What’s In Your Supplements?
You take your training seriously, and do everything within your power to support the gains and performance you desire in the gym.
-You sleep at least 7-9 hours most nights
-You prioritize your mobility every session—and between sessions
-You’re on a program and working with a coach who individualizes your training to meet your needs
-You eat lots of meat, veggies, fats, quality starches, some fruit, no sugar and lots of water
(Before we continue on, if you’re not yet supporting your training with great lifestyle and nutrition the fix that first or supplements will be nothing more than a bandaid and a waste of your hard earned dollars! Not sure where to start? Find an OPEX Gym and hire a coach to help you hone your lifestyle)
So, assuming you eat, sleep, move, and live like your body deserves, you might be thinking that a few vitamins and supplements will give you that extra edge.
- Fish oil? Check.
- Vitamin D? Check.
- BCAAs? Check.
- Whey protein? Check.
- Magnesium before bed? Check.
The supplement industry has us believing that their magic pills will make us stronger, faster, and healthier. Fish oil and Vitamin D help us fight the inflammation and maximize all the essential fatty acids we consume in our diets on a daily basis. Whey protein helps us repair our muscles. Magnesium helps us sleep like a baby (to maximize our recovery).
But what if we told you that you may not be getting what you pay for from your supplements?
After all, just like the quality of similar foods vary (Think: a Big Mac vs. a grass-fed organic home prepared bison burger; strawberry-flavored fruit leathers vs. fresh juicy strawberries straight from the farm; or chicken and vegetables in a frozen Lean Cuisine vs. baked free-range chicken thighs and fresh steamed broccoli), so does the quality of your supplements.
In other words: NOT all supplements are created equal.
Time and time again, major supplement retailers are called out for fraudulent claims on their labels.
After all, the majority of supplements, found in the aisles of GNC, NutriShop, Target, Whole Foods shelves and the slew of companies we find on the internet, come with the disclaimer: These claims have not been approved by the FDA.
Dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors are not required to obtain approval from FDA before marketing dietary supplements. This is not necessarily the end of the world and doesn’t mean all supplements are rubbish, but it does mean that what you see is not always what you get.
So how do you navigate the minefield that is the supplement industry? Ultimately, it’s best to consult with a naturopathic medical doctor to get to the root cause of what you need, but there are a few general rules of thumb you can consider.
Lifestyle. Lifestyle. Lifestyle.
Most of the time, OPEX Gyms clients can get all the recovery they need by simply adhering to the basic lifestyle guidelines.
Stick to the Basics.
What actually works and what is largely en vogue with the sexiest marketing tend to be negatively correlated. The prescription should always be individualized from a doctor, but what we have seen empirically to be the biggest bang for your buck for general health are the simple supplements such as fish oil, probiotics, a good multivitamin, b complex, and whey protein.
You get what you pay for.
This applies to cars, houses, jeans, meat and yes, supplements. Generally if you are comparing the $12 probiotic to the $40 probiotic on the shelves, there is a reason for the difference. It doesn’t mean you have to pay gold for every single supplement you buy, but it also means you may be wasting your pennies in lots of cheap products that are actually doing nothing for you.
Beware of flashy labels and marketing schemes.
Face it, the supplement industry is first and foremost in the business of making MONEY, not necessarily making you healthy. For example, grass-fed whey is a marketing ploy as the “grass-fed” actually makes no difference to the protein profile (which is why you take whey in the first place).
Just Eat Real Food.
What it boils down to is that the most important factor in your nutrition is that you enjoy nutritious, high-quality, and delicious foods. Supplements, when prescribed by a medical professional, can be a cherry on top, but the biggest bang for your buck comes from food. Quality will always win, so prioritize eating lots of quality protein, colorful veggies, some fruits, starches when appropriate, nuts, seeds, and other healthy fats.
Learn how to build this foundation by finding an OPEX Gym near year.