Supplements FAQ podcast episode featured by top macro coach, Amber of Biceps After Babies


As a follow-up from last week’s Episode 60, in this segment of “Ask Amber” I continue to answer all of your health and fitness supplement questions! This second part in the series addresses pre-workouts (what they are and their benefits), BCAAs (what they do and who should take them), muscle aches and pains, daily multivitamins, and the BIG question: supplements while pregnant/breastfeeding.  I have also created a freebie reference sheet that can be found in the show notes.


Questions Addressed About Supplements:

  • Should I use a pre-workout drink?  2:20
  • What is the best pre-workout to take? 8:11
  • Will a pre-workout help with my running? 12:11
  • Should I be taking a daily multivitamin? 13:47
  • What helps with muscle aches and pains from working out? 16:24
  • What are BCAAs? 21:00
  • Who should take BCAAs? 24:09
  • What about supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding? 27:49
  • Supplements not worth your money. 41:53


I hope you find this “Ask Amber” series helpful and that you learn some new things and that you have a little bit less fear and trepidation about trying to figure out what you should do when it comes to supplements. Let me know what you’ve learned and if you have any other questions! And don’t forget about my free “cheat sheet” to help you navigate the supplement world!

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You're listening to Biceps After Babies radio episode number 61

Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is 

about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and 

empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, 

online fitness coach, wife, and mom of four. My guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal 

development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be 

strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.


Hey, hey, hey welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, and this week is a continuation of last week. We are still talking about supplements. When I asked you guys what questions you had, there were lots of questions, and so I decided to break this episode up into two parts. So if you haven't yet listen to part one episode numbers 60. I suggest you go back and listen to that one first. Well, first, I gave some disclaimers that when it comes to supplements, we talked about are supplements necessary. We talked about the hierarchy of nutrition. We talked about protein powders and different types of protein powders, and we talked about creatine. So that was last week.


This Week’s Episode (1:30)

And this week we're gonna bring up pre-workout. We're gonna talk about BCAAs. We're gonna talk about pregnancy and nursing because that was something that a lot of people were concerned with. So we are going to dive right into the content, no chit chat at the beginning so we can learn as much as possible about supplements.


Freebie Cheat Sheet (1:48)

I do also want to remind you that I put together a freebie for this episode. So I have a supplement checklist where I talk about my recommendations and who should take what, and I put that together in just like a pdf cheat sheet for you. So if you go to you can go and snag that cheat sheet and It has some things that I haven't even talked about on the podcast because they are visual so you can go snag that freebie at

Pre-workouts (2:20)

So the first question that I'm gonna answer comes from Sean and then also Sally. Sean said, Should I do a pre-workout drink? What benefits are there to them other than the caffeine kick? And Sally asked pros and cons of pre-workout? I feel like the gateway into supplements is protein powder, meaning that it seems pretty mainstream. It's pretty accessible. I feel like after protein powder the next step for most people is pre-workout. So what is pre-workout and why do people use it? Well, obviously, by the name pre-workout is something that you take prior to your workout, and one of the biggest parts of pre-workout of the biggest reason that people take it is for the caffeine boost. So caffeine is usually a major component in pre-workout, and I mean there's been lots and lots of research on caffeine and its effects and how it can improve performance because it gives you extra energy and it gives you extra zip and it allows you to push harder. And so one of the benefits for a lot of people for pre-workout is when they take it and they get that caffeine boost, then they're able to do more reps. They're able to do more sets. They're able to push harder in their workout and by pushing harder you're able to do more, build more muscle, get better, perform better, faster. And so again it's this is a case of like supplements have to supplement what you're already doing. You cannot just take pre-workout and it just doesn't work by itself. It works because it allows you, the individual, to perform and work harder in your training session.


Do I Use a Pre-workout? (4:06)

Now, for a long time, I didn't really use pre-workout. I never used pre-workout when I was teaching classes. Even when I was doing the body building, I started using pre working a little bit when I was doing power lifting and I was having a really heavy day or I knew there was a really intense day or as going for a PR, I wanted something that was gave me that extra edge that extra boost. Um, currently now, in CrossFit I do use pre-workout about three times a week, So I do early morning CrossFit. I get up at 5:30, class at six, and I do find that pre-workout does help me perform better. It helps me to push harder during those workouts I limit it to three times a week because there is a concern with caffeine, just like if you drink coffee or if you have caffeine in other forms that there is an adaptation that your body does that you do develop a tolerance to caffeine, and it stops working as effectively if your body just built up a tolerance to it. And so caffeine does tend to work better if you can cycle it so that your body isn't always getting it that way. When it does get it, it actually works, and it gives you a boost. Now, caffeine isn't the only thing that is in pre-workout, typically two other big components that a lot of pre-workouts have our allan ing and creatine and creatine I already talked about in last week's episode, and creatine is very, very well studied. It improves performance, improves Muscle Building, Improves Strength. There's a lot of benefits of creatine, and I mentioned last week as well that if you have creatine in your pre-workout that make sure that you are just taking the creatine in your pre-workout, and then on your off days you could be supplementing with just straight creatine.


