and it is not a recommendation to take any of them, simply an overview of my routine. Feel free to ask me any questions regarding these or any other supplements you are thinking about/currently taking and I’ll try to help you out the best I can.

Brian Macdonald:

As a little introduction for this series of blogs, the intent is to go over my current supplement regimen, what they are, why I take them, and who may benefit from their use. My hope is for this to help any of you who may be considering sports nutrition supplementation, and that it may help guide you to making the right choices.
Pre-workout supplementation: I would like to start out by saying I am a big supporter of the JYM brand and Jim Stoppani. I am all in with what Jim stands for, which is a line of supplements that are science-based and truthful. When I say truthful, I mean each and every ingredient is clearly listed as well as their exact amount. There are no “proprietary blends”, which is another blog topic in itself, where the exact ingredient and amount are nowhere to be found. I don’t know about you, but I like to know everything I am putting in my body clearly listed so that if there is something I am unsure about, I can research it. For anyone who is interested in supplementation and unsure about what brand to go with, at least visit Jim Stoppani’s website for information on supplementation (He his a Ph.D in Exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut, so he is very knowledgeable of everything he creates and every ingredient he uses.)
Moving on to my pre-workout supplement:
Pre-Jym by Jim Stoppani
It gives me a great boost in energy and focus along with key ingredients involved in fighting fatigue, increasing muscular strength and power, as well as muscular gains. It’s not “just a killer pump” I look for, but a logical and science backed combination of ingredients that will help enhance my training.
– Branched Chain Amino Acids (6 Grams).  They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.  BCAA are used directly by our muscles as an energy source; Leucine is considered most important due to it’s role in stimulating protein synthesis; Valine aides in fighting fatigue.
– Citrulline Malate.  Citrulline is converted to Arginine, an amino acid which is then converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a naturally occurring gas in the body which is said to aide in muscular growth and recovery, while also increasing blood flow (vasodilation) which increases the delivery of nutrients to our muscles.
– Creatine HCL (2 grams).  As Neil mentioned, creatine is one of, if not the most, researched supplement on the market. It is substantially backed by science that creatine helps support
gains in muscular strength and power. Creatine Hydrochloride is simply an easier absorbed form and helps to prevent stomach issues which may occur through creatine monohydrate supplementation.
– Beta-Alanine (2 Grams).  Beta-alanine helps to form carnosine. Research suggests increased carnosine levels increases strength and power, while also boosting endurance and recovery.
– Betaine (1.5 Grams). Clinical studies have suggested Betaine helps improve muscular
strength and power production.
In closing, the only way to know if a supplement is right for you is to try it. Everyone reacts differently to supplements. Something which may work great for me, may not do anything for you. One thing you certainly need to have is patience. We are in a society of “instant gratification”. Results simply will not happen overnight and time needs to be given to see how your body reacts to the supplement. Lastly, understand that these blogs are information about supplements, meaning supplementing your diet. One thing that drives me absolutely insane are people who complain about a supplement that isn’t working at all, while I see them stuffing their face with fast food for two out of three meals per day. These supplements will not replace your diet or make up for a poor diet, but instead will work best in conjunction with a reasonably healthy approach to nutrition.

Part two will delve into what other supplements I use post-workout and for general health.  There will also be a section outlining the supplement usage, past and current, of Tony Poggiali.

Thanks for reading!