Do I Need Supplements? Which Ones?

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Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it

Above is the definition of “supplement”. A supplement may be a product that enhances your diet.

Fitness models, athletes, movie stars, etc. who develop and maintain desirable physiques are successful because of their diet in its entirety not because the brand of protein they choose to supplement with. These people would generally be obtaining the bulk of their protein from sources like eggs, beef, chicken, fish, etc. They more than likely would not be on the path to success simply downing 5 scoops of powder in some low fat milk.

If you have been in a long term diet (caloric deficit) you may benefit from a multivitamin. Since you are consuming less calories than your body desires your micronutrients will have some deficiencies, if you’re eating a surplus of calories than there is a good chance a multivitamin would be excessive and unnecessary with a well balanced diet .

Preworkout/caffeinated products are designed to give you a boost. Does caffeine work? Will it give you a boost? YES! Preworkout products do work. However, if you got your 8-9 hours of sleep last night you may have no need for that caffeine boost. Through my years of personal training, sleep is often devalued. So many people overlook diet and sleep and try to kill themselves in the gym working out while neglecting the other two. Some lifestyles don’t allow 8-9 hours of sleep, I get it. Some lifestyles don’t prioritize sleep and would prefer to stay up watching tv/games/etc opposed to sleeping. Which one are you?

All the supplements in the world will not offset horrible sleeping habits (lack of sleep in general) or a horrible fast food/processed food filled diet. Just doesn’t work.

PROTEIN! Protein powders can be delicious, protein bars as well. Are they a NEED? No. Are they USELESS? NO. Will they help you? Yes. Ideally, the vast majority (if not all) of your protein should come from eggs, meats, chickens, etc. If you don’t have a stove/microwave handy then a quick bar or protein shake would be perfect. Something crazy happens at work, you have to unexpectedly stay in a extra three hours. A protein bars or meal replacement bar would be great to have on hand in a bind.

Supplement your diet, improve your diet with strategically placed supplements. You’re deficiencies will dictate what supplements are appropriate for your lifestyle. Do not rely on supplements. They are designed to help, they are the 12th man on the basketball team that typically ride the bench but have their moments to shine here and there.


About the Author:

Taylor Carpenter is a nationally Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Taylor was featured as a fitness expert in the first publication of NASM's "The Fitness Edge".
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