It is felt by some people that sports nutrition supplements are of no benefit, and you can get by just by eating a good, clean diet. Others seem to pay no attention whatsoever to how they eat and instead frequently switch from one dietary supplement to another in their goal for a quick fix to achieve their objectives. My personal view from having observed countless numbers of people in gyms, and in sports, is that there are certain factors common to all successful people, not just in sports, but in life. As far as achieving their training goals via the use of supplements, certain elements stand out in the diet plans of successful athletes.
1. Diet Comes First
Successful athletes will introduce supplements once their diet is perfected and not before. Adding a supplement while your diet is poor will only lead to uncertainty as to where your results are derived from – if you experience positive results at all. All too often, poor diets will sabotage any benefit received from good training plans, and supplements are not enough to correct this imbalance. Someone consuming junk food all day is not going to be able to discern any noticeable benefits from a fat burner. Quite simply, a nutrition plan needs to be spot on for any supplements taken to be able to work effectively. That means adequate protein (at least 1g per pound of bodyweight), and a healthy intake of fresh vegetables, and, depending on need, adequate consumption of carbohydrates.
2. Proper Recovery and Rest
Even with a perfect diet and training plan, many people fail to recover properly from training due to either inadequate sleep, lots of partying, or other factors which compromise performance. It should be a no-brainer but it is worth stating that you should not expect sports supplements to pick up the slack for a poor lifestyle. Ideally, you would want to be sleeping a minimum of 7 hrs per night as well as restricting consumption of drugs, and, ideally, making sure you limit stress by taking regularly having sports massages and employing similar recovery techniques.
3. Give Dietary Supplements Time
Once diet is in place, sports supplements will have room to work their effects but they still require time to be able to demonstrate their effects. Cellular turnover in the body is not instant so you should not expect instant results from anything other than a thermogenic fat burner. Most will take at least 2-3 weeks, and in some cases, months to notice their benefits. However, countless studies have validated their use, whether it is to aid sports performance, reduce recovery, strengthen the immune system, or to burn fat. So patience is a vital tool to notice good results from supplements.
4. Adopting a pyramid approach to supplements
Basically this refers to the need to first introduce basic nutritional supplements to ensure optimum protein, essential fatty acid and vitamin/mineral intake is achieved. Deficiencies in any of these will crucify performance – there is a reason why professional athletes constantly have their blood levels of different nutrients monitored as even a slight dip in an essential vitamin or mineral will quickly damage performance significantly. Once the basic essentials of a healthy body are in place, you can start to look at bringing in other sports nutrition products such as prohormones, creatine, fat burners, or protein powder products and meal replacements such as Myoplex. The take home message for everyone should be that nutritional supplements can never pinch hit for a sloppy diet. However, properly integrated into a training and nutritional program, sports nutrition products will be able to elevate the gains from your training plan significantly.
Author: Reggie Johal