I’m going to spare you the long, boring science lesson today and get straight to the point.
You’ve got to eat more veggies.
I know you probably hate em’ but there is really no way around it.
If you want to be a juicy, jacked, tan and shredded beast (that is not only ripped but also HEALTHY and STRONG) you’ve got to make sure you are providing your body with the nutrition it needs.
With that said, even if you DID like to eat veggies… who actually has the time (or the money) to be able to eat a truckload of healthy, organic vegetables every day?
Or what if you live in an area where getting access to clean, nutritious fruits and vegetables is close to impossible?
These days, the struggle is all too real… but the fact remains, if you aren’t eating a ton of veggies every day you’re probably going to be deficient in a few key nutrients – and that’s going to hurt your efforts in the gym.
Without the proper nutrients, you’re probably going to stay small and weak…
You run the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, getting sick, or worse…
Either way it’s not cool.
Definitely not cool at all.
Veggies are life, Bro.
So what are regular guys like us supposed to do?
Well step 1 is obviously to start eating more veggies.
And if you can afford it, step 2 would be to start supplementing with a Greens Powder.
If you have never heard of Greens Powders before, they really aren’t anything new – but they aren’t the most popular supplement out there (especially with the bros) because they are usually marketed as being “good for your health” or “organic & vegan” or “for detoxifying” …
…instead of “for massive gains” or “for building strength” or “getting ridiculously shredded” etc.
If you saw detoxifying or vegan in the ad and couldn’t relate, don’t worry.
I totally get it. Me neither at first.
You may have even read the headlines and thought “bro, greens powders are for soccer moms and people who live in a van in the woods, I would never waste my money on that bullsh*t” – but in doing so you probably missed out on a great opportunity to improve your strength, boost your performance, and make bigger gains.
Dammit bro. Why are you like this?
Don’t worry though, all of your sins from the past are forgiven – you didn’t know back then what you know now am I right?
But right now I bet you’re probably asking yourself…
Are Greens Supplements Even Legit?
There are a ton of greens supplements on the market these days… most coming with flashy marketing and bold claims…
…and if you have ever wondered “are these products legit, are they safe, and do they offer the same benefits of eating real vegetables?” you are not alone.
Before we dive any deeper into this let me just clarify exactly what a “Greens Supplement” is for the folks who may not know.
A greens supplement is essentially a “superfood blend” that typically comes in powdered form. It is usually comprised of dehydrated veggies like kale, spinach, chlorella, spirulina, broccoli, and various other super nutrients.
Some of the higher end brands may also add stuff like probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and detoxifying herbs into their blends as well.
When you check these products out and look at the ingredients… most of these products do appear to “address all of your nutrition needs with just 1 scoop” but it isn’t always quite that simple.
In my opinion, a solid greens powder is a very helpful supplement to add to your arsenal…
…but I definitely recommend eating real vegetables and fruits over just using a powder.
Greens powders are great, but try to think of your greens supplement as a “nutritional insurance policy” so you can make 100% sure you’re giving your body the vitamins/minerals/fuel/etc that it needs to function and perform at its peak – especially if you aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies on a daily basis.
Of course you should already be eating as many veggies as you can – but using a greens powder can help you make up for any nutrients you may be missing in your already super awesome, healthy diet plan.
Remember, these products are not miracles or magic, they are just helpful tools that you can use to supplement what you’re already doing with your nutrition.
Of course, if you’re one of the few people out there who regularly eats at least 10 servings of fruits and veggies each day (which most of us aren’t), then taking a greens supplement is completely unnecessary. You’re good, bro.
But for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s pretty much a ‘must use’ supplement in my humble opinion.
So What Are The Benefits Of Using A Greens Supplement?
1. Greens powders can help alkalize and help neutralize acid production in the body that is attributed to strenuous exercise and/or eating too much protein. Numerous studies have shown that protein consumption can increase acid production unless it’s eaten with a ton of fruits & veggies (alkaline foods).
2. Most of us don’t eat as many fruits & veggies as we need to recover properly and sustain health so a greens supplement can be a quick and easy way to help you get the nutrients you may be lacking. Similar to whey protein vs real meat, a greens supplement is not a total replacement for real fruits and vegetables. Nothing is as good for you as real food, remember that.
3. Greens powders contain enzymes and probiotics to help improve digestion and gut health.
4. Greens powders can provide concentrated forms of hard to find nutrients such as organic/sea vegetables and microalgae, all of which are believed to help detoxify the body, increase energy, and boost immunity.
5. It usually only takes 1 scoop and you can give yourself a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to help you recover faster, improve your digestion, boost energy levels, strengthen your immune system, and more.
Hard lifters, bodybuilders, and athletes can all see great benefit by supplementing with a solid greens powder supplement.
So Which Greens Powder Should I Use?
Before you rush out to buy the greens powder you saw with the fancy marketing, keep in mind that not all products are created equal.
There are a ton of different products on the market (some are good and some are bad) and great marketing will not make a crappy supplement any better. It just doesn’t work that way.
With that said, due to the hundreds of brands and thousands of articles out there to go through it can be very difficult to figure out what is real and what is a lie…
…and to make your research into these products even more complicated, there isn’t a whole lot of peer-reviewed scientific research about the quality & effectiveness of greens powders out there just yet.
However, here is what we do know:
Greens powders may be full of concentrated vegetables and fruits, but the fact remains that most brands just don’t formulate their products to meet the essential vitamin and mineral levels that hard-training lifters need.
Since greens powders are dehydrated, there are always nutrients lost in the process, usually in the vitamins. This means that the broccoli powder in your blend probably isn’t going to be as high in nutrition as a real piece of broccoli (but you already knew that right)?
