Monday, January 2, 2017

Should I Take Supplements?

Supplements are flooding the fitness industry. They're so heavily promoted by serious athletes and casual gym-goers alike. From pre-workout to creatine to beta alanine to branch chain amino acids to whey protein to caesin to glutamine, etc. - the list of supplements are virtually unending! So what do we really need?

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/find-a-plan-supplements.png

Well, the term supplement literally means to add to, enhance, or complete. If you choose to use supplements, I think they should be supplementary to healthy, well rounded diet. That sounds simple, yet, it's very easy to find yourself having two protein shakes, a protein bar and amino acids all in one day. Can you say bye bye money? lol

Some things to consider:

  • Do I need to supplement protein to reach an acceptable protein intake?
Sometimes it seems common for people to be consuming 1.5 grams of protein per pound, but maximum benefit can be seen from .7 to 1 gram per pound, which is quite easy for me to consume personally. Maybe you don't really need additional protein! 
  • Why should I take pre-workout?
Pre-workout is primarily used as a stimulus, so I've heard of many people who simply switch to a cup of coffee pre-workout and are just fine with that. In fact, I've heard that coffee has many health benefits! Maybe Lorelai Gilmore knew what she was talking about!
  • Amino Acids in food?
Amino acids are beneficial for muscle recovery, however, amino acids are found in proteins. If you eat a good meal post workout, it's possible you will never need to supplement with these!
  • Convenience
One big reason people turn to supplements, shakes and bars is purely for convenience. I do it too! It's not too easy to tote a real, balanced meal to the gym or when you're on the go, but it is easy to grab a protein bar on the go! I try to give consideration, not only to the macros and taste (although, let's be honest, I do consider that), but also to the ingredients. What kind of artificial sweeteners/sugars are used? What type of protein is used?
  • Special diets
If you choose a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or some other special diet, there may be certain things that you need to supplement. For instance, you may want to supplement with creatine, and/or amino acids. Be smart and consider your personal intake and dietary needs. 

If you choose to consume supplements and/bars, just be conscious of what you're putting into your body. Don't just buy something because your favorite Instagram model told you to. 

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