Do I need Supplements?
We can't guess where our health lies. We should not assume either.
A common theme that myself and other trainers run into is when people want to know which type of supplement will get them to their goals the fastest. I get it, supplements are very appealing especially when we want to hit our goals as soon as possible. No matter what your goals may be, the following information will help you before you go into the local vitamin store.
Do You Know Your Numbers?
If you haven't taken a look at your health numbers or participated in a physical over the past six months, then buying supplements are a shot in the dark. Micronutrient deficiencies are real and can cause an array of problems depending on where you're deficient. Knowing where you stand vitamin and mineral wise can help decipher where in your diet needs to be changed or what vitamin supplements should be taken. You will not now this until you get a full panel physical and blood test. Most local labs provide this service or your insurance may cover this service.
How's Your Diet?
Before looking to buy supplements, hitting up your fridge and pantry may be your best bet. Supplements are made to fill holes in the diet, not become your diet. We all know "you cannot out train a bad diet" the same goes for supplements, you cannot out supplement your diet either. Our bodies function best from whole foods that are minimally processed. Clean up your diet prior to heading to the supplement store.
Sports Supplements That Work
I will begin this paragraph and end it the same, you cannot out supplement a bad diet and whole foods should be your primary source of fuel. With that being said, the following supplements have been proven over time to be beneficial alongside a solid nutrition base. Whey and casein protein, carbohydrate powders, creatine mono-hydrate, and caffeine have been supported to be useful in sport. In order for these to be effective, your diet must be solid to reap the most benefit you can get out of using these supplements. These items were created for time constraints and convenience, not to be an overwhelming part of your diet. I will reiterate, you cannot out supplement a bad diet and whole foods should be your primary source of fuel.
With my clients, I do not spend much time on supplements since this takes time away from the essentials: food, sleep, and consistency. Supplements cannot replace these basics. Before thinking of investigating in any supplements, know where your health lies before the guessing games. If I could sell training, sleep, and consistently in a pill form I would be a rich man. Fortunately, these tangibles are achievable. Supplement the basic principles and your results will follow.