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We’ve all been there, standing in the local vitamin and supplement shop. All we wanted to do was go in and buy some Whey Protein for our post-workout recovery shake (because we forgot to buy the amazing grass-fed, non GMO, no hormones stuff at AU). Suddenly the sales guy or gal comes over and starts telling us about the newest and greatest supplement. There’s always something new they’re trying to use to rip us off. Maybe it was the newest and greatest fat burner. Maybe it was some ground Dragon’s Horn that will make us strong enough to lift up a bus. I can’t express the number of times someone came up to me in my old corporate gym setting and asked what I though about the, “latest thing”. They’d come walking into my office and tell me that the guy at the supplement shop said it was the real deal. My answer to them 99% of the time was that they had wasted their money.

Number one: The supplement industry is entirely unregulated. Notice all of those asterisks on supplement labels that tell you the FDA hasn’t evaluated their claims? There is zero oversight on supplement companies. Good luck knowing what the long-term effects are of taking the product. The FDA will only step in and evaluate a product AFTER things start going horribly wrong.

Number two: The same rule that applies to healthy eating applies to supplements: If someone can’t pronounce it or they don’t recognize it, they shouldn’t put it in their body. Granted, I am not a chemist. Regardless, I’ve taken a fair amount of chemistry classes and half the time I can’t pronounce some of the things they put in these supplements. The other half of the time I’m shaking my head because I know the stuff I do recognize either has limited to zero effect or can be readily found in a balanced diet.

Number three: The effects of Anabolic Steroids, HgH and Synthetic Testosterone wear off when off-cycle. If someone hops on the juice they can train like a slob once per day and probably see better short-term results than someone who isn’t taking a needle in the glutes. Once they go off-cycle they’re still going to be training like a slob. The guy or gal who wasn’t on the juice who is getting after it with dedication and precision will continue to see progressive results. The athlete, “using”, is going to get left behind. I’m not even touching on all the nasty side effects of using those substances.

Before I go too far off on a tangent on illegal supplements, let’s return to the legal ones. The basic point I’m trying to make is that if the illegal stuff doesn’t have lasting effects, why rely on its less potent legal little brother? Every month I have the privilege of listening to Coach Robby give his Three Pillars of Fitness speech to the group who have just become UNLEASHED. In case it’s been a little while, the three pillars are: Consistency, Intensity and Nutrition. There’s nothing in there about crazy supplementation.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Consistency is about getting on a set schedule, following it and staying the course. It’s about getting set into a routine until it becomes habit.

Intensity is all about giving the absolute best effort during every training session. Giving one’s best on a bad day is better than minimal effort on a great day.

There’s the old cliché about not being able to out train poor nutrition. Things become clichés for a reason. Nutrition plays a huge role in achieving goals in the gym. Without the right amount and correct type of fuel in the body the desired body composition changes will never occur.

I enjoy answering questions about supplements. I enjoy educating people about the kinds of things they put in their body. That being said, not one of the UNLEASHED have asked me a single question about any sort of crazy, out of the box supplements since I’ve been at AU. That tells me that the they aren’t interested in shortcuts. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in answering questions, I’m just giving credit to our athletes for staying the course, having patience, and avoiding shortcuts.

Next month we are going to explore a little more about the power of consistency in both training and nutrition.

In health, Coach Brett

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