Beta Alanine in Pre-workouts (5:56)

But the third component, that is in a lot of pre-workouts, you have caffeine you have creatine, and then you have beta alanine.Now beta alanine is what is responsible for that tingly feeling when if you've ever taken a pre-workout and you've like it felt like you kind of like skin starts to tingle, Um, or you have this, like crawling sensation over your body. That is beta alanine. That's alanine working, and some people really don't like that feeling like it just kind of creeps them out, and they just don't enjoy it. And if that's the case, then I would suggest either, starting with a lower dose of your pre-workout, like starting with like 1/4 scoop or half scoop and seeing if you can find an amount that you can tolerate. This is where, like reading your labels becomes really important. Paying attention to how much Beta alanine is in your pre-workout can also allow you to choose a pre-workout. Now the effective dose or the dose that has been researched to show the greatest effect is somewhere in between the 2.4 to 4.8 gram range. And so that's also something that you can pay attention to as you're dishing out your pre-workout, make sure you're looking at the components of it, and something that a lot of companies will do is they will underdose components. So it we have beta alanine in it, but it will be under dosed. It will have creatine in it, but it will be under dosed. 

Also, pay attention to the amount of caffeine that is in your pre work out. Some of these things now there is like, you know, there's the research that shows us what's an effective range or what's like the best dosage. But some people respond differently to caffeine, and some people need more and some people need less. And there is some individuality in that. And so what you can do is you can pay attention to what is in your pre-workout. How many grams of each of the components are there. And then how much do you need to take in order for it to be effective? And you can know by that there's a wide range like you can find pre-workouts with, like, 300 grams of caffeine, and you can find pre-workouts with 80 grams of caffeine. And so knowing how you personally respond to caffeine and how you personally respond to beta alanine and can help you make a choice about which pre-workout works best.


What’s the Best Pre-workout to Take? (8:11)

Because I get questions all the time about like, what's the best pre-workout to take? And I feel like pre-workout more than almost any other supplement is so individualized because you respond to caffeine differently. You respond to Beta alanine differently, and knowing those ratios is way more important, then just whether or not you like a pre-workout. So I really encourage you to test out some pre-workouts. Um, and, you know, try a couple. Try some with different caffeine levels. Try some maybe with different beta alanine levels, especially if you really don't like the tingly sensation and find out what works for you. But what does beta alanine do? Why do we put that in a pre-workout? Beta alanine helps to reduce muscle acidity. So when the muscles contract, they become acidic. Lactic acid builds up and it impairs further contraction. And so what beta alanine does is it actually increases something called carnosine, and that helps to bring down the muscle acidity. And it can really improve performance specifically in that sub 60 second realm.

So again, like creatine, it is something for quick, fast short movements. We're not talking about long distance running or, you know, endurance training. This is something again for when you're doing short, quick bursts like weight training. As that lactic acid builds up in your muscle, it impairs contraction. It's one of the reasons that you get fatigued as you continue on with your reps, and so if we can reduce that, we can reduce the fatigue then you're able again to crank out some more reps, which gets you stronger. So this is why you will see beta alanine in a lot of pre-workouts. It's not just because it gives you the tingly feeling. Tingly feeling tells you that it's working, but that is the benefit of adding beta alanine to your pre-workout.


Proprietary Blend in Pre-workouts (10:08)

Now I feel like pre-workout almost more than any other supplement I talked about last week, the idea of a proprietary blend where companies don't actually disclose what is in their proprietary blend, and I feel like with pre-workout, this happens a lot like they have some sort of concoction that they've worked out that is like they're pre-workout concoction and they don't actually disclose how many milligrams there are of each of the components, and this is, you know, face value so that people don't copy their blend. But the problem is, is that you as a consumer, have no idea how many milligrams of beta alanine are in there. Is it under dosed? Like I said, a lot of companies will do that to save money. They under dosed these things So they can say that. Yeah, there is beta alanine in it, but it's under dose for what ideal performance would be. And so I really try to stay away from products that I don't know what is in them, and I want to know exactly what is in my pre-workout. I like to have a simple pre-workout. I like to have one that has, like, the ingredients that I just listed, creatine beta alanine, caffeine and not a whole lot of other crap. Those are the things that I want. So I'm not gonna recommend a specific pre-workout, because again, it really depends on you and how you respond to it. But I do encourage you if it's something that you haven't tried yet. And again you have your training and you have your nutrition on point. It can't be something that can be very beneficial. And especially for people who wake up early in the morning, pre-workout can be a way to, like kick start your workout. Now some people just prefer to use coffee. They just want to drink coffee in the morning, and that works for them as a pre-workout. Obviously, it doesn't have beta alanine or creatine, but you can even buy beta alanine and creatine separate and supplement with those separately, so there's a lot of, you know ways to do it, and your pre-workout is definitely not something that you have to include in your workout. But It's something to mess around with and see if you like it if you like the way that it makes you feel. And you like the way that it makes you perform, and you can kind of decide if it's something that you want to include. 


