Achieve your fitness goals with our step-by-step nutrition and supplement guide

The Examine.com Fitness Guide: A blueprint for optimizing nutrition and supplementation

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There’s more to fitness than just weights and cardio- understand how the six major facets work together!

Learn to select and combine the right supplements for your fitness goals

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The truth about being fit

Ask ten people “What does it mean to be fit?”, and you’ll get ten different answers.

  • To some people, being fit means being at the top of their sport.
  • To others, being fit means being able to run a half-marathon, or simply hike for a couple of hours, without feeling like a wreck afterward.
  • To others still, being fit means being able to play with their grandkids, or simply waking up without stiffness and pain.

Moreover, what fitness means to you today can change tomorrow. Case in point: Kamal Patel, Examine.com co-founder (i.e., me!).

A decade ago, my main goal was to pack on muscle. Forays into powerlifting, strongman competitions … muscle was all I cared about. I had a 430-pound deadlift, and both my squat and bench were above 300. I was roughly 175 pounds at 12% body fat, and my goal was to be consistently sub-10%.

(Note that I hail from a family of rail-thin Indians and was among the naturally skinniest of them. My max bench was a shaky, grind-it-out 65 pounds after my freshman year of college. Suffice it to say that my fitness journey took quite a lot of time, effort, and learning.)

Fast forward to today, and my definition of fitness has completely changed. I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disorder that affects connective tissue throughout the body. I’ve had well over a dozen MRIs and multiple joint surgeries. I still research fitness on a daily basis, but now with a broader understanding of interconnected factors such as joint pain and sleep.

And years of research have taught me this: fitness is usually oversimplified. For many people, it is all about muscle and fat, weights and cardio; but to solve a puzzle as complex as optimal fitness, hammering the same routines over and over will not work. You need to figure out your personal bottlenecks among the six main fitness factors and take advantage of the most recent evidence to remove them, or even turn them into strengths!

And what are the six main fitness factors?

  1. Joint health

    Healthy joints allow your body to deal with the strains of exercise, sports, and normal everyday activities. A lack of pain should be your everyday state!

  2. Sleep

    Deep, restful sleep lets your body recover from the day’s activities and wake up energized.

  3. Muscle and exercise performance

    Muscle is one of the two obvious fitness factors, but optimal muscle mass isn’t just for looks: it helps keep testosterone levels high and lets you enjoy physical activities.

  4. Fat loss

    Fat is the second obvious fitness factor: high body fat leads to lower testosterone, lower self-esteem, and accelerated aging.

  5. Testosterone

    Optimal testosterone levels have far-reaching benefits, including more muscle, greater mental clarity, and better mood.

  6. Cardiovascular health

    Cardiovascular health grows in importance as you age: improving it now will not only boost your recovery but also help prevent future heart complications.

Importantly, each factor affects all the others. So don’t focus on just a couple and let the others become roadblocks in the years to come!

To truly be fit, you need to address all the factors

Imagine you found a VW Beetle from the 1950s and upgraded the engine, and only the engine, to something from 2019. What would happen?

The drivetrain would underperform. The shocks would fail pretty quickly. The wheels would not be able to handle the speed.

By focusing on one component and neglecting all the others, you’ve only marginally improved the performance, and at the same time created new risks.

This is what happens if you don’t focus on the big picture.

Here’s a real-life example: your knees.

Every pound of excess weight you carry means about 4 pounds of extra pressure on your knees when you walk, 8 when you run. In other words, if you’re just 10 pounds overweight, that’s 40 to 80 pounds of extra pressure on your knees with every step you take!

And yet, if you’re overweight, the first thing friends told you was likely to run, either outside or on a treadmill. Miles of running every day. Hours of running each week. “No pain no gain!”

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, you could alternate between running, swimming, and lifting, so that your efforts don’t all put pressure on your knees. You can also decrease your knee pain with smarter nutrition, supplementation, and body positioning at work.

As your pain decreases, you can exercise more and thus lose more weight, thus lessening the pressure on your knees, thus reducing the pain even more. More exercise and less pain make for better sleep, thus better recovery, allowing you to exercise harder. The harder you exercise, the more your cardiovascular system improves, making it possible for you to exercise longer, thus lose more weight, thus decrease the pressure on your knees, and so on and so forth.

