I want to get in shape, what supplements should I be taking?
As a personal trainer and coach, this is one of the first questions I hear from clients following a discussion about their fitness goals. What supplements should I be taking? What protein do you recommend?
To which my answer is always the same:
“Get as much as you can from the foods you eat”. Cliche I know, but….
Did you know that many supplement companies get their supplements from the same supplier – very few actually bespoke their supplements, they just relabel the same stuff with a different brand name and sell the exact same supplement with clever slogans and the best looking fitness models to reel you in.
Don’t get me wrong, I have asked all of the same questions, spent ridiculous budgets on every product on the market, but only through these experiences have I learnt an expensive lesson.
The supplement is a billion dollar industry for a reason. Same as the pharmaceutical companies that make you believe that you need what they offer, when really, if you have a clean, healthy and balanced diet you will get everything you need (proteins, vitamins, minerals etc) to keep you fit and healthy in a much more nutritious and cost effective way.
Supplements can be a great addition to your health and fitness goals and nutrition, but addition is the key word. If your nutrition isn’t great, i.e. you don’t eat whole foods regularly and consistently, don’t have plenty of veg and of water, then adding in all of the supplements in the world won’t make a difference.
The earth was made to provide us with everything we need to evolve and survive, and up until recently supplements weren’t seen as the be all and end all. Once you have the foundations of eating healthy and exercising regularly you can then look into supplements to compliment your approach.
Not all brands use generic made supplements, there are plenty of high quality supplements that do as they say. Ones that I personally trust after working with many people in the industry include: optimum nutrition, reflex, Nutri-advanced, genetic supplements, USN. Whenever I think of using supplements or recommending them to clients, I first think of the purpose of why they need to take them and whether I can get what they need from foods. If not, I would then look to supplement.
Top 5 supplements I would recommend for general health and performance one nutrition is where it should be:
- Glutamine – to help digestion and gut health – any supplement company, most are same and effective enough
- Pro-biotic – Aid gut health with healthy gut bacteria – Bio15 from genetic supplements
- Multi Vitamin – Increase health of the body incase not all vitamins are covered in the diet – Nutri-advances or genetic supplements
- Vitamine D – Increase Vitamin D (UK readers) as we lack supply from British weather – Nutri-advances or genetic supplements
- Omega 3, 6, 9 – improve health of bodily functions – Nutri-advances or genetic supplements