Sport and bodybuilding supplements is a hot topic and I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked various questions about it. The name “supplement” says it all, it is something that completes or enhance something else. In fitness it is used to enhance your nutrition, but it cannot replace it. I believe bodybuilding supplements have been given too much attention thanks to all the good work from the marketing experts. These days, there are thousands of different brands suggesting the best products on the market with all sort of different ingredients promising you that you will have unbelievably huge progress as a result of using it, but all they really want is your attention and cash.
You need to ask yourself how much benefit would particular supplement give you and to what extent it is going to help you reaching your fitness goal. Supplements in Eric Helms Nutrition Pyramid is sitting on the least important place, 6th spot after nutrient timing, micronutrients, macronutrients and energy balance, being the most important aspect when it comes to planning your nutrition. We want to stress the importance in putting significant effort in getting primarily your energy balance set accurately with well-balanced macronutrients and micronutrients, as all this will hugely impact reaching your fitness goal, and only then start thinking about supplements. You must remember that getting accurate macros intake will give far more benefit in reaching your fitness goals then general consumption of supplements. Supplements are there to help you achieve this in more convenient way. Obviously, if you are an experienced bodybuilding athlete then you will need far more supplemental support, and there would be further value of different supplements (it’s like fine tuning of a vehicle).
Let us help you decide whether you need supplement, which supplements, and consumption need. First thing let’s talk about pros and cons.
• Convenience and practical use to meet nutritional goal
• Long shelf life
• Psychological benefit
• Direct enhancement of a particular macronutrient/micronutrient
• Treat deficiency
• Ease of consumption/digestion
• Side-effects (toxicity, intolerance, allergies, etc.)
• Risk of overconsumption of a particular macronutrient/micronutrient
As you can see there are good reasons to use supplementation in your nutritional plan. And with a smart use of supplements you can enhance your performance and achieve your fitness goals. We have put together a list of supplements that would probably give you the most performance benefit:
6-Branch Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine)
Every item in the list above doesn’t necessarily need to be in your nutrition plan, however it could enhance it if needed. For example, if you consume fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring, etc.) on regular or daily basis then there would be less or no need for you to ingest fish oil pills. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that supplements are available for you to improve your fitness performance through meeting your nutritional goals. Please look out for our future post on individual characteristics, benefits and usage of each one of them.
If you think of the big picture in a nutritional plan, then supplements impact is minor in comparison to having accurate calorie intake with an appropriate macronutrient ratio. On the other hand, smart use of supplements can boost your fitness performance and enhance your nutritional plan. Supplementation can be beneficial for building muscle and losing fat. Therefore, decision on supplementation needs will depend on individual basis based on your fitness level, fitness goals and personal situation.
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