DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE RAZZLE DAZZLE!
With the New Year almost here, here are some questions I have received this year from clients and members. Maybe you have been wondering about them, too?
Do I need a pre-workout supplement?
For basic fitness and recreational use, no. A pre-workout is merely a concoction containing caffeine or other stimulants. There may be some protein or carbohydrate content as well. A cup of coffee will likely do the same thing. Some pre-workout formulas may be dangerous, especially if you have health issues. Most pre-workouts are loaded with fillers and other ingredients that have no proven benefit such as extreme doses of vitamins. There are not many peers who reviewed science supporting supplements so use caution if you are considering them.
Do I need to cleanse, reset, detox, or recalibrate my body through a supplement/shake?
No. Your body does an amazing job detoxing and removing impurities through proper nutrition, exercise, and water. Again, most of the supplements that are touted as proprietary, science-based, or cutting-edge, are really not. That’s just good old fashioned creative marketing. It tends to sell more products. Choose healthy foods and exercise.
Why do you not advocate supplements?
First, let me state that in more than 35 years of training and racing in extreme conditions, I have consumed supplements. Gatorade, coffee, and Powerbar’s are supplements. I also rely on an electrolyte replacement when training or racing in the heat. The reasoning is I excrete electrolytes at an extreme rate which leads to muscle cramps. A healthy diet and foods consumed during an event are not processed quickly enough to replenish the electrolyte levels needed to finish the effort.
The same goes for other high-level athletes. I know a handful of athletes whose training schedules are extreme and having a product that helps them recover quicker is beneficial to their success.
The reason I do not advocate these programs for the general public is that they are merely profit centers for gyms, trainers, or whoever is selling them. Most of the research showing their efficacy is paid for by the manufacturer, or has some ties to them, and therefore biased. Finally, they do not teach permanent lifestyle changes that people require to lose and maintain healthy weight losses. Therefore, if they were well researched, and proven efficacious, I would sell them.
If I don’t consume supplements, what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off?
Science has proven good nutrition and consistent exercise are still the best way to lead a healthy life. Permanently losing weight requires effort and discipline. Reread the last sentence a few times. You have to hold yourself accountable and make permanent lifestyle changes. Meet with a registered dietician, or go to Weight Watchers and learn how to eat correctly without relying on shakes, pills, or anything with no legitimate science supporting them.
Most people who consume a very low-calorie diet, regardless of what program they use, gain the weight back. This is because they relied on a quick fix and did not change their lifestyle. During extreme losses, they likely lost muscle since they did not strength train or exercise. No program to date can help you shed fat, in abundance, and maintain muscle mass without strength training. That is unless a supplement you are consuming contains an anabolic, or growth hormone, substance. Again, you would not know you are consuming this growth substance because the labeling is creative enough you may not understand what you are reading, or don’t care what’s in it.
- What is the best form of exercise?
Simply put, it is whatever activity you enjoy doing and will do consistently. If you love to walk then walk. Throw in faster bouts of walking interspersed with slower bouts. Walk stairs and hills for variety. Register for a walking event, or walking/hiking vacation, etc. Invest a few bucks in gear that makes your chosen activity more enjoyable. Good shoes and some light layered clothing helps make extreme conditions tolerable.