There is far too much emphasis placed on dietary supplements as a means to improve physical performance or aid in the aquisition of additional muscle size.
If you really think that pills, powders and drink mixes are going to build your body for you, you’re setting yourself up for a huge reality check and a huge disappointment! It continues to amaze me how much value and emphasis the majority of trainees place on “the latest breakthrough pill” advertised in their favourite muscle mag.
Newbies and inexperienced trainees tend to ask questions which reveal their belief that there is a magic pill in supplement form which will help do their work for them.
Which is the best protein powder to build muscle?
“What’s the best creatine ?”
Which supplements do I take to gain weight?
“I have £200 a month to spend on supplements… which ones should I buy?”
I will admit I was much the same as a newbie and fell for the magazine ads that promised me I’d look like the dude in their picture if I bought and used their supplements.
A dietary supplement however is designed to be just that… a supplement. Unless your diet is deficient in nutrients it is not even necessary to use them.
Most research seems to indicate that for the natural athlete at least, once an optimum diet is maintained, further addition in the form of dietary supplements will do little, if anything to improve training results.
Study after study show that a balanced diet provides all the necessary nutrition required by your body. Additional protein can be ingested for insurance and studies have shown possible benefit if this is taken pre and post workout. There may occasionally also be a case for supplementing with vitamins and minerals, potentially missing, or present in sub-optimal amounts in the diet. Supplements may then be a good insurance policy to ensure adequate intake of nutrients especially if a low calorie diet is being followed. These are rarely necessary however and should be used prudently, ideally in addition to a nutritious, whole foods diet.
Dietary supplements are not there to obtain the results for you, without you having to do the hard work. At best they will only play a minor role in your overall bodybuilding success. Nothing you can legally purchase will allow you to build 20 pounds of muscle while you lie on the couch.
If you want to improve your physique, then hard training, a consistent diet plan, and effective recuperation is the only true way to get there. Dietary supplements have their uses but an over-reliance on them is pointless and a waste of your money. There are a few solid products that evidence suggests may be effective (see my earlier article) but only as a small part of your overall approach.
I use the following 6 dietary supplements to ensure all my dietary needs are met:
1) Protein supplements (whey protein)
3) Beta alanine
4) fish oil
I’ve written previous articles on the potential merits of each product in this report, but if you’re looking to optimise results then those are the only 6 products that I would recommend.
Unfortunately many trainees are more concerned with their dietary supplements program than their workout regimes. Ignore the magazine ads they are peddling bullshit and relying on your gullibility to believe their pseudo science.
If something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. As a natural athlete consistent hard training, nutritious whole food diet, and adequate recuperation is your only route to long-term success.