I have chosen to write about fitness supplements because I think that the subject of supplements often invokes a certain level of confusion and I would like to minimise some of that stress for you, my readers.
I hope that this honest guide to fitness supplements can help you make more informed decisions regarding both your relationship to supplements and your choice of products in your quest to achieve a good physique.
Rule 1: The fitness industry is a billion dollar industry, please take every supplement as directed and do not have expectations that go beyond rule #1 of all my posts which is that progressive overload is the “secret” to building muscle mass.
Lesson 1: Supplements can help achieve progressive overload in so much as you follow their directions and have realistic expectations of their function.
Rule 2: No supplement is alike in their function, taste, effect and even results on your physique. This is why you will find a lot of confusion on the subject, because there really is no way of finding out if they work or not unless you try them out on yourself and see how your body responds.
What you can do is become a critical person of the supplements you plan on buying and ask the right questions.
- What are my goals?
- What length am I willing to go to in order to reach my goals? (This is where I highly recommend a health-centered approach towards choosing your goals because in order for progressive overload to be achieved, long-term thinking is required.) Right? Best to reap the health benefits at the cost of some pretty horrific steroid side effects.
- Based on my goals and the size of my wallet, am I willing to live the lifestyle necessary in order to achieve my desired goal? If you’ve made it this far, then you definitely have a desire to achieve a physique, so now it’s just a matter of careful selection.
Lesson 2: Only when you can develop an honest look at your goals will you know that you can develop the integrity and sense of level-headedness that is necessary to go into the path of fitness, supplements, etc. without going in the totally wrong direction.
If your goal is to build muscle mass then I recommend Creatine, BCAA’s, protein powder and a pre-workout (or coffee). If your goal were to lose fat, I would still recommend all of these. The distinction is that your training is going to be altered to attain either a fat loss goal or a muscle building goal. The supplements can help achieve your goals, even the Creatine, because building muscle does aid in fat loss and a total body re-composition. I’d say that a skinny-fat physique is one that needs to be avoided for the aesthetic that most people seek when they say “fat loss”. So there is always an emphasis in muscle building for both men and women. Creatine can help allow for the performance of extra repetitions that can make the difference in performance and muscle gain.
Rule 3: Supplements are expensive, and the right supplements seldom provide results without the hard work at the gym as well as a cleaner diet.
Yes, supplements are indeed beneficial. Yes, they will give you extra reps (especially the right kind of Creatine, for instance) and yes, they will give you that extra energy boost (a good pre-workout blend). The balancing act is always between finding a better supplement for the price that you are paying.
Try to really put on a critical lens when you are doing your shopping, and bare in mind the most important principle. “Will this supplement alone get me going to the gym and increasing my volume, add in that extra rep or give me that extra hour of sleep?” If you cannot answer that question it is because you know the answer. It is always a “No”. But, and this is where I stress being critical, “It may, provided that I am responsible with my dosage, timing and honest with myself with my goals.”
Lesson 3: Do not settle for an inexpensive but doubtful source of Creatine or Protein Powder for instance, because you may as well focus on progressive overload and reap the benefits of the hard work instead of jeopardising your health/wallet.
Always opt for a source that you trust, and one that you can soundly attest to instead of hiding from. Integrity is important for progressive overload and the consistency game. Otherwise, wouldn’t all successful bodybuilders have careers past 40 years old? Most do not, seldom do they even have the integrity to admit that they are taking steroids. My advice is to emulate their work ethic but not their integrity as it is too easy to lie about this stuff.
Do it for you because you deserve to have an impressive physique at 50 and a sound mind along the way.