People often write off supplements because they approach it with the wrong expectations.
Some people might say, “Oh, I didn’t feel any better” or “it was a total waste of money”.
First of all, supplements are just that. They’re supplements. As in, they’re supposed to supplement your otherwise healthy lifestyle.
You can’t expect supplements to benefit you much if you never train, eat junk food all the time, and your sleep routine is a mess.
Here are 5 tips you can follow to ensure you’re maximizing the benefits of your supplements to feel better, look better, and perform better.
1. Track Calories and Macros
All the supplements in the world won’t help you reach your goals unless you’re within a ballpark of your ideal daily calorie intake, and you’re eating a balance of macros that include protein, carbs, and fats (unless you’re following a special diet like keto, etc.).
You should have an idea of what is your ideal daily calorie intake based on things like your height, weight, activity level, fitness goals, and a couple of other factors.
There are plenty of free tools online to give you a rough idea (just Google “TDEE calculator”). For a more personalized recommendation, you should consult with a licensed nutritionist.
And then there are macros, and when it comes to fitness, athletic performance, etc., then you need to pay special attention to protein intake.
If you’re exercising regularly, then you have a higher protein requirement than those living a more sedentary life.
Once again, there are online protein calculators or the more expensive option of speaking to a nutritionist.
If you find that you’re having trouble hitting daily protein goals, you can make things easier for yourself by including high-protein snacks like these chocolate chip protein cookies from Naked Nutrition.
2. Don’t Ignore Hydration
It’s one of those simple things that everyone knows is important, but often gets overlooked.
You know you should drink a lot of water, but maybe it’s a busy day with work and family, and you just forget to drink enough water.
You can use very simple tracking methods like getting a sports water bottle and promising yourself that you’ll fill it up a few times a day.
If you want to take it a bit further, you can download apps, or even get smart bottles that track your water intake.
Regardless, making sure you’re well-hydrated is one more lifestyle habit that will help you get the most out of your supplements.
3. Bioavailability of Your Supplements
Not all supplements are created equal. The way they’re formulated and manufactured impacts how your body absorbs them.
Absorption is obviously a key factor in how effective your supplements are.
For example, if whey protein is exposed to too much heat during manufacturing, it loses some of its original characteristics, making them less bioavailable and effective.
Not to say they won’t work as far as providing protein content, but you may miss out on some of the beneficial micronutrients.
In this example, it’s best to go with cold-processed non-denatured whey protein to make sure it retains all its beneficial nutrients.
4. Quality of Supplement Ingredients
The best supplement companies tend to be transparent about their ingredients. Where they are sourced, what’s included in each product, etc.
Look for informational content on a supplement company’s website to find more information about the ingredients.
The more premium the ingredients, the company will make it a point to highlight the higher quality of their products.
As opposed to supplement companies cutting corners, they will most likely not mention anything about the ingredients and hide behind big and fancy marketing terms.
5. How is Your Sleep?
You can do a lot of things right, and take the best supplements available in the market. But if you don’t sleep well, then it’ll be all for naught.
Sleep is all the buzz these days, and for good reason. When you sleep, your body goes through a lot of vital processes.
It repairs itself, hormones are rebalanced, and for the lack of a better term, it’s a chance for everything to reset.
Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of disease, a higher chance of obesity due to irregular eating, not to mention the loss of cognitive function, irritability, reduced exercise endurance, and the list really goes on.
So, it’s safe to assume that if you don’t sleep well, supplements aren’t going to do a whole lot. On the other hand, if sleep is on point and on schedule, then your supplements will be that added boost to maximize energy, performance, and overall health.
Bonus Tip: Are You Training Hard Enough?
As we touched on before, supplements are only meant to be an added boost. Some people make the mistake of taking supplements like creatine and whey protein and assume that can at least partially replace intense training.
Remember, that the whole point of supplementation is so that you have the energy, focus, and endurance to increase training intensity.
Of course, some people take supplements for overall balanced health and aren’t interested in training. And that’s fine, but we’re talking about people that take supplements to improve how they look, feel, and perform.
And if you’re in the latter camp, then take inventory of how well you’re training and if there is room for improvement there.
Of course, recovery is just as important as training, and once again, supplements can help you sleep better, and with proper nutrition and recovery, you can get back to the gym quicker to train harder.
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