We spend a fortune on supplements each year. From early age I started experimenting with different kind of supplements, everything from weight loss to sugar control. When I started my first period of serious training at age 15, I started using whey protein. I remember back then the taste of the protein was horrendous, and when I went back in the gym at age 21, I was not looking forward to adding protein shakes back into my diet. Luckily the flavours are a hell of a lot better today. And having a shake or two a day was not an issue.
But what I look back at today, was that I HAD to drink protein shakes because I was going to the gym and building a better body. Did I really?
Not far after I started reading up about other types of supplements. I thought the more the better. And after time, I had pretty much every single “essential” supplement on the market.
Now. I havent taken a single supplement or protein shake in about 3-4 months. The only real reason for this was that I had to budget my “supplement money” else where. And you know what. The last months coming up the Christmas I have seen more results with my body composition than I have ever before. I’ve simply just sticked to a diet and trained consistently.
When I started to train for my first bikini competition in 2014 I got to know a girl who was prepping as well, she didn’t touch any supplements, and she said to me you don’t need any of that if you eat the right foods. At that point I was very uneducated and thought she was being silly. Why wouldn’t you take supplements if that helped?
But after learning the facts myself, I honestly don’t think you need any supplements. If your diet is well-balanced and you get the nutrients you need and you are being consistent (train every week and don’t change much in eating habits), you should reach your goal regardless.
Although, I’m not saying supplements wont help at all, as some are scientifically proven to help. If you are a man or a woman who lives for the gym and building muscles and staying is one of the most important things to you, yes sure go for the supplements. But if you are like me (and gym and fitness is a big part of my life) don’t waste your money.
However, using supplements can also be a way of sticking to your diet or even have a somewhat effect on your mind. If you believe its working better than without, that will certainly help your goals. Your mind is a powerful tool.
So by saying that I’m going to go through some of the most used supplements on the market today and if I think you should take them or not:
Multivitamins: Depends on your overall diet. But I tend to take them anyway to make sure I get all the vitamins I need. More ideal is to get yourself checked at the doctors and see if there’s any vitamins you lack and only take them instead.
Fish oil: Yes. Most people don’t get enough of this. So to be on the safe side, take them. Unless you are certain you get enough.
Whey Protein: Sure. If you have a hard time getting enough protein in your regular diet, certainly add it to your diet. I like to use protein in my diet as it bake and cook a lot of foods with it. Also easy solution for a meal if you don’t want to cook or feeling uninspired. But remember NOT on top of your diet. Preferably use whey isolate.
BCAA: Toss it. If you have a high protein intake and most of it come from animal products, you will get all the essential amino acids. Most people don’t know that BCAA actually contains energy, so by using it, you will only add more energy for your body to break down. Making it harder for weight loss.
Creatine: Yes. If you are serious about putting muscles on. It works, but might make you gain a bit of water retention. And stick to creatine monohydrate. The simplest is the best.
L-Carnitine: If you want to. L-carnitine is an amino acid which transfer fatty acids into the mitochondria to produce more ATP (energy). The theory is that is a fat burner. It is also essential for the health of your brain function, heart and muscles.
Glutamine: Maybe. But not essential. Mainly used for people during a cutting phase. As it is linked to prevent catabolism (break down of muscle mass).
Pre workout: Save your money and have a coffee instead.
Mass gainers: Only if you can’t get enough food through your normal diet.
Casein: A slow responding protein. I personally don’t know too much about this supplement. Buy why would you want to make things go slow in the body? You want things to happen fast. Stick to normal protein.
Fat burners: Nah. Some might help a bit, but this could also only be in your head. And they certainly wont help if your diet is shite. If they contain a lot of caffeine, this will of course help on fat burning, but Id rather have a couple of coffees instead. Another cheaper alternative is to take a vitamin B Complex( B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12). As these 8 B vitamins have a important role to make the body’s metabolism run properly. You can say they are like the oil for a car. A car without oil will not work.
This was just a quick overview. If there’s any other supplement you want answers about, please leave a comment below, or if you want a more detailed answer. 🙂