Which Supplements Actually Work for Weight Loss?
It’s exhausting walking into your local vitamin and supplement store. There are too many options and most of it looks the same. The labels don’t make sense and why are there always more sales assistants than customers? Waiting… Ready to Pounce…
Often, too much money is spent on supplements that don’t actually influence your results… the ingredient levels are too small to be mildly relevant when compared to the research studies that the marketing claims are based on.
That’s why I’ve put together this quick and easy supplement guide for you – so that you know what you should and shouldn’t waste your money on.
I actually consider Protein Powder a food source, despite it often being sold as a supplement. It’s full of nutrients and meets a lot of food product criteria.
Though it is processed, often the proteins, carbs and fats put back into the product mean that it can be a handy meal. My general recommendation is to buy a Whey Protein Concentrate. It will digest slower than the Isolate or the Hydrolized (keeping you feeling full for longer!). Casein can be great too, however it is often very thick and not as tasty.
Generally the product serving advises 1 serve/scoop with 300ml of water. Don’t – it’s watered down and will taste awful. Start with 100ml and build up until you find a nice consistency that you enjoy. Tip: Ice cold water improves the flavour.
Be sure to shake the protein in a shaker for 2 minutes to remove all of the lumps. I enjoy mixing protein powder with yoghurt and fruit to create a high protein meal.
If you’ve been anywhere near the Body building space, you’ve probably heard of this one. It’s talked about as if its steroids… Creatine. It naturally occurs in our body. Increasing the amount stored helps with cognitive function as well as performance in training. Increasing the stores improves the energy system that can be used.
This is further improved by training and therefore should be coupled as such. There is stronger evidence of benefits when coupled with strength training than what has been proven for aerobic running capacity.
The mental benefits include improving your mental fatigue (like after a busy day at work) and aiding in deficient memory function.
For ease, take 5g everyday with your protein shake or another drink that you can mask the taste of it (raw creatine is acidic in taste).
Beware of a slight stomach discomfort that may occur when you first begin taking it. If it’s uncomfortable, spread the dose across the day instead.
Fish Oil is beneficial due to two particular ingredients: Omega-3’s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – don’t worry, I can’t pronounce them either. EPA and DHA are really important fats that we make in our body in tiny amounts and we often don’t consume enough in our diets. Their benefits are profound: they include reducing chances of cardiac events, inflammation modulation, and reducing triglycerides in the blood.
The best way to consume these is to consume more fish, however this is often not the case in Western culture.
It is important that Fish Oil is stored in cool temperatures outside of sunlight. You can ask your supplement provider what conditions the product has been in to know if it has been likely to become unsafe. Never buy fish oil that comes in a clear container as that light can break down the fats.
This is my most common question from clients: “Which pre-workout is best?” Often people look to pre-workout as being the answer to getting themselves to the gym for their workout. There are way too many on the market and half of them taste like $#@%.
Here’s the truth: They’re not worth the money. That’s the actual product itself. If you find that they make a big difference to you getting out of bed and getting to the gym, or going to the gym after a long day of work… can you really put a price on that? Maybe it is worth it. But the product itself isn’t magic. There is benefit in a placebo.
My go to – caffeine. It’s quick and easy and cheap. A shot of coffee before the gym (if your stomach can handle it), or even a caffeine pill (dirt cheap from your local discount chemist). This helps me feel awake and influences how hard I train during my workouts – the most important aspect for fat loss.
All in all, don’t waste your money unless it is influencing you to train harder.