Fillers, compounds and unlisted ingredients. You might be surprised to know I'm not talking about an underground drugs den cooking up the latest batch of party drugs. No siree I'm talking about the so-called healthy sports supplements you can buy over the counter at Holland and Barret, Boots and online retailers.
People nowadays want results fast. Unfortunately, the two rarely go hand in hand. The bullshit marketing these companies shamelessly promote still amazes me. How they are able to get away with it I don't know. Juiced up bodybuilders promoting whey protein, fat burners and other synthetic concoctions claiming to turn you into a ripped freak. Over the years I have tried my fair share of supplements. Fat burners that have you gurning your face off while turning your gut into an atomic bomb. Guess what, if you do speed you suppress your appetite and you eat less, it's not rocket science. Many of the pills and potions available today are a form of synthetic amphetamine, which have their own side effects - Jitters, insomnia, headaches, stomach cramps and the worst smelling bowel movements you could ever imagine.
Benefits Vs Negatives Vs Long Term Effects
Let's just say that none of the fat burners I took In my twenties are available on the open market today. Need I say more? The problem we face nowadays is fake reviews, celebrity endorsed products and advertising that stalks your every move, thanks to Google. How do we know what works and what doesn't?
There have been reports of a number of UFC fighters that have failed drugs tests because unlisted ingredients had been found in a supplement they were using. In fact, there have been reports of some seriously strong compounds containing banned substances appearing in products not listed on the label. The worst perpetrators are the bodybuilding brands. I'm still amazed people buy into all that bullshit marketing. Mass gain powders with the likes of Kai Green and Phil Heath on the tub. There's is absolutely no way on earth are you are going to get anywhere near their size by taking their products alone without a huge amount of steroids and growth hormone. Yet young guys are influenced just as I was in my younger years.
Over the last decade, we have started to see a number of lifestyle/fitness supplement brands that appeal to the health conscious person that don't crave the bodybuilder look. PhD nutrition and Reflex are two brands that prefer to use fitness models to promote their products, which is a more obtainable look without the use of steroids. I've used their products in conjunction with a well-balanced diet and have seen good results. However, I have also achieved equally good results when I wasn't taking their supplements. The myth relating to how important protein is in order to put on muscle mass is grossly overrated. I'm not saying you don't need protein in your diet because you do in order to build muscle, but it doesn't need to come in the form of protein shakes and bars. The majority of which are filled with additives and sugars, which can affect your cognitive functionality. I've seen people with amazing physiques who built them with good quality whole foods. I recently watched a BBC documentary where they followed and tracked a guy who stopped taking all his supplements and guess what? He lost absolutely no muscle mass whatsoever and actually lost body fat. He also saved himself over a hundred pound in the process!
So am a saying all supplements and are a waste of money and don't work?
No, not entirely. BCAA's (Branch chain amino acids) are great for recovery and if you're training vigorously then they are worthy addition, as is L-Glutamine and Creatine if you’re training seriously. But what you will notice is that the three supplements I've mentioned primarily help recovery. Recovery from training hard and for extended periods of time. As the old saying goes….nothing beats hard work!
So what supplements and vitamins do I take?
The only supplements I currently take are a super green powder and spirulina which I add to my green smoothie. I don’t rely on the supplements alone, they are added in addition to fresh green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, celery, and spinach. I also take Vitamin D3, Fish oil, 5htp and vitamin b6. I will give the reasoning and breakdown as to why I take these particular vitamins in another blog post. I buy most of my vitamins from a company called Natures Best (no affiliation) which are an established and well-respected company based in the UK. Their products are also manufactured in the UK which ticks a box for me, as opposed to Eastern Europe and China. My current stack is based on trial and error and extensive research into what my body needs.
My advice is to get as many vitamins and minerals through natural sources, primarily whole foods where possible. Alway research the companies you buy from and allow enough time to gauge if the product is working.
As always I am keen to hear your feedback so give me a shout over on Twitter or leave a comment