In short, as you improve one fitness factor, the others improve too. This synergistic process is the virtuous circle of fitness.

Too many books focus on just one fitness factor. But most people don’t have time to read six different books and figure out, for each of them, what’s true and what’s just good salesmanship. The job of our Fitness Guide is to translate all the most recent scientific evidence about the six main fitness factors so you know which diets, supplements, and lifestyle approaches work, which don’t, and which might but don’t have enough evidence yet.

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The Examine.com Fitness Guide:
A blueprint for optimizing nutrition and supplementation

Easy-to-follow directions

Learn which supplements to take, when, in what form, in what dosage.

  • Core supplements have the best safety-efficacy profile.
  • Primary options can be very effective in the right context.
  • Secondary options could be worth adding if you have the money.
  • Promising supplements are backed only by preliminary evidence.
  • Inadvisable supplements are likely to harm your health or wallet.

Ideal supplement combinations

Learn how to best combine the various supplements depending on your personal situation and goals.

Dieting the right way

Explore the psychology of dieting, not just to learn why most diets fail, but so you can select the right diet for your needs and personality — the diet most likely to work for you. We provide you with the latest evidence on the most popular types of diet, and we answer the diet-related questions we’ve been asked most often over the past seven years!

Getting the basics right

Learn to assess your fitness and measure your progress. Learn about movement and body positioning (not just for the gym, but for the many hours you spend at work) to keep yourself healthy and pain-free.

Unbiased information

We do not sell supplements or provide consulting to supplement companies. We do not accept donations, sponsorship, or advertising. All our recommendations are based strictly on the latest scientific evidence.

Up-to-date information

The evidence evolves. New studies change our outlook on known supplements, and bring new supplements to the forefront. Which is why your Fitness Guide comes with free lifetime updates.

  • The New York Times
  • The Guardian
  • Men's Health
  • The Washington Post
  • Medpage Today
  • Forbes
  • BBC

Here’s a tiny sliver of the hundreds of questions we answer using the latest peer-reviewed research:

  • Fitness tracking: so hot right now. But how do you track most accurately without getting obsessive or lost in the weeds?
  • Low-fat or low-carb? Which diet is healthier, and which works better?
  • Can you lose fat both quickly and sustainably? And without extreme dieting?
  • Which one ability is most correlated with achieving long-term fat loss?
  • Does eating six meals a day actually promote muscle growth?
  • In which two cases might BCAAs help you more than regular protein powder?
  • How could you burn upward of 30,000 extra calories per year while typing on your computer?
  • How important is LDL-C, compared to LDL-P or cholesterol particle size?
  • How exactly does coconut oil affect heart health? And is it even a good source of MCTs?
  • Which vitamins and minerals should you take together and which separately?
  • Why is the standard treatment for joint pain so problematic?
  • Can you lose weight just walking, or is running really necessary? Should you even target 10,000 steps a day?
  • How can you measure your body fat percentage? And how does it compare with that of your peers and of athletes?
  • Is there anything you can do to curb food cravings and snacking habits? And why do you crave food even when you’re not hungry?

Who will benefit from the Fitness Guide?

Athletes who have hit a plateau in their fitness journey

You’ve tried high-reps, low-reps, pyramids, drop sets, supersets, jogging, HIIT, and all the rest. So why aren’t you getting any faster, stronger, leaner? Are there supplements that could help you break through your plateau?

We’ll see which ones are best supported by the evidence; we’ll even see which forms to take, in what dosages, and in what combinations. But more importantly, we’ll examine fitness factors that are routinely neglected yet are often the real causes behind a plateau.

People who want to get (back) in shape

This is the year you’re getting back in shape! But where to start? Are there supplements that could help you lose fat and give you more energy to exercise? Certainly, and here again we’ll see which which forms to take, in what dosages, and in what combinations, based on the evidence.

But supplements are the cherry on the fitness cake; there are many other factors to consider first. So many, in fact, that fitness can seem an overwhelming puzzle! But we’ll break it down and guide you.

Whether you’re overweight and find dieting and exercising difficult, or you’re just out of shape and wish to start an exercise regimen, we’re here to help. Whatever your age, it is never too late to get fit!

