Every time somebody asks me about ‘supplements’ I shudder.
Not because I don’t use supplements or recommend some supplements but it’s is because there is nothing more corrupt and backwards than the weight loss, muscle gain and ‘well being’ supplement market. For that reason, we never, ever, ever ‘sell’ supplements in the ABS gyms.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some perfectly good supplements out there that we will recommend and I will outline them over the course of the next few emails but there are also supplements that are overhyped and, more often than not, a complete waste of money.
We are approached by supplement companies and shops daily to put up a stand because we could ‘make loads of money’, and that is probably true, but I could not bring myself to be associated with the supplement industry. I just couldn’t.
There is too much BS associated with it: This berry, that powder, a new source of vitamins. Please…
There are a very short list of supplements that do work and have an effect but the usefulness of supplements is usually, as I mentioned before, hyped up beyond belief.
Before we go any further, let’s look at what a supplement actually IS. By definition, a supplement is some that is in ‘addition to’ something else. Like the shitty magazines, you get with the Sunday newspaper, for example.
So the first thing I teach people is how to get everything they ‘need’ from their diet so that they’re meeting their daily requirements through whole food and sound nutritional habits, THEN use supps as a means of getting their ‘extra’ in or to help them with recovery or whatever their need may be.
“Supplements should be used to add to an already sounds and nutritious plan, not to compensate for a bad one”.
Some ‘supplements’ can be an exception. For example: If somebody has an iron deficiency, then they may need to take iron supplements. Now the Iron is a nutritional aid, preventing a deficiency, not a supplement.
Similarly, it may be very difficult to get a certain amount of a nutrient depending on somebody eating preferences (vegetarians, coeliacs, people with absorption issues) and in this case, a person may need supplements in order to rectify the situation.
The above are exceptions to the rule. Most people will do just fine without them. They are not ‘needed’. But they can help with performance and effect results in the gym and I will go into some detail on the benefits and hypey bullshit of these supplements over the next few posts. We will take a look at protein powders and the benefits of different types in the next post.
Bryan Kavanagh BSc. CSCS