There is a plethora of supplements available in the market today taking advantage of desperate consumers in their spite of getting to the physique they dream of. Some consumers are falling victims to these miracle pills & outrageous claims that claim to be the next breakthrough in the market.
According to these products, we have a revolutionary product in the supplement industry almost every day.
People spend hundreds and thousands every year on supplements that do nothing but drain your bank account.
I’ve experimented and tried out a lot of the products out on the market and this article will cover a few of the ones that I think are worth your money as well as falsifying some products that are commonly thought to be essential when in fact they are useless and sometimes dangerous to your health. I will eventually add on every once in a while to hopefully have a comprehensive list in the near future
Protein Shakes (Protein powders: Whey, isolate, casein, gainers)
There is nothing magical about protein shakes. Contrary to what many people tend to assume, protein shakes aren’t solely responsible for muscle gain. A lot of people think that once you start taking them, you automatically start gaining muscle and “bulk up”. You can cancel out the value of protein shakes by simply having an adequate intake of protein in your diet because at the end of the day that’s exactly what protein shakes are; A concentrated source of protein.
Having said that, I have rarely seen someone who consumes the amount of protein they need. As mentioned in an earlier article, protein is detrimental in order to facilitate an anabolic environment to provide the body with the resources it needs to build muscle. You need a minimum of 1 gram / pound of bodyweight. i.e. a 70 KG individual (regardless of gender) needs a minimum of 154 grams of protein to facilitate muscle growth.
The latter equates to ‘7’ servings of lean protein (serving size: palm sized lean protein eg: turkey breast, tuna, chicken) which is often deemed to be “too much” especially for girls and that’s when protein shakes serves their only purpose……Convenience.
You can easily substitute one scoop of protein powder by having say a can of tuna or a protein rich meal. Sometimes though, we may be too busy for the prep time vs. having a shake which for one takes 3 minutes or less to make and consume as well as having the advantage of being versatile (put a scoop in a zip lock bag and take it with you)
Note that I’m not saying protein shakes are superior to whole foods. I have experimented with getting all my protein requirements from whole food and stopped protein shakes. Doing that, there was no change in my musculature or my gains and actually “felt” better. This however may be hard to do.
To sum up, protein shakes can be an essential addition to your diet if you cant get enough protein from your diet. Needles to say, I would always push for wholefood over supplements.
Rating : 3* / 5
* Subjective to each individuals diet
– Protein isolates aren’t necessary. A whey protein blend should suffice. Your body will probably not be able to process the amount you consume in isolates faster then it will leave your system. In other words, it’ll end up in the toilet before your body can process it all.
– Gainer shakes are nothing but your average whey protein with tons of sugar as well as low-grade fats added to it to increase the calories per serving. Invest in decent whey / blend and add in the remaining calories from whole foods.
– When picking out a protein shake, be wary of protein per serving
Fish Oil Pills (AKA omega 3 or Essential Fatty Acids ‘EFA’)
If you haven’t heard of fish oil pills or omega 3 fats, then you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade. Omega 3 fats have an exhaustive list of benefits as well as other EFAs. In fact, there are books written covering the benefits of these fats.
I won’t be able to cover all the benefits but will highlight some advantages that come with supplementing with omega 3s.
First off, lets understand what these Essential fatty acids are;
Omega 3s’ are called essential fatty acids because the body requires them to function in an optimal state. They are labeled as ‘Essential’ because the body is unable to produce them so we need to get them from our diet.
Omega 3s’ specifically are used to build the very cell walls that house nutrients and hormones. Making these walls strong and flexible.
There are several types of omega 3s’ of which two are the most critical; EPA & DHA. These are mostly found in cold-water fish such as salmon. Omega 3s’ (EPA & DHA specifically) play a vital role in brain function as well as growth and development.
Now that we’ve understood what these fats are, lets take a look at ‘some’ of their many health benefits:
Clinical studies have shown the most evidence that omega 3s’ greatly lower the risk of heart disease and managing the precursors to developing heart conditions. It doesn’t end there;
– Lowers Cholesterol
EFAs (or omega 3s’ specifically) increase the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) that in turn decreases triglyceride levels as well as LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), which reduces the risk of heart disease, strokes, blood clots etc.
– Reduces High Blood Pressure
17 studies conducted found that patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) benefited from reduced blood pressure just by supplementing with omega 3s’.
– Reduces Inflammation
Omega 3s’ have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. This helps in treating (improving) conditions such as tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis (painful joints) and other inflammatory related diseases. They ‘lubricate’ your joints and keep them healthy as well helping with tenderness in the joints and morning stiffness.
– Fat Loss
Omega 3s’ aid in increasing the rate of fat oxidation by the body. This will help better and faster release of fatty acids into the blood stream. In other words, your body becomes more efficient at using your stored fat as fuel.
– Improves your skin complexion and hair (That’s right Girls!!)
