Are supplements essential?…The clue is in the name!
October 21, 2015
Which supplements do I need to take? One of the most common questions you will hear within the gym environment. The answer is none… You don’t really NEED to take any. Supplements do exactly that, supplement what can’t be provided by your diet. If your diet was perfect, you shouldn’t need any supplements, however, most people’s diets aren’t perfect and therefore supplements can definitely be helpful. Lets look at protein shakes. Protein powders are a quick and easy source of protein that can be consumed immediately pre, intra and/or post workout if you don’t have food readily available. Again, if you have your meals ready and prepared, you might have enough protein daily to not need protein powder, however its definitely a useful SUPPLEMENT and would normally actually workout as a cheaper source of protein compared to eating the equivalent amount of protein from chicken.
Mass Gainers (protein powders HIGH in calories)… Now these I personally believe are a waste of money. The purpose of a mass gainer is to help those hard gainers put on weight and build mass (hence the name), however a large percentage of the calories come from sugar. In my opinion, making your own mass gainer makes far more sense. Without spending a large sum of money on a mass gainer, you can easily increase the amount of calories in a normal whey protein shake. Instead of making your shake with water, make it with milk, add oats, peanut butter, Greek yoghurt, fruit, ice cream etc.
Pre Workouts…A pre workout is a supplement designed to give you intense focus and incredible energy levels for your workout. The majority of pre workouts are caffeinated with other ingredients such as beta alanine that often lead to a tingling sensation throughout the body. Now, a pre workout is definitely not necessary, but is it going to make your workout better? Absolutely. There aren’t many that would complain about having elevated energy levels and more focus for their workouts, especially early in the morning or after a long day at work.
Vitamins are one of the most talked about and recommended supplements on the market. In a perfect world, where everybody was eating ‘clean’, non-processed whole foods, we wouldn’t need to supplement these, however, in a world where convenience and price are more of a priority than our health, we often miss out on vital, essential vitamins. Even for those that have a well-rounded balanced diet, are they receiving the same level and quality of nutrients from those foods that they may have done two decades ago? Perhaps not. So again, supplementing with vitamins could be useful.
So the bottom line when it comes to supplements is that they are not a necessity, but as far as I’m concerned, they definitely have a key role to play in maximizing our health and ensuring we get all the vital nutrients we need for our body to function at its incredible best.
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