Open any fitness magazine and you'll fine ad after ad promoting supplements, diet pills and protein shakes. With every product proclaiming itself to be the one thing you need to put on the muscle you've always wanted, how do you actually decide what kind of supplement to take or not to take?
In this article, we'll take a good hard objective look at supplements in the health industry. We'll look at who should and who shouldn't take supplements, as well as what kinds of supplements you should take if you do choose to supplement.
The Magic Pill Mentality
One of the biggest drivers of the supplement industry is the magic pill mentality.
More often than not this mentality won't produce actual results. The customer then either gets disillusioned and quits, or they go back to buy a different supplement pill.
If you want to build muscles, this method just won't work.
Supplements Can Only Support Strong Fundamentals
Your supplements can only support your exercise routine if you already have strong fundamentals.
If you're eating right, drinking enough water, doing the right workouts, working out consistently, alternating muscle groups and doing all the other things you need to do, then supplements can help give you that 20% edge to take you to the next level.
But if you don't have the fundamentals down, supplements just won't help. Supplements can't be, have never been and never will be a magic pill that can replace working out.
More Is Not Always Better
Many supplements are based on the premise that more is better. In reality, more protein or more vitamins may not be what your body needs at all.
If you structure your diet right, you can get the vast majority of all the nutrients you need right in the food you eat.
Artificially adding more protein or vitamins through supplements can often be ineffective, expensive and potentially even harmful if your body doesn't actually need it.
Who Should Use Supplements?
Who should actually use supplements, then?
Supplements can be used if there are nutrients in your diet that you aren't getting enough of. Only use supplements if you already have your fundamentals in order and want to get an extra boost to reach your goals faster.
If you already have all your nutritional needs handled, you might also want to consider an energy-boosting supplement like creatine. Unlike other supplements that focus on nutrition, these supplements actually make it so you can push harder during your workouts.
In general, muscle builders would be better off ignoring the majority of supplement advertising and focusing on building a solid workout routine. That said, if you have the fundamentals handled, supplements can give you a nice progress boost.