Hopefully you’re reading this before you’ve spent a shed load of money on a stack of supplements. Now, before I expand, supplements have a place in a fitness regime or protocol but should they be the priority over other aspects? Simple answer is no.
One aspect that should be paid specific attention before considering the majority of supplements, is FOOD. If your diet is full of crap food then the impact of many supplements will be significantly reduced. Will they have ‘some’ impact? There will be ‘some’ benefit but for the amount of money people spend on supplements I would want to see more than just ‘some’ impact/benefits from the supplements I use.
So, in a nutshell, what I am saying is address your diet, make changes to whole healthy foods and then look at implementing supplements in to your regime. When considering which supplements to use for your goals I would recommend taking some advice from a professional who is in a position to give you the information you need and who can advise on the best ones to take. There are so many supplements out there and variety of products it can be a headache to know what’s best. Seeking advice will save you time and money. Another way of being more accurate is getting tested.
Right so you’ve started making changes to your diet and you’re ready to add in some supplements. Whether it be weight loss, fat loss or building muscle these are some things I would advise you consider to set solid foundations.
Vitamin D Supplementation – Important for a number of functions within the human body. A clinical review by the British Medical Journal highlighted Vitamin D insufficiency being linked to health problems such cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and auto immune conditions.
It is also essential for muscle growth and male hormone health, as well as promoting fat loss in women.
A large percentage of the UK population are deficient. Be accurate, get tested. This can be done through some GP’s. If not you can get a simple home test kit for around £25. Follow the instructions and send it off with results emailed back to you within 3-5 days. Simple.
Magnesium Supplementation – Important for muscle recovery and repair. Can be beneficial for a better sleep too. A great relaxation mineral. Other health benefits include regulating normal muscle and nerve function, keeping bones strong, heart health and supporting the immune system. Again, you can get tested to check your levels.
Zinc Supplementation – Important for immune health. It can improve insulin sensitivity. It can increase the level of testosterone in males when combined with high intensity workouts as well as increasing strength and athletic performance. Other benefits include skin health and increased fertility in males and females. Yep you’ve guessed it, test to check your levels.
Using the above as a base here are a couple of supplements that could be added.
Whey Protein – This a real mine field. There is some real crap out there but equally some real gems. Generally, the cheaper the whey the poorer the quality, with the occasional exception. I wouldn’t advise buying from places like Holland & Barrett or supermarkets. Instead look at purchasing from places like Genetic Supplements or Three Sixty Health Solutions. Companies that have spent time creating or sourcing the best quality whey proteins. Ultimately the rule that applies to food shopping applies to supplement purchases – Buy the best quality you can afford.
Fish Oil – Again there are differing qualities out there. Not all oils are equal. Many are not clean oils and aren’t heavy metal tested. Don’t just reach for the cod liver oil. Spend a little time researching and look for clean, good quality oils that have been heavy metal tested. Eskimo Fish oil for example.
Other things such as BCAA’s, Creatine, Beta Alanine, L-Glutamine may all be beneficial but as I said, seek advice as to what would be beneficial for your goals. Feel free to send any questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To conclude. Are you wasting your money? A lot of the time yes! Does that mean supplements have no place? No! They are beneficial if used correctly. Don’t use a supplement alongside a shit diet expecting miracle gains and certainly don’t use a supplement in place of food. Do not get me started on meal replacement products! You’ll go a long way if you remember that there isn’t a magic pill, powder or potion. I’ve said it many times before but think long term sustainable changes and results through hard work in the kitchen and in the gym. There is no ‘secret’ or miracle.
Eat food and supplement where appropriate and where budget allows.
Eat Well! Live Well!