I had a quick conversation with a friend of mine, about a week ago, and she disclosed her frustration with her female customers. You see, my friend works for a supplement company, time and time again, she assists ladies who are looking to transform their bodies (read: get toned and look smoking hot) mostly, if not all, by supplementation. When my friend and colleagues suggests looking at nutrition and resistance training, the reaction they get is usually horror and a reply, “I don’t want to look bulky!”
We live in a world where sex sells; the unattainable is beauty; photoshopping is the norm and instant gratification is THE gratification. I can appreciate the want to be what is deemed socially good-looking. Having said that, a healthy functional physique does not come in a bottle despite what celebrity endorsed products claims/ infer they do. Want to look good and feel great? Workout. Get it? WORKout…
You will not become bulky just by touching a dumbbell
If muscle is so easy to build then why are fitness websites and magazines filled with articles on muscle building and why are there so many people on forums asking how they can build muscle, how long it will take and the works. Also, if muscles was so easy to build, the supplement industry will lose marketability to a large portion their target audience.
Supplementation is just that, the process of supplementing or something that supplements. ‘Supplement’ the noun, in this context, is something added to complete a thing- in this case, nutrition for life.
To me, supplements such as whey, casein, glutamine, aminos, BCAAs…etc…were traditionally designed for people who have exhausted other means to aid in building and recovery. These folks will most likely be people who train hard frequently and their bodies may not have enough time to recover adequately.
Nowadays, supplements are marketed to everyday people as well, not just athletes. As supplements are readily available, there seems to be more and more people using them without understanding what their body needs.
Before supplementing, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
Are you exercising?
Am I eating healthily? – minimal to no processed food
Am I taking a multivitamin?
What are my goals?
What are my reasons for using supplements?
If your answer is ‘no’, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t have one’ to any of these, then I would strongly suggest to work on these first.
You do not need to have access to fancy gyms with huge arrays of equipment. If you have a membership, great, if not…
Congratulations, you are the proud owner of the most basic gym equipment that is designed specially and uniquely for you…
There is so many different exercises that you can do with your bodyweight or anything that is lying around your house. H once did a deadlift with the couch, granted he was a little pass tipsy. Youtube is your best friend, there are so many people out there that posts workout for FREE! My top 2 favs are dailyhiit and Tee Major.
Healthy eating does NOT mean eating a carrot and a lettuce leaf and cutting out carbs, starving yourself.
I use the term healthy eating as I am aware that in this day and age, it can be a challenge to eat clean 100% of the time and it can be difficult to maintain.
Healthy eating means eating wholesome food that are nutritionally dense. Easiest way to find clean food is, is to stick to the outer aisles of the supermarket. Anything that hasn’t been processed and packaged is more than likely fit for healthy eating.
Healthy eating doesn’t happen overnight, neither do the benefits.
Before considering supplements, look at your eating habits. If you see that you can eat healthier, do that first because supplementing on top of poor nutrition will not benefit your body. In other words, you will be spending a lot of money and not getting the maximum results.
Multivitamin is a supplement, however, micronutrients are important for body functions and essentially, almost everyone will benefit from including this in their lives. I’ve not always taken multivitamins as I don’t like pills or capsules, however, they make gummies now. Yes they are coated in sugar, but if a little bit of sweetness gets it down then I’m all for it.
Goals and aspirations
Knowing your goal is important. It is also important to differentiate between a short-term goal and a long-term one, or as I like to call it aspiration.
To be successful in deciding short-term goals, I find that aspiration is vital. Aspiration should be something you want, a desire, ambition that is going to be strong enough to carry you through any challenges you may face during the journey.
An aspiration could be simply worded such as, “be healthy’- goals that contribute to this will be easier to conceptualise.
You may be thinking, “well, I know what my goal is, I want to lose weight.”
Weight or fat?
Weight is not the ultimate indicator of health. Most of the experts out there will tell you the same thing. It is standard practice to measure different body parts as well.
So you change your mind, “ok, I know, I want to lose fat!”
Brace yourselves, fat is also pretty tricky to torch. Just google ‘how to lose fat’ and there will be many articles, forums and products that will come up.
Fat and muscles
Most people think that in order to burn body fat, you need to do cardio and only cardio. From my personal experience and research, I beg to differ. I’ve come to understand that there is a correlation to muscle building and fat burning. The more muscle you have the more fat you are burning at any one time.
“More muscle, did you just say more muscle?! I told you I don’t want to be bulky!”
You will not look like a fitness model let alone a bodybuilder just by going to the gym. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll want to be more disciplined, educated and hungry for it.
1 pound of fat is 3 times bigger than a pound of muscle. If you’re eating clean and exercising effectively, you’ll most likely shrink provided you do not consume excessive calories.
Should you consider supplements?
I have. I include protein, BCAA and a thermogenic supplement to complete my nutrition intake. Why? Because I train 6 days a week and when cheer training starts I may be training more than once on some days.
If you can truthfully say you eat well, exercise well and you see a need for it, then I say, do your research before making a decision. It may sound like an arduous task but it’ll be better than buying something that you do not need or fits with your goals- It’ll just be money down the drain. Also, if taste is important to you, ask for samples, if they haven’t got one, ask if they got a sample of something that tastes similar.
Hope this loooong post has entertained or helped you in a small way or another.
Have a great weekend.
I am a health and fitness enthusiast. I am NOT a doctor, health or fitness professional. Please seek advice from your doctor/health/fitness professional before engaging in any physical exercise and/or commencing a lifestyle transformation.