Do I Really Need a Supplement?

Supplements

The 1st thing to understand is that not all supplements are created equally. It’s very difficult to find a safe and high quality supplement as all the marketing on the packages claim that they are the very best. Unfortunately for the consumer there are limited regulations regarding the manufacturing process.

How much do we need of a vitamin or mineral anyway? The government give us guidelines purely based on the prevention of disease and nothing else which is better than nothing I suppose! You will see these on the food labels with a % of recommended daily intake (RDI), which you can study on our L3 Personal Training Course

Unless you really study the food label and understand the terminologies they use to mask certain ingredients, only then will you have an idea of the benefit it will have for you.

I personally do not endorse any supplement but if I did I would highlight the following before you make a purchase:

  • Have third-party analysis for independent verification of active ingredients and contaminants.
  • Use clean products, free of harmful preservatives, fillers, binders, excipients, flow agents, shellacs, colouring agents, gluten, yeast, and lactose and other allergens.
  • Understand your need for a given nutrient – can you get this from food before drinking or eating something that was designed in a laboratory?

Supplements should only be ingested if your diet is truly awesome in the 1st place – they should never replace actual food. Nutrients are not drugs and they don’t work as drugs do.

Some supplements can help people with specific imbalances or provide added support for certain times in our life cycle where needs for some nutrients are increased—during pregnancy for example.

 

What if I’m physically active a lot of the time?

Sports drinks as we know are very popular, but they need to be used accordingly. The role of these drinks are to provide hydration, carbohydrate and electrolytes during long endurance events, where energy stores can get depleted and water and electrolytes are lost in sweat. These can support athletic performance and can be used to help with recovery in between hard bouts of exercise, which you can study on our L2 Fitness Instructing Course

If you are training less than an hour in mild temperatures water will do you just fine. You will have enough glycogen in your muscles and liver to support this. However, if you are competing in a triathlon for example and that time can go over an hour I would use one.

 

Can I use food instead?

Yes.

Foods rich in potassium can include; fresh or dried fruits like oranges, melons, raisins, bananas or prunes. A glass of milk yields electrolytes as well and has a good balance of macronutrients.  

For sodium you can easily make your own fluid based drink by crushing and mixing in some high quality non-processed salt (try Celtic salt) – a pinch is fine. This will help hold onto water when ingested. There are many other examples discussed on our L3 Personal Training Course when we study nutrition. 

 

At the end of the day the choice is yours. However, I do see a lot of people in sport today who consume too many supplements/energy drinks and it can actually have a detrimental effect – preventing them to burn body fat % being the main culprit. Want to lose extra body fat %? Read this quick blog here