Pre-workout and Running (12:11)

Now, Casey asked a question. She said pros and cons of using pre-workout, a pre-workout supplement before running. I've never used it before, but I wonder if it may help or hurt me during my marathon training. Now again, um, as I was talking through this, I mentioned that like beta alanine and creatine works better for short, quick bursts of energy rather than endurance training. So the other aspects of pre-workout may not be very beneficial for you, However, um, caffeine can help reduce perceived exertion so you can use caffeine as a runner to be able to make your eight minute mile feel like a nine minute mile, right? So that can be something. And this is something that I would encourage you that you test out. Some of this just comes down to experimenting with you and your body and how you feel on your runs and how you feel at the gym. But I think it's awesome to just do some experimenting, like try taking some caffeine prior to your run and see if you like how it makes you feel. See if you like, how it makes the run feel. Um, see if you crash or see if you like, you know, have extra energy and just kind of see how your body responds to it. Some people, as long distance runners, prefer to take their caffeine upfront. Other people tend to want to do it like throughout their run, almost like you're like when you're sucking on gels and things throughout your run. Like they can have some with caffeine so that they're getting like little doses of caffeine throughout the run. Again, try it out, experiment and see what's gonna work for you and your body in your training. 


Should I be Taking a Daily Multivitamin? (13:47)

Now there's a quick question from Ellie, she said, “Should I be taking a daily multivitamin? And if so, which one is best?” So I am of the opinion that the more nutrients and vitamins and things that we can get from our food, the better. And I think most people would agree with that, right? Like, yeah, get your vitamins and stuff from food. Focus on eating mostly whole foods, Mostly nutrient dense foods include some fun foods in there. That's why we count macros, because there is that balance. We can have fun, but we can also fuel our body, and there is a moderation aspect to it. So I am of the opinion that we should get the most of our nutrients from our food. However, some people want to take a multivitamin almost as like a backup, right? Like let's just make sure that I'm getting enough my defense and minerals and I could just buy this multivitamin and I could just take it, and there's nothing wrong with that. As long as you are paying attention to the dosages and for some things, it doesn't matter. Like if you overdose like you get a ton of vitamin C, for example, your body's just gonna pee it out. That's like your body just takes care of it. So the water soluble vitamins your body just peas it out. If you take too much, no big deal, which is why you'll see like crazy numbers on some multi vitamins for like, how much vitamin C is in there. It's like 300% of like the daily value, because if it's too much, no big deal your body just pees it out. However, for the fat soluble vitamin C, vitamin A, D, E and K, your body can't just pee it out if you if you take too much of it. So you have to be just a little bit careful with the dosage, Um, and how much you're taking on. Most multivitamins are fine in of themselves, but when you combine them with may be eating a lot of, um, you know, by high vitamin K foods, there can be a propensity to be able to have too much of those. So, for that reason, like just pay attention to what you're what you're consuming. Um, but I think for a lot of people they take these really expensive vitamins, and then they pee out a lot of it, and it just becomes really expensive pee.


Lab Door and Multivitamins (15:54)

Now, if you really want to take a multivitamin, then I would suggest going to somewhere like Lab Door and just looking at the third party research that is shown because again, with multi vitamins, you don't know exactly what you're getting. You don't know exactly how much the dosages and so Lab Door has done a lot of that work for you of researching the different multivitamins. What are the ratios? Are they underdosing overdosing? And that should give you a good idea of what might be a good multivitamin to take.


What Helps with Muscle Aches and Pains from Working Out? (16:24)

Alright, next question, Kay said, “What can someone help to take with muscle aches and pains from working out?” So this is called DOMS. In case you haven't ever heard that term delayed onset muscle soreness, and this is when you go work out and then later that day or the next day like you can't sit on the toilet because your legs hurt so much, you can't raise your arms overhead because you have so much soreness. This is called DOMS and it's totally normal. One thing I do want to point out is that DOMS isn't necessarily good or bad. So some people think, like if they don't get sore, that they didn't actually work the body, which is 100% not true. Um, and some people, like are like, Oh, yeah, if I am sore than that really means that Like I did a good workout and that's not really true, either. DOMS tends to come on when you introduce something new, a new activity, a new way of using a muscle group, a new lift. And so if you are constantly changing, you are going to be more sore because your body, it's new. Your body hasn't built up that tolerance to it. So, for example, as I'm doing CrossFit, I get way more sore than I ever ever did power lifting because with power lifting, I was doing the same thing. I was squatting, I was benching, I was deadlifting, and I was pressing like and doing some pull ups, like every single week. I was doing the same thing. I didn't get sore, hardly ever doing power lifting. Now with CrossFit, there's so much variety and there's so much change and there's so much variation that I do get a lot more sore. But it doesn't mean that power lifting works less well compared to CrossFit or that CrossFit works better. It just means that I am switching up what I'm doing a lot more. Um, and there's some pluses and minuses to that. 

