My Thoughts on Nutritional Supplements

Sports Supplements

It’s time for a little rant.

People ask me all the time, “Mike, what supplements do you take?”

“Mike, what are your thoughts on supplements?”

“Mike, what supplements should I take to get JACKED?”

When people ask me about supplements, I kind of feel like AI felt about pratice.

There are a few very specific reasons I don’t talk about supplements more.  First and foremost, I’m not an expert.  I’m not sure I’m an expert in anything, to be quite honest, but I’m definitely not an expert in supplements or supplementation.

But here’s the real reason I don’t spend a ton of time talking about supplements.

Have you seen how most people EAT?

And I’m not talking about having them verbally tell you their skewed perceptions of what they think they ate. All of us have a tendency to remember all the good things we do (including food intake), and forget about the bad stuff.

I’m talking about food that they’ve measured, written down, and actually recorded in an effort to gauge what their nutrition is like?

It’s horrible.

Now I’m not saying you, the loyal RTS reader is sitting at home eating bon-bons and Goldfish* all day.  But I will tell you this – the average person in your office, or in your gym, has no clue what to eat.

What’s worse?  They don’t even know how lost they are!

My wife is a dietitian, and she does a lot of online and offline nutrition consults.  What’s fascinating to me is how many people take in more calories than they should in a given day, yet get almost no nutrition out of their diet whatsoever.

Write that down:  Too many calories, yet too little nutrition.

How they hell does that work?

Now I could rant and rave about processed foods, the food industry, etc.  But what I think most people need to do is find a way to get as many healthy, nutrient dense foods into their diet as possible.

Without getting into hardcore nutrition (yet another topic I’m not an expert on), I can say this – if you start eating more lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, it’s amazing what can happen to your health and physique.

So that’s why I don’t talk about supplements.  Until people understand how powerful food is, and until they are willing to take full advantage of it, there’s no way I’m going to talk about something that is less than 5% of the equation.

Stay strong


*FACT – Goldfish are amazing.  I’m sorry I brought them into this conversation 😉


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  1. "Too many calories, too little nutrition." Best quote I've heard in a long time. It's a problem that hits almost every type of clientele too, from young athletes to older general population trainees.
    Strength coaches might not be dietitians, but that point still needs to be hammered home consistently.

  2. OK. I agree emphatically with everything said, however, there is good evidence to support the depleted nutrient density of even the best foods in our current agricultural climate. Supplementation as a means to optimize an already solid diet has merit and shouldn't be discounted completely… but for sure, establishing a good foundation is primary.

  3. Hey Robertson.
    First of all, i think that supplements are out there much like medicine is, you take it only if you have a serious need. If you cannot achieve the right nutrition from your diet, then there is simply something wrong with the diet, else there is a medical situation, like an absorption issue of some sort.
    What i'm saying is that it is very logical to see what is food and what is not. If it needs more then sunlight, earth and water to grow and live (as in – genes from some animal, pesicides, green-house, 12 dudes wearing round glasses and stashes… 🙂 ) then i would think twice about putting it in my body, especially while i'm building muscles, as the body is desperate for building blocks and nutritional value, in order to sustein health and grow without a system meltdown.
    @Craig – i'm running over there to watch that talk a.s.a.p. Not that i need anyone to convince me that supplements itsn't the answer, but it is always nice to see i am not alone 🙂 "Who's with me??"

  4. “Too many calories, too little nutrition.” I completely agree with your wife! It’s a bold statement, but I will make it anyway: I believe our country is as malnourished as some third world countries. I didn’t say “underfed”, but “malnourished.” A third of us are obese, but two thirds of us have diabetes or a slew of other chronic, diet related diseases (osteoporosis, heart disease, acid reflux, colon cancer, chronic fatigue, chronic liver disease, oral cancers just to touch the tip of the iceberg).
    The demand for natural supplements has become ever increasing as people are weary of the endless side effects from prescription drugs. Thankfully, the safety and efficiency of nutritional supplements has come under more and more inspection in the public eye during the last 10 years than ever before. It is imperative that consumers do their homework before buying off the shelf or off the internet. Check for things like whether or not the company performs clinical testings, independent studies, gives guarantees on purity and potency, and uses non-GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.
    I’ve only found a handful of companies that actually post their clinical results on their website. and are two of them. Gather information and talk to people who’ve actually used these products before you invest. You’re investing in your health…something we can’t afford NOT to value in this economy.

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