by Max Seabrook
New Year’s resolutions are starting up now that it’s January and many people are starting their fitness journey or weight-loss regime! All is well except there’s an endless stream of fatloss/weightlifting/gym supplements online and at the stores…which ones should you buy?
If you are at the start of your fitness regime then the answer is simply: Do not buy or take any supplements! Below I’ll explain why not!
At the start of your fitness routine there’s a number of things you’re probably doing:
- Eating more good food and less refined foods.
- Starting a workout routine.
- Tracking macronutrients and/or calories.
- Getting more structured sleep.
- Drinking more water.
If you’re hitting at least the first 2 or 3 in that list then you’re going to see results. Those results are going to be coming from your personal dedication to your regime and nothing else. But if someone starts their fitness regime whilst taking several different supplements 3x daily then it can lead them to believe their progress is down to those supplements. I’ve seen it too many times when people start their transformation with good intentions taking a supplement daily, like BCAA’s or Pre-workout formulas, slowly adding in more and more supplements until they’re using a pillbox designed for medical care. It can get extremely expensive down that route too! That money could be used on buying higher quality wholefoods!
If you really want to take supplements then it should be done methodically and according to a plan. I highly advise only starting a new supplement after at least 6 months of consistent training. At this point you’ll be familiar with your body progression and so it’ll be easier to notice any changes due to a new supplement. And then make a period for when you’ll come off of that supplement and see if you notice any changes after too. If you’re taking 2 supplements at the same time and you think you feel a benefit..you’ll never know which one it’s from and you won’t want to stop either of them and you’ll be back to the medical pillbox regime.
The exception to this could be protein powders. They aren’t necessary but they can help you hit your protein macronutrients and can come in handy if you’re in a caloric deficit and would rather spend calories elsewhere rather than trying to get in all of your protein from wholefoods. We don’t really recommend getting in more that 1-2 scoops a day. It’s supposed to “supplement” your protein intake, not be the sole-source of it.
So in summary: If you’re starting your fitness journey, or haven’t worked out in a while, don’t buy supplements until you’ve been 100% consistent with regular training and diet for at least 6 months. Only then should you try one supplement at a time after researching reliable sources, what it could do for you. And remember: more than 95% of your success will come just from your diet, training, sleep, hydration and adherence to them.