Is supplementation right for you?
On a scale of irresponsible Uni student at 1 (think mi goreng instant noodles, booze, chips, and kebabs) to Buddhist monk at 10 (vegan and unprocessed foods, all home/temple cooked meals, and meditation before meals), where do you sit?
Bang in the middle is eating a few home cooked meals here or there, some prepared lunches mixed with food court lunches, a coffee or two a day and you might treat yourself to raisin toast or banana bread for a morning snack. You might have a couple of drinks during the week, and a few more on weekends, and although junk food might be a guilty pleasure you still indulge a little more than you should.
If you think about it and conclude that you’re about a 1-4 on the scale, then no amount of supplementation will help you and you may as well throw your hard earned money down the drain. We Personal Trainers will tell you that you can’t out-train a bad diet, and any Nutritionist and Dietitian will tell you you can’t out-supplement a bad diet!
The adage “you are what you eat” is being replaced by “you are what you absorb” – which covers what you put on your skin, inhale, and what can be digested. You could eat a few healthy meals a week, but if your digestive system lacks the good bacteria to create enzymes and break down the food to access nutrients, you won’t get the benefits of your occasional healthy meal. Your endocrine system that regulates your hunger might also be so fatigued that you don’t recognise when you’re full, so your healthy meal might end up being 2 or 3 servings before you finally receive the signals to stop eating! Taking various supplements to repair, boost and support the body will only have a small impact if a fraction of your supplementation can be absorbed and utilised by your body.
Make sure that you fill your regular diet with lean protein, complex carbohydrates and loads of colourful fruits and vegetables, and good fats. Once your body is at a good equilibrium and naturally detoxes itself, some good general supplements to take are fish oils/omega-3s, probiotics, fibre, and if you’re training regularly then whey protein and magnesium for recovery may suit you.
You should look at supplementation as the cherry on top of a healthy diet and fitness regime.
Check out my previous blog article on building healthy habits that will slowly but surely take you up the scale to a 6 and beyond, but consult a nutritionist or dietitian if there are any particular medical or nutritional issues that you face. https://velocityfitness.com.au/healthy-habits-for-the-workplace/