People who want to stay in shape — no matter their age

Fitness is a journey. You don’t want to be muscular today but a wreck in ten years. Page by page, we’ll guide you through the basics that make lifelong fitness possible.

Not just how to lose fat, but how to keep it off.

Not just how to pack up muscle, but how to stay pain-free.

Not just how to improve your sport performance, but how to be fit enough to enjoy life and your favorite activities at any age.

Whether you’ve just turned 20, are in your 40s, or have retired and want to stay healthy, our Fitness Guide can help.

We’ll explore dietary habits, sleep hygiene, body positioning, and yes, even supplements — which forms to take, in what dosages, and in what combinations. All based on the latest evidence.

Ready to get started?

Take advantage of Examine.com’s expertise. We’ve distilled hundreds of studies into practical steps you can take right now.

Fitness Guide

$79

Digital Copy

Learn what the latest evidence says on

  • The common fitness bottlenecks
  • The best supplements for
    • Muscle gain
    • Exercise performance
    • Fat loss
    • Testosterone production
    • Cardiovascular health
    • Joint health
    • Sleep
  • Diet types and dieting psychology
  • Body positioning to stay pain-free
  • Instant download (PDF)
  • Lifetime updates (PDF)

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Take a peek at the Fitness Guide




What are the topics covered in our Fitness Guide?

  • Muscle Gain and exercise performance
  • Fat loss
  • Testosterone production
  • Joint health
  • Sleep
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Measuring fitness
  • Body movement and positioning
  • Dieting
  • Food psychology
BUY THE FITNESS GUIDE NOW - ONLY $79
Just $79 for the 210-page, extensively referenced guide

Who is Examine.com
and why should you trust us?

  • Examine.com is an independent encyclopedia on supplementation and nutrition. We’re unique because we don’t sell supplements and aren’t affiliated in any way with any supplement company. When we recommend a supplement (or say another is ineffective), it has no impact on our bottom line. Consider us the Switzerland of the world of nutrition and supplementation.
  • Since our inception in early 2011, we’ve had but one goal: to be the best source of unbiased information on supplements and nutrition. Our team comprises medical doctors, biophysicists, pharmacists, nutritionists, sports dietitians, kinesiologists, etc. — all accredited experts, but with very different backgrounds, so that when we do research, we get the full picture. That’s why we have over 50,000 references on our website — we’re happy to show our work.
  • This single-minded dedication to providing well-researched, unbiased information has made us the #1 site for supplement information. Over a million people visit us every month. We have over 65,000 happy customers. And when major media organizations (such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Men’s Health, the BBC, and many more) need experts, they turn to us.


Medical doctors. Researchers. Registered dietitians. Professional athletes.
They all rely on Examine.com’s evidence-based analyses.

Examine.com is Lindsay Langford’s “go-to” for supplement research

Examine.com has been my “go-to” when looking for the latest in supplement research. I find the site easy to navigate and appreciate the easy access to scientific information, when time is of the essence. I appreciate the ability to view all citations and trust Examine.com as a sound scientific tool.

Lindsay Langford, MS, RD, CSSD | Sports Dietitian, Indiana Pacers

For John Berardi and his team, Examine.com is a trusted resource

Whenever I want unbiased, meticulously researched, and scientifically credible supplement information, I turn to my friends at Examine.com. They review thousands of studies and give bottom-line supplement recommendations better than anyone else in the industry. For me, my team, and my colleagues, they’ve become a trusted resource.

John Berardi, PhD, CSCS | Co-founder Precision Nutrition | Advisor to Apple, Nike, and Equinox

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Stuart Phillips, Director, Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) | Director, McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Research | Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, Skeletal Muscle Health

Ramsey Nijem relies on Examine.com for credible and relevant information on nutrition and supplementation

As the Head Performance and Strength Coach for an NBA team, I am responsible for delivering credible and relevant information on all things sport performance. Examine.com is my go-to source when it comes to nutrition and supplementation and their Fitness Guide does a great job breaking down the supplements (and even nutrition) that will help you optimize your overall fitness.

Ramsey Nijem, Head Performance & Strength Coach, Sacramento Kings

John Meadows trusts Examine.com to tell him the truth on supplements

I’ll keep this simple: Examine.com is where I go when I want to look up what the science says on supplements and nutrition.
If you want the truth on supplements and what works and what doesn’t, no one does it better. You can tell they spend the time and effort to get the full picture. And as a pro bodybuilder, that’s exactly what I need.

John Meadows, IFFB Pro Bodybuilder

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Tavis Piattoly, S, RD, LDN | Co-Founder, My Sports Dietitian | Former Sports Dietitian for New Orleans Saints & New Orleans Pelicans

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The supplement industry can be tremendously confusing for a number of reasons. First, the margins are incredibly high — so there are a lot of unethical weasels with no scientific background making bold and unsubstantiated claims to separate you from your money. Second, it’s a dynamic industry, as new products, brands, and research emerge every single day. Fortunately, the guys at Examine.com have streamlined the process of educating us all by providing an incredibly up-to-date resource on the supplements we encounter on a daily basis, as well as some of the more obscure ones that are out there that might “stump” us. This is an excellent product not only because it’s a completely research-backed, unbiased perspective without any financial conflicts of interest, but also because it’s exhaustively thorough and well written. I highly recommend it.

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Examine.com has become THE repository resource for nutritional supplement information. Most other similar databases fail at what they’re good at, which is being accessible and being comprehensive. Their frequent updates stay on top of the literature as it evolves. Examine.com gives me an excellent overview of the body of work, which helps me filter and refine my search strategy when I’m looking up supplements that I get asked about that I’ve never heard of. The Human Effect Matrix provides interpretation that is lacking in every other supplement database in the world. Most people don’t have the time or interest to develop high-level expertise, but need somewhere to turn to to make informed decisions about their supplements. That information is at Examine.com.

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Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, MD CCFP Dip ABBM

Frequently asked Questions

Founded in 2011, Examine.com is an education company led by a team of experts — PhDs, researchers, medical doctors, pharmacists, and more. With over 2.5 million visitors each month, our website is the trusted resource on nutrition and supplement research.

It is designed for anyone who wants to meet their individual fitness goals using clear and concise guidelines. We bring an evidence-based approach that helps you maximize all facets of fitness.

The Fitness Guide combines 6 guides (sold individually for $49 ) we’ve been updating with new evidence since 2014:

  • Muscle Gain & Exercise Performance
  • Fat Loss
  • Testosterone
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Joint Health
  • Sleep
We didn’t just throw six guides under one cover, however: we combined them to provide you with a unified reference on fitness supplementation, and we added to each a topical overview that looks beyond supplementation — you’ll learn, for instance, what the scientific evidence says on the effects of sleep on exercise, and of exercise on sleep. We’ve also added sections on nutrition, dieting, fitness assessment and tracking, and body movement and positioning, to make the Fitness Guide the most comprehensive reference you’ll find that isn’t a textbook.

Yes.

If you own the Supplement Guides bundle, you can get the Fitness Guide for just $19.

Simply login and the price will automatically be updated to reflect the discounted price.

Yes. As we create new Supplement Guides, we’ll add the fitness-related ones to your Fitness Guide.

We will update the Fitness Guide the same way we update our Supplement Guides. Our goal is to update our Supplement Guides with new scientific evidence at least once a year.

We will notify you of each major update via email. With that said, you can simply download a new copy from the Member’s Area and it will be the latest version of the Fitness Guide.

We offer an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee on all our products. Should you be unhappy with the Fitness Guide PDF for any reason, simply email us at support@examine.com and we will refund your purchase.

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  • Lifetime Updates
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Unbiased Information

Zero conflict of interest

Examine.com is an unbiased resource on nutrition and supplementation. We are not influenced by commercial interests, product manufacturers, or any other organization, and we will not advertise products or brands. Examine.com does not accept donations, third-party funding, or sponsorship of any kind. One hundred percent of our revenue is generated through our information products.


Guarantee

Unconditional Refund Policy

100% money-back guarantee

All Examine.com purchases are risk-free. Our Fitness Guide comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee — no questions asked. If you don’t like what you see, just email us via support@examine.com within 30 days for your full refund.