You’ve been buying and using supplements for ages now, but the results just don’t seem to be showing up. Then, you decide to throw it all in and go ‘au naturel’, only to find yourself no better off or worse off. And so begins the endless cycle of supplements and then no supplements. Meanwhile your results are becoming stagnant and you haven’t gained any “Serious Mass”, as the supplement suggests. So what’s the problem here? Well, to be blunt, it’s you. You’re most likely supplementing wrong and here are 7 reasons why:
1. Forgetting the Foundations
You don’t start building a skyscraper by working on the roof. Instead, you need to lay down the foundations so that the building is structurally sound. If analogy’s aren’t your thing, what I’m trying to say is don’t start off with test boosters when you aren’t even using any protein powders. Your muscles can’t grow unless they’ve got the right ingredients to do so. Start off with the basics such as a good blended protein powder, a multivitamin and a fish oil or other omega 3 supplement.
So many trainers have a scoop of protein after their workouts and think that’s enough, however, depending on your diet and your training, you may need more. Many trainers think they have a lot of protein throughout the day, but actually might not be meeting their requirements. To help support your gains, you need to know how much protein your body actually needs and to see if your current diet is meeting those requirements. Underdosing doesn’t just affect protein powders though, it also commonly affects creatine, which brings us to the next point.
3. Taking Creatine Wrong
Creatine is considered one of the most, if not the most effective supplement on the market. Yet, people complain that they don’t see results and then start advocating that the product just doesn’t work. Most of these people though simply aren’t taking creatine correctly. Many simply have 1 serve a day with their post-workout shake and that’s it. While, you can still experience the benefits, it does take a longer time with that level of dosing. Rather, to ensure the fastest results, it’s important to load up with creatine in the first 5 days. That is, take 4 x 5g of creatine per day, ideally with a carbohydrate rich meal. Doing this will ensure you feel the full effects of creatine and fast!
4. Mistaking Supplements for Miracles
No supplement is going to strip off fat and give you a six pack in a couple of weeks. Nor will any supplement put on kilos of muscle within days without the right training. Yet people are disappointed when they take supplements, work out half arsed in the gym, make almost no changes to their diet and find less than desired results. Supplements can definitely be useful to further your progress, but you still need to put in the effort; in the gym and with your diet for the best results.
5. Not Cycling Supplements
While not all supplements need to be cycled, certain popular products work best when a break in supplementation is involved. These include pre workouts and fat burners, as they often contain stimulants, which your body can grow accustomed to after prolonged used. As such, a higher dose is often needed in order to elicit the same effects. This is why the same dose of a pre workout or fat burner might not feel as though it has the same effect after a month or so. To maintain the effectiveness of these supplements, it’s always best to have 1-2 weeks off every 4-6 weeks of use.
6. Taking All the Supplements
This no holds barred, all out approach to supplementation is extremely common, especially amongst beginners. They get a little too excited in the shop or online, take poor advice from unqualified staff who are worried more about profits than your gains and end up with 6-7 supplements. While some or even all the supplements can be useful, you just won’t know taking that many supplements at the same time. Ideally, you’d start off with a protein powder and another supplement for 4-6 weeks before purchasing another product. This way, you have time to see if your current stack is working for you. This of course takes into account your training routine and diet is optimal.
7. Not Reading Nutrition & Product Labels
Not all supplements are created equal, even if they belong to the exact same category. This is why it’s important to read the nutrition labels to ensure you’re getting enough of the active ingredients to have the desired effect. Learning how to read nutrition labels is also a vital skill to support your diet and helping you pick the right foods. Knowing what’s in the supplement and what it does by doing some research is a sure fire way to get you the best supplement for your needs.
Don't Be A Supplement Rookie
The world of supplements is a often a confusing place. Thousands of supplements exist and there’s often conflicting opinions and broscience as to what works best and how to take your supplements. Remember though that you’re the one taking the supplements and it’s important that you find the perfect stack for you. The best way to do that, is to research, learn, and not make the 7 rookie mistakes outlined above. By doing these three things, you’ll be making gains for years to come.