Everyone will have a different view on supplements, some will love them, some will hate them and others will remain indifferent about them. Even personal trainers discuss the pros, cons and personal preferences of gym supplements.
For the most part I don’t agree with supplements. That includes protein shakes, multi-vitamins, weight loss supplements, pre workouts, fat burners etc. I feel that you should be able to adjust your diet to suit your nutritional and training needs, without the aid of powders or pills. Before resulting to any supplements try and sort your macronutrients – The percentages of protein, carbohydrates and fats in your diet. These 3 things, together should make up 100% of your diet, but the percentages should be tweaked depending on your training and weight goals. An instructor can help you work out your percentages, or you can easily find the information online.
That being said, I can see the benefit in taking supplements for some people. However, I would only suggest taking supplements if you simply cannot get your diet exactly where you would like it to be. If you’re an athlete whose soul job is to train and workout full time, then you’re going to need additional help. If you’re going gym 3 times a week and not training very hard, a protein shake is not the answer.
If your diet and training is spot on but you feel you really need that extra boost, then go ahead and try supplements. I would advise starting with a small amount; enough to last you 4-8 weeks and see how your body responds. Everyone is different and what works for 1 person might not work for someone else. I would also speak to a knowledgeable instructor or research thoroughly into what supplements will help you and what brands to go for.
Things to be aware of:
Whey/Casein protein – Most protein powders will come from the same manufacturer. Companies will put their own stimulants and additives into the powder and then put their branding all over it. The most expensive brand isn’t always the best.
Pre-workouts, fat burners and creatine – These all should be cycled. Only take the supplement for a recommended period of time then have a 1-2 weeks off, as these can affect certain internal organs and/or your body will become dependent on the stimulant.
Tablets, capsules and pills – Your body will only actually absorb a small amount from the tablet, capsule or pill. You’ll also find a lot of these supplements will come ready mixed in with certain protein powders.
Meal replacements – Eating properly is crucial. Proper foods are best but certain meal replacements can help. Research the brands beforehand.
There are also a lot of new supplements coming out recently that suggest 'miracle weight loss' or produce 'amazing results' or even as simple as they will 'give you more energy'… Blah blah blah! I am not going to name these companies but most can only be bought online, or by an independent distributor (often these are pyramid schemes designed to simply make money), and they doesn’t have any partnerships with known brands. Most often these supplements don’t have the proper approvals from a medical or food organisation and is sold to you by an independent distributor as stated above. The thing that really irritates me is that the people selling these supplements are, for the most part, not qualified or insured to work as a dietician or nutritionist, therefor could be giving you bad information, in my opinion, I would not buy it or even try it! The ‘results’ are usually attained from the decrease in calorie intake or from the advised healthy eating and training, not the supplement itself. Save your money and your health!
Do your own research before buying supplements!
These views are personal and completely subjective. I’ve tried and tested many different supplements and I have never really felt any benefits, but that’s just me. I know many people who have achieved their desired results with the help of supplements. Just do your research, speak to professionals where possible and if you do try supplements for yourself, make sure they are from a trusted source. I can't emphasise enough that you research what you are taking and why!