Dietary, Nutritional, and Supplemental Tips

Dietary, Nutritional, and Supplemental Tips

Nutritional supplements can be a tricky thing for the beginning weight trainer to master. There are many products on the supplement market that claim huge rewards for one low price. In general, they just do not work for most people. The major problem with many supplements is hidden right on the label; the dose amount. Sometimes large amounts of a particular nutrient do rather well in laboratory testing. However, these amounts are often as much as 1000 times the dose you end up taking.

Do not initially invest too much faith or money in nutritional supplements until you have has time to test them yourself. Even if a friend tells you that it works wonders, always be skeptical. They may be doing something else that is tricking them into thinking that a supplement works or may just be wired differently than you. If you must supplement your healthy diet, simple solutions like whey protein and Creatine have been proven to have some effect. Drugs that use large amounts of caffeine and appetite suppressants are often ineffective and dangerous.


Creatine was first discovered as naturally occurring part of the body in 1832. It was found to be most prevalent in the skeleton. It is a nitrogenous organic acid that can stimulate muscle growth in large amounts. So, Creatine is an entirely acceptable nutritional supplement that many people find to be valuable to their exercise program. If you are a vegetarian, Creatine is especially valuable to your program to provide the natural nutrients that you are missing when you abstain from meat.

Creatine is essentially an extra source of energy. As you work during your exercises, you are constantly losing energy and the molecules that provide it. In the most simple of terms, Creatine works to replace those molecules and give you an instant and lasting burst of energy. It may not work for each individual but is worth a try if you find yourself lacking energy even when adhering to a healthy diet.

Whey Protein

If you are trying to build lean muscle without consuming more calories or carbohydrates, you may consider whey protein as a viable option. Much like Creatine, whey protein is a naturally occurring nutrient that is meant to supplement (not replace) you normal intake of food based protein. If you are a vegetarian, whey protein is especially valuable to your program to provide the natural nutrients that you are missing when you abstain from meat.

As you weight train, your muscles suffer tiny tears that need to be repaired in order to build more muscle. Protein is one of the major components in the protection and repair of muscles. Claims that high protein diets may lead to kidney damage have largely been unsubstantiated and debunked. If you need a natural, healthy source of supplementary protein, consider trying whey protein as part of your healthy diet.


Vitamins are typically natural supplements that work to ensure that you are getting all of the necessary nutrients and minerals from your diet. If you are on a restrictive diet (Atkin’s, South Beach, Vegetarian/Vegan, etc.) vitamins are an essential element of your daily routine. Taking a multi-vitamin once a day is generally all that is necessary for proper nutrition.

In addition to a multi-vitamin, consider taking extra doses of Vitamin C and E. Vitamin C can protect you from illness as your body exerts large amount of energy and can become vulnerable during weight training. Vitamin E has also been shown to be an effective anti-oxidant that aids in the recovery of joints and muscles after a workout.

Should You Take Supplements?

Sometimes supplements are used when a weight trainer has special circumstances. As vegetarians have a limited source of protein rich foods, many turn to whey protein mixes to ensure that they are getting enough protein for muscle growth. Whey Protein works just like any other protein source and is completely safe.

Before deciding to supplement your diet with pills or mixes, ask these questions about the product:

  1. Does it actually do what it promises? Research the product in medical journals and find real information about a product’s effectiveness.
  2. Is it harmful? Even some supplements that list their ingredients as herbal or natural can have harmful side effects (particularly on the liver).
  3. Is the recommended dose reasonable? Some companies have had success with their products… in huge doses. To cut costs, supplement companies will often conduct tests with enormous doses of their drugs to publish successful results. They will then package their drug in small pills that have little or no chance of mimicking their trials.
  4. Have you heard of the company? Check the company out on the internet. See what real people on message boards and blogs are saying about a drug company.
  5. Do you really need the supplement? Extra Vitamin E and C can only have good effects on the body. Some people need whey protein or Creatine to correct dietary deficiencies. Always ask yourself if you could get the same nutrients through real food sources first.

In the long run, it is much better to use your diet to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals that you need every day than to supplement your diet with additives. While supplements can be invaluable to those on restrictive diets or with conditions like diabetes, the more elements of a healthy diet that you can get from food, the better for your body.

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