Now don't get me wrong, I love a supplement as much as the next person (if not more). BUT... I do feel there's a strong over-reliance on supplements in the UK.
While some people do need assistance from certain supplements due to deficiencies or advanced training schedules; it's important to remember that they are exactly that, a "supplement", designed to "supplement" areas that are lacking in your diet or lifestyle.
However, I often feel that many people instantly react to issues by throwing money at it and purchasing something from their local health store. Or, people starting out on a new health regime instantly assume that they "need" supplements as soon as they begin to exercise.
Here are a few supplements, which, with a few lifestyle tweaks, you can amend your natural levels in your body, save a few pennies and avoid having to swallow mountains of supplements each day.
GOT to be number one. Now I'm not saying "Don't buy protein shakes". What I will say is, "Don't buy protein shakes... and expect them to solve everything." They should top up your protein intake, not BE your protein intake. Picture the, frightningly common scenario:
You eat dinner at 7.30pm, bed at 11pm, wake early morning and have cereal for breakfast,a sandwhich at lunch, head to the gym after work for an hour at 530pm following the gym you down 40g of protein shake. You've gone 23 hours without a decent serving of protein (last nights dinner). This one shake is unliley to have a significant impact on your goals.
THE FIX: Protein should be spread throughout the day; every meal is an opportunity to get protein in your body, and ideally snacks between meals should have protein content. So go for it, drink protein shakes, but DON'T rely on them and them alone. Spread the (protein) love and get as much as possible from real food, not shakes!
This is more just a pet hate of mine. I've heard LOADS of people claiming that N-O-Explode "get's you pumped innit" and they "need" certain pre-workout drinks for their workout. I personally don't like to rely on anything or anyone, so to be dependen on a little bit of powder for an effective workout doesn't sit well with me. Again, I'm not saying they have no impact or benefit, but to rely on them is far from ideal. if you can't drag yoursefl to the gym and find your own motivation and you NEED these drinks every workout, it's time to take a closer look at your lifestyle.
THE FIX: Improve sleep quantity and quality. Make sure you eat adequately throughout the day for sufficient energy. Try to train (when possible) during my most awake hours.
Vitain D is one of the EASIEST things to top up and maintain in your life. It's said that spending 30 minutes outside, 3 times a week will give you the adequate levels of Vitamin D. It's SO under-rated too! Vitamin D can help to reduce the likelihood of depression, heart disease, liver failure and obesity; just by getting outside from time to time!? Make it part of your life!
THE FIX: Schedule in time outdoor throughout your week (ideally daily). If nothing else, spend some of your lunch break outside each day.
Clue is in the title. Now it may be tricky to get the adequate amount desired each day, and to have the correct omega balance, (it's been estimated that Western society diet causes the baance of Omega 3:Omega 6 to be at around 1:15 rather than a preferable 1:2). Again, you may need SOME supplementation along the way, but a balanced diet will significantly alter the balance naturally.
THE FIX: Aim for fish sources high in Omega 3 such as halibut, herring, mackerel and salmon as well as Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Chia Seed and even organic beef.
Last week I saw a very popular brand of "fat burners" available for the bargain price of £110! I worked out that you would get 55 days worth from this bottle. I couldn't help but think "You could get a gym membership for 2 months for that!" Don't have an over reliance on "fat burners". Don't look to the bottle, see what you can do yourself. Regular exercise may not be the "easy option" but in a number of ways, it will be much more beneficial than purchasing a few caffeine /green tea/ guarana based stimulants. Exercise offers you:
- Improved strength
- Improved cardiac strength - lowering changes of heart related illnesses
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improved posture
- Increased bone density
- Increased levels of serotonin
A box of "fat burners" does not!..
THE FIX: Exercise frequently and consistently. Avoid processed foods and man-made sugars. Focus creating a sustainable lifestyle/routine and as a result, a sustainable body composition.
Some of the qualities of chromium include "reducing appetitte and sweet cravings". Now if you need a pill for this, I think it's time you took some steps of your own to reduce these urges.
THE FIX: Why not think about your shopping? Shop on a full stomach and make a decission to avoid purchasing these sweet snacks. If they're not in your house, you're surely much less likely to eat them. Not unless you want to get yourcoat and shoes and drive yourself to the local store. If you're doing that in the middle of the night, then your problem is probably beyond fixing with a bottle of chromium.
As I stated a the start, I FULLY support and endorse the use of supplements... when used correctly. My issue is an over reliance on supplements and an instant reaction of purchasing tablets to sort out any issues or without making any changes to your current lifestyle first. By all means "supplement" your diet, but avoid dependence on anything you can find in a bottle. or tub.