One of the questions that I get asked most often is some form of "I just heard about this new supplement X, what do you think about it?" I usually respond with what facts (some) or evidence of effectiveness (little to none) to help the curious individual. In most cases I'll tell them that supplement X really doesn't do much and that they should save their money.
The conversation will then end or they'll probe further by asking what supplements I would recommend. I'll mention that a quality multivitamin, fish oil and occasionally probiotics and digestive enzymes are all I currently think everyone should be sure to take.
I'll ask if they're doing any of the above. The responses are 50/50. It seems more people take fish oil, some take multivitamins and not many are aware of digestive health. But I get all kinds of questions about supplement X, Y and Z. Why is that? I believe there are a few reasons.
I think it's because people want a shortcut. They want to make the road ahead a little easier. I can somewhat understand that, but I think it's more valuable to learn to love the struggle. If you can learn to love working hard, and can add in working smart, then you're guaranteed to succeed.
I think it's also because people feel good about spending money on something, especially if it's something we perceive as beneficial. Unfortunately what we perceive as beneficial is not always so. Plus, spending money on a gym membership or a personal trainer is beneficial, but then I'll refer you back to the previous paragraph.
Lastly, I think people buy into the hype and they want to be the first to do something. We see a cool video or read an inspiring article or blog post and we think we can do the same thing, not realizing the ulterior motives of the author (namely sales commissions).
Bottom line, there are too many overly-hyped, over-priced and under-dosed products out there that over promise and under deliver. Yes, there are absolutely things out there you can buy that will help you. If you're deficient in Vitamin D, then adding it to your supplement arsenal will help immensely. B vitamins can help with your energy levels, absolutely. But, in general, people are taken to the cleaners much too often.
Two of the best supplements you can buy do not come in a bottle. They won't be touted as a new miracle drug and you don't have to take 2 every 4 hours. Are you ready? The first is exercise and the second is proper nutrition. They are both proven extremely effective. They will both improve the quality of your life exponentially. They are both readily available to us all.
But, if you happened to roll your eyes at that last paragraph, I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon, and I'll be happy to answer your question about supplement X, Y or Z.
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com and has a budding YouTube channel.