Guide to Supplementation
Over the past 5 years or so there has been an incredible surge in both the popularity and the media exposure to supplements. Major supermarket chains, specialized health stores and Internet based sites have all started to preach the grandeur of how taking a magnificent cocktail of different pills, tablets and liquid is the secret ingredient to getting healthy.
In my opinion it plays on one factor: the lack of knowledge the vast majority possess in regards to what they are actually taking. In other words, the only thing that makes one supplement better from the other is marketing. If it’s brandished with “Fat loss accelerator” or “Super food” then people will happily take it and think that this will be the missing link to their quest to a better body.
There’s actually quite an ugly truth to supplementation. As a single component it’s pretty superfluous to making much of a difference to your body at all. Supplementation is the last piece of the puzzle. The final addition to a regime once optimal nutrition, training, recovery and lifestyle has been mastered. If you haven’t grasped the basic elements of what it takes to achieve a high level of physical wellness then you are simply wasting your hard earned money.
If you take vitamins yet still have gluten in your diet then the likelihood is that your gut will be too inflamed to even absorb said vitamin. If you take fat burners but have poor Para-sympathetic regulation then you can put your body into a chronic state of stress and make yourself fatter. If you take ZMA but consume large amounts of alcohol on a weekly basis you are rendering it’s anabolic affects useless. Supplementation only works once all other factors are at their peak.
What’s even more irritating is there constant use of slander towards other brands. As competition is so fierce, people in the fitness industry will usually call and bad mouth products in favour of their own. I have done this many a time, so in essence; I’m calling out myself. What occurred to me though was that to the untrained member of the public, these drinks, pills and shakes will come across as very tangible. So in reality there’s no difference from some asking them from taking a meal replacement to me asking them to take a fish oil. We are both trying to sell a supplement we believe in.
What I won’t stand for, is people who try to sell something just to make money. Yes I know we are all trying to make a living but if you have no form of nutritional education, no form of training education, are not in shape yourself and are just the product of a pyramid based sales scheme, don’t try and flog crappy overpriced pills that are just plain stupid. If God forbid someone was to actually ask an intellectual question to how these pills actually work, you’re going to find yourself in a very unfortunate position.
I must stress however, supplements definitely have there place and used correctly can be extremely powerful and potent. As potent as hard work and discipline? No where near, but still they can have very noticeable effects on your physique and performance.
If you are going to use supplements then use this piece of advice. Look for supplements that help the brain. Anything that aids the brain will aid the rest of the body massively. This is a fact!! From my personal reading your brain detests 3 things; stress, inflammation and excessive insulin production. These can all be dealt with via diet, however can be prevented even more by supplementation.
I had a horrendous experience recently, I went through my spending’s over the past year that was solely based on supplements. Glutamine, creatine, arginine, BCAA’s, leucine, holy basil, tribulus, vitamin C, vitamin D3, ZMA, virtargo, pre-workout stacks, peri-workout nutrition, post-workout shakes are to name a few off the top of my head. It came to a 4 figure sum…in a year…ouch. What’s worse is that I felt all of these where necessary to burn fat and gain muscle. I had well and truly been played by the fitness industry and hypnotized by the allure of some wonder potion that will make me great.
I’ve learnt my lesson and now have a very old school approach to the topic. Eat right, rest appropriately and if you want to get bigger and stronger work hard and just lift the f***** weight. My supplement regime has been cut down to Omega 3 fish oil, Zinc and Magnesium, and I will stay on these for probably the rest of my life.
To summarize there is far too much deceptive advertising and false hope when it comes to supplements. In truth, we don’t really know what’s really in anything. Before you consider exchanging money for any tablet, pill or powder just remember it’s name “supplement”. It’s purpose is to supplement your already fine tuned diet. If you basics are covered, don’t waste your money.