Supplements. They are everywhere in the fitness industry. Some people say they are not good for you, others say they are essential for training and to achieve a fitter, healthier lifestyle. So what is the truth? Should you take them? And is so, how? Below are some common myths explored surrounding supplements.
Supplements on their own can help you lose weight and gain muscle, even without training.
Some supplements can help improve your overall health and can boost your immune system. However, supplements support your training and should be used in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet, not just relied upon on their own. Proteins for example, help your muscles repair and grow, but you will not magically gain muscles just from consuming protein. You need to train and work those muscles to grow through exercise.
My diet is great. I don't need supplements.
A well-balanced diet is essential for a healthy lifestyle and most nutrients can be sought from it. However occasionally, nutrients needs change due to health, age and training. Supplements can therefore help with those changes. Sometimes, through health, people become deficient in vitamins or nutrients, in which they struggle to get their requirements completely from food. This is where supplements can help as they can 'top up' what you cannot get from your diet.
Supplements cause many side effects
Most supplements contain ingredients that are found naturally in the body or in the food we eat. Most supplements have very little side effects when used correctly.
I take fat burners- I do not need to exercise to lose weight
Fat burners can help enhance fat loss by boosting energy, increasing metabolism and can decrease your appetite. To lead a healthy lifestyle though, you need a balance of a healthy diet and exercise. A healthy Lifestyle should consist of diet at 80% and exercise at 20%. It is important that your diet is right first before taking fat burning supplements as losing fat doesn't necessarily mean you are 'healthy'. You need to be eating the right foods to ensure your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that it needs. Exercise is important when taking Fat Burners as you will want to tone up the loose bits you have when burning fat.
I can lose weight by replacing my meals with protein shakes
Protein is essential to take when training. Protein helps repair and maintain muscle structure and tissue and helps support bones. To function, our body needs a combination of vitamins, minerals and nutrients and this cannot be obtained purely from protein shakes. Protein shakes should be taken in conjunction with a varied, well-balanced diet. That's not to say that replacing one meal with a protein shake will do any harm, but replacing all your meals with protein shakes is not healthy.
In summary, supplements are a great help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can support your fitness journey. They can help support the recovery and growth of muscles, and some supplements, such as pre-workouts, can help increase energy and reduce fatigue when working out. However, in order to be healthy and for our bodies to function effectively we all need different vitamins, minerals and nutrients which can only be sought from a well balanced and varied diet- not supplements alone. Supplements are a great help but are not the answer.