Money is tight. You’re in school and between balancing the requirements of building a great physique and GPA, there is little time left for making serious cash money at a job. You’re on a budget. You have to plan your spending perfectly to ensure you don’t get out of hand at the bar resulting in no dinners for a week. At the same time you still want to utilize the performance and health benefits of dietary supplements. How can you buy all the products you want when that “paper” is short?
Truth be told, you don’t NEED any supplements. Dietary supplements are solely on this Earth to fill gaps your diet leaves behind. Simply by inspecting your micronutrients closer and planning your meals around your individual nutritional gaps, you could significantly reduce the list of supplements you can’t make gains without.
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So that’s where I come in. The purpose of my existence, at least through the rest of this article, is to outline the top five dietary supplements you should be utilizing and how to make them fit into your budget. Think of me as your Supplemental Financial Advisor for Health and Wellbeing. Yes, I like that title.
In no particular order of priority, let us get started.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a multivitamin is your nutritional insurance policy. If anything goes wrong with your diet, like missing a meal or opting for a cheat meal over your usual nutrient dense options, the multivitamin is there to cover your ass. A good multivitamin is the foundation to your supplement regiment and should not be ignored, especially for those in a calorie deficit (dieting), athletes busting their ass training, and those who eat like a bird.
I know what you are thinking; recent scientific studies have shown multivitamins to be useless. These studies show that as a result of having so many micronutrients packed into one pill, they often negate each other and prevent equal absorption. No doubt these studies exist. Keep in mind that for every study that says a multivitamin IS shit, there is another study that claims a multivitamin IS THE shit. Do I know what side of the argument is correct? Hell no. I’ll wait and see how it pans out. My thoughts are multivitamins aren’t killing people and they cost a couple cents a serving so why not take one. Low risk and high reward, I’ll take that any day.
Now let us look into the financials of a multivitamin and how this will affect your budget.
Seriously? It doesn’t matter how expensive your books are this semester, you can find $0.06 every day in your local café’s couch.
(2) Fish Oil
Everyone has heard of essential fatty acids (“EFAs”) before, but few truly understand why they are so important. “Essential” is not a marketing ploy to create buzz or hype around the fatty acid. In this case, it is essential because your body cannot create the fatty acid itself. The only way you are going to avoid a deficiency is by ingesting the EFAs through diet or supplementation. Let us be honest with ourselves, most college students don’t leave the party on Saturday night and go straight home to a plate of salmon. For most people, supplementing with fish oil is necessary.
There are so many benefits to supplementing with a high quality fish oil that a thorough breakdown would put you to sleep. Let me trim it down and give you the cliff notes:
- Reduces inflammation and improves recovery from workouts;
- Increases your chance of getting an A in Math through cognitive enhancements;
- Improves overall body composition making you look like a God at the next toga party; and
- Numerous other health benefits the average college student doesn’t believe applies to them (heart health, reduced risk of stroke and numerous cancers, and eye health).
Now let us look into the financials of fish oil and how this will affect your budget.
Do yourself a favor and spend a few extra dollars (only a few extra cents a day) on a high quality EFA supplement. I highly recommend the Carlson brand.
(3) Amino Acids
Amino acids are the micronutrients behind protein. We all love and admire protein right? If so, we shouldn’t ignore the unseen soldiers that are the building blocks to our muscular physiques. Not only do I thank you aminos, but so do my ladies (oh snap!).
Just like there are ESSENTIAL fatty acids, there are also ESSENTIAL amino acids (“EAAs”). You don’t need a 4.0 GPA to connect the dots and figure out that EAAs are like EFAs in the sense that the body cannot produce them itself. You need to get them through your diet or supplementation.
In all honesty, you may not be deficient of EAAs due to your high protein diet filled with various sources of meats. That’s great, but why not go for broke and flood your system with more aminos? We already touched on their ability to build muscle, so let’s not risk the possibility we are deficient!
Now let us look into the financials of amino acids and how this will affect your budget.
Just like when it comes to fish, the average college student’s diet does not include a sufficient amount of fiber. In fact, most Americans’ diets do not meet the daily recommended amount of fiber. What most people don’t realize is that fiber is considered a macronutrient. Would you accept not getting enough of most athlete’s favorite macro: protein? No. You should feel the same way about fiber!
The benefits of fiber are numerous, yet most people only know about pooping. Truth be told, even though people know taking a steamer is healthy, they don’t understand fiber’s role in that process. As a young college student who feels invincible – not talking trash because I do it myself – most of the benefits of fiber aren’t high on your priority list. That being said, plenty are. For more detail on fiber check out my previous article:
READ: Fiber Is About More Than Just Poop
Now let us look into the financials of fiber to ensure you’re not flushing your financial resources down the toilet (see what I did there with my words?).
Who doesn’t like the feeling they get when they take a scoop of their favorite pre-workout? You go from nodding away into a deep sleep to wide awake and focused within minutes. Some of us get the tingles from the Beta Alanine that subconsciously makes us feel like Superman flying through the sky with Louis Lane’s fine ass in our arms. Pre-workouts are great.
Besides feeling good, pre-workouts will enhance your performance. That energy boost helps you workout harder, longer, and with more intensity which leads to more gains in the big scheme of things. No, pre-workouts alone don’t have an anabolic effect, but the state of being they put a user in indirectly leads to progress with their physique.
Not only does a quality pre-workout help in the gym, but also in the classroom. Most people don’t realize that the ingredients in their pre-workout are superior to their favorite energy drink’s ingredient list. When you’re against the budget and funds are limited, 1 scoop of your energy matrix is a whole hell of a lot cheaper than a $2 can of fizz.
Finally, I included pre-workouts on my list because it really is a one-stop-shop for a lot of the best performance enhancing supplements (all legal of course!). In one bottle you get a great combination of caffeine, Creatine, Agmatine, Arginine, Yohimbine, Beta Alanine, and others. Who can say “no” to that?
Read: Beta Alanine – The Performance Enhancing Amino Acid
Now let us look into the financials of a pre-workout. All those different ingredients must mean a high price tag, right? Wrong.
Yes, that is Campus Elite’s energy supplement so you may think I am trying to sell you snake oil. I’m no bullshit artist and some people can get away without an energy supplement. If you do use them however, compare our ingredients to the big name manufacturers and you’ll be blown away with our dosing. Also, compare the prices per serving. We kick the competitors’ prices right in the jewels.
Putting It All Together
There we go, my friends. Those are my top five choices of supplements you should be incorporating into your daily routine. Even though your college budget is tight, with proper planning you can make these a staple in your life. How much are you spending on alcohol and eating out every week? Living the college lifestyle, I bet it is more than $2.19 a day, or $15.33 a week.