Let’s talk about the elephant in the room:
They are everywhere, and new products seem to pop up every other week.
No matter what your opinion is, the supplements industry is enormous, it’s growing every year, and it’s here to stay.
To that end, let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of workout supplements.
Pro: They can be convenient.
Take, for example, protein supplements. We don’t need them for optimal results and performance, but they can be convenient.
As a fighter, you need adequate protein intake. But, instead of having to eat yet another chicken breast, you can make yourself a quick protein shake, and get a tasty protein serving in ten minutes.
Con: They can be useless.
Sadly, a large percentage of the products you see on store shelves are useless. They are:
Based on a nutrient that doesn’t do anything for us
Based on essential nutrients that we typically get through food
Dosed poorly and the active ingredients are often added in small amounts to minimize production costs and maximize profits
Pro: They can improve our energy levels.
Some ingredients (such as citrulline and caffeine) can boost our energy levels, focus, and motivation. When dosed appropriately, such ingredients can make for a fantastic pre-workout supplement that boosts our performance and allows us to do more strenuous workouts.
Con: It can be challenging to find useful products.
Sadly, most workout supplements hide their ingredients behind the notorious proprietary blend, and even if you do know a thing or two about human physiology, you wouldn’t be able to understand if the product is useful or not.
What’s more, a large percentage of manufacturers out there include ineffective ingredients to beef up the nutritional label and make their products appear more useful than they truly are.
Pro: They can give you a slight edge.
Few supplements out there seem to deliver small benefits in the face of muscle growth, athletic performance, and similar. One such product is creatine: it’s been studied since the seventies, and it has been shown to be safe, natural and effective.
Con: They can be dangerous.
In many countries today, government authorities do a poor job of controlling the supplement industry. Products often go through inadequate quality testing, and the criteria manufacturers need to pass to put their products on the shelves are almost laughable.
So, we can’t always know what our products contain, and whether or not these supplements contain banned or harmful substances.
Third-party quality-testing organizations do an excellent job of separating the good from harmful products. However, we should still be skeptical and do our research before buying and taking new supplements.