Often people buy supplements with expectations of amazing results – the assumption that if you take ‘Mega Mass 4000’ you’ll get ripped by summer with bulging biceps and a chiselled six-pack! After four weeks of necking it, though, you’ll probably be disappointed because you look pretty similar to how you did when you started.
So what makes people get supplementation all wrong? And how can you get the best results, and best value, from your supplement purchases? Here are the common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Ignoring the basics
I’m often surprised by the number of people who’ll buy a natural testosterone booster or advanced creatine product before they buy a basic protein powder to supplement their diet. Start basic with a good-quality whey protein such as Premium Whey (opens in new tab) to ensure you’re getting a solid 2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight every day. All the supplements in the world won’t make a lot of difference to your physique without this, a good diet and consistent training.
Trying to do everything at once
The goal I hear time and time again is a next-to-impossible one: ‘I want to get bigger and lose body fat at the same time’. It’s over-ambitious. Decide what you’d like to do first, then pick your supplements accordingly. If you’re carrying too much fat, lose fat first by picking a good fat burner such as Warrior Blaze (opens in new tab), following a strict diet and increasing your cardio. Once you’re lean, focus on gaining muscle.
Setting unrealistic expectations
No supplement in the world is ever going to change your body completely in four weeks. Creating a body your friends will be jealous of takes a long time. Have realistic expectations. If you take a good Creatine supplement (opens in new tab), that should help your bench go from, say, 80kg for 12 reps to 85-90kg for 12 reps in a month (combined with good diet and training). That may not sound much, but imagine how much you’ll be lifting after a year.
Ignoring the benefits of amino acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the second most important supplement for active trainers, after a good protein powder. Research has shown BCAA (opens in new tab)s to speed up recovery after a hard workout and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness (known as DOMS).
Not reading the labels
In order to get the best from your own supplement usage, it’s vital to read the labels and understand what’s in the product. If you don’t understand how something works, research it. You’ll only be able to get the best from a supplement if you know how and why it’s working.
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Image used courtesy of Shutterstock (opens in new tab).
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