If you’re an avid gym-goer or on the quest to improve your health, it’s highly likely that you’ll have come across a host of speculations regarding nutritional supplements. With a multitude of products promising to deliver fat-free muscle mass and a slimmer waistline, distinguishing fact from fiction can be tricky business. To set yourself on the right path towards achieving your fitness goals, it’s important to learn the truth behind the hearsay. To clear-up some of the widespread myths regarding supplements, let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions:
- All supplements are the same quality
A frequent mistake that people make is thinking that all supplements are much of a muchness, when the truth is far from it. In fact, the quality can vary considerably from one item to another. Occasionally, amateur companies will try to lure fitness-enthusiasts with cheaper products and misleading labels that guarantee unrealistic results. Rather than making a purchase based on price or packaging, try researching best-selling brands and always buy from an established provider. Nutritional experts like Monster Supplements offer a range of quality products to help you make the most of your diet and exercise programme.
- I don’t need to exercise or eat healthily if I use supplements
As the name suggests, supplements should be taken in addition to a well-rounded diet and fitness programme. Many people who are looking to build muscle or improve their health are often lead to wrongly believe that they can forgo exercise and forget about healthy eating if they regularly consume a nutrient-packed shake. The truth is, these powders, pills and bars serve to boost your efforts – not replace them. Your body should get the majority of the nutrients it requires from eating the right foods. Supplements are intended to support your exercise and healthy-eating efforts and help you realise your health and fitness goals.
However, while these products cannot replace a balanced diet, they can help you attain certain nutritional needs that cannot be met with food alone, especially if you’re undertaking a vigorous fitness programme.
- They have the same effect on everyone
Each individual responds differently to supplements. It may be that your gym-buddy is seeing great results while you have failed to make any progress, despite the fact that you’re using the same product. Age, health, lifestyle and training intensity can all have an impact on the way in which our body reacts to certain ingredients. Athletes and bodybuilders will each have their own training regimes and dietary restrictions, so it’s worthwhile carrying out a little research to determine which type of supplement will best suit your needs.
It may also be worthwhile checking with your GP to ensure that the product you are using is compatible with your health.
- It doesn’t matter when I take my supplement
Cramming supplements into your body at any given time is a common mistake made by people who want to bulk up quickly. In fact, timing is highly relevant if you want to bolster your chances of achieving your dream body. For example, fitness professionals will often recommend that whey protein is consumed immediately before or after a workout, whereas slow-acting proteins like casein should be taken before bed to help the body recover. Carrying out some research into the common ingredients found in supplements and learning how they affect the body will help you to exploit certain properties.
Whether you’re weightlifting or concentrating on cardio, how and when you take your supplement will also depend on your specific workout routine. To ensure that you achieve optimum results, you may want to consult a health and fitness professional who can help you draw up a schedule.
- Using supplements won’t make a difference
While a balance of regular physical activity and a nourishing diet can be enough to keep you fit and healthy, supplements can help hard-training athletes and bodybuilders enhance the effects of exercise and achieve a more defined physique. Not only are supplements associated with muscle growth and fat loss, they can also supply your body with a variety of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, which help to repair and rebuild muscle and maximise performance. Providing your body with these dietary essentials, whether that be vitamins, proteins or omega-3, will help to boost your immune system and improve your overall health.
However, while supplements can reap numerous health benefits, they are not miracle-working formulas that will transform you into a brawny muscle-machine overnight. If you fail to put effort into your workouts or have a poor diet, you are unlikely to see the results that you want.