Supplementing safely

As Airmen embrace the fitness culture and the benefits of exercise and healthy food choices, some have discovered nutritional supplements.   And while the benefits of these products can be long lasting there is much left unknown to the consumer.  No matter what choices you make to increase your health, remember to be safe and consult your physician.   (U.S. Air Force Illustration/Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III)

As Airmen embrace the fitness culture and the benefits of exercise and healthy food choices, some have discovered nutritional supplements. And while the benefits of these products can be long lasting there is much left unknown to the consumer. No matter what choices you make to increase your health, remember to be safe and consult your physician. (U.S. Air Force Illustration/Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

At six feet tall and weighing around 250 pounds I’m a bigger guy than most, so it makes sense that occasionally I get approached with questions.

One of the most common questions I get is, “Are you on steroids?” My answer to that is always no. The follow-up question is usually, “What do you take?”

When I’m feeling lazy I tell them I just take basic supplements such as protein, creatine and a pre-workout. They look surprised, as if like their dog just died.

I wish as much as the next person there was a magic pill or powder that was legal and could work miracles on the appearance of the human body, but sadly there isn’t.

Luckily, since this is something that my life essentially revolves around, I may be able to help you supplement safely the next time you’re in the store or online looking for your next big score.

Do your research

The supplement industry is very interesting because dietary supplements have so many different categories and sub-categories.

That being said, it is important to remember not all supplements come from the same place, and some companies market items that are in a gray area.

Over the last few years there have been multiple companies that have had to pull products from the market for many reasons. Some were found to be designer steroids, some contained amphetamines, others had compounds not meant for human consumption, and more illegal reasons.

So when you’re looking into getting a new supplement, make sure you do your research; buy from a reputable company and consult a professional if you can.

Stick to the proper dosage

One plus one will always equal two, so it makes since that if you double the dose you’ll double the results, right? Wrong.

Doses are on a label for a reason so it is important to abide by them for your own safety. Most supplements are processed by the liver and a liver can only take so much; so next time you think about doubling up doses remember that, and your liver will thank you.

Be mindful of clever marketing

“Do you want to melt fat while building extreme muscle mass?”

This is something most people want to do, but the reality is that if there was a little pill that could actually do this people wouldn’t go to the gym and someone would be very rich.

There are no magic pills, so remember when you see those ridiculous claims to look for the science behind the ingredients and do the research for any product you’re going to put into your body.

Supplements are supplements

At the end of the day, dietary supplements are supposed to be used for just that, to supplement for something you aren’t getting in your diet.

If you aren’t getting the results you want from going to the gym, take a step back and look at your diet and training plan; most likely the problem lies there and not in a bottle.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. Make sure to consult a licensed, qualified health care professional before taking dietary supplements.