Supplements – Do we need them?


You may have caught last weeks Panorma (if not I recommend you watch it HERE before it expires (likely this Friday?!)

The programme delved into the big money that is the supplement industry – so I thought I would share my views with you…….and let you decide for yourself.  If you haven’t watched it – I highly recommend watching it before reading on….!


1. Sports drinks

Here we have cheap-to-make tasty drinks that dont really help THE MAJORITY of us (if any of us!).   Most people I speak to, use exercise to aid in losing losing weight (and If I need to repeat myself LOSE FAT in particular) and therefore these sugary drinks are really a no-no.

You may have read in my posts before about halloween sugar content (HERE) .

Sugar does not work well for fat loss!

It disrupts your hormones, leading you to crave more of it (like an addiction).  It has been reported that lack of sleep makes people seek out sugary foods….so make sure you get your rest!


The only reason I can think of them being beneficial would be during longer duration exercise (and I am talking  3,4,5+ hour marathon type events)…or maybe for one wishing to gain weight (and even then I would favour more REAL FOOD anyway.)  Those wishing to maintain performance may benefit, but I would say professional sports where the sport is really intense and also quite long in duration.


2. Trainers

They looked at footwear, and highlighted that some trainers are ridiculously overpriced


The main problem here is that many people simply dont run very well.  This is probably why there are so many injuries to the hips, knees, ankles in people who take to the streets to lose weight.


Do you ever see a person running who looks like they’re putting lots of effort in, but not getting as far as they should be?  Have you ever felt like that?

Learning to run could be the most valuable time you spend if you’re spinning your wheels.


3. Hydration.

Panorma highlighted that many have been really ill  (and some fatally) from overconsuming sports drinks to try and stay hydrated.  (Companies often claim that you need to be hydrated and a drop in consumption will lead to a drop in performance.

They concluded that drinking when you feel you need to is adequate.

I somewhat agree with this – but I do think the main thing FAT LOSS WISE (as thats who I mainly deal with) is that people generally dont drink enough water WHILE IN A NORMAL DAY.  I see most people drinking when exercising – I doubt that its much of a problem.  Drinking enough water while sat at a desk or in a car though……


4. Branched Chain Amino Acids

Panorama came to the conclusion that BCAA’s boosted recovery or performance. They said that milk was just as good a choice….and cheaper.

I’m not convinced with their statements – as I think that most people don’t get enough protein as it is. (And milk has problems of it’s own)

Anyway, why do you have to have it everyday? Supplements are for when you need to supplement (do you get everything you need everyday?!).

They have been shown to increase muscle growth, and decrease visceral body fat (CLICK), so if you train regularly and hard, you may find protein in tablet or protein shake form something that helps.


5. Running footwear – Barefoot


I can’t comment on this as its really not my area – I would refer out to my friend who’s a podiatrist.  What I do know is that I have a pair of Nike Free’s  (like barefoot) and they’re

a) Really comfortable

b) Low to the ground

This makes them ideal for me to deadlift – and I have found sprinting in them much better.  I used to have a pair of those trendy ones with a raised heel, and they were a nightmare…………. (you can probably gauge how deep an instructor can squat by the shoes they wear )

(By the way, a bootcamper asked me what I thought about ‘Bodypump’ …..I told her briefly, and sent my article that I wrote nearly 3 years ago.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT Bodypump and its major flaws…….  )   I’m surprised its still as popular as it is (and I hear more people hurting their backs 🙁  )


Supplements and ‘healthy’ products are a way that companies can make money off you.  The thing is “If it sounds too good to be true…thgen it probably is!”   However, There are a lot of people out there missing valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein etc) and therefore supplements are a great way to stay healthy, look good and improve performance.

Heres the catch though:  The supplement doesn’t actually do the work for you! If you have a mutivitamin and some fish oil every day, sure – you’ll have some benefits.  That doesn’t mean that you can have a pizza every day and you’ll be healthy.  Every day is a series of decisions that you have to make – Let’s hope all who are reading tend to pick the better ones.



In closing……….

  • Sugary drinks are not a good idea for most people as the exercise is not long enough and intense enough to warrant extra sugar.
  • Most people want to lose weight – and sugary drinks will not help
  • Hydration is important – remember to drink outside of exercise too!
  • Proteins (BCAA’s) are expensive, but may help muscle growth and performance
  • If you run, be aware of HOW you run! Then, find some trainers you are comfortable in.
  • Supplements are there to supplement…….It’s rare to have the perfect day every day, and with so many people unhealthy – supplements are valuable.



John 😉