I’ve been fielding a few questions recently in relation to nutritional & training supplements, so here’s a few thoughts on the matter.
I’m going to break things down into a few categories as you’ll see. Lets start with Protein Supplements.
Now these are a little different to the other types of supplements that we’ll look at, as they’re an actual food. A protein supplement can be useful to most people, and especially so for vegetarians and vegans in ensuring a high percentage of overall calories comes from protein (compared to fats and carbohydrates). Similarly for anyone trying to maintain a higher calorie intake may find protein shakes much more convenient than extra meals.
Within the field of Protein Supplements I would recommend a Whey Protein Isolate, or a Soy, Rice or Pea based protein isolate for the vegans. There are some higher calorie “mass gaining” supplements available but you will find that most of these contain too many calories from fats and sugars… few people need a supplement to get enough fats and sugars!
Vitamins and Minerals
This is another pretty safe and sensible form of supplement. Of course, it’s only really of value if your dietary intake is lacking, but if you are in any doubt at all a good multivitamin and mineral supplement is probably a good idea.
There’s a huge variety of training supplements available that serve (or claim to serve) a variety of purposes. Pre workout supplements, post workout supplements, and supplements to take during your workout. There’s debate as to how useful and effective these supplements are… some will argue that any benefits are due to a placebo effect, or simply due to the high levels of caffeine and fast absorbed carbs that may be found in many supplements.
Personally I will use training supplements from time to time in pursuit of a specific training goal, but I feel it is unprofessional for a Personal Trainer to recommend them to clients with simple weight loss or general well-being goals.
Fat burning supplements
People ask me about these a lot and I’ll tell you what I tell them. If you have poor dietary habits, no nutrition plan, just eat whatever you want and are consuming too many calories on a daily basis… just how good would these supplements have to be for you to lose weight? They’d have to be pretty damn amazing! Learn your nutritional requirements and get a suitable meal plan together, stick to it, and train hard. You’ll get much better results than you would from taking a pill.
Meal replacements, appetite suppressants
Well, I wrote a blog about this about a month ago, about why food is awesome and there’s no need for any of this stuff IF you do what I said above and learn your requirements and stick to a good plan.
So there you go, everything you needed to know about supplements!