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Should You Supplement? Get your Diet in Check First

A major part of my job as a trainer is to freely discuss healthy lifestyle choices with my clients. Naturally people are curious and want to pick your brain about what you do and what you think they should do. I feel a personal responsibility to provide my clients with objective and factual information so they can then make their own informed decisions. I have noticed that there are a few recurring questions that always come up. Besides the old, “How do I get rid of this,” it seems like the second most popular question goes something like this; “What supplements should I be taking to help me with _____?”

Honestly I can’t say I blame them; supplements are a multi-billion (yes billion) dollar annual industry and companies are hard at work advertising and marketing to make sure it stays that way. It’s inevitable that people are curious about different supplements and I would be hard pressed to find people who have not taken some.

If you train with kettlebells and look like this, you may need supplements

But before I make any recommendations I always ask, “What’s your diet like?” I usually get the “I’m eating pretty good, you know, Healthy.” Then I ask “what is healthy?” Long story short most do not eat as healthy as they think, many lack some serious vegetable consumption for starters.

Before even considering supplements I always start people with getting their diet in check, and by diet I mean you DON’T follow a new fad of the week that got some Hollywood star ripped in 4-weeks drinking some special berry drink. I am talking about a healthy, long-term diet that you will create, accept, maintain, tweak slightly, and live by for the rest of your life.

Most people already know what healthy food choices are but they just don’t consume them often enough or they think they are limited with healthy food choice options; they could not be more wrong. If you are serious about your life and health, get: The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why by Jonny Bowden Ph.D. C.N.S.

This is the best book I have seen on the topic of healthy eating because it is NOT a diet book. It is simply the best foods to eat broken up into their food group categories. No calorie counting and marco-nutrient ratios to confuse you. The book simply identifies what to eat and why you need to eat it. You will also gain a better understanding of where your food comes from and how that affects your body as well. You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

But the question still remains, “Do people really need supplements”? The answer can be a simple No and/or Maybe. If your diet sucks no supplement in the world can make up for it. Remember, Supplementation is not Substitution. In a perfect world your diet is balanced, optimal for you and all the required nutrients are obtained; then supplementation would not be necessary. However not all of us eat correctly every day. We can’t always get wild, free range or organic fruits and vegetables which provide the highest quality nutrient content. This is when supplementation can be used to support all the vital vitamins and minerals you need on a daily bases.

In the next few posts I will talk about the products I use and you can decide if they are right for you. I will try to keep the information basic and easy to digest (pun intended). Nothing I write about will be unnatural or have harmful side effects. All of the products I refer to are endorsed by me though research and experiments I have done on my own; I do not get paid to endorse any of these products.  Now go get your diet in check and in the next edition I will talk about my favorite supplement and how it may benefit you.

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Saturday, February 20th, 2010 Nutrition
 

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