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Should You Take Supplements?

Unless you've really done your homework, you might want to think twice before purchasing a slew of workout supplements.
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Ah, one of the most common questions I'm asked when a new client starts up with me: "Should I take any supplements now that I"m working out?" With the supplement industry raking in tens of billions of dollars annually, one would think that there must be at least SOME brand or SOME type of supplement one should take to enhance one's performance in the gym.

I believe that the average person NEEDS to have a 'buyer beware' mentality when looking to purchase workout supplements for two reasons. The first reason for this is that if you're eating a diet consisting of organic meats, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no added sugar (yay to CrossFitters!), you should be in pretty good shape in terms of getting an adequate amount of the macros, the vitamins and the minerals necessary to adequately recover, burn fat and build muscle from your workouts.

The second reason as to why I believe you need to be leery of most workout supplements is because the suppplement industry is NOT regulated effectively by the FDA nor any other governmental authority here in the US. Let me repeat that: The supplement industry is NOT regulated effectively or completely by the FDA nor any other governmental authority. The result? A VAST majority of supplement companies falsely advertising the benefits, the nutritional facts and the ingredients of their products with little-to-NO repercussions for doing so. Sadly, the VAST majority of the most popular supplements on the market list their junk ingredients right on the back (high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil and sucralose to name a few), but due to a blind trust by most consumers (we can thank the hundreds of fitness celebrities who endorse these less than trustworthy brands), these actions go unchecked by both the federal government AND the public.

We've seen a lot of athletes in various professional sports leagues getting suspended for the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) over the past decade. A common excuse used by these athletes is that, "I have no idea how that illegal substance got into my body." They're then grilled by the media, their coaches, etc. and list nothing out of the ordinary that could have triggered a positive test aside from a standard workout supplement that they thought was OK. These players are then ostricized and accused of lying, and are continually shamed until they come back from suspension and reestablish trust with the fans, the media and the organization he/she plays for. As hard as it may be for you to believe, I don't necessarily think all of these players are lying.

Recently, a CrossFit Games athlete was suspended from participating in the 2015 CrossFit Games because of a failed drug test prior to the Regionals. He claimed that he was sponsored by a certain supplement line, and that upon serious investigation, he had found that his sponsor screwed up the batch of protein they had sent him, and due to a high concentration of a banned substance, he tested positive. Regardless of your thoughts on his trustworthiness, if this can possibly happen to a highly valued athlete by his own sponsor, don't you think this can also happen to you? Do you really want to test the waters on ingesting banned substances and Lord knows what else, just because you put trust in a supplement company you've barely done your homework on?

Now, I'm going to come right out and say it: I DO take a couple of supplements. These two supplements are consumed POST-workout (that's AFTER my workout for you fitness newbs). The ones I take are ones that I did a very thorough amount of research for, and have seen some great results from utilizing.

The Key Takeaway: Unless you've really done your homework, you might want to think twice before purchasing a slew of workout supplements.

Until Next Time,

- Peter, The Permanent Weight Loss Expert

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