I get asked quite often about what supplements are good and bad and what you, as an athlete, should take. Unfortunately there is not clear answer for this question. So let’s start at the basics questions and concerns.
Why do you feel like you need to take a supplement? – Most athletes that come to me asking about supplements have very general answers to this question. I have been told that they want to improve their workout and abilities. They want to improve their energy levels. This is a good start but unless you dig deeper you cannot focus on what product or other option will work best for you. There are a lot of products out there and each has their individual claims as to what they do. It is never a good idea to go shopping unless you know what you are hoping to achieve with these products.
What are you expecting to achieve from taking a supplement? – Before you go and spend money on manufactured supplements stop and review your goals from this supplement. If you want more energy pre workout you can eat an apple 20 min prior to a workout and see the same results. What is going to be better for you? If you want to increase strength or intensity you could look at your nutrition. How you eat can make a huge difference in your intensity in a workout. Eating a proper amount of protein will help grow your strength and your recovery.
Are you okay with putting it in your body? – It is very important to understand that most supplements have little to no research on them. Supplements are not regulated by the Department of Health or anyone else. So supplement companies are free to make whatever concoction they want so long as they put their famous warning: This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent and disease. The only supplements that have had long term studies conducted are Creatine and Protein.
Going to a supplement store – Always research the supplements you are considering before going to a supplement store. If you walk into most supplement stores they are going to try to sell you everything under the sun. Most sales persons get paid on commission and want to improve their wage packet. They will try to convince you that you need to take multiple supplements or a “stack” to achieve the results you are wanting. Researching prior to going will allow you to know what you want without a bias salesperson opinion.
Avoid pyramid schemes – Be very mindful of companies that try to get you to sell their products. They are usually setup to push some new un-researched product/s. They will tell you how you can make all of this money and get to help others. In the end you will have to pay out a lot to them with little to no assurance you will ever make any money.
We all have a desire to achieve better results quicker and easier. That desire is a good trait. I feel we sometimes allow that quick and easy approach to push us to supplements over better nutrition. I recommend reviewing your nutrition and the timing of your meals before you go to a supplement. You will find that almost everything you’re looking for in a supplement can be achieved through mindful nutrition. Would you rather have healthy real food or a supplement that is produced by a company with no regulation? The answer is easy…