We’ve made it to the chapter that everyone is most interested in: supplements.
The dietary supplements market has bloomed over the last decade or so to become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Nowadays, people from all ages use dietary supplements on almost a daily basis including children, girls, boys, men, women, elders, pregnant women…etc. everyone is using a dietary supplement based on their own intuition or doctors’ recommendation.
Generally speaking, when it comes to building muscle, losing fat or both, fitness enthusiasts seem to be the most interested layer of people. Trainees are always interested in trying out new supplements in hopes of finding a secret pill that will help them achieve their body goals faster than everyone else. This is both good and bad. Good because people are willing to invest into their health and body and improve the quality of their lives. Bad because, quite frankly, the supplement industry is unregulated and there have been many incidents where supplement companies’ owners got caught in unethical practices that affected some peoples’ health.
However, let’s focus on the topic of this article: what are dietary supplements? And can they help achieve your goals?
Fitness and dietary supplements
Dietary supplements are non-prescription products that aim to help people achieve certain goals in regards to changing their body composition or improving their health. Those products are legal and can be sold over the counter, however, they are unregulated by the FDA which leaves a bit of leeway for producing under-dosed or low quality products.
When it comes to fitness and working out, there are literally supplements for every goal imaginable. Also, new supplements come out daily! This is not an exaggeration.
In regards to working out, most of the supplements seem to fall under the following categories:
- Muscle builders
- Fat burners
- Pre-workout supplements
- Recovery. Example: Amino Acids and BCAA’s
- Pump amplifiers. Example: nitric oxide pre-cursors and vasodilators
- Protein (of course)
- Anabolic products: pro-hormones, SARMS…etc. (these are illegal)
- Food products such as protein bars, protein smoothies, protein bread…etc.
- Testosterone boosters and hormone optimizers
There are many more supplement categories that I simply cannot remember off the top of my head right now, but this serves as a comprehensive list.
As you can see from the list above, supplement companies have pretty much covered all aspects of training and body composition. There is a supplement for every goal, every age, and every starting point out there. Trying to dive into this world of products can be overwhelming and leave you frustrated due to spending money on products that don’t work, or even worse, impact your health negatively.
So, are supplements necessary?
Do I need supplements?
Short answer: no! You don’t NEED any supplements.
What you need is a solid nutrition and exercise program that you will stay consistent with to transform your body. Supplements are just that, supplements! They “supplement” what’s already there.
Meaning supplements are just a nice addition to a good diet and exercise programs, they are not meant to replace those fundamental aspects. Luckily, this series should’ve taught you how to create a customized diet plan. However, supplements can come in handy sometimes. In fact, choosing effective supplements to add to your arsenal can provide you with that extra 10-20% that you need. But, you don’t NEED anything, remember that.
Do not let anyone fool you into thinking you need product X to build tons of muscle overnight or shed 50 lbs. of fat in a month. Those products don’t exist, otherwise, everyone would walk around looking like Zeus. Oh, and magic pills don’t exist either.
Ironically, the research on dietary aids (supps.) is somewhat behind since companies tend to copy off each other rather than investing into genuine research to find new effective ingredients because hey, who really wants to spend money? Just re-create the same product everyone else is making, put your own fancy label on it and claim it’s the best thing every! Voila, you’ve got a formula for success. I speculate this will change in upcoming years, though due to consumers becoming smarter and actually doing research. Power to the people, guys!
Dietary supps. are not magic pills, and you certainly don’t “need” them unless you have certain deficiencies that you need to address. Additionally, while most supps. are not effective, there are some that are proven to work and can help you achieve your goals in a somewhat timely manner. But, remember that dietary aids do not replace hard work, a solid diet plan or a smart exercise regimen.
We shall discuss what products you could invest to over the next few articles to help you achieve the body of your dreams, but first, let’s talk about why a supplement can work for some people and don’t for others.