The only supplement you will ever need is abundant. It can be mixed and prepared to suit your tastes. It comes in it own packaging. It is free of GMO’s and is safe for compost. It is also guaranteed to help you thrive, lose weight, and build muscle. What is the miracle supplement I speak of and how can you get your hands on some? Just in case you have not yet solved the riddle; it is organic food . More specifically, the organic food that comprises a plant-based diet. (scroll to the bottom to view the video version of this post)
A plant-based diet can help us avoid and regress the effects of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. It is not only a means towards achieving your fitness goals, it is the super supplement of preventative medicine and health promotion.
As the new year approaches, you will be exposed to countless other supplement advertisements that seek to capitalize on your inevitable upcoming health related resolutions . They will claim to hold the key to your idealized fitness, strength, and weight loss success. Time, money, and research is spent on how best to pull at your heartstrings and lure you to purchase their products. Get Big…, Lose Weight…, Become Faster…, and Achieve Your Potential… are some of pitches that will be thrown your way. Before your insecurities get the best of you, the advertising wizards do their magic, and you make an impulse investment; consider the following:
Do you currently have a concrete plan for your nutrtion?
Do you have a firm grasp of how nutrition works? Do you understand the nutritional requirements to achieve your goals? Do you know the foods and quantities that would translate into realizing those goals. Do you have an attainable goal and have you thought about all the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve it?
If you answered no to any of the the above questions, then I would strongly recommend you hold off on the purchase of a box of hopes and dreams. By definition, a supplement is “something that completes or makes an addition”. If you are supplementing your diet, then it goes without saying that your nutrition is incomplete. Why “make an addition” that costs money, is unsustainable, is comprised of the same nutrients found in whole foods, is most certainly processed, and may have synthetic additives? There are only two reasons that come to mind:
- You have a condition being treated by a medical professional that requires you take such a supplement to maintain health and vitality.
- Your diet is solid with all bases covered, but you require additional nutrition from other sources to attain your goals because of the time constraints associated with food preparation and actual eating. I wrote #2 as a reason, but hold the belief that it can easily be overcome with appropriate time management.
As for personal experience, I am guilty of being a GNC fiend in my youth. If it was advertised to help me make gains, then I bought it. I can’t tell you how many countless dollars I flushed down the toilet in an attempt to achieve my ideal physique. It started when I was in 8th grade and continued until I was 27. At that point I stumbled into a job where I was literally working 70 hour/week and wound up taking a year off from the weights. My store-bought supplement infused 200 pound frame atrophied down to 165 pounds. A year later I rejoined the fitness industry as a personal trainer and vowed to get back into competition shape. One of the stipulations of my plan was to do it as naturally as possible; for both health and financial reasons(supplements are expensive). I still took a multi-vitamin, had my morning coffee fix, and drank protein shakes between clients when time was short and days ran long.
I had a great training partner who held me accountable for everything I ate and over the course of the next year I bulked up to a high personal record of 217 pounds. In January 2005, I started the leaning phase for a competition. Sound nutritional practices and cardio got me down to a lean and muscular 186 pounds on competition day. I won my class and took home some hardware. I was approached backstage after the show by a representative of a well known supplement company. He asked if I would be interested in sponsorship. I was elated. This was the same product all the professionals were advertising in the magazines.
I asked when I would receive the supplements so I could document the before/after progress going into the next show while using their product. He nonchalantly told me it wouldn’t be necessary. He went on to explain that he had just taken the after pictures when I was on stage and wanted to meet up in a few months when I put weight back on and no longer looked competition ready. Yes, you are reading this correctly. He outrightly told me he would reverse engineer the photos to make it look like I got in-shape using his companies product even though I had never used them. Upon leaving, he turned and said “we don’t need to meet again, just send me a fat photo of yourself taken sometime over the last year.”
I was dumbfounded. I really wanted my photos to grace the pages of magazines. Every Bodybuilder dreams of sponsorship, but this was nothing shy of a hoax. I called him back on the phone the next day, thanked him, and declined the offer. Surprising or not, it happens all the time. You can imagine that the tech savvy advertisers of today digitally manipulate every image that crosses your screen to benefit the sales of their products. Not to mention the myriad of ways to flood the internet with positive reviews and testimonials as well.
To sum things up, get your nutrition in check before you consider supplementing. Talk to your doctor, see a nutritionist, or hire a trainer who can refer you clients who have achieved success under their guidance. If you are going to purchase a supplement, then look at the ingredients. Does it contain real food in the ingredients? Is it organic? Spend a few moments to look up the ingredients you don’t understand. Decide if that is something you want to put in your body. Treat your body like it is an exotic vehicle, because it is. And remember, real food is the best fuel!
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