While supplementation is not a mandatory aspect of your program, it can improve your fitness plan’s overall convenience and effectiveness if you do it correctly. Unfortunately, there is an endless number of different products to choose from, the overwhelming majority of them being overhyped, overpriced, and downright ineffective.
The key is knowing which specific supplements to use, the highest quality brands, along with the proper dosing and timing. I don’t want to deter you from using supplements; they have a place in your routine. I want you to understand how the industry works and recognize what to avoid.
There are 7.7 billion people on this planet, and one-third are overweight or obese, equating to 256 billion potential customers the fitness industry can take advantage of. The supplement companies know that lean, muscular, impressive bodies are in extremely high demand, and they’ll do just about anything to convince you that the answer lies in their new “breakthrough” product.
What Supplements Are Actually Beneficial
These are the only supplements you need to consider using. Anything else, and you’re trying to substitute hard work with a shortcut that will only shorten your results.
- Whey Protein
- Fish oil
Do Supplements Actually Work
That depends on the type you take and what your expectations are.
When you look to buy a supplement, you need to ensure it is third-party tested to ensure that all ingredients have been proven to be in the product.
3rd party testing will also determine if it’s safe to consume and effective.
As far as your expectations go, many people think supplements are a shortcut or a magic pill to get the results they want.
This is absurd thinking; how much muscle you build or weight you lose is determined by the intensity of your workout, how strict your diet is, and how committed you are.
In other words, you have to work your ass off.
Supplements help you get an edge, not make it easier.
Are Supplements A Waste Of Money
A large percentage are bullshit and are a complete waste of money, but some have proven their effectiveness over the years.
Make sure before you buy a supplement that it’s 3rd party tested and that you are only using it to fortify your diet, boost your burning fat, or build muscle.
The Truth About The Supplement Industry
Before we go any further, I will go on the record to say that supplements work. Still, most fitness supplements available on the market are marginally effective at best and, more than not, a complete waste of money.
The supplement companies know that lean, muscular, sexy bodies are in high demand, and they’ll do just about anything to convince you that the answer lies in their following breakthrough product.
After all, who wouldn’t like to take a few pills and instantly develop a brand-new body?
All they have to do is excite a random combination of ingredients, slap it together into a fancy bottle, place an excessive price tag on it, stick it on the shelves, and people will fork over their cash every time.
As long as a compelling advertisement and an uninformed consumer is willing to take the bait, this unfortunate situation will continue to perpetuate itself over and over again.
See, the supplementation industry used to be highly regulated. You had to prove that your product was safe and effective before being on the market.
A few changes to the rules by a senator in Utah changed everything. Now, the supplement industry is no longer regulated by the FDA.
As a result of this deregulation, the supplement industry exploded. Finally, everyone was free to create and sell supplements, and the marketplace began overflowing with every type of product imaginable.
Because of the intense competition, companies began employing all sorts of deceptive tactics to get ahead.
- Outrageously false product claims
- Low-quality fillers
- Ultra-low-cost manufacturing methods
- Blatant label fraud
All of these bad habits gathered momentum and led to the industry’s current state. A state where most of the products in the marketplace are nothing more than overhyped, overpriced, ineffective fluff.
Supplement Companies are Great At Conning You
Some of the more easily influenced of you out there might be thinking…
“But I read a published article in a fitness magazine about product XYZ. How could they publish this information if it was blatantly untrue?”
It’s because supplement companies own fitness magazines.
Did you ever wonder why over half of a fitness magazine’s content is nothing more than advertising for supplements and related products?
They don’t make their money from your monthly subscriptions, and they make their money by selling supplements. And they do this by packing every month’s publication with a gigantic mass of advertisements and bogus articles written purely to promote a particular supplement.
Don’t believe me? Do the research…
- MuscleMag and Oxygen are owned by MuscleTech.
- MuscleLink owns Ironman.
- Twinlab owns Muscular Development.
- Weider owns Muscle and Fitness and Flex.
- EAS owns Muscle Media.
Muscle magazines are unreliable sources of information because all of the strategies you read about are specifically manipulated to get you to buy more supplements.
You need reliable information that you can trust. Building an impressive body is hard enough, but when you combine it with all the lies and fraud in the supplement industry, you have a real problem.
You work extremely hard for every pound of muscle you build and every ounce of fat you burn, and you deserve a training, nutrition, and supplementation plan that delivers the results it promises.
I will get a bit more detailed now and reveal the five fundamental flaws that render most fitness supplements out there nearly useless…
1. They use ineffective ingredients that are not backed by reliable research
Let me ask you, when was the last time you studied an actual research paper or reviewed a reliable study conducted on the latest supplement you used?
