Everyone seems to jump the gun and ask which supplements they should take. What we should be asking ourselves is “do I even need supplements?” Though the question is pretty straight forward, answer isn’t always so black and white. Supplements should be something that SUPPLEMENTS your diet and training. Not taken as a replacement for either one. Buying a supplement that is supposed to supplement training and not replace it is like plugging in cheats/mods and expecting it to move you around. Yes, they help….but no they do not control the character (supplements do not control your progress). Hell, if you don’t like my video game comparison, how about this. Trying to take supplements instead of a diet is like replacing instead of having toilet paper, you wipe your a** with dollar bills. Both get the job done, but one is more expensive because of it’s “value” (or the way it is used). Don’t think it’s the same? Supplements are exactly what you have in food, just in powder for and with a brand name on that sucker. You’re not just paying paying for the supplement, but you are also paying for the brand and well, the container. With stating all of this, supplements can actually be beneficial for many individuals. What we should find out though is whether or not you are one of them…
The very first thing to question before considering supplements is deficiency. Are you deficient in anything? Lack of fiber? Omega 3 fatty acids? Vitamins/Minerals? After you find out if you are or not, you should question why? Most individuals will be able to quickly realize they’re diet well….it isn’t the best. Having a healthier, more balanced diet will help with preventing any deficiencies. Eating healthy fats will help with essential fatty acids. Eating meats will help you get in adequate protein. And non-junk food (higher nutrition value) carbohydrates will improve your fiber intake. Many of reasons to get supplements can be avoided by *gasp* IMPROVING YOUR DAILY DIET! “What?! No way!” Believe it or not, that’s exactly what supplements were originally for. Now you have bulls*** companies claiming to having “meal replacement shakes”, “craving crusher shakes”, oh and even “weight loss shakes” (What the hell is a weight loss shake anyways? Flavored water…). These companies only make profit from individual’s lack of education and their need for an “easy/quick fix”. If you are not deficient in anything, the added benefits go down the plumbing with your urine (nomsayin’?). You are, in result….buying expensive urine to be going down the toilet (or wherever the heck you urinate…). Without a deficiency, supplements do not, I repeat, they DO NOT SUPPLEMENT ANYTHING!
So you aren’t deficient in anything, but still wonder about supplements? There is another reason to take supplements, but you must ask yourself this question honestly. Do I have enough time to prep meals or eat big whole food meals? Majority of us do. Hell, even when I don’t and others who are dedicated don’t we remember to make time by prepping ahead of time and eating “on the go”. For the few who are actually, honestly, truly, busy all the time and cannot prepare meals (maybe only 1% of you) then using supplements to get in easier calories/macros will be very beneficial for you. Convenience is usually the only reason I use protein powder unless I just feel like I need more today because I didn’t get in much the day prior. Between that, and early in the morning or after training I would not be able to keep down tuna. I think convenience and deficiency are probably the top two things to consider before even thinking about what supplement to buy.
The last thing I want you to question is what is the cost to benefit ratio. If you’re not deficient in that specific micro-nutrient….how will that benefit you…besides expensive urine? Nothing! The cost to benefit ratio is off. Now if buying tons and tons of beef is what you need for a higher creatine intake, then buying some creatine monohydrate would be beneficial, both by cost and ability to get in a higher creatine intake (creatine monohydrate is dirt cheap). You can get creatine here! If the cost to benefit ratio is bad, then that’s another reason not to even worry about buying supplements. Stick to foods that are both cost effective and pretty inexpensive.
When it comes to even needing supplements you have to ask yourself three things. Do you have a deficiency? If so, then would it be more convenient? If so, then what’s the most cost effective way of getting a specific macro-nutrient/micro-nutrient? Quit going straight to “what do I need?”. Instead think about “do I even need?”
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