You've decided you are finally ready to get in the best shape of your life. You're starting an exercise program and trying to eat better. You hear all about nutritional supplements but don't exactly know which ones are best or which ones you need. Many supplements are just a big waste of money, while others can aid tremendously in reaching your goals. So, where do you start?

If you are cutting back on calories and exercising more in an attempt to lose weight it is even more important to add supplementation. It is important that you are not depriving your body of vital nutrients. In fact, now that you are exercising more, your nutrient requirements are going to increase so your body can recover from your workouts.

Add to that the busy lifestyle you lead and the days when you just don't have the time or opportunity to eat often enough or choose the best foods, and these holes in your nutrition must be filled with nutrients in some manner. Think of adding supplements to your diet as insurance against unavoidable dietary shortcomings no matter how you eat.

For most of my clients, I only recommend 4 types of supplements:
1. A quality whole food nutrient complex
2. An omega-3 essential fatty acid supplement
3. Meal replacement shake
4. Post workout recovery shake


A whole food supplement should contain seven classes of nutrients: vitamins, minerals (macro and trace), enzymes, amino acids, phytonutrients and essential fatty acids. If you already take a multi-vitamin, keep in mind that most multi-vitamins are designed for the average, sedentary person and are synthetically made and not whole food based. This means they are not readily absorbed into your system since your body does not recognize them as food.

Benefits of a whole food nutrient complex include:
- Fills in the voids due to lack of fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Alleviates vitamin deficiencies
- provides essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, phytonutrients and essential fatty acids for optimum health unique to men and women
- Increases energy levels
- Helps maintain healthy metabolism to accelerate fat loss
- Whole food base aids assimilation of nutrients
- Replaces nutrients depleted by stress


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the human body and since the body is not able to manufacture them on its own, they must be derived from food sources. The best source is fish, but due to the rise in mercury levels, the recommended safe weekly serving of fish no longer supplies enough omega-3 essential fatty acids.

The best way to ensure proper levels of EFA’s in your diet is to take a fish oil supplement, but the type you choose makes all the difference. There are many inferior brands of fish oil on the market that can actually cause you harm over time. When choosing a fish oil, purity and potency are very important. Many of the cheaper brands are known to contain impurities, unsafe mercury levels and will quickly become rancid.

The best source of Omega-3's is Neptune Krill Oil (NKO). NKO is like supercharged fish oil and is one of the most absorbable forms of Omega-3 fatty acids. NKO also has over 47 times the amount of antioxidants found in regular fish oil.

Benefits of NKO:
- Blocks the storage of fat
- Helps prevent the breakdown of lean muscle tissue
- Anti-inflammatory providing significant joint pain and arthritis relief
- Increases fat burning
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Boosts metabolism
- Helps protect against heart disease
- Relieves symptoms of PMS
- Improves cholesterol ratio


A meal replacement shake will ensure that you don't miss a meal while on the go or stuck at work. The proper amount of carbs, fats, at least 5 grams of fiber, low in sugar and 20 grams or more of protein will be found in a quality meal replacement shake. Always keep a meal replacement shake packet in your car, desk at work, briefcase or purse so if in a situation where you are unable to eat a regular meal, you will be prepared.

Benefits of a meal replacement shake:
- Avoid skipping meals
- Avoid unsupportive food choices
- Gain control of your body
- Avoid energy swings
- Achieve results quickly


After breakfast, your post-workout recovery shake is often considered the most important meal of the day. After an intense workout, your body is in a catabolic state where your muscle glycogen is depleted and cortisol, a hormone responsible for breaking down muscle, levels are elevated. Your post-workout recovery shake should contain both carbohydrates and protein at a ratio of 2:1, carbs to protein.
Rebuilding and repairing muscle are achieved faster when protein and carbohydrates, from rapidly absorbed sources, are consumed together. The carbs will replenish glycogen and restore blood sugar, causing an insulin spike which suppresses cortisol and drives the amino acids from the protein into the muscles.

There you have it, what I consider to be the most important nutritional supplements to aid you in reaching your health and fitness goals. Nutritional supplements are a low cost insurance policy for good health. If you always eat perfect meals with perfect nutrient proportions at the perfect time, you do not need nutritional supplements. On the other hand if you are like most of us, it doesn't always work out the way you want. You don't eat perfectly and nutritional supplements can be a very important part of your every day nutrition to fill in the gaps left by your less than perfect eating habits!

To view the brands I recommend, visit my website at:

Author's Bio: 

Liz Modrell is the owner of Uniquely Yours Personal Training,a certified fitness professional – Master Personal Trainer and Sports Nutrition Specialist with over 25 years experience. As a real world fat loss expert, Liz has helped hundreds of people in Burlington and surrounding communities lose hundreds of pounds of body fat. For more information visit Modrell's website at: