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The world of fitness and weight loss is filled with many contested points. Perhaps, though, few are more hotly debated that the one on whether or not supplements should be used when one is trying to lose weight. You have strong-viewed opinions coming from both sides. On one hand, you are told never to spend money on supplements because they are ineffective or even harmful. And yet you have those who insist you can have complete success with your weight loss without dieting or exercise, merely take these supplements and all your weight will disappear. To make matters worse, the world of supplements is indeed filled with misleading information and outright deception. In this article, I intend, using my very successful weight loss experience as a basis, to try and clear up the confusion.

My own personal view on supplements is that you can successfully lose weight or reach any other fitness goal without taking a single supplement. At the same time, when combined with healthy eating and effective physical training regimens, choosing the right supplements can boost your results of any fitness goal you have. The root of the problem is the expectations they have with supplements and the intense hope they project onto them. Because of these reasons, I can see why many fitness experts insist people stay away from supplements. Supplements are supposed to “supplement” a healthy lifestyle, not substitute for one. I have no doubt that if I had not changed my lifestyle, started eating healthier and drastically ramped up my physical activity, none of the supplements I took would have had any effect on mine. On the other hand, I also have no doubt that the supplements I did take indeed did enhance my results.

The term “supplement” covers a very broad range of substances; some ranging from natural herbs to those that are as complex as pharmaceutical-grade drugs. I personally do not take any sides when it comes to “natural” versus “artificial”, preferring to evaluate and judge each item on the basis of its merit rather than its origin. The trick is then, deciding why you should take a particular supplement. Any supplement you consume should be done so for specific purpose or purposes. Supplements can fulfill many roles; some take care of dietary deficiencies that are missing or would be difficult to satisfy in a practical way.

Take potassium, for instance, an average person has a USDA recommended amount of 3500mg per day – a very active person requires much more. If you are trying to lose weight and are very active, eating enough foods to keep your potassium balance can offset your weight loss significantly. Yet if you do not get enough potassium, you can get severe muscle cramps. Adding a potassium supplement provides your body the potassium it needs without giving you the calories you need – and at a cost/mg, it’s more economical.

Again, never substitute your food with supplements. Also, if you are taking a supplement for a specific purpose, make sure that purpose is part of your lifestyle. In other words, if you are taking supplements that promote muscle growth, you better be lifting weights or engaged in some other physical activity that trains your muscles, or you are wasting your money. Do not exceed the dosage of any supplement. Some supplements will not have adverse effects, but others it can be very dangerous. In most cases, you will not achieve an increased effect anyway; therefore if you decide to do so, you do it at your risk. Finally, most supplements should be taken for a specific period and you should stop taking when you fulfill that purpose. In other words, when you reach your target weight, stop taking that fat burner. Continue to eat healthily and have an active lifestyle, but there is no need to use a fat burner. Supplement makers notwithstanding, we really do not know the long-term effects of most supplements, the short period you take them, the less risk you put your health at. Of course, some supplements, such as multi-vitamins, whey protein, and most amino acid supplements, are probably safe, but herbal and advanced supplements it is not certain.

That sums up my personal experience with supplements. Though I am at around my target weight, I still continue to use key supplements to maintain. I also stay active and eat healthy, while occasionally enjoying my healthy but fattening foods. Because I exercised caution, I am still very healthy. You too can, when combined with healthy eating and an active lifestyle, intelligently use supplements to augment your weight loss!

A runaway weight loss success story. Lost over 80 pounds in four months (36 of those pounds in just six weeks)- went from 240 to 160, kept all of it off for nearly a year, so far. I am sharing with others my research that led to my success so they too may control their weight.