There’s a 95% chance the supplements you’re taking right now are worthless.
I know the fancy bottle promises monster results and the salesman at your local Vitamin Shoppe swears by what he sold you, but here’s the harsh truth: You’re being duped.
Valued at $37 billion in 2015, the supplement industry is a money printing machine.
People who are desperate for an edge are throwing money at supplement companies and these greedy bastards are milking those insecurities for all they’re worth.
If the supplement industry was honest and said you could achieve the body you want without their products, they’d be wiping out a massive cash cow.
Since they obviously won’t tell you this, I will: You don’t need supplements to get fit. But if you’re going to take them regardless, these fours are actually worth your consideration.
1. Caffeine Helps With Fitness and Productivity
I know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes, caffeine is a supplement.
Here’s why: Caffeine increases circulation and improves blood flow to the brain, plus it helps with exercise by improving strength, muscular endurance, and speeding up fat loss.
Research has shown that caffeine improves alertness, memory, and focus, making it a serious productivity hack. Not only that, it’s cheap and can be found on any street corner.
When you’re skipping breakfast on intermittent fasting, coffee—the preferred vehicle for caffeine consumption—blunts your appetite and helps you survive until lunch.
As we discussed last month, the negative effects of coffee are overblown.
So hit up Starbucks and get your Americano. Just hold the milk and sugar.
2. If You Love Protein Powder, Go With BCAA
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are the crème de la crème of protein powders.
Of the three BCAAs found in every protein, leucine is the most sought after for its ability to stimulate protein synthesis and suppresses muscle breakdown.
Most people take protein powder for the benefits they get from leucine, so why not skip the junk that’s packed into most powders and get leucine direct from BCAA?
I only recommend drinking BCAA if you’re working out while in a fasted state because, at zero calories, it keeps you in that fasted state while also feeding your muscles.
You can still take BCAA if you’re not fasting, but it’s an unnecessary expense.
3. Fish Oil Gives You the Benefits of Eating Fish
I’m including fish oil because people usually don’t eat enough fish. I understand why: fish is expensive, steak tastes way better, and mercury levels can be a concern.
If you aren’t a seafood fan, fish oil provides many of the same benefits you get from eating fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids.
The benefits of omega-3 include:
- Lower risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes in men.
- Assists with brain development in infants.
- Positive effect on weight loss, mood disorders, and cognitive performance.
These benefits are still being studied, but if even half of them are proven true, you’d be smart to add fish oil to your supplement list because of omega-3.
While it won’t improve your gains, it can improve your health, and that’s just as important.
4. Creatine Increases Your Strength (But You Don’t Need It)
While your mind might picture a giant tub of white powder sitting on top of your bro’s fridge, creatine is actually a natural molecule produced in the body that acts as an energy reserve.
Creatine is not a stimulant. It doesn’t give you a “boost” or make you feel jittery.
Supplementing the existing level of creatine in your body improves your strength, power, and anaerobic capacity, meaning you can pump out those last couple reps while lifting. This might not seem like a big deal, but over a full year, extra reps add up to significant strength gains.
I’ve cycled creatine before and I have noticed strength increases, but I don’t strongly advocate it because you can still make gains without it. You don’t need creatine to hack your fitness.
(If you’re interested in learning more about creatine, I’ll be exploring it in detail next month!)