The need of supplements is one of the most common questions I get asked, whether it's through my business or Hench Nutrition. There are still a lot of people out there who think if they start taking a few supplements, they will become Arnold Schwarzenegger in a week! Will never happen.
Do I take any supplements? I certainly do, and am also lucky enough to be sponsored by a supplement brand, but I don't rely on them. I may as well quickly tell you what I'm currently taking - 100% whey protein, Casein protein, post-workout protein, a pre-workout drink, an intra-workout drink, BCAA's, caffeine, carnitine, omega 369, HMB, multivitamin, a joint supplement, vitamin d3 and zinc. That sounds like a lot, but a few are just 'health' supplements, and the rest are for performance. The thing is, I love supplements, they're very convenient, reasonably priced and they do work. But I will emphasise again, I do not rely on them, my diet is good and I get most of my nutrients from it.
"So why take supplements?" you may be asking.
As with pretty much everyone out there, I do slip from time to time with my diet, I've also had a few health issues which have required a few supplements, and when you place a greater demand on your body (gym/sport) then your body requires more.
Do you need supplements in order to be fit, strong and healthy? not at all, but they can help. Even those who are simply maintaining their physique, training a few times a week and eating healthy foods, will still take one or more supplements to 'top up' their intake. It is possible to have side effects from supplements, but unless you take an excessive amount, it's unlikely to happen. For example, I take 2 vitamin d3 tablets during the winter months (live in England, not a lot of sun!) and 1 during the summer months (still England...). If I starting taking 5,6,7,10! a day, then yeah, it would most likely have an adverse effect on my body, but that would just be stupid.
The one main problem with supplementation is that people don't read enough about them before they start using them. They will see a fitness athlete take a few supplements and simply copy what they use. When you're first starting out with the gym, you don't need a large supplement stack - a good whey protein will do just fine. When you start progressing that's when you can look at others - creatine, BCAA's, glutamine etc. However, I do highly recommend you read up about different supplements before taking them.
Lee Gregory Fitness