A supplement is something that we use in addition to something else, to enhance it. In the fitness industry, we have experienced a bit of “supplement abuse” in the fact that the majority of us don’t know how to safely and effectively utilize supplements with a proper diet and nutritional plan. Instead, we use supplements as a major staple of our diet to make up for the lacking areas in it. We do so even at the warning of the supplement manufacturers to only use this in addition to a well maintained meal plan.
Some of us use protein shakes and weight gainers as one of their three major meals. So let’s break this situation down specifically. Why do we use weight gainers? To help us put on lean mass. Now, if we take out a meal and simply add in the weight gainer, what have we done? It has become a SUBSTITUTION as opposed to a SUPPLEMENT. This will not help with weight gain. You haven’t added anything to your diet. If you want to gain weight, you need to create an excess in caloric intake. Weight gainers can be a useful tool in doing so, but they must be used IN ADDITION TO what you are already taking in. So I’ll ask you this, do you go to GNC or Bodybuilding.com to pick up your supplements or your substitutions? Most of us will answer supplements, but the truth is that we are creating substitutions.
That was a pretty general situation, but it was an easy way to paint the picture. Vitamins do not replace fruits and veggies. Amino acid powders do not replace other natural muscle builders found in our every day foods, like eggs and meat.
If you are hitting your goals every month, then chances are you are doing things pretty well. But if you are they guy who has a good month and a bad month and a couple good months then a couple bad months, here is my recommendation to you: Take the hundred something dollars that you usually spend on your supplements each month and…… GO TO THE GROCERY STORE! Now I don’t want you to roam aimlessly around each aisle and throw everything in your cart. Go in with a plan. Calculate your daily caloric intake needs, based on your goals, and find the foods that help you hit those. Come up with your daily numbers for the “big three” (protein, carbs, fat) and go find those healthy sources for each. If you don’t know how to do this, meet with a fitness professional who does. That doesn’t mean you need to go pay a nutritionist for a meal plan. Find a good personal trainer who knows how to calculate food intake for each individual. If they don’t take your measurements and just hand you numbers, crumple up that piece of paper and find another trainer who will do it right.
If you do this alone, and properly, I guarantee you will see results. I was the guy who took all the supplements, and with pretty damn good results for a while. But it wasn’t the right way to do it. The ONLY supplement I currently take now is an all-natural whey protein from Optimum Nutrition. That’s it. I drink a shake post-workout. I have everything else I need in my diet. I know some of you are die-hard supplement fanatics, and there will be no changing your minds on that (believe me I was the same way, even telling doctors to back off). But at the very least, follow my advice on your meal plan. Perfect that first, then add in the supplements. Trust me, you will have the best results of your life, and the best part is, you’ll sustain them.
GOOD LUCK GUYS!