For anybody attempting to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle, you’ll probably already be well aware that supplements are extremely beneficial products, designed to provide a number of different health and fitness benefits, to people from all walks of life. In the bodybuilding community for example, supplements have proven especially popular and lucrative, and in reality, perhaps the word ‘goldmine’ would be better suited. Supplement companies generate billions upon billions in profit from supplement sales every single year, not to mention sponsorship deals, advertising campaigns, and fitness expos etc. Whilst supplements can indeed be extremely beneficial when used and chosen correctly, the main problem associated with supplements is that, as there are so many varieties to choose from, finding the right one for your own specific goals an requirements can be far easier said than done. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using health supplements, or sports supplements, knowing how to choose, and use, these supplements correctly, is vital. To help you out, take a look at our handy article, listing 6 of the best supplement tips ever.
Stick with the basics
As mentioned, because supplements are so incredibly beneficial and popular, there are now more different types and variety of supplement out there than ever before. Walking into any health food store, or specialised supplement store, can therefore be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you aren’t quite sure what you’re looking for. For example, you may simply be on the lookout for a new multi-vitamin supplement, which, you would have thought, would be easy to buy. Walk into any of these stores however, and you’ll be met with dozens of different multi-vitamins, with each one claiming to be the best, healthiest, and most effective on the market. In reality, many of them are virtually identical, so don’t be fooled by clever marketing, and don’t pay more than you have to. Often, you find that you’re simply paying extra for fancy labelling, or for expensive brand names, so just stick with the basics, and don’ think that the more expensive a product is, the better it is.
Be wary of unhealthy fillers
Another thing you need to be wary of when purchasing any new supplement, is unhealthy fillers that the product may contain. For example, if a supplement is flavoured, like many of them are, you have to wonder where the flavour comes from. Your ‘Fruit Punch’ pre-workout supp for example, will not get its flavour from real fruit punch, instead, it will get it from artificial chemicals, flavourings, and sweeteners. The best advice in this instance, is to take the time to scan through the ingredients and take a look for unhealthy and unnatural ingredients. If for example, you see a product with a lot of E numbers in there, you may wish to look elsewhere, because we all know how unhealthy E numbers can be.
Never rely on supplements
Another common mistake that people tend to make when purchasing supplements, is relying on them too heavily, and expecting miracles from them. Yes, when used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, complete with plenty of healthy food and exercise, these supplements do indeed work very well, but if you think that taking a multi-vitamin supplement and a fish oil supplement each day, means that you get to eat pizza, burger and ice cream for dinner each night, and still be fit and healthy, you truthfully need a pretty sharp reality check. Remember, these supplements are designed to be used to supplement your diet, which should mainly consist of healthy produce. There is no real substitute for whole and natural foods, so don’t think that drinking a protein shake instead of a healthy dinner, is going to give you the same results because it sadly won’t.
Be wary of other drug interactions
Another very useful tip for any supplement user, or potential supplement user, is to be very wary of interactions with other drugs, supplements, and medications. A lot of people are on medications and drugs for a whole variety of different reasons, and the main danger here, is that these drugs may contain ingredients which could interact negatively with the ingredients found in a new supplement that the user may have recently purchased. Before you begin using any new supplement, if you are using other supplements, or are on any tablets, drugs, or medications at all, read the ingredients labels, consult your doctor, and perhaps even consider doing your own research online as well. If you do notice any unusual or unpleasant side effects, immediately stop using the supplement(s) and consult your doctor to be on the safe side.
Be wary of inferior products
Another thing you need to be very careful of when purchasing new supplements, is actually buying inferior products, which are often made by cheap and inexperienced companies. Remember, although not all expensive supplements are guaranteed to be worth the money, generally speaking if a supplement is pretty pricey, it will be well-made, and will therefore contain a great deal of healthy and beneficial ingredients. On the flipside, if a supplement is much cheaper than usual, you have to ask yourself why that is. If for example, you find a whey protein made by an unknown company, which is much cheaper than other whey protein powders, the reason for this will almost certainly be the fact that the product itself will be inferior. It will probably not provide anywhere near as much protein per serving as it claims, it won’t mix well, it won’t taste great, and it won’t contain as many nutrients and naturally healthy ingredients as other, more popular powders. In the supplement world, if you come across a product that appears to be too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true, so look elsewhere.
Do not overdose
A lot of people take supplement usage to the extreme, and have cupboards at home packed full of pills, liquids, and powders. Of course supplements are generally a good thing, but be careful that you don’t overdose, and be sure that you don’t push things too far by going over the top. As mentioned, there is no substitute for healthy and natural whole foods, so rather than taking X amounts of different supplements each day, why not try to eat more fresh and healthy foods instead?