So one way that you can reduce DOMS is that you can introduce new activities or new lifts or new programs slowly, um, and slowly increase the intensity. And that can help with just preventing DOMS. But if you already have DOMS, things that you can do to help it and help you feel better, you know, doing some like gentle stretching just like stretch out the muscle group, foam rolling or just massaging the muscle can help to, like, work it out to help to kind of relax and loosen some of those muscles that are feeling, you know, really painful using things like tiger balm. So, like a muscle rub. A lot of people swear by that, uh, they have menthol in them, and it can give you some like temporary pain relief of the area. So if you really struggle with muscle soreness, get some of that and see if rubbing that on helps.

You can also use, you know, really cheap things like ice and heat. So what ice is going to do is going to reduce the blood flow to the area, which reduces inflammation. Um, but then you also can use heat right. So the opposite, which actually can increase the blood flow to the area to help to bring in that the tissue repairing faster so you can kind of cycle between the two, right. Cycle between the heat and the ice on and use those two extremes very cheap solution to be able to help with your soreness and then taking something like an NSAID, a nonsteroidal anti inflammatory something like Advil or Aleve is a way that you can, um, help to feel better if you are really feeling sore.

One thing I will suggest is if you’re feeling sore, one of the best things that you can go do is to work out. A lot of times, people feel sore and then they don't want to work out. But actually moving that joint and moving that muscle group will help increase blood flow to it will help to, like, loosen it out and and work it out. So if you are feeling sore, still encourage you to go to the gym and just get some movement in right, like get on a bike, get on the treadmill. Do some lightweight squats or whatever is sore, work through it, and that actually does tend to help with muscle soreness. 

And then the last thing that you can do is you can try out BCAAs. My mom calls it Baca's not Bacchus. Well, we call them BCAAs, which stands for branched-chain Amino Acids. And this is another supplement that you can take and there has been 

some research that shows that BCAAs can be helpful in preventing and reducing the feeling of soreness. Now this is something that there is some conflicting evidence on. So this is something I would try out right? Like, let's do some experimenting. Let's try out and see if you do find that soreness is decreased by taking BCAAs. But that's that's another thing that you can try if you do find that you're sore a lot of the time.


What are BCAAs? (21:00) 

So let's talk a little bit about BCAAs. Rachel asked BCAAs what Where, when, Why. So let's let's talk about what BCAAs are because I feel like there's a lot of confusion and I feel like especially, there's a lot of confusion between BCAAs and pre-workout like people are like do I need to take them both? They kind of think they're like the same thing, and they really aren't. They're completely different. So in our protein, I talked about this last episode. Protein is made up of amino acids and amino acids structurally, if you remember back to high school and college chemistry, they can be straight or they could be bent or they could have, you know, chains or branches off to the side. And so the branched-chained amino acids are named as such because they have chains that branch off to the side. So it's like structurally looking at them, they look like branched-chained amino acids and every amino acids. So there's the 20 amino acids nine essential amino acids. Every single one of them has various properties based on its shape, Which is why I say when you say you're eating protein like you do need to take it like one step further because not all protein has all the amino acids. Not all of them are available to be broken down and with our in our body but every amino acid has various properties. And because these three amino acids have this branched-chain, it alters the way that they are digested and absorbed and used by the body. And that's why they have some special properties that we really like as we're trying to lift weights and grow muscle. So the three branched chain amino acids are leucine,valine, and isoleucine. 

Now it's really important to understand that these three branched-chained amino acids do not promote muscle growth. Okay, so they're not anabolic. Um, they do not promote muscle growth. What they are is anti catabolic. So their biggest benefit is that they are a muscle preserver. They maintain the muscle mass. They prevent the muscle from being broken down. Um, and specifically the amino acid leucine suppresses that muscle breakdown. So BCAAs are like to be touted as something really beneficial. These are the three amino acids that, like weightlifters want here. Why don't we supplement with them? But it's really important to understand that the research is not super great on using BCAAs in their supplement form, being superior to just eating protein. Because if you think about it, these three amino acids leucine,valine, and isoleucine are in the protein that you're eating right. Like if you eat chicken, it's going to have those branched-chain amino acids. So when you compare somebody who is getting an adequate protein intake in their diet with somebody who was supplementing with BCAAs there isn't a big difference. A lot of the research studies that show that there is a big difference are comparing people who are supplementing BCAAs with people who aren't eating adequate amounts of protein. So that's something that's really important to understand.


