The supplement industry is truly MASSIVE, you name it, there’s a supplement for it………
It can all get very confusing, and understanding supplementation can be made increasingly difficult by public perception and branding.
For example, if you were to ask the average person what they think of protein shakes, a typical response could be “you don’t know what’s in them; it can’t be ‘good’ for you”.
In their mind, you may as well be publicly sticking a needle in yourself!
The exact same person probably wouldn’t have the same reaction to somebody drinking a ‘sports based’ energy drink, which are extremely widespread and available from just about every shop/supermarket. Despite these drinks very often being highly calorie dense and containing a wide range of stimulant based ingredients, they are for the most part socially acceptable……….
Lucozade for example, is actually marketed, endorsed, and supported by athletes, yet is purchased and consumed by an often inactive demographic, without any secondary thought being given.
What do you need to consider when it comes to supplementation?
Firstly it is essential that you have a balanced diet containing all the necessary nutrients (macros & micros) before introducing any shake or supplement. It is far more beneficial to get your diet on track first for you to notice tangible results and also for you to make vast improvements in your health & performance (both in and out of the gym).
Remember that there isn’t a supplement invented that will transform you or help you if the rest of your diet & lifestyle is poor!
By definition a supplement is ‘Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it’………………..
The use of any supplement is also obviously dependent on your individual goals. I always suggest that before you commit to purchasing any supplements you discuss your goals with a professional, and do your own research.
I do acknowledge that supplements can play a role within your routine and can definitely help in terms of reaching your goals, however, I would encourage you to consider the following pointers with regards to your existing diet & lifestyle before buying and committing to any supplements:
>Are you aware of your average total daily calorie intake?
>Are you aware of what is potentially lacking in your diet in terms of micronutrients?
>If your goal is fat loss, are you in calorie deficit?
>If your goal is to increase muscle mass, are you in a calorie surplus?
>Are you eating sufficient amounts of protein/carbohydrates/good fats to support the level of training you are performing at?
>Are you eating at regular intervals to avoid potential binging? This doesn’t have to always mean 5 meals a day, I’m merely encouraging you to question your existing patterns, are you consistent in your approach?
>Do you plan ahead and prepare your meals, if and when required?
>Do you drink sufficient water for your bodyweight on a daily basis? (https://tristanbuttle.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/are-you-drinking-enough-water/ – have a read to find out how much).
>Do you feel you get sufficient sleep and recovery? (See my blog https://tristanbuttle.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/struggling-with-your-sleep-read-this/
>How much stress do you have within your current lifestyle and how do you combat it?
Before you part with your hard earned cash, I would suggest avoiding:
>Any product that claims to have ‘steroid like’ effects or benefits! The only products that have steroid like effects are steroids!
>Any product that relies solely on buzz words, such as ‘super lean’ or ‘shredded’.
>Any product you are potentially buying solely because someone else is the gym also happens to be using the same product.
>Any product that hides the active ingredients behind the term ‘propriety blend’. This can be very misleading and can often mask the active ingredient quantities, save you hard earned cash and don’t get conned!
>Any product that is promoted/endorsed exclusively by the latest reality TV star!!!
>Any product that encourages you to regularly replace meals with shakes.
What supplements would I recommend you do use?
>A quality whey protein powder – this can prove to a convenient source of protein for some. I tend to favour using it in conjunction with other foods such as oats or yoghurt.
>Creatine – this is a supplement that has been around since the 70’s, and has been proven to have many benefits, to read more click here: https://tristanbuttle.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/confused-about-creatine/
>ZMA – this one of my favoured supplements for aiding with sleep.
>Fish Oil – this boasts a huge number of benefits, including the contribution of normal/healthy function of the heart.
>Vitamin D – if you live in sunny old England, it’s worth considering that exposure to sunlight is responsible for Vitamin D synthesis, and is responsible for the majority of Vitamin D intake in the body.
>Vitamin C – this contributes to normal function of the immune system.
That’s it, it may not be the sexiest selection, but I guarantee they will have a greater impact on your health & performance opposed to the fad/false hope supplement on the market. It will also prove to be far less damaging to your bank account!
I suggest that you consider addressing all the above points before introducing any form of supplementation into your routine.
Doing this will not only improve your health massively, but also place you on the right path to achieving your goals.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you found it useful please like and share with others.
If you need any help or further advice, give me a shout.
Tristan ‘keep supplementation simple’ Buttle.