Let’s get to the bottom of this straight up - food is king when it comes to being a human being. But supplements are a fantastic way to add to your overall nutrition profile; keeping you healthy, full of energy and ready to tackle every day head on!
There is a stimulus associated with the supplement industry, which is a shame because everyone can benefit from adding them to their lives. But with so much choice and marketing pushing certain types of supplements, it is easy to get confused or caught up in purchasing something that may deliver desired results, yet leaves you in a constant state of bloating, burping, gas or feeling lethargic!
There is a more practical approach to choosing what the best supplements for you is, firstly…
Get your tests done! – what are my current deficiencies?
One of the best ways to find out how your body works is to get blood tests done to see how your body reacts to certain foods as well as to see what deficiencies your body currently has.
Hormone test – tests for cortisol, thyroid, testosterone, estrogen/progesterone levels so it’s a great if you're someone who has mood swings, always stressed or has low energy
Food allergy test – to see what foods produce inflammation in your body. A really good one if you want to get your diet under control, you’ll be amazed at what your body can and can’t handle!
Nutrition test - testing to see how your vitamin and mineral levels are such as iron, calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is a major one most people are deficient in, which is consistent with a lot of people not getting enough sunlight
What does my training schedule and nutrition look like?
This is another question which you need to ask yourself, as it can help you identify if you really need to incorporate supplements into your diet, aside from the ones which your blood tests indicated (which you hopefully got!)
If you are the weekend warrior who enjoys going to the gym a couple times per week with a run on the weekend, then maintaining a healthy balanced diet with appropriate health supplements is sufficient enough. However if you are someone who is used to exercising quite vigorously for a particular goal than you can definitely benefit by adding certain supplements into your diet.
Picking a Protein powder
Protein, the supplement which garners the most attention by everyone, which protein powder should I get? Step into any store and it’s not hard to see why it can be overwhelming to pick the right one for you. A more practical way to approach this question is to have a look at your overall training and nutrition plan and how it fits in relation to your goals.
Firstly… do I really need a protein powder? This will be based off your activity levels/ training schedule and intensity of workouts
Am I trying to lose weight?
Am I trying to gain weight?
Am I looking to recover quicker?
Am I looking for a food substitute (not this one)
These are the questions to ask yourself, then pick one suited to your goals based on the ingredients and proposed benefits. If you haven’t been able to get any of your tests done, then it may be in your best interest to look at the ingredients in each package.
Try to avoid any soy and corn ingredients and look for the sugars that are present. Vegan proteins are a wise choice here as they are usually sourced from good quality protein, have less ingredients in them and contain some good probiotics.
So, next time you're looking for a new supplement to take ask yourself these few questions and remember that you are unique and the supplements that you need to achieve your desired results may be completely different to that of someone else's.