With fitness and nutrition being on top of everyone’s mind, we’ve been having a lot of conversations at Anytime Fitness with our members and clients about supplements. Here are some of the most common questions:
• Should I be taking supplements?
• Which supplements should I be taking to help me:
• Lose weight
• Increase my energy
• Sleep better
• Increase strength
• Increase stamina
Question #1: Should I be taking supplements?
For an average individual, supplements are supplementary to the real food we all should be consuming. Supplements could be extremely beneficial to replacing some of the meals you would consume throughout the day, this is the most popular use for supplements. Multivitamins are being taken to offset the variety of foods that we are not getting; Green supplements are being used to offset the vegetables and fruits that aren’t being consumed on a daily basis. These are all good reason to start taking supplements and they might be beneficial, however there is are a few rules one must follow prior to taking any supplements:
• Make sure that the foods that you eat on a daily basis are whole foods. Part of making sure that these supplements even work is to make sure we have the digestive enzymes to absorb and breakdown the nutrients. Eating whole, real foods will help us develop these enzymes so therefore when supplements are ingested they are more likely to get broken down and absorbed. Something to note, whole foods are always better than any supplements one will ever take. So the rule of thumb is always go for whole foods over supplements. Use supplements as supplementary rather than in place of.
• Where do these supplements come from? Unfortunately there are no laws regulating supplements. The FDA regulates what’s in our over the counter drugs and what’s in our foods, however, the supplement world has no such body. Therefore you are left on your own to try to distinguish between myth or facts. Remember you are choosing this product either in place of real food or supplementary to something you are not getting from food. It is real important to make sure that the product you are taking actually has the nutrients that it states it has. Here are a few important facts to keep in mind when choosing a supplement for your daily use. Does the supplement company have/do:
• Product development team — that is lead by a Ph.D, includes a nutritionist, and quality assurance personal
• Third party audits — Natural Products Association is an organization that provides external measures of quality assurance and compliance
• Analytical and physical testing — this should be done a regular basis by the product development team and third party audits
Question No. 2: Which supplements should I be taking to help me …
Once the majority of your daily food intake are whole foods and you’ve done the research you need to make sure the products you are about to take are legitimate, then you need to make sure you know what your goals are. For example if your goal is to lose weight, based on whatever brand of supplements you are going to choose, there are probably suggestions on where you should begin. One rule of thumb when it comes to following any plan of supplementation, there needs to be an on-boarding of the amount of supplement you take in. Meaning you shouldn’t be taking in a hand of pills, shakes, and potions at one time. Start of slow, let your body adapt to the whole foods you are eating, the supplements you are in taking, and most likely the exercising you are doing.
In a nut shell, supplement can enhance your ability to burn fat, build muscle, decrease joint pain, increase alertness, and decrease joint pain. Just make sure your daily food intake is in order first, second, make sure to spent at least 30-45 min going on line and reading about the company you are considering, maybe even give them a call and ask them some questions. Lastly, make sure you are not taking everything all at one time. Begin with one or two products and every three to four weeks, introduce another one if you feel like you need to. Just make sure you have a way to determine your progress based on whatever goal you have set out to accomplish. After all, supplement are supposed to be helping you get there faster.
Michael Gelfgot is certified though the Functional Aging Institute and has over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry.