One of the biggest questions out there in the weight training community, especially in the beginners circle, is this: “Should I take supplements?” Well that’s a good question that is not easily answered. Many factors go into the decision on if an individual should take supplements or not, but let’s look at some facts.
What are Supplements?
Supplements are anything used to increase output, gain, or efficiency of a training program. Whether it be protein, mass gainer, creatine, fat burners, you name it, they’re all supplements of some kind. However, several key factors go into the decision of choosing to use supplements or not in your daily routine. Such factors include:
- Workout Plan/Goal
- Amount of Food Intake
- Time Restraints Throughout the Day
- Financial Accessibility
The fact is simple; supplements can greatly increase the potential of gains and output of any workout program. A great benefit of using weightlifting supplements is that it makes essential nutrients accessible to any athlete. For the busy lifter who doesn’t have the time available to eat the right foods or take in the proper rest, supplements provide a great way to help increase benefits of training.
Supplements can also increase the intensity in which an individual trains. For example, if you’re consistently tired before each workout, and can’t keep up a good pace during your training, perhaps taking a pre-workout would benefit your gains and training. If your metabolism is consistently burning away at your calories and not allowing your body enough energy to form muscle mass, perhaps taking some mass gainer could be an option. The fact is, with the availability of substances today, any need has the possibility of being fulfilled.
Although supplements can provide a lot of benefit in a workout program, they can also harm if not consumed responsibly. Overusing weightlifting supplements, or using the wrong type of supplement, can cause anything from stomach pain to organ damage. Included with those aspects are other weird side effects, such as: insomnia, headaches, skin irritation, diarrhea, and more.
However, cons like these are not necessarily meant to discourage anyone from consuming supplements. If used correctly, pros can definitely outweigh the cons. Always remember, if you ever have a question about which supplements are safe to use, as both a trainer AND a doctor (mainly the doctor).
So What Does This Mean?
The number one thing to keep in mind is this: supplements are meant to supplement your workout plan. Read that last sentence again. Supplements are meant to SUPPLEMENT your workout plan. Whether a person is just starting their lifting career or are a seasoned veteran, supplements or other weightlifting vitamins should not be the main ingredient to success.
The best way to reach success is to work hard, be consistent in your training, and have a healthy diet that will boost your program. Whether you choose to use supplements or not, always use hard work as a way to achieve your goals.