Thursday, March 26, 2015

3 Things Supplement Companies DO NOT Want Athletes to Know

As we near the outdoor competitive season, many athletes are thinking about their performance nutrition regimen. Some may start experimenting with powders, pills, other mysterious products that promise enhanced recovery, increased muscle gains and better energy during workouts. I love discussing supplements with my athletes because - unlike a lot of internet outlets - my advice is 100% science-based, unbiased and unpaid for by any companies. Here are three things I tell my athletes that many supplement companies would not be too thrilled to hear.

1. The marketed positive outcomes of supplements is often based on theory, not proven science.
There are millions of physiological processes that happen constantly in the body over the course of a day. This opens the door for supplement companies to pick a metabolic process, pull out a nutrient utilized in the process and try to convince you to supplement it. One example of this is L-carnitine, which facilitates the influx long-chain fatty acids (i.e. fat stores) into the mitochondria of cells in order to be utilized for energy instead of using stored carbohydrate, or glycogen. Because of this fact, supplement companies encourage supplementation of L-Cartinine to "enhance fat burning" and "spare muscle glycogen" during exercise. The problem? No studies have shown this to actually happen when L-Carnitine is supplemented. While it may make sense in theory, it doesn't pan out when put to the test.

2. Many supplements are packed with so many unnecessary fillers that you are getting very little of the nutrients that are actually effective.
Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients for some supplements? There are sometimes ingredients that even I don't recognize. Supplement companies are great at disguising unwanted or unnecessary ingredients by using their chemical or scientific name instead of the common name. In addition, the ingredients that actually work are often in so small of a dosage that they will not be effective when taken in the product. This is a trick used by companies to make production of the product cheaper, while still being able to advertise those ingredients that have proven results. Bottom line, why introduce 30 ingredients into your body when you only need one Why not just use a pure, 1-2 ingredient source? Check out your supplement label and put it to the "ingredient test."

3. Until your diet is solid, even proven supplements are of little worth.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but a pure, certified, organic, non-GMO protein powder does little to improve a diet based on high intakes of sodium, added sugar and saturated fat. I teach my athletes to first start with a foundation of good, basic, whole-food nutrition and then add in sports nutrition techniques and tactics. Only after those two areas are looking good on a regular basis do we bother with any sort of supplementation.

Wondering if your supplements are up to par? Now is a great time to make an appointment! Call me at 989-906-2459 or email

Be Extraordinary,


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