What supplements should I take? Do I need to take supplements? What is the best supplement? These are just a few of the questions I get a lot from clients and people I speak with about fitness and nutrition. Supplements have become big business and the companies do a great job marketing to people. The main thing to know as that you do not need to take supplements. The first thing to do is get your nutrition down. Then you can add in supplements to fill in any gaps.
What to Do First?
Before taking supplements, I recommend people get their nutrition dialed in. Supplements are meant to support a healthy nutrition plan, not be the main part of a plan. Unless your doctor has you on any supplements already. You can get most of the vitamins and minerals you need from eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats, and other carbohydrate sources.
After the nutrition is dialed in, if they want to add in supplements, I recommend getting some bloodwork done to see if you have any deficiencies. If you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals you can take that supplement to increase your body’s levels. For example, many people are deficient in magnesium so supplementing with a magnesium supplement will help increase the levels.
Supplements I Recommend
Here are some of the supplements I recommend once people have their nutrition in place. You can add these plus any other deficiencies you might have. The amounts people need will depend on each individual situation.
A high-quality protein powder is good because protein helps build muscle. Many people struggle to get enough protein so adding in a protein powder can help them achieve his or her protein goal. It can also be good for people who are on the go. Protein powder can be mixed in a shake quickly or thrown in with some oatmeal. When it comes to finding a quality brand look for one that has a few ingredients and no artificial ingredients. You can use a site like www.examine.com or www.labdoor.com, which is a third-party testing site that ranks supplements on quality.
This is one vitamin that the majority of people are deficient in. The main way we get vitamin D is from sunlight and in today’s society, people are stuck inside most of the time. Plus, if you live in a climate with winters you are outside even less. Therefore, adding a vitamin D supplement will help out.
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, many people are magnesium deficient so adding a supplement will increase levels. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 bodily functions so it is important to make sure you have sufficient levels (“Magnesium in diet: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia” 2019).
This is the most researched supplement there is. Anyone who is strength training can benefit from supplementing with creatine. Some of the benefits include increased power output, more lean mass, anaerobic capacity. Creatine has even been shown to improve cognitive functions and memory (Examine.com 2019).
A quality fish oil supplement can be good for someone who does not eat a lot of fish. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids so if you don’t eat a lot of fish then you might want to consume a fish oil product.
These are the main supplements I recommend, plus any other deficiencies you might have. There are thousands of other supplements out there but most of them are a waste of money. For example, pre-workout supplements are popular but all they are is caffeine mixed with a bunch of other junk. If you need caffeine just drink coffee or take a caffeine pill. If you need to take a supplement to get you ready for a workout then you probably have some other issues, but we will not get into that here. Some other money wasters are detoxing supplements, BCAAs, many multi-vitamins, testosterone boosters, mass gainers, and fat burners. Spend your money on quality food instead. You will feel better than if you take a ton of supplements.
Get your nutrition in-place, get some bloodwork done, and then worry about supplementation. Feel free to reach out with questions or if you want help creating a nutrition plan. Apply for coaching or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examine.com. “Science-Based Health Benefits of Creatine.” Examine.com, 21 Nov. 2019, https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/.
“Magnesium in Diet: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002423.htm.