You’ll notice softer her and a better complexion
These are just a few of the benefits gained by supplementing with EFA and Omega 3s’.
So all in all, if there’s any magic pill out there, this is as good as it gets.
Rating : 5 / 5
– When purchasing Omega 3s’, look out for the EPA & DHA concentration per serving. The higher, the better. This ensures the quality of the fish oil used and the extraction. Some companies don’t list the latter. I personally would not buy it unless its listed to ensure high grade fish oil.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body. It’s also found in meat and fish. The body produces creatine in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Creatine is broken down by the body into creatine phosphate and stored in the muscles to be used as energy.
During high intensity, short-duration exercise such as sprinting and lifting weights, creatine is converted into ATP; a major source of energy for the body.
Creatine supplements (such as creatine monohydrate) are aids used to increase athletic performance during exercise. Supplementing with creatine increases the stores of ATP in the muscles facilitating higher energy levels. Creatine also floods the muscles with water allowing better hydration and nutrient delivery that help with recovery.
Everyone will react differently to creatine depending on their body’s natural levels. People who already have high levels of creatine will most likely not see a difference from supplementation.
Rating : 4 / 5
– You don’t need to cycle creatine as mentioned as per directions nor do you have to do a loading session. 5 grams / day is all you need (even when just starting)
– Always try to mix creatine in an alkaline base. Avoid citric juices
– Expect 2 – 3 pounds of weight gain when first starting to supplement. This is due to the added water retention in the muscles.
It’s very difficult to maintain a well-rounded diet year round that is wholesome of delivering all the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs. People’s diet usually ‘stinks’
It’s a rare case where you find some1 who enjoys eating vegetables, and even if one does, it’s seldom sufficient to get the nutrients needed. Not to mention due to all the pesticides and added scientific alterations, vegetables are no longer what they used to be. Also having cooked vegetables doesn’t count since the heat tends to strip them of their vitamins unless u drink the juices 🙂
In my opinion, it wont hurt to add a multivitamin to your diet. However do not take this as an excuse to keep your bad eating habits since it has not being proven if the body can assimilate the extracted vitamins (in pill form) as it doses with whole food.
You should always aim to improve your diet. If you’re ashamed to tell momma what you had for the day then your not eating as good as you should be. And even if you eat as good as your mom always told you, I STILL recommend you supplement with a multi vitamin.
Rating : 4 / 5
– Take ‘HALF’ of a pill in the morning and the other half later on in the afternoon. Most generic one-a-day multi vitamins are water-soluble and your body only needs a certain amount during the day. By having the whole pill at once, your body will only absorb what it needs and flush the rest out. (aka peepee)
Green tea as we all know is great in terms of health. It contains a large amount of anti-oxidants that help rid your body of free radicals lowering the risk of cancer and many other diseases. Green tea also elevates your metabolism and increases fat oxidation i.e. signals your body to access fat stores for energy. You wont magically lose weight but having green tea along with exercise and a balanced diet will get great results.
Green tea also has an appetite suppressing effect, which help you in sticking with your diet. Try having a cup or 2 of green tea prior to exercise since it has been proven that green tea’s ‘fat burning’ effect is best when taken just before exercise.
Rating : 5 / 5
– You can drink green tea or take it in pill form (extract)
– If opting for the pill form, look for brands that have at least 60% polyphenols and or EGCG
– Try to use green tea leaves over tea bags
These are one of the most over hyped products on the market today. When taking these supplements you tend to believe that it’s working because you are constantly sweating and jittery. Don’t be fooled though, this happens due to the large amount of caffeine in these products.
I also want to make it clear that sweat does not directly co-relate to fat loss. For one as mentioned, the feeling you get is due to the high caffeine content which in some products equates to 4-6 cups of coffee and secondly, other ingredients such as water repellents. Amongst other ingredients, you’ll find the typical green tea extract added as well as yohimbine; which is only efficient when taken on an empty stomach due to any spike in insulin negating its effect.
So basically, your wiring yourself up with large amounts of caffeine (which is also a dehydrating agent) as well as ridding your body of water it needs to maintaining important body functions such as managing core temperature, nutrient transport etc.
These pills are actually quite dangerous especially if abused. They have many side effects such as causing high blood pressure, irregular heart beats, increasing your risks of a stroke etc.
The risks vs. benefits are simply not worth it.
A little history background, fat burners lost their edge in 2004 after the FDA banned the use of Ephedra. Before that, Fat burners contained ephedrine, which I have to admit, was damn effective. Today though, this is not the case. Supplement companies have been trying to match the potency of ephedra ever since the ban and are doing so at the expense of their consumer’s health. Ephedra was banned after users were reported of being admitted to the hospital complaining of chest pains, light-headedness and 4 death cases.
Rating : 0 / 5
That’s it for now. Ill be updating this article and adding more reviews in the near future, so make sure to check in