The supplements we use

Are supplements worth it? Or a waste?

When it comes to your fitness regimen, the chances are you have heard that a good diet and training routine is necessary, and a lot of times people will say that supplements are a waste. However, while a good diet is crucial, you may not be getting every last nutrient that you need to recover and grow. That being said, supplements can be very beneficial to fill in where your diet does not do the trick.

But, what supplements should you be using and how effective are they? Let’s take a look at my personal supplement stack and how it affects me.

Are Supplements Necessary?

First, let me say that we use what we use for reasons specific to us, and just because we use something like supplements, does not mean you need to use something. Also, with few exceptions, most new trainees do not need supplements and really probably should not use supplements until he or she has a solid training as well as nutrition plan in place and made gains without them. What does that mean? Build your base through solid lifting and training, then once you notice your gains start to slow down it might be time to kick up the supplement use.

Second, we believe too many trainers push supplements for personal gain or because they have personally used them. Supplements, in the scope of understanding, today is a relatively new thing. In past decade, supplements did not exist as widely as they do now, and they certainly were not marketed like they are today. Despite not having as many supplements as are available today, people still got fit, excelled in sports, and improve their health through training and nutrition. If a trainer immediately tries to get you to take supplements, especially if her or she is trying to get you to buy a specific line, that persons is likely looking out for their financial gain.

Third, supplements do have their place in your fitness routine. That said, most people can get fit, improve health, and look better in the mirror without supplements. For those who use supplements, the usage should be minimal and you should not depend on them; supplements cannot make up for lack of training and a bad diet. This is the same logic we apply to ourselves and clients. Most of our clients do not use supplements and we rarely suggest a client use supplements, yet the clients who follow our training programs still see progress. This progress includes adding some serious pounds to their bench, squat, and deadlift numbers, losing 60+ pounds of weight, improving all health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol, and overall becoming fitter, healthier, and better looking versions of themselves.

Fourth and final, we realize we go against the grain with our minimalist advice. It goes against popular advice and selling supplements is a great way for trainers or other persons to make money. The thing is, we do not care what is popular and certainly do not want to make money selling someone something he or she does not need.

My Personal Supplement Use

Currently, I take:

  • Zinc 50 mg – aids sleep, other benefits

  • Magnesium 500 mg – aids sleep, other benefits

  • Caffeine 200 mg – used as pre-workout

  • Protein powder 2 scoops – to reach the proper protein intake

You will notice a lack of popular supplements in my stack, such as a multivitamin, a traditional pre-workout, BCAA, etc. I feel as though I do not personally need them. I am relatively lean and perform well with my current supplement regimen, and more importantly, my training and nutrition plan.

At times in my training life, I have used supplements or supplement stacks from Universal and USPLabs, among other companies. I used these stacks, etc. during periods of extremely hard training, often during a cut cycle to help me maintain my mass and performance. That said, as my experience and education increased, I found I could do the same with minimal supplement usage. At the same time, I can do the same for my clients.

Right now, while only using the supplements in the bulleted list, a few current performance stats are:

  • 6:20 mile

  • 275-pound clean and jerk

  • 21 handstand push-ups

At the same time, I can run 12+ miles, squat and deadlift 400+ pounds, stand on my hands, complete up to 50 consecutive pull-ups, rep the snatch with almost 200 pounds, perform muscles ups, front levers, and back levels, and perform a number of other tasks. It is also worth mentioning that I stay at 10 percent or less body fat. Grace’s supplement use Grace uses more supplements than I do. Currently she takes:

  • Prenatal multivitamin – she is not pregnant, but take this particular multi because of the higher nutrient dosages, as she sees a difference in her hair, nails, skin, and overall health

  • Biotin – for skin hair and nails

  • Cranberry – helps prevent UTIs

  • Joint complex – for joint health

  • Fish oil – for healthy fats

  • Vitamin C – to help immune system function

  • Vitamin E – to help immune system function

  • Caffeine – used as pre-workout

  • Protein powder– to reach protein numbers

A few of Grace’s top performance stats are:

  • 225-pound deadlift

  • 150-pound squat

  • 105-pound clean and jerk

Should You use Supplements? What Supplements Should You Use? How Much?

Supplement use should be limited to an as needed basis. Every supplement you use should be justified. That means you should have a though out reason for taking a supplement. At the same time, you should strive for taking science backed supplements, meaning you should use supplement that have clinical studies supporting their use for the intended benefit. For example, if you take a supplement to help increase testosterone levels, the science should show it boost testosterone levels.

Dosage of any supplement should be limit to the smallest effective dose, taking more does not always equal better. In some instance taking more simply means you will excrete it as waste, which is the case with certain vitamins, but in other cases an overdose can occur, which can be the case with excess caffeine consumption.

Wrap Up

Supplement use must be approached in an intelligent manner. Using supplements simply because a fitness professional or social media influencer tells you to is a bad idea. Be informed, be educated, and make smart choices. After all, you are putting substance into your body; you should know how these things work and why you are taking them.

Demetz Personal Training About Nathan Demetz Personal TrainerNathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.

Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!