FitITproNews: What are some good supplements?

In this week’s newsletter

Editor’s Corner. The Mailbag. Some advice about supplementation. Just a bunch of exercise tips. Take it easy! Break the cycle! Dealing with acne.


Editor’s Corner

Mitch Tulloch is the Senior Editor of FitITproNews and a recovering fat IT pro who lost 50 lbs in midlife and is now on his way to becoming a fit IT pro. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies who has authored or been Series Editor of numerous books/ebooks from Microsoft Press. Mitch is also the Senior Editor of WServerNews and writes frequently for TechGenix.


Hey everyone! I hope you’re all continuing to progress towards losing that “fat IT pro” self-image and transforming yourselves into “fit IT pros” through exercise and proper nutrition. If you haven’t begun your fitness journey yet then isn’t it time you started? It was almost 10 years ago to the day that I began focusing on losing weight and building muscle, and although I’ve had some plateaus and even setbacks along the way, the improvement it’s made to my well-being and health have been tremendous. And while I’m still not as fit as I want to be — and am still at least 15 lbs heavier than I’d like to be — I consider myself lucky to have started a journey that probably will never end this side of the grave. Unless Elon Musk figures out a way for us to transfer our minds into self-repairing robotic bodies haha! Not that I hold out any hope of that — or would even want to do it.

Anyways, as a “recovering fat IT pro” I encourage all of you in the IT profession (including devs and managers and helpdesk personnel and so on) to start the journey today. All it takes is buying a pair of 5 or 10 lb rubber-coated dumbbells from Walmart. Or a new pair of running shoes from the Shoe Warehouse. Or signing up for an aerobics class at your local community center. Plus tossing out those donuts in your fridge and cookies in your cupboard and stocking up on Greek Yoghurt at Safeway. Just take a couple of concrete steps to improve your fitness and eating habits, then begin learning everything you can about nutrition and various forms of exercise. Do it one day at a time for a few months and suddenly you’ll realize you feel 5 or 10 years younger.

What’s inside this issue of FitITproNews

This issue we start off with columnist Robin Camp’s article on supplements as he describes which ones he uses regularly and how to avoid the snake oil out there in the supplement market. I basically agree with everything Robin says in his article and I use many of the supplements myself that he describes. If any of our readers out there have other supplements they’d like to recommend, email us at [email protected] and we’ll include your suggestions in the Mailbag section of our next issue.

After Robin’s article comes my own article with a bunch of tips on performing various kinds of exercises. Then comes my own article where I share some tips I’ve learned that can help you get more out of doing different kinds of exercises. Kris Lall comes next with a cautionary tale that newcomers to doing workouts should pay attention to. After this is Kris Kane who talks about how to avoid making unsustainable changes to your lifestyle. And finally we round off this issue of FitITproNews with any article by Sarah Trammell about a health problem some of us struggle with even in adulthood: acne.

Enjoy this week’s issue of FitITproNews and feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered — we love hearing from our readers!

Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor


The Mailbag

I recently exchanged a few emails with Rakesh Chanana who was a Senior Premier Field Engineer (PFE) at Microsoft until a few years ago. When I asked Rakesh what he’d been up to since leaving Microsoft he replied:

Since leaving Microsoft, I have been doing a lot less traveling and have more time to enjoy reading your articles, especially the FitITproNews. I find it full of interesting and inspiring stories about people in addition to the articles. And I do read WServerNews since I am still doing a lot of same AD and AD Security stuff that I did at Microsoft except now I get to implement those ideas instead of just talking about them and it’s fun.

Thanks again for writing about the things we all care about so much and keeping us healthy, both mentally and physically.

And thank *you* for appreciating our newsletters, especially this one!

Also here is a link that was recommended to us by John Blackmore the VP of Content Marketing at GFI Software:

I was doing some research and came across this…perhaps food for thought & story ideas.

Great suggestion, thanks! And do any other readers have fitness podcasts they’d like to recommend for other readers? Email us at [email protected] with your suggestions!

And don’t forget you can mail us anytime at [email protected] if you have comments, questions or any other kind of feedback about anything you read in FitITproNews.

And now on to this issue’s feature article…


Some advice about supplementation (Robin Camp)

Robin Camp works as tech support for an Orthodontic Practice Management Software company called New Horizons Software ( As a professional photographer on the side, Robin does fashion, glamour weddings and more in his spare time ( You can also now find him working out on Instagram at


“If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life, then you must accept the terms it offers you.” — T.S. Eliot

After years of lifting, competing in bodybuilding and powerlifting when I was younger I have gone through testing A LOT of different supplements. For a while my kitchen counter looked like a cross between a pharmacy and a mad alchemist’s lab. What I eventually worked out, was that there was no miracle supplement that replaced hard work and consistent dieting, I did find a few that experienced positive results with, and that I believe are worth the health benefits.

