This is the second and final part of a roundtable series with the legendary Ben Pickard, Kory Allen, and David Wu, in which each member of the roundtable provides their answers to YOUR questions. To view Part One, click here. In this post, the three legends look to answer a question of survival…
If you were stranded on an island infested with tigers, surrounded by an ocean with sharks, and monkeys who ate humans like bananas, what 3 supplements would you take to survive?
Note: we don’t support one diet/supplement over another, and don’t take responsibility for any of the choices you make.
Ben: Oh baby, time to alpha-up and prepare for war. I am 100% reliant on my body, and I need it functioning at it’s best at all times. Strength, stamina, endurance, and uppercut strength all need to be trained, and for this I need the following:
These are my go to for everything health. They won’t necessarily get me stronger or increase the power output of my uppercut, but they are the stage crew that keeps me at the top of my game.
There is no lack of evidence supporting fish oils, and they help prevent inflammation, improve recovery from throat ripping monkeys all day, keep my brain functioning at it’s best so I can plan my attacks (the best defense is a good offence) and will help keep me lean as hell in case I need to woo some island hottie, not that killing all the animals that ransack their village won’t already have me in their good books.
Because I’m on an island with god-knows-what to eat, I want to make sure I keep my protein high, and leucine is one of the most researched and effective amino acids out there. Yes, I could get my protein from eating all the animals I massacre at war, but how will I get my protein until my first battle?
Leucine has the added benefit of increasing the anabolism of your body when you are fasting (meaning building more muscle), which will likely be every day until at least the afternoon. Leucine will also provide the energy I need until I feast on my fallen enemies, and will help me to build muscle all day long. Those sharks won’t punch themselves, and I need to make sure my punches are backed up with strong, powerful muscles.
Creatine is my ace in the hole. It helps me regenerate ATP (energy) for use in short term physical events (such as uppercutting a savage tiger), and it can also help me produce more power and build more muscle. Creatine is the extra oomph in my punches, and on top of fish oils and leucine, it will ensure that my enemies fear me and I survive to reign as king of the island.
Kory: First off, if I focused more on squatting than supplements, tigers, sharks and monkeys would be running away from me as I would be the king on this island. But if I had to choose three to survive the onslaught of the wild, I would have to go with…
You never know when your next meal might be or if you’ll be some beast’s protein snack. Having a tub of whey on hand would ensure I’d have adequate protein, energy and muscle mass to fend off hostile animals or better yet kill them then harvest them for quality amino acids. The whey may also help with my immune system protecting me from any diseases or viruses that may be infesting the island.
Having a cardiac attack while trying to survive a pack of rabid monkeys is a sure fire way to get torn to pieces. Numerous studies have touted fish oil for reducing biomarkers for cardiac disease such as triglycerides and atherosclerosis.
It’s also been shown to protect the heart from arrhythmias and improve blood flow to the myocardium1. The DHA component of fish oil may also protect my brain from cognitive diseases2 which are more than possible if you are stranded on an island with things trying to kill you. Apart from keeping my heart beating and blood pumping, cognition is of upmost importance if I want to best Mother Nature. Luckily, fish oil aids both.
Since vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, it can’t be stored or synthesized in the body, meaning we have to get it from an external source. I wouldn’t want to try my luck eating fruits and plants hoping to get a dose of vitamin C then finding out I just ate poison. There are more than just wild animals on the island trying to kill me.
Vitamin C is crucial in wound healing and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. If my teeth fall out, I cannot eat. If my bones and cartilage fail, I cannot move. If I cannot move and cannot eat, I’m tiger chow.
Vitamin C may also help me recover from any cuts and gashes I may succumb to while attempting to survive. It is essentially a repair supplement ensuring I can fight another day no matter what external damage befalls me.
- Nestel PJ. Fish oil and cardiac function. World Rev Nutr Diet 1991; 66:268–77.
- Kidd PM. Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids. Altern Med Rev 2007; 3:207-27
Dave: Fish oil might be a redundant choice on an island with sea veggies and animals. Personally, I don’t really use supplements but prefer to stick to whole foods (like full monkeys).
Yet we don’t live like cavemen nor do we eat the same quality of food that they did — therefore, here are some choices that I use to supplement what’s low or missing in this modern age:
Not only do we not move, we don’t get outside anymore. Commonly called the “sunshine” vitamin, vitamin D can be acquired through food, supplementation and sunlight. Even if that island is around the equator, I’m gonna make sure I’m well stocked on vitamin D because people are commonly deficient in it. It is important for:
- Calcium and phosphorous metabolism. Think strong bones.
- Immune system regulation. Important for stranded island survival.
- Vitamin D has been linked and touted to help in diabetes, allergies, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, mental illness and a whole host of other things.
Our population is deficient in magnesium and maggie is great for counteracting common sympathetic syndromes. If I’m on an island fighting or running away from tigers (see what I did there?), magnesium will help in calming me and my muscles down afterwards. Magnesium has been linked to decreasing diabetic-like markers such as high blood sugar, insulin, blood pressure and increasing insulin sensitivity (1).
All these gut and chronic diseases have started popping up due to how weak our digestion is (dysbiosis, celiac disease etc.) We kill our gut bacteria with antibiotics and other methods of modern life. So we end up not getting a lot out of the food we already eat. Instead of adding “more” through supplementation, let’s supercharge our ability to breakdown and absorb food to extract the maximum benefit from it. Food first, supplements second.
- Mooren FC, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects – a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. (2011)
Which legend do you agree with the most? If you were stranded on an island, which three supplements would you take? Share your comments below and remember to “like” us on facebook!
Benjamin currently works as a Personal Trainer, but also has experience coaching UW’s Varsity Athletes as a S&C Coach and as the Conditioning Assistant. Ben is a firm believer that positive thinking and squats can cure cancer, and is always striving to find the most harmonious balance of life, work, and training awesomeness. He is inspired by his fellow WS&C Club executives, and is on the never-ending quest for knowledge. He hopes to one day work as a S&C Coach/Personal Trainer and help people become superhuman.
Kory Allen is a 4th year Kin student at the University of Waterloo and an aspiring coach. He has been passionate about the iron game for many years and loves helping people improve their lives, fitness and overall wellbeing. His basic philosophy is to keep it simple and have some fun. Drop him a line on the blog or via email.