So undoubtedly when you start your journey into the vast world of Health & Fitness there will be a time when the question of supplements arises…
What are they?
Should I even take them?
How often should I take them?
Does the price match the results I will get (the more expensive, the better the results)?
The list goes on and on.
Well first off I want to start off by saying I have used supplements in the past. Pretty much every kind of brand, purpose (weight gain, weight loss, health) & price range and the only one that I still use to this day is Cod Liver oil tablets.
Personally I feel that unless you are a professional athlete that has to maintain an extremely high calorific diet or someone with a specific dietary deficiency then extra supplemental nutrients can be consumed through ordinary food.
So what types of supplements are there?
First & most popular would be the ‘whey protein shake’.
Want to look like this?
This is a form of adding more protein into your diet by drinking a ready made shake or buying powder and mixing it in with either water or milk. It’s by-product of the cheese making process in which the whey protein is separated from the milk and then turned into (other chemicals are added) the powder/drinks you can buy.
Next we have casein protein.
Casein is the other (main) protein found in cows milk. Again by adding chemicals to this raw product we get the commercially available casein protein shake which is widely regarded as the ‘slower acting protein’.
Next we have weight loss protein shakes…
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These annoy me a little here so bare with me please everyone.
Weight loss protein shakes are basically the exact same as the other two (When & Casein) but have been marketed – mainly to women – to buy these extremely overpriced bags of dried cows milk with added flavorings, preservatives and colourings and then they will miraculously loose weight.
What they don’t say is that what you are actually doing is becoming malnourished because you’ve stopped putting in REAL FOOD and are instead eating chemicals and potions that sold and marketed to you in a very clever way so you never have the question pop up as to WHY you loose weight!!!
More on this particular topic another time – that’s enough for now I think
We also have Mass Gaining shakes & powder.
Want to look like this?
This little gem of a product concept is sold to people who struggle to put on muscle. It’s basically again, the same whey/casein protein shake but this one has extra chemically made calories – how yummy. It has been extremely well received (and profitable to the companies) by the bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Strongman & Rugby/American Football world that this on thing can allow you to gain substantial amounts of weight by drinking one after every workout. HA!!
All I will say about any of these products above is you don’t NEED them. Even professional athletes can manage without them. If you a natural gym goer, who trains hard and eats 3-4 well balanced meals a day and rests enough then you will get results! You don’t need overpriced boxes of chemicals and potions to get you to achieve your goals.
For a long time I used protein shakes (quite expensive ones too) around 2-3 times a day, I stopped using them and nothing happened. I saw no difference to my physique, strength or energy levels at all. The only thing I did notice coming to think about it, was I didn’t have to take a bag of powder with me every time I went to the gym!
Saying this however I am a BIG believer that you should experience things for yourself and then you can form your own opinion. My recommendations would be;
- Choose something with 100% whey/casein – no chemicals
- Don’t pay any extreme – too cheap and it will be very nasty and maybe dangerous, too expensive and you might as well just eat nice tasting, expensive FOOD.
- Avoid brands that are promising you the world – you won’t get it in a tub
Moving away from this area of supplements to a more ‘natural’ type of supplements.
Now we come to the side of supplements that I am a little more lenient on.
Food/dietary/nutritional supplements. These basically contain a specific naturally accruing chemical, enzyme, oils, vitamin or mineral that we can sometimes lack in our diet.
By taking Cod Liver Oil tablets for example I’m simply ensuring that my body has enough fatty acid. There are no false promises, no clever marketing schemes and no unknown chemicals being put into your body.
But what does happen is your body gets the important supplements it does require to maintain its complex job list on a day-to-day basis.
Things like wheat grass, Cod liver oil, digestive enzymes would be a good place to start to help with toxicity, digestive problems and joint integrity.
But still, all things that our body could ever really need can be found right here on earth. We have everything we could possibly need at most supermarkets to be honest. If you know what to look for that is.
Supplements CAN be a great way to help take out nutrition to the net level but 99% can be done through food and water alone.
So try actually having a look for yourself what the main essential vitamins and minerals are for your body and eating foods rich in what you feel would suit you.