T Nation

Importance of suppliments

I have heard that, at best suppliments can only give you a slight advantage, But I have always though this is wrong and that you need supplments to aid in recovery. But I know some people who have made great gains with out using whey or anything else. So whats the deal suppliments or not?



Supplements or the proper supplements can make life a lot easier for those of us who train regularly. Especially us older folks who need more time for recovery. If your one who can be sure to get sufficient Protein, Vitamins & Minerals on a daily basis, then perhaps you can get buy without as many supplements. However in this hectic world we live in, Getting enough of what we need from just our meals can be quite difficult, thus a meal replacement now and then does help. Of course a nice bank account also helps since supplements aren’t cheap. Then there’s the problem of which supplements work & which one’s dont. But that’s a subject for another day.


Will, you do not really need supplements, but supplements can be useful. You can certainly make great gains without supplements and one should be intelligent regarding how one uses supplements. In other words, know why you are taking it and keep track of what it is doing for you.

I prefer to stick with food supplements. This includes protein powders, bars and post-workout shakes. I think they are important for a variety of reasons including getting the required protein needed and nutrition needed after a workout. Not to mention that they are convenient and sometimes cheaper than whole foods.

Other than food supplements, I think everything has a use, but it’s probably best to make sure your diet and training are dialed in perfectly in order to make best use of other supplements. Check out the supplement pyramind. You’ll see that proteins and post-workout shakes form the base, and higher up, you have fat burners, testosterone boosters, etc. They can be used for short-term use and for specific results.

Depending on your genetics, years of training, and how perfectly you dial in your diet and training, certain supplements may come in handy.

I’ve used different things for different purposes, but I always stick with the food supplements, and tend to find they always work the best.

I believe a good multi dose multi-vitamin with extra antioxidants as well as fish/flax oil are essential supplements. I also use protein powder because it’s cheap and convenient as compared to “real” food. However, a surge type drink, half while and half after training, has dramatically improved my recovery and energy levels while training. Finally, if your diet and training are in order then a pro-steroid can make a dramatic difference.

If your diet, workout, and sleep are in order, supplements can help. Otherwise they’re a waste of money. Some people can’t even benefit from steroids because the other elements of their program are inadequate.

A supplement like Power Drive or creatine or a stimulant will help you get a better workout. Supplements like protein powders, glutamine, HMB help with recovery. Make sure you’re using your supplements for the right purpose. If you take creatine but do 1 set of 8 per muscle group 3x a week, it won’t do anything…

obviously one could argue that you dont “need” supplements, but one could also argue you dont “need” to work, just get a benefit, you dont need to exercise, just sit on the couch etc.
Its really about getting what you want and what you want to sacrifice to get there. Obviously diet and training and rest are more important, but alot of people think if they take supplements they will make up for the lacking in other areas, which is probably not wise. The idea of a supplement pyramid is a good idea, get your basics first, like multi, MRP, surge etc, then try the exotic MAG 10 type products when you have the rest of it sorted.

 Supplements. Not replacements. You'll get impressive results if you follow a well laid-out diet, and a smart workout. Just consider that you can't build an impressive physique, or a healthy one, on supplements alone. 

Thanks for your opinions guys. I was just wondering because for the past couple of months I haven’t had much extra money (no money= no supps), and have had to make some interesting adaptations to my diet, but to me it seems like I havent missed a beat, so i guess i must have a pretty good understaqnding of this stuff:)