Who Should Take BCAAs? (24:09)

BCAAs have not been shown to increase weight loss, and they just may not be necessary for a lot of people. It's definitely not just a supplement that, like everybody needs to be taking. If you're eating a high protein, adequate amount of protein diet, and you're getting a wide variety of food you're probably taken care of when it comes to branched-chain amino acids. Now leucine is one of the most important amino acids when it does come to building muscle, and if you are vegan or vegetarian, you may want to pay attention to your leucine intake. You may want to supplement with leucine and specifically because it can be harder to get leucine if you're not eating animal products. Um, but for the most part, if you have a healthy like balanced diet and you're getting enough protein, there's not a whole lot of benefits with supplementing with extra BCAAs. However, there is one time and one certain person who BCAAs may be very helpful to. And that is, if you train fasted, so training fasted means like you wake up in the morning and you don't eat ahead of time and you just go work out. That person may benefit from BCCAs because remember the branched-chain, amino acids ,one of the things that they do is they prevent muscle breakdown, and if you haven't eaten for 8 10 12 hours prior you aren't gonna have access to amino acids in your bloodstream, right? Your body has already digested and, um, process those amino acids and used them all up, and now you're requiring your body to go on, exert energy and to use fuel. And one of the things we really want to prevent is using muscle mass for fuel, like breaking down the muscle mass.

And so one thing that supplementing one time that supplementing with BCAAS can be valuable is if you are training fasted because taking those BCAAs is ahead of time allows your body access to those amino acids without having to break down your muscle tissue. That's the idea of supplementing with BCCAs is training fasted. So that's really the only time that I like, recommend somebody use BCAAs is, if you're training fasted, take the BCAAs, sip on them before and during your workout, and that should help with maintaining some of that muscle mass. But if you are training fed and you've eaten, you know, within the last couple of hours you have and you've eaten some protein, right, you already have those branch-chained amino acids, so supplementing with extra doesn't necessarily do too much for you.

Now some people do just like the flavor of BCCAs and just like to like, sip on. Um, I know some people especially like because it tastes kind of sweet. It could be something that you can sip on as you're making dinner, or later in the afternoon when you kind of feel hungry or peckish or you want something sweet so that can be something that we can drink BCAAs. So there’s nothing wrong with it. There's nothing harmful. You're not gonna hurt yourself. But just understand that if you're trying to, like, prioritize where you spend your money, um, and you are already having a high protein diet and you are already eating around your workouts and you're eating some protein during that time you're probably taking care of, and the only time I really would recommend it. If you are training fasted. Now, if you're like that's okay, I just like them. I want to take them, you know when I train. I don't train fasted, and when should I take them? So if she trained fasted, take them before and during your workout. If you don't train fasted. Then I said, just sipping on them during and or after your workout. So the timing of it kind of depends a little bit on, um, if whether you're trained, fasted or fed.


Supplements and Pregnancy/Breastfeeding (27:49)

Okay, let's do the last big question. The big elephant in the room for some of you. Um, and that is, you know, how do we deal with this with pregnancy and breastfeeding? So Sarah said, “What's okay? What to avoid when breastfeeding?” And Monica asked, “What supplements are frowned upon while pregnant and nursing?”

Now we have to start with a big, huge disclaimer that I am not a physician, and I am more importantly, not your physician. And so everything when you have questions about anything when it comes to pregnancy and nursing, you should be discussing this with your physician Now. That being said, they don't teach this stuff in medical school like this is not something that they have a lecture on of like supplements in pregnancy. And unfortunately, pregnant women and nursing women are really hard group to do research on because there are a lot of confounding factors and there is a lot of like safety issues. And so if you want to do a research project and you go and submit to the IRB, the Institutional Review Board and you say, Hey, I want to do XYZ research on pregnant Women or XYZ research on nursing women. It's going to be very, very hard to get that approved because they're a special population in a special group with a lot of special considerations. And so there just isn't a lot of research on pregnancy and nursing and specifically on supplements. There isn't a lot of research in a lot of areas, but specifically on supplements, because the outcome is just like, not that important. Right when we're weighing, like health of the baby with what's your PR like? That's that's like, not worth it, right? And so I will just say that there are not a lot of research studies on this, and there's not a lot of doctors that are up on it and that even would say like, well, why do you want to even take creatine during your pregnancy? Like what? Why do you care? Um, and so that's something that you may run into so I want to be able to share with you my personal opinion and what I would do during my pregnancy and during my nursing period.


My Experience with Supplements and Pregnancy (29:57)

Now, what you do needs to be based on what you decide with your physician or your provider, but I do think it there's value in like you hearing from what my experience has been and what I would personally do. And then you can take that with a grain of salt and you can decide what is gonna be best for you. So let's kind of start at the top of the list and work down, um, protein powder. Is it safe during pregnancy? Is it not?

 Again, when I talk about this, I like there's not a whole lot of research on it. There's not a whole lot of research studies that are, like 100%. Yes, this is safe 100%. No, this is not. And so you need to kind of make a decision on where you want to fall in what your doctor says. Um, my physician was fine with protein powder. Um, and I have no problem with taking protein powder and supplemented with protein powder during pregnancy.

Again, the purpose of protein powder is just as easy, accessible source of protein. And so I personally felt like that was safe, and I had no problems taking protein powder while I was nursing and or pregnant.

