How Many Weight Gainers and Supplements Should I Take?


question-icon-newI currently take a weight gainer 3 times daily along with vitamins, creatine, amino acids and ZMA throughout the day. Is this too many supplements to take every day?

answer-icon-newIn thinking about your question it reminded me of a conversation I was having with a good friend of mine the other day. We grew up playing sports together and have always shared a love of working out and a love of golf. We were discussing how similar the golf industry is to the supplement industry. This may seem like a strange comparison but look at the similarities.

The golf industry is saturated with products and gadgets that make claims to improve your swing, improve your game and lower your scores. This is an incredibly successful, multi-million dollar industry. And yet a look at the statistics shows that the average person’s score hasn’t improved in the last 20 years! Why? Because playing better golf is accomplished by hard work on the fundamentals of the game and there is no gadget you can buy that is going to get you around this fact.

As with the golf industry, every year we are saturated with countless new and improved supplements making claims to be the holy grail of health and fitness. Products to lose weight, gain weight, increase testosterone, burn fat, curb appetite, increase energy and everything else under the sun. However, the general population continues to get fatter and sicker every year. Why? Because just as with golf, better health and fitness are accomplished by hard work on the fundamentals. When it comes to health and fitness these fundamentals are a balanced nutrient dense diet and a consistent regimen of exercise. And I repeat, there is no nutritional magic pill you can buy that is going to get you around this fact.

supplements-vitamins-pillsThis comparison isn’t meant to say supplements have no use. There are cases or occasions when a dietary supplement is advantageous. Individuals with health concerns or athletes looking to peak their training before competition can certainly find benefit in the use of certain supplements but this is a very small percentage of the population. For the rest of us, we simply need to stick with the fundamentals of a sound diet. After all, if we are eating several nutrient dense meals during the day, we should have little deficiency to warrant the need of supplements.

It is important to realize that the human body is a biological organism that runs on organic fuel. Everything the human body needs, grows on this planet naturally. Much of the chemistry in supplements are synthetic versions of nutrients found in natural foods. You mentioned weight gainer, vitamins, creatine, amino acids and ZMA (zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6). These nutrients are all found in meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts. If you are eating several meals throughout the day that are rich in these food groups then your intake of these nutrients is undoubtedly sufficient to fuel most any workout program. I have trained with many triathletes, boxers, MMA fighters and physique competitors that use no supplements at all and have tremendous training programs. I have also trained with many athletes that use a few supplements that they swear by so the choice is ultimately up to you. But before you drop another $40 or more on a supplement make sure you have your nutritional fundamentals in check.

The bottom line is that you need to research any supplement you are interested in and take care that this research is coming from an independent source. Many supplement companies will form their own research groups to run performance tests of their product so it goes without saying that the results tend to be biased.

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