I often get asked about supplements, and in particular, whether my clients actually need to use supplements. The simple answer to this question is no. The word ‘supplement’ itself suggest these products are supplementary, and so their role in your training and diet should be minimal. The focus of a good routine should be proper training and nutrition, as well adequate rest and recovery. Supplements can certainly enhance your training and nutrition, but should not be the main focus. So if supplements can be beneficial in your training, in which kind of situations may they be useful?
One of the primary reasons for using supplements is cost. For instance, supplementing protein powder is going to be a cheaper alternative to certain other protein sources such as lean meats. This can also apply to other supplements such as creatine or a mass gainer, where supplementing these products could potentially save you money. For certain groups of people on a tight budget, such as students, supplements can become a very useful tool in their training and nutrition.
Another argument for the use of supplements is ease of use. For example, a protein shake is very easy to make and consume, and can be carried with you to the gym or wherever you’re going. Whereas, cooking and eating a chicken breast will take much longer, and is not as convenient to consume at the gym or on the go. This applies to other supplements such as creatine as well, where it is far more practical to consume powdered creatine than it is to get it purely from whole foods.
Whether you're a beginner to training, or an experienced lifter, supplements can definitely play a role in your training and nutrition. Again this role should be minimal, with the focus on good training and nutrition. Supplements can in no way make up for bad training and nutrition, so make sure you don't neglect these areas. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.