Now BCAAs are another story. There has been some research that has shown that BCAAs, can contribute to infant growth restriction, fetal growth restriction and having babies not grow as as big or as fast as they should. The research is not 100% clear, and it's, you know, there's been some research studies that have shown that there's been some that haven't. But in my opinion, if there's any evidence that it may injure the baby or that it may, it's just not worth it. So for me, I recommend not taking BCAAs during pregnancy. Now, when nursing personally, I think that's a little bit of a different story. There hasn't been the research that's shown that it is harmful, but what I do like to do is to stagger it so that I am taking my BCAAs right after I nurse. So I nurse, then take my BCAAs and then that allows me to have the longest window possible for my body to process the BCAAs. Get them, Um, you know, integrated and out of my bloodstream before that next nursing session comes in. So that's personally what I do is, um I would stagger my BCCAs consumption, Um, so that you know, you have your let your body process it before you have that next nursing session. Now, of course, this differentiates between like, if you have a two week old and they're nursing every like hour and 1/2 that's very, very different from an eight month old who's nursing like, you know, three times a day. So you got to kind of play that by ear and decide what you want to do. But that's personally how I would manage BCAAs. I would not take them during pregnancy. Um, and if I was gonna take them during nursing, I would just stagger it and time it with my nursing schedule.

pre-workout, pre-workout. I personally would not take either nursing or when I was pregnant. Um, I just the amounts of caffeine that you're consuming. That is something that is going to impact the baby and I personally just it's not worth the risk. Like taking pre-workout is just not worth the risk. Now, if you're someone who you have an eight month old and you're just nursing a couple times a day and you want to nurse your baby and then take your pre-workout and then go work out, um, you know, that's that's a choice that you can make. I think that that's a very different situation than again having like a two week old. But personally, for me, if I was nursing very consistently, that would not be something that I would include because we do know that caffeine gets passed on to the baby, um, and Beta alanine like it's just there's things in there that I just wouldn't deal with, and then creatine would be the last one, and creatine for me is just one of those gray zones. It's just like I just probably wouldn't do it. It's the benefit, the payoff is just not not big enough for me to worry about the what ifs, Um and so I would just skip creatine probably when I was nursing and when I was pregnant and You know, just come back to that when you're not, especially since you're probably not going super hard with your weight training during your pregnancy and even during some of that postpartum period. So I personally would just skip it just when you're done nursing then we can add that creatine back in.


What’s Worth Spending Money On? (34:20)

Last question is from Trayvon, she says, “What's worth spending money on?” So if we're going to go down the list of things that we talked about protein powder, I think for most people is a definite worth spending money on and finding a protein powder that you like and enjoy can make hitting your protein much easier it is not required is not essential. It is just a simple and convenient way to be able to get that protein into your diet. But for most people, protein powder is something that is very worth spending money on. 

Creatine, absolutely again, if you have your training in place and you already have your nutrition in place and you have a goal to be able to improve performance, um, PR, increase the weights you're lifting, get stronger build muscle than creatine is a no brainer. That's absolutely something that you should add it is not very expensive. It is something that definitely research very, very clearly shows that it makes a difference. So that is a supplement worth adding, If you're not looking to build muscle, you're not looking to get stronger. Um, no need to add it. It's not going to do it's not gonna do much for you. So, um, but if you are that person who you're like, I already have my training in place. I already have my nutrition place. I want to grow muscle. I want to get stronger. Creatine is a no brainer add if you are training fasted. Um, if you're not training fasted, I would save your money, and I would spend more money on chicken or protein powder or other sources of protein that have and contain BCAAs. By the way. I didn't mention this, but protein powder contains BCAAs. So if you are doing your workout and then drinking a protein shake and drinking BCAAs afterwards, you're essentially like double dosing on it. The protein powder has the branched-chain amino acids in it. And so if you are getting enough protein around your in your diet and around your workouts, you are taking care of when it comes to BCAAs, and you don't necessarily need to supplement with them. So the only time that I do recommend is if you are training fasted then it might be worth spending some money on. Or if you're someone who you're like, I get really sore and I find that BCAAs help. Well, then, awesome and maybe worth spending money on for you as well.

Pre-workout. This is one. If you like it and you enjoy it, then it's worth money. Money on one of the biggest best benefits from pre-workout is just like the feeling that you get from it. If you enjoy that feeling, if you feel like you can push harder. If you enjoy that you can, like hit your workouts harder with pre-workout, then it's definitely worth the money. If you don't like the feeling, it doesn't really make that big of a difference. Whether you take it or whether you don't then pre-workout might be a place that you can save your money and you could just supplement with creatine on its own, and you don't necessarily need to have the Beta alanine in and the caffeine that is contained in most pre-workouts.