Below is a quick description of the supplement and why I have chosen to take it.

The first supplement in my regime is simply a multivitamin, the brand varies and I am constantly told by well-meaning people that vitamins are a waste of money, you just pee it out, eat your veggies and you will be fine. Despite this I continue with the multivitamin as I am constantly sweating and many of the essential vitamins are water soluble. Your results may vary.

One of the main supplements I rely on is Creatine Monohydrate, I have experienced increased energy and strength with this supplement. Creatine, helps with ATP production, increases power and is being studied for cognitive benefits in Alzheimer patients.

Please note, you should be properly hydrated to experience creatine’s full benefits and if you have impaired liver function it should not be used at all. Taking more than the recommended dosage can result in stomach cramps and irregular bowel movements. Mixing it with fruit juice is supposed to enhance the absorption.

One of the newest supplements on my counter is Beta Alanine. This non-essential amino acid helps with lean muscle gain, muscular endurance and has antioxidant properties. It is also effective for those on keto diets as it helps with preventing ph drops such as those from the keto diet. I would suggest trying half a dose on this at first, it does cause tingling sensation similar to Niacin (without the flush however).

Citrulline, this amino acid not available in significant amounts in a standard diet. Cirulline contributes to Circulatory health and endurance. When paired with Glutathione another antioxidant it can further increase nitric oxide production

Glutamine – I started taking this amino acid specifically for joint health and noticed less pain in my knees after heavy squat sessions. It also assists with the immune system and intestinal health.

Protein Powder – I currently am using a bulk Costco protein powder that is a mix of whey and casein proteins for muscle building and repair. One of the other reasons for me to supplement with a protein powder is the convenience, I can whip up a quick shake with fruit, veggies and protein and toss a couple in the fridge at work when time doesn’t allow for an actual meal.

Beet Powder – is currently being studied for the prevention of heart disease and increased nitric oxide production along with increased circulatory health. There is some additional evidence that it reduces blood pressure and increases endurance. It tends to have a pretty strong taste, so if you are not a fan of beets, I highly suggest using frozen blueberries or something else to mask the flavor.

Matcha powder, a green tea, this powder is another antioxidant, with benefits for the liver and heart function.

Turmeric, this Indian spice has increasing evidence of antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. I like to mix it with black pepper and cover chicken breasts with it.

Niacin (B3) – I take this for two purposes, cholesterol control and I have found that it sometimes will take the edge off a bad migraine, I suspect because it causes blood vessels to dilate rather than constrict.

There is a LOT of snake oil out there in the supplement world. If you are looking at a new supplement I would suggest a couple guidelines:

  1. If the promise/results seem too good to be true, it’s probably junk. Legal supplements aid you in your journey but still require discipline and hard work to get to your goals. The illegal supplements have too much risk of organ damage to take a chance with and still require discipline and hard work to get to your goals. Training as a powerlifter, I often get asked by younger kids, male and female about steroid use. For those who are willing to listen, I emphasize that steroids are NOT a miracle drug. Many people assume that you just take the drugs and get “swole”, but even the biggest gearheads are still doing backbreaking workouts that require tremendous physical stamina and discipline. Take the safe route, stick with the legal supplementation and keep going.
  2. I would highly recommend for good info on supplements. Basic browsing is free, however with a paid membership of $3.33 a month it includes links to studies and ratings on effectiveness. I have found it useful for eliminating snake oil supplements that have no scientific basis.
  3. Never start with the full dosage on a new supplement. Try half a dose or even a third, that way if you have an adverse reaction whether it is an allergy, bloating or irregular heart rhythm you are minimizing the side effects

Please remember that I am not a certified nutritionist, these are my own findings and if you have any concerns you should consult a certified specialist and or doctor. Your results may vary.

As always, stay safe, keep moving forward and enjoy your workouts!

“E.L. Doctorow said once that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.’ This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” — Anne Lamot


Just a bunch of exercise tips (Mitch Tulloch)

Mitch Tulloch is the Senior Editor of FitITproNews and a recovering fat IT pro who lost 50 lbs in midlife and is now on his way to becoming a fit IT pro. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies who has authored or been Series Editor of numerous books/ebooks from Microsoft Press. Mitch is also the Senior Editor of WServerNews and writes frequently for TechGenix.


Yes, I admit it — I’m a packrat.

But it’s not stuff that I collect, it’s information. And when it comes to fitness this means I’m always on the outlook for collecting tips for getting more out of various exercises.

So I thought this week I’d dig into my pack and bring out five exercise tips I’ve found helpful over the last few months.

Here goes…

The Plank

That’s everybody’s favorite abdominal exercise, right? But what you may not realize is the plank is also an excellent way of strengthening your lower back and shoulder muscles. This means doing the plank will help you lift heavier barbells and also lift them more safely! And generally speaking if you want to do any kind of heavy weightlifting you should start by strengthening your core.

