To kick off the start of the “TOP 5 BIGGEST PROBLEMS WITH SUPPLEMENTS” series I had to address what I feel is one of the greatest confusions surrounding modern day supplementation. I say “modern day”, because science has certainly enabled us to do more with our bodies through new supplements than what our gym forefathers had to rely on raw eggs and whole milk to do!
Advantage US….sort of! Let me explain! With the advancements in supplementation over the last two decades, we have been forced to deal with a major consequence…over specialization! If you’re a baseball fan you may have heard of this concept, when it comes to relief pitchers.
No longer does one pitcher start and actually finish a game (with any regularity). Instead, a pitcher starts…is relieved by a sixth inning guy, who is then relieved by the situational righty….who is then relieved by the lefty specialist….who is then relieved by the 8th inning setup man….who is then relieved by the closer to finish out the 9th inning! Well, the same thing is happening before our very eyes when it comes to the world of nutritional supplements.
The Problem with Over Specialization
Over specialization has taken your basic BCAA’s, Protein Powders, and Meal Replacements…..and forced us to consider things for focus, things for energy, things for recovery, things for getting that one extra rep, things for improved sleep, things that are basically modified speed (umm…more on that later in the series!), etc, etc, etc. The point is…we have lots of options.
Individual ingredients wind up becoming buzzwords in the industry and then wind up becoming stand alone products. Every day it seems a new one is added. Creatine, phosphocreatine, creatine ethyl ester, beta alanine, ALA, CLA, hell….we need the CIA to investigate them all and tell us which ones we ACTUALLY NEED!! And THAT my friends IS THE PROBLEM!!
Our once clear cut supplement plan has become a puzzle with too many pieces. First we have to figure out what we even need (and what we don’t) and then we have to figure out how much to take (too little can be a waste of money and too much can be far worse!), and finally when is the best time to take it all! It simply doesn’t have to be this way. But the supplement industry of course has wanted it this way. More confusion usually equals more money.
Confusing YOU is Great Business For Supplement Companies
For example, you’ve heard that you should take glutamine but you’re not convinced that the meal replacement you’re taking has enough of it in it for you to see the full benefits. So you run out to GNC and buy plain old L-Glutamine. After you get home, you’re now not sure whether you need to take the 10 grams it says on the bottle or whether it can be combined with your meal replacement and the dose can be lightened up a bit. CONFUSION reigns and the supplement companies prosper!
Like I said, the advances have been for the better for the most part, with more sophisticated and higher quality ingredients being uncovered almost everyday. The key is knowing which ones YOU actually need and which ones are pure unadulterated marketing hype. Throw in the need to know “how much” and “when” and as I said, you better be a pretty damn good puzzle solver or you’re going to become frustrated quickly (especially as you see your wallet and your muscles race neck and neck to see which can decrease faster!)
As the old saying goes, “Give man too many options…and he’ll often pick the wrong one!” If you have ever reached your breaking point with this frustration….then definitely COMMENT BELOW. I’d love to hear your opinion on this. Go ahead, it’s ok to rant. You’re amongst friends!!
PS. Stay tuned for #4 coming over the weekend! You won’t want to miss a single post, especially #1. In the meantime, if you haven’t already made a mental commitment to change your body in time for the Summer, what are you waiting for?!? CLICK HERE to get your ATHLEAN-X Training System and get your six pack in sixteen minutes of ab work each week!
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.