Supplement review guides for athletes
An industry within an industry; Sports nutrition and health supplementation has exploded in popularity over the last few decades, after once being an afterthought within the larger health and fitness industry itself.
From its humble beginnings as a dietary aid recommended by doctors for sickly patients with certain deficiencies to now reaching the pinnacle of athletics and providing that final “piece of the puzzle” for performers aiming to max out their potential.
The global dietary supplement industry is estimated to be valued at just over $120 billion with a reach spanning across the globe, with supplements even specifically catered to certain cultures and or races.
For athletes and health and fitness enthusiasts alike, the one aspect of the supplement industry which stands out and is felt by all is the lack of clarity and transparency.
At Athletic Muscle we pride ourselves on producing and providing the most up to date content in a non-biased approach. Our goal is to provide you with the tips, tools, strategies and knowledge to make the most educated and objective decisions.
We’ll be tackling the supplement industry, providing articles and information that will allow you to decide and choose the supplements (and brands) which best align with your desired goals and ethos.
What are supplements
As the name implies, supplements (dietary / nutritional) are any product that aims to ‘supplement’ the diet with nutrients that could potentially be missing (for various reasons).
Despite what some marketing campaigns may incite, supplements are never “necessary”; they’re complimentary and should be seen as a tool to “complete or enhance”, never to substitute in place of whole foods. So, if you can achieve adequate intake from your diet, this should be the goal.
What kind of supplements are there?
It’d be easier to pick out the issues which supplements don’t currently market towards aiding, as opposed to naming all the things they are attributed to benefiting.
There are literally thousands of unique supplements on the market with various forms, odd names (for the same product) and a countless number of companies producing / selling them.
From well known vitamins and minerals to some truly wacky and wild sounding products (Gingko Biloba comes to mind), each with their own unique mechanisms of action, require dosage, context of use, time to take and much, much more, it’s no wonder many are confused when they get thrown into the maelstrom of dietary supplementation.
For high performing athletes, it’s also important to know that there are certain supplements which could be on their respective sports “exempt list”. It would always be worth checking with team coaches and or a contact at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to inquire before taking an unfamiliar supplement (or a supplement containing an unfamiliar ingredient). You can check WADA’s full prohibited substances list here.
Should athletes take supplements?
While athletes should certainly be cautious when supplementing, having the right supplementation routine can be the defining factor in achieving their desired goal.
There’s certainly not a “need” for supplements, but they can have an additive effect. At Athletic Muscle we’ll be considering supplements which can lead to improvements in;
- Weight management / Body composition
- Muscle / weight gain
- General health
The margin for victory is often so small, it’s impossible to quantify, and the little percentages increase each day that supplements contribute to your journey as an athlete can make all the difference.
We’ll be educating you, not only in what supplements actually do and which to use given your goal, but also how to take them, at what dosages, what times and which brands to look out for to ensure you’re getting the best quality product.
The importance of research in supplements
Research is important for many different reasons. Not only does it help to show us which supplements we generally benefit from taking (due to deficiencies seen in dietary census surveys) but it also enables us to decipher which actually work.
One of the major issues commonly associated with the supplement industry is the rush to provide the new “sexy” product; one that has a small body of poor-quality research or perhaps a proposed mechanism, which then becomes an overnight media sensation.
This is obviously undesirable for many reasons and is the improper use of research; in this instance research opened the door for us to explore, it didn’t close the door to say “job well done, that’s all we need to know”.
For members of the general public and athletes alike, it’s important to value research when it comes to supplement selection.
There are countless overnight sensation supplements (raspberry ketones come to mind) but the more validated supplements (vitamin D for example or even creatine for athletes) have had an ever-growing body of high-quality research supporting their use / uses.
That’s why we at Athletic Muscle want to provide you with an unbiased approach. We’re not here to sell you a particular supplement or brand. We’re here to inform you and educate; provide that clarity through digging into the body of research and illuminate the facts.
Choosing a supplement
There are certain things to consider before choosing a supplement;
· What are you hoping to achieve by taking the supplement?
· Has the supplement been tried, tested and validated (for it’s intended purpose of use) by high-quality research studies?
· Quality of the product and brand reputability
· Dosage and timing (and how these fit practically into your lifestyle)
· Allergens, intolerances or other components of the supplement which you’re aiming to avoid
· Stock and delivery consistency
· Athletes should also consider the WADA prohibited substances list
It would also be advised to discuss with your given healthcare practitioner your intentions to take said supplement as they may want to do some tests etc. beforehand to ensure it would be safe for you to do so.
Ready to get started?
Supplements have their place and can be of significant benefit to athletes and those simply looking to improve their state of health and overall quality of life.
This section of the site is going to cover all things supplement and break them down into the aforementioned categories of; Performance, Weight management / Body composition, Muscle / weight gain and General health.
Clarity, honesty, and a non-biased interpretation of the available research will be presented to you in an easy to digest manner enabling you to make the best possible decisions.
Our library of work will continue to grow and we always welcome suggestions and questions for and on our articles so we can continue to help all of you become the healthiest, and best performers, you’ve ever been!