Targeting clavicular pectorals

The upper part of your pectoral muscles attach to your clavicle, the long and somewhat fragile bone that functions as a strut between your shoulder blades and your sternum (breastbone). Bench presses don’t really target very well the clavicular portion of your pectoral muscles. A better way to hit them directly is to hold a pair of heavy dumbbells in front of you with hands supinated (palms upwards) and elbows bent at 90 degrees. Now slowly lift the dumbbells while keeping your arms bent, then lower. You should feel your clavicular pectorals burning after a few sets of these.

Do your knees hurt when you deadlift?

Fitbod has a terrific article on why this happens and what you can do about it:

Want bigger arms?

A friend I hadn’t seen for a long time came over recently and saw the home gym my wife and I have set up in our basement. His eyes popped. Then he walked over to the dumbbell rack and picked up the heaviest one (50 lbs) and managed to almost curl it once and said, “Wow, hey, you mean you can do this kind of stuff?”

Men always seem to want bigger arms. The trouble is, doing heavy curls isn’t going to make your arms much bigger. Why? Because your biceps muscles aren’t the biggest muscles in your arms — your triceps are. This means your triceps have much more potential for growth than your biceps do.

So if you want those big-ass arms, what should you do? Focus on exercising your triceps by doing exercises like these:

  • Triceps pressdowns with cables or bands
  • Triceps push-ups using a medicine ball
  • One-handed overhead extensions using a kettlebell
  • Skull crushers with dumbbells

Do some dumbbell curls too, but not so much.

Doing more reps

When performing a weightlifting exercise you find difficult, you can often squeeze out a couple of extra reps by doing the following. As your muscles you’re working start burning and begin to give out, take your mind off of the muscle that’s complaining and focus on something “out there” in the room around you. Or focus on a different part of your body, for example focus on your legs if you’re doing something with your arms.

While this may seem dangerous (remember the Disclaimer in our newsletter) what you’re actually doing is taking your mind off of your pain by focusing it on something else. The key of course is to only do this with exercises you feel completely familiar with so that your muscles can be on “autopilot” which allows you to maintain correct form even when you’re attention is not focused on the working muscles.

Got tips?

What about yourself? Do you have any exercise tips you can share with our readers that might help them out as they pursue fitness? Email me at [email protected] and I’ll share them in a future issue of this newsletter.

Until the next issue!



Take it easy! (Kris Lall)

Kris Lall works as a product manager in the tech industry for an enterprise software manufacturer. As a youngster, Kris was consumed with soccer before technology came along. Now he’s consumed with both. You can find him on Twitter at the not-too-surprising handle @krisoccer.


The information era has enabled an increasing number of workers to become desk jockeys, with the word “jockey” here being perhaps a more charitable description than some deserve, given that some might associate the word with physical activity. Hence, a lot of IT and tech workers focus on tasks at work and don’t always practice the healthiest fitness habits. If this describes you, rest assured that you’re not alone.

If you’re ready to embark on a path to fitness and haven’t been in the game for a while, it’s best to take it slow and easy. The road to good health is littered with people who caught the fitness bug, jumped in with both feet, and then flamed out in one way or another.

One of the more extreme examples of this is runner Jim Fixx, a name that some of the more seasoned readers will recognize and a man responsible for helping to start the fitness revolution in which we all participate today. Jim became famous back in the 70’s when his book “The Complete Book of Running” rose to #1 on the best-seller’s list. I never read the book, but recall seeing the big red cover with a runner’s legs on the cover displayed in the window of every bricks and mortar bookstore in the late 1970’s.

Before his rise to fame, Jim was a two-pack per day smoker and overweight. He began jogging in 1967, believing that it could lead to good health. By the time he published his best-selling book on running, he had quit smoking, lost 60 pounds, and had developed a pretty intense jogging regimen. Once he found fitness, Jim went all in, running like crazy, and of course publishing a book on an activity he came to love. Unfortunately, in 1984 at the relatively young age of 53, Jim died of a heart attack during his daily jog.

Jim’s early death raises key points about starting an exercise regimen if you haven’t been exercising on a regular basis. One, take it slow (and easy!). You have time to build a workout routine that matches what makes sense for you. Two, if you have any possible genetic pre-dispositional health risks, consult with a doctor to appropriately dial up or down the intensity of your new workout routine.



Break the cycle! (Kris Kane)

Kris Kane is a North Yorkshire based personal trainer, martial arts instructor and general fitness enthusiast. You can find him on Instagram at @koachedbykris and also view him professionally on LinkedIn at

This is the typical cycle of those who go to extremes when it comes to managing nutrition

They completely cut out all the tasty highly palatable foods they enjoy and make their daily calories so low it becomes unsustainable.

