Grocery store workout supplements

When it comes to getting results from a fitness routine, it seems like everyone is always looking for an edge.

When it comes to getting results from a fitness routine, it seems like everyone is always looking for an edge. We want to make changes to our health and appearance, and in most cases we wanted the positive results we seek yesterday. It’s not uncommon to find a trainee than has researched for hours online, seeking out the optimal routine, the perfect diet and lastly, any little “extras” that believe will accelerate their progress. As it turns out though, many of these extra measures don’t pass a cost to benefit analysis. In fact, some may even be counterproductive to the very goals a trainee is trying to achieve. Today, we’re going to take a look at some overrated workout extras.


Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, All Sport, etc.)

After being bombarded with countless commercials of elite athletes sucking back sports drinks, it’s easy to believe that they are a must for any trainee. However, most of us aren’t training like athletes or with the same goals as an athlete, so a sports drink is often unnecessary. While the athletes in the commercials undoubtedly have incredible physiques, their main goal is performance. After all, they get paid to win games, not to look good. During long and intense athletic events, a sports drink helps keeps the athlete properly hydrated and energized. However, most of us aren’t engaging in this type of activity at the gym. The average gym-goer is doing a combination of weight training and cardiovascular training for an hour to an hour and half. Assuming a sensible pre-training meal has been consumed, a sports drink simply adds extra “empty” calories to the trainee’s diet, which can often be counterproductive to the goal of fat loss. So, if body composition is the main goal, save the sports drinks for only the longest and most grueling workouts.


Over-the-counter testosterone boosters

Men in particular have an attraction to  supplements that promise greater masculinity, and with good reason. It’s well known that the male sex hormone testosterone plays a large role in the muscle building process. However, I’d estimate a good 95 percent of supplements promising increased testosterone levels are little more than snake oil. Don’t be lured in by tales of “secret Soviet research” from several decades ago. The truth is that most of these supplements have been proven ineffective by more recent research, and if they work at all, it would only be a small increase in testosterone levels in older males. As for the 5 percent of these supplements that do work, they are usually legitimate oral steroids that have managed to fly under the radar. These carry all of the same risks as black market steroids (if not more due to their untested nature), and therefore I’d also recommend avoiding them.


Protein shakes

These are iffy. While a slightly increased protein intake can indeed be beneficial, the majority of gym goers overdo it. While the horror stories of kidney damage are largely bogus, that doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing to consume large quantities of protein on a regular basis. The truth is that most omnivores are already getting adequate amounts of protein. Consuming additional protein on top of that will only serve to increase caloric intake, thereby possibly resulting in fat gain if overall caloric levels aren’t in check. That said, a protein shake can make a good, quick liquid meal and can also be useful for those who don’t eat animal products, but don’t go over the top with it.


Energy drinks, coffee, etc.

Lastly, we have caffeine. Now, I regularly recommend a small dose of caffeine before training in my articles and I stand by that. However, much like sports drinks energy drinks and coffee are often loaded with extra calories in the form of sugar and/or fat. For this reason, I recommend the diet version of energy drinks, icky black coffee, or pharmaceutical grade caffeine tablets. Also, be sure not to overdo it. While a small dose of caffeine can be beneficial, exceeding 200mg (for most folks) will result in an awful feeling called caffeine intoxication. Trust me, it’s not fun.

 Remember, the most important factors to any fitness routine is dedication, consistency and patience. Don’t get suckered into thinking that any magic pills or potions are going to change that. ?