This should probably have been split between several posts, although I am sure that I will revisit some of this content.
What is a supplement? According to www.Thefreedictionary.com, a supplement is “Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole.” Please notice that nothing was ever mentioned about necessity, because supplements are only to be used when something is missing, or as an aid.
Let’s first talk about the most commonly asked about supp… Protein Powders. There are several different types, and again, I will go into more detail on a future blog. In a nutshell, protein powders are predominantly whey-based, although there are many different forms. They are usually marketed towards men, promising to “build muscle fast, and to get you ripped.” Some are marketed to women, usually called something like “Her Protein”, and promising to help you shed fat and speed up your metabolism. Here is the interesting part…
They are the same thing!
The only difference about most of these proteins is the label. When it comes to protein powders, they should generally be used when you can’t easily get protein from a whole food source, when you are having a hard time digesting or consuming your recommended amount of protein, or immediately after a workout for recovery. The truth is that your body would much rather get its protein from a natural, whole food source. Things like chicken, fish, yogurt, eggs, etc, contain all the protein that you need. When it comes to picking a protein out, try a few until you find one that you like. I recommend going the natural route, and trying to minimize artificial flavors and sweeteners, which is why I recommend MRM brand protein. I will go into the different types of protein powders and their uses in a future post.
Fat Burners are another hot topic. Fat burners promise to work in several different ways. They will often suppress your appetite using stimulants while increasing your body temperature (thermodynamics). Almost every time a new fat burning product gets put on the shelf, it is only a matter of time before it gets pulled right back off. Bottom line: they are generally unsafe and should be avoided. Also, taking pills alone will never get the extra weight off. No matter what you take or how much you exercise, if you are consuming more calories than you are burning, you will never reach your goal. My advice: your body loves to burn fat. Let it. Educate yourself about what you are eating. Buy a food scale. Increase the amount of resistance exercise that you do, and turn your body into a 100% natural fat-burning machine!
Have you been approached by a friend yet, telling you that they have been taking this “revolutionary, doctor-approved” supplement that has helped them lose weight? If you haven’t, it is only a matter of time, my friend… Let me break this down really quick:
- They lost weight because they are making better decisions and replacing high calorie meals with low calorie shakes.
- There are SEVERAL of these companies promising to be the only one of its kind. Are they all lying???
- They are excited for you to try it because it will make them money. And if you decide to sell it, they make even more. Did you know that with most of these companies you are forced to have the products auto-shipped MONTHLY to your house? That’s a pretty serious commitment for a shake or a vitamin…
- Most of these products are crap. Not all, but why not just get your supplements at a reputable health food store for a fraction of the price?
- The people selling them are often not educated outside of the sales rallies that they attend to learn more about the same company’s products. Ask them a question that is not answered on the brochure and watch them refer you to their sales director. All this for a protein shake? No. All this for a sale.
If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Do your own research before putting any foreign substance into your body. Don’t take my word for it, and especially don’t take a salesman’s word for it. Remember, supplements are just that- supplements. All goals can be achieved without them. (unless we are talking about steroids) If you feel like you have reached a plateau with your fitness goals, please shoot me an email and I will see if I can get you pointed in the right direction.