by Kris Pitcher
This summer I've been enjoying a mineral base make up, but as my color fades it's not quite the right color. With a few airline miles under my belt I've had time to flip through some magazines. And, I think I need a BB cream.
Now, I'm not sure what a BB cream is. It will however (according to the before and after photos) make my skin flawless, less red and splotchy, after just one application. I must have this magic cream. Is it a foundation? I don't know. Is it a tinted moisturizer? Not sure.
It says it will basically make my life better. Having no idea what a BB cream was...I went out and bought myself one. I picked "light to fair"...
This is pretty much how we approach supplements too. We have no idea what they do, when we should use them, or if we need them, but we go out and buy them. We see adds in glossy magazines or online and they look like they're going to change our life forever.
Like my literal foundation, our diet is our "supplement" foundation. It's the base of solid nutrition our body needs to get everything done. A supplement is just that, something on top of great nutrition. A supplement can't take the place of good nutrition. It can't undo a bad diet, and it can't do the work of your workouts for you.
There's no magic in supplementation. You should always consult your physician, your registered dietitian, your nutrition specialist, your coach, as you assess your needs. It's not safe to assume you are deficient in any micronutrient or that you need or require any supplement.
What do people typically supplement their solid nutrition with? Protein powder is the number one supplement. There are times when we need quick delivery, and times when we need the convenience of protein in a supplement form.
Pre-workouts are another big one people like to take. Most are stimulant based, and some also promote circulation causing a better pump. If you are a morning exerciser that may make sense, but if you workout at night...you might wonder why you're up all night. I workout in the evening, so these just don't fit for me and I don't need them.
Creatine is a popular supplement for both men and women. Creatine is an amino acid required for energy production. Supplementing theoretically supports workload capacity. It's often a component within protein products, so read labels to make sure you're not doubling up (or double spending).
Vitamins and minerals are popular supplements as well. Depending on the variety of your diet, you may find you want to supplement. Most people can benefit from a vitamin D supplement. Ensuring you're getting your omega 3's and 6's is important too with some fish oil.
Supplementation is a multi-billion dollar industry. Keeping it simple and focusing on the foundation of solid nutrition is key. A supplement is only a tool to refine a great diet. You really have to be doing everything right with your eating plan first. When you are, you may benefit from some additional supplements.
The most difficult part of competition, and just weight management in general, is eating what you are supposed to eat when you are supposed to eat it. Supplements can't help that, you still need to eat your food. It's a complex and confusing industry as well...and you may not need a BB cream.