I guess that you never have.
Far more often than not, the research is either sorely lacking or nonexistent.
Although thousands of compounds are being promoted as muscle-building and fat-burning aids, only a tiny percentage of these are backed by reliable research to substantiate their effectiveness.
In the world of supplementation, marketing is everything. Take some obscure ingredient, hype it up as the next big thing, support it with some blatantly false yet convincing research, and watch the cash pour in.
Take NO2 (nitric oxide) supplements, for example. They are promoted for their supposed ability to increase blood flow to the muscles, translating to greater pumps in the gym, improved nutrient delivery, and increased performance.
Did you know that there is currently no research demonstrating that arginine AKG (the active ingredient in NO2 products) increases nitric oxide levels in the body and that this increase in Nitric Oxide leads to muscle size, strength, or endurance gains?
Yet, NO2 products are some of the hottest-selling products today.
This is just one of the countless examples that have come and gone over the years. It’s a profound testament to the effectiveness of proper marketing and the power of the placebo effect,
It’s downright pathetic that companies would charge you money for products without a single shred of evidence to back them up, but this is the way the industry works.
2. They provide supplements with weak dosages that produce no measurable benefits
Of course, several compounds are backed by solid research and show safe and positive effects on body composition and gym performance.
But simply including that compound in a particular supplement is not enough. It also needs to be present in an amount that produces measurable results.
This is another area where many products fail miserably.
The average consumer sees a recognizable ingredient on the product label and assumes this is good enough. Little do they know that the amount of that ingredient included in the product is completely and utterly useless for building muscle or burning fat.
But because companies are not required to list the specific amount of each ingredient on their labels (they only have to list the total amount for all the combined elements), you have no way of knowing what’s in the bottle.
Is it a potent muscle-building blend or a pill full of rice flour? Believe it or not, the latter is often the case.
In the supplement industry, they call it “pixie dusting,” the practice of including minimal amounts of each ingredient to minimize production costs.
And at the end of the day, cutting costs is really what this is all about.
The supplement industry is ultra-competitive, and for retail stores to even consider buying the product, it must be priced very low. For the company to make real money, its production costs must be minimal. In many cases, they can develop a product for just a few bucks and then sell it to you for $50 or more.
It’s not the supplement company or the retail store that gets screwed over; It’s you.
3. In some cases, the supplement companies lie about the true ingredient amounts that are present
As if this wasn’t already enough, the sad truth is that some supplements don’t even contain what their label says.
If you get a supplement that doesn’t work, you should at least get 100% of what doesn’t work.
This is another way they cut down production costs to increase profits. For example, if a company only includes 80% of what its label says, they automatically increase their earnings by 20%.
When moving thousands of units per month, you’re talking about a lot of profit being made.
Label fraud is common practice for small no-name brands, but it is more common than you’d expect, even with big-name brand companies.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know this unless you get the product tested by a third party, which is impractical for the average consumer. Hence, you have no choice but to take the supplement company’s word.
4. Supplements are produced using low-quality manufacturing methods
Even if a particular supplement overcomes all 3 of the previous obstacles (which is extremely rare), you still have to worry about the underlying product quality.
Most people believe that every supplement company owns its manufacturing facility and develops all its products personally.
This vision of high-tech machinery and scientists walking around in white lab coats is rarely true.
Almost all companies outsource the production of their products to 3rd party supplement manufacturers. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it can become a considerable problem when lower-quality manufacturers are used to decreasing production costs further.
- Are you receiving pure micronized creatine from Germany or cheap alternatives from China?
- Are your supplements made in a cGMP-certified facility or using cheap manufacturing methods?
- Are they 3rd party tested?
- Are they free of harmful contaminants?
When low-quality manufacturers are used, it’s like playing Russian roulette. You’ll never know if the product you’re getting is truly effective, or even worse, is it safe to consume.
5. The true effects of their products are grossly exaggerated with outrageous marketing claims
I’m sure we would love to lie lazily on the couch, pop back a few pills, and see serious results, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Achieving an awe-inspiring body requires time and dedication.
That’s not what many supplement companies would have you believe, though.
With misleading ads that portray the process as a walk in the park as long as you take their supplement, these companies are concocting a complete fantasy and are misleading the actual effects of their products.
While this doesn’t say anything about the supplement itself, it speaks volumes about the integrity of the companies behind them.
Would you buy something from somebody you didn’t trust? Then why purchase supplements from companies that are willing to lie straight to your face?
The right supplements can undoubtedly assist you in building muscle and burning fat at a faster rate, but only when used in conjunction with proper training and nutrition. This is a simple fact, and supplement companies should be fully transparent.