They might manage for a few days but then hunger takes over and cravings start for all the foods they feel they are missing out on.

Then what happens?

This results in a rebound effect diving straight for the cookie jar and having a binge!

A more sensible approach?

In order to avoid this don’t make your deficit too much, reducing 15-20% intake from your maintenance will bring results, it might not seem as fast initially BUT it will be a lot more sustainable in the long run!

Be sure to keep in ALL the foods you enjoy, maybe not as much as you are used to but again up to 20% of your daily target for a chocolate bar or some sweets could be enough to keep you on track.

Also, why not experiment with alternatives, there are lots of options for making homemade “fakeaways” and fast food alternatives that you might find you enjoy

If you have struggled breaking the cycle when it comes to managing your nutrition and want help with a more sustainable approach, feel free to drop me a message for some actionable tips.

You can e-mail at [email protected] or via my Facebook page where I will be posting more tips on training, nutrition and mindset:

As always, good luck with your training and let me know if you have any questions.

Stay safe!



Dealing with acne (Sarah Trammell)

Sarah Trammell is an application analyst at a university in Georgia. She became interested in health and fitness issues when she began making diet and lifestyle changes to lose weight back in 2007 and learned even more when trying to track down what to do about other health issues beginning in 2011 with not much input from doctors. You may follow her blog at


I’ve been dealing with acne since I was a preteen, and it has never gone away for more than just a few months at a time. It’s had multiple causes, and what would be considered the usual suspects were actually not problems for me. What has worked for me may not work for someone else. What has caused my acne may not cause it for someone else. What ultimately works is whatever addresses the root cause in each individual. Below, I’ve outlined some of the causes of acne I’ve had to address and what ended up working for me.

  1. Not changing towels, sheets, and pillowcases often can lead to breakouts. I would sleep on the same pillowcase for months! I started changing pillowcases every other day, sleeping on one side one night and the other side the next night, washing my bed sheets once a week, and changing out body towels and washcloths twice a week. I use separate towels for drying my face that I change out daily.
  2. Shampoos and conditioners can cause acne. Several years ago, when I had longer hair, I used “creamy” shampoos and conditioners. I switched to a brand of “clear” shampoo, Prell, and ditched the conditioner. I believe this switch made a difference in my acne.
  3. Food reactions can cause acne. I’ve noticed that when I cut foods to which I’m reacting, my acne will begin to improve. Some of those foods I’ve been able to reintroduce with no issues. I’ve had to keep wheat out of my diet permanently. I have reactions even to tiny traces that may end up on my food from a surface or a person’s hands. Many people claim cutting dairy and sugar can clear acne, but I’ve noticed no issues with either of these foods. I consume dairy almost every day and have not noticed any issues from it.
  4. Nutrient deficiencies and imbalances can cause acne. If you get too much of certain nutrients from your diet, it can results in deficiencies of competing nutrients, which can lead to acne. One of my worst rounds of acne breakouts was when I had begun working on the imbalance between copper and zinc in my diet. While I felt great at first, I noticed that my acne was getting exponentially worse. I finally realized that I was not paying attention to iron and vitamin E. I was taking in too much iron, which resulted in a vitamin E deficiency. Once I got that imbalance straightened out, my acne began to improve. Taking supplements in excess can also cause breakouts, which I just recently experienced with a calcium + vitamin D supplement. When I went back to a plain calcium supplement, may acne began to clear. The vitamin D from the calcium supplement was too much on top of what I was already getting from my diet and other supplements.
  5. Hormones can also lead to breakouts. I don’t believe hormonal imbalances were a cause of my acne when I was a young adult. In fact, I took a birth control pill for a while and never noticed a difference in my acne. However, entering perimenopause caused my acne to return. Fortunately, a menopause supplement, Estroven, has done a lot to help lessen my acne. Breakouts are pretty minimal at this point.

These were the main causes of my acne. Others will have different causes. Concerning skin care products, these are tools that you use along with addressing the root cause of your acne, whether it’s diet, hormones, hair products, or something else. I’ve used various skin care products over the years, prescription and over-the-counter. I don’t necessarily think in my case that the prescription products were better than the over-the-counter ones. Right now, I use skin cleansers with gentle and non-comedogenic ingredients along with topical products that I may use as spot-treatments or apply to my face occasionally. Some people may find success in clearing their acne with skin care products alone. I’m not one of those people.

Acne has definitely been the bane of my existence for most of my life. I’m thankful that at least for now I’m in a down-swing. While everyone’s breakouts are caused by different things, I hope that some of what I outlined above may help others clear their acne. Basically, it boils down to finding the root causes and dealing with those, along with using gentle skin care products that can treat acne and keep skin clean.


Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of FitITproNews? Email us at [email protected] today!


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