In the gym, a frequent topic of conversation is nutrition. Nutrition (what you put in your body) plays an enormous role in your performance in the gym and in life. I have had many conversations recently about supplementation and if it’s good to take vitamins or protein or fish oil. The simple answer would be to say “sure, all that stuff is good for you”. But , a better answer might be to ask why an athlete or member thinks they need to take a specific supplement.
The first step is to know what it is and what it does to your body. Simply put, a supplement is designed to make up the difference between recommended daily values of macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and water) and what you get in your daily diet. A simple and easy example is protein. A commonly used supplement designed to aid in the rebuilding of muscle fibers after strength training. If you lack protein in your diet, a whey protein is an appropriate supplement to have. Another reason it’s become so popular is because it’s quick and easy.
The keys behind effect supplementation are to know what you eat and to know the recommended daily values of macros and micronutrients. Now those values can differ depending on the goals of the person. Simply put, knowledge is powerful and if you’re really aware of what you’re putting in your body, start educating yourself. Read food labels. Read blogs about nutrition or go talk to a nutritionist or a dietitian. Once you have the knowledge, then you can decide how to supplement your diet for optimum performance.
Just because you heard that an iron supplement was a good thing to take does not mean that it’s right for you. And that goes for anything. If you routinely eat 6 chicken breasts a day, you’re definitely not someone who is protein deficient. There is strength in knowledge so before you to GNC to buy a 70 dollar tub of protein, ask yourself — 1. What are my goals? 2. Will increasing my protein (or any other supplement) help my performance? 3. Do I get enough protein (or other macros/micros) in my everyday diet?