Supplements I could not get JACKED (on the beanstalk) without
As I go deeper and deeper into the depths of competitive bodybuilding, it’s crazy how many times I’m confronted with new, tempting, vegan “miracle supplements” that will apparently turn me into a shredded beast.
I say “tempting” because it is tempting. As I gear up to compete on a provincial level, I KNOW the girls are going to have a lot more muscle than the amateur level. I also KNOW that they’re going to be taking ALL of these “miracle products” themselves in order to get that competitive advantage.
Have I been tempted? You’re damn right. Do I want to win? Hell yes. But what I keep coming back to is my health. And when I set out on this lil’ vegan bodybuilding adventure back in early 2013, I made the firm decision to always compete as naturally and holistically as possible. And no matter what or who was pressuring me, I would stick to my plantbuilt guns (after all, they’re still pretty jacked.)
I’m proud to say I’ve remained true to my ethics throughout this journey. There are, however, a few, lil’ supplements up my tight-fitting sleeves that I believe have contributed immensely to my physique but I consider to be healthy, natural, and safe sport nutrition “supplements.”
I truly believe that I’ve been able to sculpt the vegan bikini competitor body that I have thanks to my daily consumption of the following:
1) A good quality multivitamin. A multi/mineral vitamin is the best way to ensure a variety of vitamins but keep the number of pills you’re popping to a minimum. I like The Progressive brand multi for active women. It provides a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, and green food concentrates. It also contains no common allergens and is of course, vegan 🙂
2) Jacked on the Beanstalk Protein. My biggest issue as a vegan bodybuilder is consuming enough protein. It’s crucial that I get at least 75 grams of protein per day to help increase muscle tone and definition. For many years, my go-to vegan protein powder was Vega Sport (pea protein-based) because it tastes awesome and contains both BCAAs and glutamine. But I’ve discovered in recent years that my body responds best to brown rice protein. And by this, I mean it doesn't make me nearly as bloated or farty like pea protein does. So I created my own protein! It contains 23 grams of protein per scoop! I usually make smoothies or bake with the vanilla flavoured protein and when I’m cutting for a competition or a photo shoot, chocolate protein pudding (literally powder + water) with some PB2 is my savior for battling sugar cravings.
3) Plain Hemp Protein Powder. Now don’t get me wrong, I could eat my own protein powder all day, everyday and not get sick of it. But alas, the closer I get to competition, the more I have to cut out everything and anything that contains even the slightest bit of sodium or sugar. So what I usually do is mix my Nature’s Food with a plain protein powder. As a true connoisseur of the most plain, bland, boring foods on earth (welcome to competitive bodybuilding,) Manitoba Harvest definitely makes the sweetest, purest-tasting, least chalky, hemp protein I’ve tried. Top quality stuff, high in protein, and another awesome Canadian company!
4) Branched Chain Amino Acids. As mentioned in previous vegan bodybuilding posts, I am a HUGE advocate of branched chain amino acids. I really love the Clean Machine and/or PVL brand because they’re both completely natural (made from fermented corn/beets and contain no weird additives.) But be warned, they may or may not taste like unflavoured, fermented corn and beets… Mmmmmmm.. But you know what? THEY WORK LIKE MAGIC! BCAAs are so crucial for preventing muscle loss and giving me additional energy during a cutting phase. I always take them before my cardio and either during or after my weight training sessions. Sometimes before bed too if I did a super intense glutes workout that day. PS if you order the Clean Machine BCAAs online, use my discount code sscma and you’ll save 20% 🙂
5) L-Glutamine. Another super important amino acid, also crucial for muscle repair and recovery is L-Glutamine. Depleted glutamine stores make it pretty near impossible to recover from heavy workouts. For this, I always take it before bed. My fave glutamine also comes from the good people at North Coast Naturals. It’s 100% pure, fermented AND unflavoured. Glutamine also regulates your blood PH, is involved in immune function and antioxidant production so don’t overlook this important muscle building amino!
And there you have it, kids! My solutions to getting JACKED ON THE BEANSTALK! Now go pet a dog and kill some weights!
– Samantha Shorkey