Fish Oil (37:14)

Now there's a whole list of other supplements that we didn't talk about, and I'll just briefly mention some of them here because I get lots of questions about it. Um, things like fish oil is fish oil, something that you should take. Fish oil is one of these things that for a long time it was like really big in the media. There was some research studies that came out that linked, uh, eating fish with lower risk of heart, heart disease and stroke. And when that came out, people were like, Oh, awesome, like, let's just take this fish oil supplement. And with further research and more long term research, what we can't come to find out is that there's something that happens between the fish dying and putting it into a pill form that doesn't produce the same effect that eating that fish does. And this is a classic example of, like noticing that something some sort of effect is taking place. People who eat fish have a lower heart rate, or heart disease, risk of heart disease and stroke. And then just assuming that if we can take that and put it in pill form, that is going to do the exact same thing and it doesn't. And so there's been a lot of research within the last couple of years that have come out and said, You know what? Like the supplementing with fish oil doesn't necessarily seem to work like we thought it would, um, and so if you want the benefits of fish oil, you really should be just looking to consume fish and those getting specifically those omega three fatty acids within your diet in the food that you eat rather than supplementing with fish oil.


Vitamin D (38:40)

Another one is vitamin D. We've been hearing a lot about vitamin D. This is one of the vitamins that's really important for bone growth and bone health, and we get it majority from the sun and the sun shines down on us, and then our skin is able to synthesize vitamin D from that, we also do get some from our diet, and there's a lot of supplementing that goes on into things like milk in order to increase the amount of vitamin D that we are using now. Supplementing with vitamin D has kind of been coming into vogue, and there the problem with it is that we have don't have a really good understanding of how much vitamin D is really ideal. And so we have people who believe that the dosage that you should have a vitamin D is like double or triple. What the current recommendations are on. And we just don't have a lot of research to show like how many units of vitamin D do you really need? That is really going to support your overall health. So there's just a lack of this consensus in the medical and scientific community of how to define vitamin D deficiency. So this is kind of one of those gray areas of like whether or not supplementing with vitamin D is valuable. The jury is kind of still out on it. Some doctors are really pro supplemented with vitamin D. Others aren't, um, and it kind of is one of those that you'll have to make a decision on with your medical practitioner probiotics.


What are Probiotics? (40:07)

So what are probiotics? They are life micro organisms that are intended to have health benefits like helping us digest our food. Um, destroyed disease causing microorganisms produce vitamins, and they can be found naturally in our foods like yogurt. Um, and they can also help prevent diarrhea that's caused by, like, taking antibiotics. Some people will get diarrhoea from that because those antibiotics actually kill off your some of your natural gut flora so probiotics can help with that. And so products have shown some promise in research studies. But what we're missing is really strong scientific evidence to support specific uses of probiotic for generally healthy people. And so, um, it's not something that, like I necessarily recommend for everybody. Some people do find benefits by taking it, and that's awesome. And that's great. But it's not one of these things that we just can blanket recommend for everybody that, like generally healthy people, necessarily need to take. You can get probiotics from your food, and so that's a really good way to, um, increase the amount of probiotics again that you're getting from food and again, just like the fish oil, there isn't an understanding of like when we take probiotics from the food and we, like, put it into a pill form if it works as effectively as it does when it's in the food, Um, so just kind of take that and understand when you're taking probiotics that you may benefit more from just getting it from food sources. Those supplements that I just mentioned are kind of like in the gray zone, like there's not a ton of evidence to say, like everybody should be taking it. There's not a ton of evidence to say that they shouldn't. There's some supporting it, some not. So they're kind of in this this gray zone where we're still researching. We're still trying to figure out.


Supplements Not Worth Your Money (41:53)

Now there are some supplements that just really aren't worth your money.Um, and the 1st one would be glutamine. Glutamine is one of the non essential amino acids, meaning your body can produce glutamine, and it is the most abundant amino acid that's in your body, and we use it to synthesize proteins. Now the reason that glutamine has come into vogue is because there was some studies that were done on burn victims and people with large wounds. And they found that when they gave them glutamine that these people were able to, like, rebuild muscle faster. And so people kind of extrapolated from these research studies about glutamine with people with traumatic events extrapolated that the same thing could be applied to a healthy person, right? If you give glutamine to a healthy person who's trying to build muscle that it would help them build it faster, and it just hasn't panned out. There are no studies confirming that it works in healthy individuals. All the studies are in people with disease or trauma. Um, and so, yes, if you have had disease or trauma, adding, glutamine can enhance that muscle building. Um, But what we've also found with further research is that when you take extra glutamine that it first goes to the gut even before it gets through the muscle. So a lot of people are supplemented with glutamine, and it's just going to their gut, and it's not actually even making its way to the muscles. Okay, so the only way to really get a large bullets of glutamine to your muscles is to have your muscles be in a state of trauma, right? Like that. Which is the case for a burn victim or, um, somebody with a big wound and, uh, then that glutamine does tend to get to their muscles and help with that regrowth for a healthy individual. It just It just doesn't make it even to your muscles.


