Are Bodybuilding Supplements Even Necessary?
Did you know that the size of the total global dietary supplements market is estimated and projected to generate around $220 billion by 2022?
This just goes to show the massive nature of the bodybuilding supplements market.
There are so many bodybuilding supplements on the market, from the basics like protein powder, whey protein, fish oil, multivitamins, creatine or fat burners, and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) among many others.
If you’re a newbie looking to use some for your fitness and weight training activities, this may seem confusing, and you’re probably wondering where to start.
Maybe you’ve even read Consumer Reports on the downside of vitamins and supplements, among other expert interviews, published research, and FDA’s consumer complaints collection.
All these offer caveats on supplements, thus the difficult part is in discovering supplements that work, and how much of them are needed for safe consumption.
However, bodybuilding enthusiasts know all too well the importance of following strict dietary suggestions as advised by professionals so as to get better results.
The bottom line when it comes to supplements is sticking with those supported by science in terms of their safety and efficacy.
With this in mind, we’ve outlined some handy tips that can help you as you consider which bodybuilding supplements to buy, so you can make an informed choice before purchase.
Consult your physician
Who better to advise you on matters of health than your physician? This is the person who knows your body better than yourself and is qualified to give medical advice.
Not all products will react the same way as they do with different bodies, so ensure you’re fit enough to get a particular supplement before buying it.
Supplements also come in different categories, some for adding weight and muscle, others solely for weight, and/or muscle building.
Your physician will advise you which supplement is fit for your body, and which one isn’t.
Manufacturing and Publication information
Prior to placing an order for any supplements, check the manufacture and publication details of the supplement you intend to order.
While over-the-counter medicines are a favorite of many, including bodybuilders, there are norms and laws in different states regarding their use and consumption.
Ensure the law lets you use the particular supplement you have identified for purchase, and check the date of manufacture and expiry.
The use and consumption of outdated supplements can hurt you physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
Scammers also take advantage of people working on their weight and muscle-building, so be vigilant enough to identify them, and follow the law as you purchase the supplements.
Before buying bodybuilding supplements, understand how they work but also know that they’re responsible for improving your ability to endure lengthy and intense workout sessions.
If you’re an athlete and intend to use them for competitions, know the rules of the game, and the applicable laws beforehand, as you can be charged with doping.
This is why you’re advised to study the supplements and know their ingredients before ordering, and it protects you against the potential side effects too.
Avoid overdependence on the supplements by ensuring you eat a proper diet and staying determined and motivated.
Cost and Efficacy
Find out the pricing of supplements you want to buy as they are products you’ll use regularly.
For example, whey proteins are the most common of the lot, both for bodybuilders and bodybuilding enthusiasts. They are always there on their club shelves alongside other food and gym accessories. Check for products that are effective and safe to use; a high-quality supplement at an affordable or reasonable price.
Buying a supplement that isn’t effective is useless, so stick to those from notable brands as it ensures what you buy is effective.
Benefits of the supplement
What are you buying the supplement for? Is it mass gain to acquire cuts and shape?
Consider the advantages of the supplement you intend to buy and how it can maximize the effectiveness of the purpose for which you’re buying the supplement.
Several products sold online aren’t necessarily approved by the authorities, which is why studying the ingredients of the supplement is important.
Some may contain ingredients that may be harmful to your body.
Customer reviews and testimonials
What do other users have to say about the supplement?
As with other health products, there are thousands of customer reviews – positive or negative – from which you can gauge the supplement.
This is true particularly if you’re a first-time buyer of such products, or if you want to switch from one brand to another.
There are websites with real supplement testimonials that can help you find reviews from different users and more information on the products.
Alternatively, check with your gym buddies or friends for recommendations.
Warning labels and False advertisements
The FDA requires warning labels on supplements containing iron but doesn’t have such requirements on others.
Those with warnings can have inconsistent labels, while others offer general warnings for pregnant moms, or possible drug interactions (unnamed).
Check for warning labels on the supplements and their consistency, and ensure your pharmacist or physician knows about the drugs or supplements you’re currently on or planning to take.
Some supplements are also falsely advertised as natural, yet are manufactured synthetically.
The FDA insists that synthetic replicas of botanicals aren’t dietary supplement ingredients, and has even given warnings to some manufacturers and distributors, as these lack safety evidence.
Look for supplements with ‘USP Verified’ seal, which indicates the product meets quality, potency, and purity standards as established by U.S. Pharmacopeia.
Check for mineral and vitamin doses, as large doses or overdosing especially on fat-soluble vitamins D, A, E, and K can cause health problems.
Normal doses may also interfere with some medications’ prescriptions, with adverse effects occurring where there’s too much iron or calcium.
Check food and supplement labels then add your total daily exposure to your consumption. Your physician can advise further and suggest what you may need more of that may not be in your diet.
Do You Need Bodybuilding Supplements?
When it comes to supplements, the ‘buyer beware’ phrase holds true. Know your facts and talk to medical experts before making the purchase.
Don’t ignore warning labels, the laws on supplements, and FDA information on the same. And don’t believe everything you read online or in muscle magazines.