When it comes to supplements, there are many questions that often lead people baffled and extremely unsure of the stuff. In this article i’m going to try and answer the most common questions and curiosities about supplements and whether or not it’s worth investing in.
Firstly I would like to get a few myths about supplements out of the whey (see what I did there?):
- “Sports Supplements are drugs” – I’m sure you’ve heard at least one person say this and I can assure you that they are not. The fact is supplements are just like any other food you buy from a supermarket, it will note all the ingredients, calories, macros and everything else just like any form food and I have yet to come across a sports supplement containing any drugs . Steroids however are a drug and these are not the same as sport supplements.
- “Take this and you’ll get shredded” – Again I’m afraid there’s no sports supplement, magic pill or shake that is going to magically build muscle or burn fat. You still have to have a good nutrition and exercise plan using the supplements to…. well supplement your plan. If you’re consuming protein shakes and do nothing but sit on the sofa and eat junk food, you will not get any fitter, healthier, slimmer or muscular. In fact you’ll just be consuming extra calories which will likely be stored as fat.
- “You need to use supplements to achieve your goal” – Wrong. Nobody NEEDS to use supplements to achieve their fitness goal. Everything you need to consume to achieve your fitness goal, is in foods. Receiving all of your nutrition from food is the most natural and healthy way to your fitness goals, whether that’s losing a few pounds or gaining muscle. Supplements simply make life a little bit easier.
Do I Use Supplements?
Yes I do use supplements in my diet. Do I need to? No, but it makes achieving my nutritional goals so much easier. I consume whey protein shakes due to the fact that I struggle to hit my protein goals whilst remaining in a caloric deficit. However by consuming protein shakes, it makes the task almost effortless. I also consume BCAA tablets to help reduce the risk of muscle tissue breakdown and promote lean muscle mass gains
Other supplements to consider are Multivitamins, Fish Oil, Digestive enzymes and Magnesium but again only take these if you believe your diet is lacking.
Should You Use Supplements?
If you can manage to get all your macro nutrients and micro nutrients from healthy natural food sources then I highly recommend doing so. However if like me you struggle to hit your nutritional goals or need something to help you with your training, then do so. Just always bear in mind what you’re putting into your body. Be sure to take a look at the ingredients of anything you plan to consume. It also probably goes without saying, but make sure you buy your supplements from a reliable source, shop or website. Stay away from the shady stuff, we’re not even going there.
Just to summarise, if you can manage to maintain a healthy and balanced diet without supplements, that’s great and you should definitely keep that up! If on the other hand you’re struggling or have plateaued, try supplements out and it may just give you what you need to aid you in your fitness goals.
If you are not sure then ask your trainer for their recommendations