Glucosamine (43:46)

Another one that is just not worth your money is glucosamine and glucosamine helps to build cartilage. We cannot eat this in food. So when they created in a supplement for it actually comes from shellfish. And the idea is that as we age, our cartilage becomes less specs, flexible and break down. And so the idea was that glutamine would slow down this process and people take it for joint pain. They were taking it to recover better from the workouts. You know, treating osteoporosis, osteoarthritis. But the largest control trickle clinical trial found that there is no benefit to glucosamine when compared to a placebo. And so it may help relieve some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. But there's also been research that shone. It helps to know more than just taking Tylenol does. Um, so you know when you compare it to Tylenol like you might as well just take the Tylenol. But it has been shown no more effective than placebos in slowing the loss of cartilage. Um, so just they're just not a lot of research supporting that it actually works.


CLA Conjugated Lunoleic Acid (44:57)

And then the last one I would say to save your money on is CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Alas, acid, which is a fatty acid that's found naturally occurring in meat and full dairy. And people started taking it because there was some initial research that showed it helping rats to be able to shed body fat. And so then this was again we extrapolated. Okay. Giving CLA to rats helps them to lose body fat. So let's give it to humans and see if it does the same thing. And it just doesn't have the same effect in humans. Um, and it even can adversely affect your glucose metabolism, inflammation, insulin sensitivity, blood lipids like it's just something that it hasn't been able to be transferred over to however it works in the rats into humans. And so for that record, that reason I just recommend it's just not worth it.


Fat Burners (45:43)

Another one I just thought of is fat burners in general for a generally healthy, person who is in general population, who is just looking to, like, lose some fat. Fat burners are just unnecessary, and they go into that realm of like what you do to lose the weight has to be what you're willing to do to maintain the weight in the long run, and so fat burners may have a place. May may have a place if you are doing something like a fitness competition where you're trying to get really, really, really lean and like strip off as much body fat as possible. But again, almost everything that you do in that process of trying to get lean is not sustainable and is not maybe even super healthy. And so, for the general population, just skip fat burners again. Save your money. Spend the money that you would spend on fat burners and go get yourself a good protein powder. Or go buy yourself some really nice chicken or, you know, go spend some money on some seafood, right? So take that money and use it and something that actually will benefit or spend it on a gym membership or whatever then, by spending your money on something like a fat burner.


Greens (46:47)

And then the last one. Things just keep going to my head. The last one is greens. So greens come from again, this idea that, like when we eat vegetables, when we green leafy things, it's good for the body. It provides us fiber, it has nutrients and things. And so then people get this idea. They're like, well, then let's, like, dehydrate it and grind it up and put it in a powder that people can like take mega loads of and again, In my opinion, this runs that straddle, that we're trying to do between what we see you actually work and what is supported by research and trying to figure out how we can put that into supplement form, and making that leap just doesn't always work as well. And so I don't necessarily think there's a lot of harm in taking green supplements, but you will do better to just focus on in creating greens into your daily diet and being able to take them in whole food form, just like we talked about with fish oil being transferred into a supplement and it not working as good and CLA working on mice. But then we transferred it to humans, and it just didn't work as well. Um, I think that there is probably some of the same stuff going on. Where is when you eat the spinach and you eat the kale and you eat the green things? It benefits your body. And when we try to put that into a supplement form, it just doesn't tend to work as well. For whatever reason, however the body metabolizes that you're not getting as many benefits as you are when you are actually eating those foods.


Conclusion (48:22)

All right. Phew. We made it. We made it, and I hope that that was helpful. I hope that you learned some things. I hope that you have a little bit less fear and trepidation about trying to figure out what you should do when it comes to supplements.

 Again, I really encourage you to go to, 60 and 61 actually, which is where the show notes for last weekend this week are housed. And on there we will have a link to that free supplement cheat sheet download. Um, and you could just go and download that. It will have more information more recommendations for you know who I recommend who take what different supplements, and you can get that at by sector babies dot com forge Last 60 or 61. It will be on both the show notes from last week and from this week. 

Also, Will you do me a favor? Did you enjoy this episode? Did you find it educational? Did you find it informational on something that you can apply? If you did, will you please share it? And will you please let me know? Let me know what you liked Let me know It was an ah ha moment for you. Let me know what you're gonna take now when it comes to your supplements. Now that you have this information, that kind of stuff is so awesome for me to know. Because when you can take the knowledge and stuff that you're learning here on the podcast and actually apply it to your fitness journey. That's when it gets really exciting.

 And that's when changes happen. And that's when it really is like, yes, what you're learning here is making a difference. And that's exactly what I want.

That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber Now go out and be strong because, remember, my friend, you can do anything.



Hold up, sister friend. Do you love Biceps After Babies radio? If so, the best way to say thank you is to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on iTunes. I know, every podcaster wants you to leave a review, but it's because those reviews help the podcast to reach more people. And I do truly want to know what you think. If this particular episode resonated with you, will you also please share it? Either send the link to someone who would find it valuable or take a screenshot and post it to your social media and tell your friends and family why they should listen. Make sure you tag me @biceps.after.babies so I can hear your feedback and give you a little love. And you know, if you aren't already following me on Instagram or Facebook, that's the perfect time to hit that follow button. Thank you for being here and listening to Biceps After Babies radio.



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