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Supplements, which ones might work for you?

Which supplements a person takes should depend on them and their needs. Too many times people give recommendations based on the awesome results they got, which is great and something to celebrate, but just because someone else had great results on a specific type of supplement does NOT mean it is immediately right for you. 

There are always supplements that will be more widely used and beneficial supplements, this includes things like specific vitamins and minerals (magnesium, selenium, etc), protein and creatine.  The problem is that the specifics become very important depending on the person’s medical history, goals and previous experiences. Supplements are often purchased by word of mouth, but as stated before this can lead to problems for both short term performance and long-term health. 

Understanding exactly what you should be taking for your specific health history is important. Most people would agree that magnesium supplements taken at appropriate doses are safe, but if a person who is on a loop diuretic for another condition were to supplement it, that could lead to depletion of magnesium in the urine which causes another cascade of problems. Knowing what to balance and how is extremely important and why the PP staff doesn’t blindly recommend supplements until we know more about our clients and athletes. 

So, what is right for you and how do you decide?

  1. Know your health history, labs and consult your doctor. Too many people have health issues with supplements because they don’t know their own health history and consult their doctors as recommended.

  2. Set specific goals for yourself. Then evaluate your current diet, training and recovery. Where are you lacking in these? Will a supplement fix them or are you just trying to make things easier on yourself by putting a band-aid on a much bigger issue? 

  3. Talk to the PP staff about which supplements may potentially help your situation or start doing your research and find one certified by third party testing. Doing your homework about the supplement you are considering is essential.

  4. Be specific and create habits to be as consistent with taking them as possible. Just like diet and exercise, this needs to be a daily habit if you are to be successful at it. Randomly taking supplements at the wrong time, wrong dose and wrong mixing will lead to the wrong results. Work to include them in daily habits you have already created, this is called stacking habits.

  5. Test and retest. If you are taking the supplements you should be testing and retesting the things that make up our goals, we talked about in #2. If they are not improving your physical abilities (strength, power, endurance), recovery (time between sets, sleep, soreness, etc.) or a specific performance measure (athletic performance) then you should stop taking it.   

The take home messages here are that you need to have your diet, training and recovery on point and then you need specific measurable things to test and retest to make sure the supplements are working for you. I know we have spoken about the issues with supplements, but there are some good companies and products too. You just need to do your homework and make sure you know what you are buying. Like most things in life, when you do your homework, listen to the experts and make smart investments you will end up with much better results than just randomly buying stuff and putting it in your body. 


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