It’s a common to wonder whether you need supplements to build muscle, however in this video I’m going to show you exactly who should take them and when they are necessary to grow. Any supplement discussion however has to start with the type of supplements we are talking about. By far, the two most popular categories are pre workouts and protein powders. All other vitamins, pills and powders settle in at a distant third to these two best sellers.
That said, rather than pushing everyone to take supplements like the trainer that is highlighted in this video, I think there are some important considerations that must be made first. Right off the bat, the status of the person inquiring must be considered. If you are a rank beginner with no training experience, I would highly recommend that you do not take supplements. Too often they become a crutch for the newbie and an excuse to not get the most important element of their fitness in place – and that is their nutrition.
Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They are meant to supplement a solid nutrition plan not take the place of one. Quality whole foods need to comprise the majority of your daily meal plan if you want to see long term success and improvements in your body that will last. The commitment to a healthier lifestyle does and always will reside inside of you and not inside of a bottle.
Now, some want to know whether this recommendation to avoid supplements as a rank beginner extends to protein powders. Quite honestly, I do not look at protein as a supplement. It’s more of a meal replacement or, better said, a meal amplifier. We know it can be difficult to consume the amount of protein required to support lean muscle, especially if the person is on the beginner side of their fitness journey. Likely their diet up to now has been filled with plenty of processed carbohydrates and making the adjustment to more proteins can be challenging.
In these cases, the intake of some additional protein to coincide with their adoption of eating more lean meats, beans, lentils, etc is going to make it easier for them to meet their daily requirements. This would be
a good time to invest in them. Again however, protein is something that is readily available in adequate amounts if the person so desires, through whole food means and is therefore not something considered to be a pure supplement in my opinion. To me, the ingredients that are simply not able to be gotten in adequate amounts to create their desired effect through food alone is going to fall into the category of supplements.
Now, there is something known as the ‘play for the tie’ mentality. This again is something you do not want to do if you care about the results you get and don’t feel like wasting your money. Just because you eat healthy greens in the morning doesn’t mean that you can forego the need to make healthy food choices at the remainder of your whole food meals throughout the day. Not only does this not work in the long term but it often leaves the person confused because they feel as if their one healthy habit should pay bigger dividends than it does and they end up frustrated and more likely to give up all together.
When your meal plan and diet are dialed in however, that is the point when supplements can become very effective. As mentioned above, there are certain ones that just cannot be consumed in adequate dosages to make a difference through food alone. Creatine and beta alanine are two perfect examples of this. You would have to eat over 2-3 pounds of beef or chicken respectively, every single day, in order to meet your required maintenance dose of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate (2 grams of creatine hcl) or 3200mg of beta alanine.
This is just impossible to do and, even if you were able to do it for a day or two, not something you could sustain for the long term.
The bottom line is, supplements can absolutely put you over the edge in terms of your fitness and physique if you have the basics in place first. In fact, in almost every instance, if you show me a person who eats right and trains consistently and takes the right supplements – they are always going to be in better shape than the same version of that person not taking supplements.
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