Health-Conscious Guide to Fitness Supplements

woman using dumbbells
Fit and toned woman lifting weights at the gym.

Not all supplements are equated equal.

While there are varying definitions of what fitness and a healthy lifestyle looks to one person, I’m sure that we can agree that fitness should be adding value to your life, and not taking away from that.

So let’s start by addressing whether supplements can be generalised upon, clearly, they cannot, some fitness supplements can cause harm and some do not have as many benefits as they do side effects.

assorted capsules in mug
Picture of supplements in a small bowl, varying in sizes, colours and shapes.

While any fitness supplement can have adverse side effects if it is not properly taken under proper supervision or without any prior knowledge of the supplement’s function, let us delve into the topic from a more empowering perspective. 

With the utilisation of marketing and attractive spokespeople, a lot of supplement companies manage to get away with giving mixed messages about the intended benefit of supplementation, which ideally would be to make one more healthy, some either do not perform their function whereas others have way too many side effects.

Let me clear the main misconception regarding supplements that I notice among beginner female weight-lifters in Lebanon and then I will give my thoughts on which supplements have actual health benefits that are congruent with your best self.

Misconception 1: You need to take fitness supplements to get muscular or lose weight. 

Truth: Supplements act as just part of the equation towards the quest to build your best body. They are by no means the secret to getting into good shape, they can, however, be useful towards achieving better performance, getting stronger and healthier. 

My definition of useful is not as an ends to a means, rather, I weigh in how the supplements can add to areas such as:

 1) hormones

 2) energy levels 

 3) long-term/adverse side effect-free improvement in strength/endurance

4) long-term/adverse side effect-free improvement in overall body composition 

With those guidelines in mind, here are some important supplements to take and others that I would consider optional. Any supplement that I do not list on here, I would consider majorly disrupting one of the criteria on the list so I would not recommend them under any circumstance unless you are a professional bodybuilder (are payed to look the way you do). 

Beneficial Supplements that I would highly recommend on top of following a healthy diet:

  1. Multivitamin (includes Vitamin D, E and Calcium) 
  2. Omega 3 Fish Oil
  3. Protein Powder (Whey, Pea, Casein)

List of reputable brands in Lebanon (Not sponsored): Optimum Nutrition, Muscle Pharm, Weider, PHD Smart, BodyLab, BPI Sports.

Quality of supplements in Lebanon highly depends on the vendor, make sure your source is authentic. If in doubt, buying from pharmacies is a smart choice.

clear plastic bottle
Fitness supplements can be part of your overall lifestyle with protein bars and shakes adding to your daily protein intake.

4. Protein Bars

List of reputable brands in Lebanon (also, not sponsored): Quest Bar, Premier Protein, Optimum Nutrition, PHD Smart, Barbells.  

For an explanation of the supplements that I listed in the following section, I have linked my previous video outlining the pros and cons of each in detail here.

Optional Supplements (These are more of an asset to body composition and physique than health):

1.Pre-Workout: My biggest concern with this is the high caffeine content and I am directing this concern to more caffeine-sensitive people. Your average scoop of pre-workout is 250 mg dense of pure caffeine, it is roughly the equivalent of a Grande Starbucks coffee or 3 shots of espresso.

Moderation is your friend and you may find that cycling off of pre-workout and replacing it with pure coffee for a few weeks can make it more effective. Additionally, half a scoop may work best for you if you are highly sensitive to caffeine.

2.BCAA’s (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

3.Creatine (note: this is an important supplement for Vegans to take as they are not getting any creatine from their diet.

If anybody has had any experience with supplements on the list or if you think that I may have missed out on my list, let me know.

Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post.

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