When it comes to starting your fitness journey the first question is, “What supplements should I be taking?” Well, I am here to give you the answer, and the answer is “none”. Let’s start by looking at the definition of supplements. Webster defines supplements as, “something that completes or makes an addition.” The best example I can think of is the term supplemental income. You have your main job and you supplement it by doing something extra on the side. Dietary supplements are no different. Your main focus should be your diet to give yourself a solid foundation, and then you add supplements to give you that little extra.
A quick background story. I played High School football and was obsessed with getting stronger and faster than everyone. This mentality caused me to be on a constant search for the next pill or powder that would give me that edge. Unfortunately for me, this led to irresponsible and dangerous supplementing. I never took anything illegal, but the FDA does not regulate supplements and most of the ones I was taking are now banned. I didn’t read the labels and only went by the claims that these supplements made. This was a dangerous way to learn that a proper diet would have been much more beneficial.
The above picture is my kitchen counter and those are my supplements. Now I know what you are thinking, “This guy just told me to not take supplements and he has bottles and bottles of them on his counter.” There is a reason for this. My fitness journey has been going on for two years now. I have a very solid diet foundation and I do not take all of these on a daily basis. I use them for what they are designed for, and that is to fill in the gaps where my diet falls short. I have learned that there is no magic pill or powder that will get me to my weight loss/muscle gain goals. To reach those goals I focus on the whole foods that I eat on a daily basis and try to get all my nutrients from them.
So let’s get to the fun part. Maybe you have been working out for a while now and want to dive into using supplements, to take yourself to the next level. Like with your diet you need a solid foundation and that begins with a quality multi-vitamin. Most of us do not get the recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables a day to cover our micro-nutrient requirements. This is where a multi-vitamin fills those gaps. When looking for a multi-vitamin try to find something in a capsulated form. These are much easier for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients because the capsule breaks down very quickly so your body is not trying to process a hard pressed tablet. Next is a fish/Omega-3 oil. As with not getting enough fibrous vegetables, most of us are not willing to eat 8 ounces of fatty fish a week. Once again this is where a supplement is beneficial to fill the gap. Omega-3s have been shown, when combined with diet and exercise, to increase fat loss by up to 25%. They are also essential in brain function and heart health.
This is by no means all-encompassing and there is so much more that can be said about supplements. But I feel it is a good start if someone asks you about dietary supplementation. Be sure that you check with you doctor before taking anything that may have adverse effects with any other medication you take regularly. And as always if you have questions about nutrition, fitness or supplements, don’t hesitate to get in contact with me. Let’s keep making 2017 our best year ever!!