On the other hand, polyphenols and minerals are usually a bit more stable than the vitamins, but they can still be damaged if high heat is used to process the supplement.
Now, this may not sound like the greatest news, but what a greens powder may lack in nutrition compared to real food, it probably makes up for in terms of convenience.
Also, even though greens powders may offer a slightly decreased nutritional value than fresh fruits and vegetables, the nutrition they do provide is vastly superior to no nutrition at all.
With that said, even if you are using a high end brand, do not think of your greens powder as a magic supplement that can replace your multi-vitamin and allow you to never have to eat veggies again, because that is completely false.
My advice to you when researching brands is to read the labels carefully and look up every ingredient to make sure the company claims all make sense.
That’s right. Put every single ingredient into Google and read about it. Study it until you know enough about it to make an informed decision.
When a company claims that a single scoop of their product equals 10 servings of veggies, but a quick Google search shows that their vitamin and mineral levels don’t add up to 10 servings, you’ll know the claim is bogus and you haven’t eaten 10 servings of kale in one serving.
So which brands can you trust?
There are hundreds of options out there and I’m sure many of these products are very good… but I can’t give you a full list of “The World’s Best Greens Products” because I have only personally tried less than 10 brands myself (most of which I hated).
I love both of these products because both of them include probiotics and prebiotics along with fairly strong blends of fruits, vegetables, and herbs – and both cover a wide range of nutritional needs.
Plus, they are “stomach friendly” so folks like myself who have digestive issues can use them without having any serious problems.
In my opinion, this really sets them ahead of the rest.
Also, it’s worth noting that neither one of these products tastes like grass or dirt like some of the other brands I’ve sampled.
If you have ever tried a greens powder, you’ll probably know that most of them taste like leftover lawn mower grass residue. Just pure nastiness.
Ok, so I bet you are probably still wondering “Jamin, come on bro, which one should I pick?!” and I don’t really have an answer for you. It all depends on you, bro.
As many of my readers know, I have had some digestive issues, so eating real vegetables can be a real challenge for me sometimes because they can be difficult to digest.
Due to the fact that I know I am not getting the nutrition I need from food, I use my greens supplements several times per day.
With that said, I have found that Superfood Alpha Blend is a little bit easier on my stomach so I have been using that brand a lot lately and it has been working pretty well for me.
My digestion has improved, I am not feeling bloated or crampy as much, and I have a lot more energy.
Be sure to keep a daily journal and log your experiences with each and how it made you feel.
Do you feel stronger, more alert? Are you sleeping better? Is your digestion better? Are you staying regular? When you take a crap is it normal or are you constipated? Which brand tastes better to you? Etc.
What Time Of Day Should I Take It?
There are a lot of articles out there that will suggest various “optimal” times of the day to take your greens supplement – and while I do believe that timing matters, it may not matter as much as you may think.
Based on my personal experiences (and research) you should be able to take a greens supplement at any time of the day (or night) and it will work just the same.
For example, if you take it in the morning when you wake up it will work just as well as if you take it at night before bed. It is all about personal preference.
The only time I do not recommend taking a greens supplement is immediately post-workout.
The oxidation and inflammation that happen as a result of hard training are part of the natural process your body goes through to “make gains” and change…
…and most studies I have read suggest that giving your body a high dose of post-workout antioxidants can decrease insulin sensitivity and slow down your body’s ability to recover and build muscle… and that is definitely not what you want.
My advice is to avoid drinking your greens powder until at least 3 hours after your workout is over.
As a serious lifter it’s your responsibility to carefully evaluate any ergogenic aid, herbal, or performance enhancing supplement before you put it into your body.
Based on the information we know about greens powders, it appears they are a very valuable supplement to add into your arsenal and use on a daily basis.
Your body is important (and so are your goals for it) so take the time to study up and read the current literature and studies out there regarding every ingredient listed on the label of the product you are interested in buying.
Here are some general recommendations for selecting a quality greens supplement:
1. Every ingredient you put into your body should be chosen based on the best scientific data available to you at the time and your individual needs. Don’t just rush out to the supplement store after seeing a cool ad in a magazine and try the latest formula of “Magic Veggies”. Due to the unregulated nature of the supplement industry and the risk of severe side effects (and interactions with certain medications), it is very important do do your research before putting anything into your body.
Pro Tip: college athletes need to make 100% sure the product they are buying is NCAA approved, legal, and safe.
2. Never ever use a greens supplement without thoroughly evaluating your overall nutrition requirements, existing nutritional gaps or deficiencies, and/or potential ingredient allergies or intolerances.
3. Be sure the validity of the marketing claims make sense relative to exercise and nutrition science.
4. Always check to make sure the product provides supporting scientific evidence (testimonials + controlled studies) as well as any health risks of using the product.
5. Foods taken from the sea are often contaminated. If the brand you choose contains spirulina, make sure it comes from a reliable source and is free of toxins.
6. Certain herbs have been known to stimulate the Th1 immune response (shitake, astragalus, and reishi mushrooms) and the Th2 immune response (grapeseed extract, gotu kola, green tea). Greens powders containing these ingredients may be contraindicated for people with autoimmune diseases (i.e. Crohn’s Disease), especially during flare ups.
7. Always buy your supplements from established companies that have good reputations and never buy from shady websites online.
PRO TIP: The FDA has provided this list of tips to help you make informed decisions when choosing supplements. Use it to your advantage.
Thanks for reading. Do you have questions for me? Remember, I am always here to help and answer any questions that you may have, just leave a comment below!