There are all kinds of advertisements for supplements that help replenish electrolytes and minerals in our bodies after physical exertion like hiking, hunting, or shooting. Sports drinks like Gatorade, energy drinks and pre/post workout powders are everywhere but it’s hard to know what works and what might be actually wrecking our bodies. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry and common sense tells us that not all the players have everyone’s best interests at heart. We asked Ryan Alspach the owner of Warrior Fuel, a bodybuilder, avid hunter, and outdoorsman to give us the inside scoop on supplements as it relates to hunters, shooters, and outdoorsmen.
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Are supplements in general regulated to ensure purity or quality?
Ryan: Supplements are not regulated in any way. Companies get in trouble all the time for claiming they put specific ingredients on the label but then never put those ingredients in the product.
Are there companies marketing to the outdoor world that are selling supplements that are less than pure? How can you know or tell the difference?
Ryan: I would say that companies see a potential revenue stream in the outdoor world so they market gym-specific products to hunters and outdoorsmen. Products that are not specifically formulated for the shooter, hunter, and outdoorsman. But you do not want to take a pre-workout and use it as a hunting supplement in any way.
Can supplements help you recover faster, feel better, and go further or get more out of your body? In other words, do they work?
Ryan: Specific supplements can help you recover faster, feel better and increase performance if they are formulated correctly. The problem is that 99% of brands are owned and operated by marketers and not true outdoorsmen with years of supplement and performance experience. So they go to a manufacturer and get a generic formula and slap a label on it. Then market the hell out of it.
So, how do you tell then?
Ryan: I always tell everyone to look at the owners and operators of the brand. Not the paid influencers or giveaways. See if they are in shape and what their background is. Then look at the product and see if it’s full of Arginine and other fillers that don’t work.
Every product formulate for the outdoors should have a lot of Sodium and minerals, Adaptogens, EAAs, and Nootropics. With NO artificial colors!
What about you? Obviously, you’re in insanely good shape and are living what you’re preaching. What’s your background?
Ryan: I’ve been in the supplement industry as an athlete and trainer for 20-plus years. I’ve done personal training and custom supplements for college athletes going into the major leagues, NFL, boxers, and fighters. I also hunt and understand what hunters want and need to be successful. Most of the other supplement companies are run by fat out of shape marketers that don’t live the life or walk the walk. They only care about the bottom dollar and will sell you whatever increases their margins.
Are there side effects, permanent or temporary to taking supplements?
Ryan: Generic or cheap supplements can make you feel anxious, nauseous, and sick to your stomach due to the low quality and ingredients and the generic formulas. Those are temporary side effects but still very uncomfortable.
What are Amino Acids and should you be supplementing them?
Ryan: There are two types of Amino acids that are popular and mainstream, BCAAs and EAAs. BCAAs are the most popular not because they work better but because they are very cheap to manufacture. BCAAs have actually been proven to have little to no benefit for any athlete because they are only 3 of the 9 essential amino acids. EAAs are all 9 Essential Amino Acids and make up the complete building blocks to repair and build muscle tissue. Everyone in my opinion should be taking EAAs every day regardless of what they do.
Are all Supplements created equal? Are they all the same quality?
Ryan: Most supplements have little to no proven research behind them but are marketed in a way that makes them look like they will cure any problem you have.
There are very few quality products backed by years of research that actually benefit your body. We only use ingredients and products that have been proven by science to increase performance and recovery.
Most companies will use a very small amount of an ingredient just to add it to a label for marketing purposes. A good example would be companies that say they have electrolytes for hydration but only add 5mg of sodium when your body needs 500-1000mg per serving.
Who should be taking supplements and when should they be taking them?
Ryan: Everyone can benefit from Minerals, EAAs, and nootropics or antioxidants but not everyone needs a ton of caffeine or other stimulants. A hunter or a shooter would be smart to load up on minerals, EAAs, and a nootropic with a low amount of caffeine so that his brain and CNS is firing on all cylinders and he is at his best.
Can supplements help with elevation sickness or the effects of elevation for those actively hunting or hiking at high elevations?
Ryan: It has been shown that PEAKO2, Trace Minerals, and Sodium will help with Elevation sickness. PeakO2 is one of the main ingredients in Elevate and is known as an Adaptogen that helps your body adapt to oxygen levels and physical activity.
Will supplements help with soreness, speed up recovery, or help you be a more successful hunter? Which supplements?
Ryan: EAAs and antioxidants have the most research behind them as far as helping with muscle soreness. We use high levels of EAAs and antioxidants in Refuel and Elevate.
The main reason you need a hunting-specific product is to reach the desired outcome. For hunting, we don’t want a lot of caffeine and other stimulants which will cause our hearts to race. We want to avoid cramping at all costs but still have enough focus and energy to hunt hard. We want to be calm but alert and we want to feel like we can get to the next ridge without dying. All of this can be accomplished with the correct formulas
Are there supplements that will help you sleep that isn’t addictive or have harmful side effects?
Ryan: Yes there are plenty of supplements that will help you sleep and we have created one called Recharge. This product was formulated to help you shut off the anxious part of the brain and calm down. You’ll feel relaxed enough to fall asleep and recover but still be able to wake up quickly in the morning.
Are there supplements you shouldn’t take before bed?
Ryan: You shouldn’t take any products that have caffeine or stimulants in them within 3-4 hours before bed.
Who should be taking Warrior Fuel’s Refuel and when?
Ryan: I personally take it 2-3 times a day to stay hydrated and so I have a higher amount of Aminos in me all day. But I recommend sipping on it during a hike or any activity where you might be exerting yourself. You can also mix it with Elevate for some added energy.
Who should be taking Warrior Fuel’s Elevate and when?
Ryan: Everyone should drink Elevate every day in my personal opinion. It has a low level of natural caffeine which is great to stimulate the nervous system, Ashwagandha for mood and hormone balance, Aquamine minerals which are the purest form of minerals you can buy, EAAs for recovery, Huperzine -A for brain activity, PeakO2 for performance and strength, and Astragin for a delivery mechanism. You truly will see and feel the benefits of this product.
Are supplements only for times and people involved in physical exertion or would people benefit on a daily basis? What parts of the body benefit from supplements?
Ryan: Supplements are for those wanting more out of their bodies regardless if it’s playing ball with their kids or fighting in the UFC. The right supplements can give you that extra edge to just outperform and recover faster.
How do you ensure that you are using safe/pure ingredients versus what others use in their supplements?
Ryan: To be honest most companies don’t and that’s why I personally source every ingredient that goes into our products. I want the absolute best I can find on the planet because I’m taking it along with my family, athletes, and friends. It’s scary to think that 99% of companies out there get their products from a third-party manufacturer without any idea of what is actually in the products and if the ingredients were even tested.
We test all of our ingredients when they come in and then again once the product is finished. These products are being consumed and filtered through our livers and we only have one so I take every step I can to create the purest and most effective products on the market.
You can learn more about Warrior Fuel Supplements by clicking HERE. All of the ingredients are listed on each product on the site.