Geek Jitsu – a word on supplements

When I ordered a new load of protein bars and powder this morning, an awful truth hit me totally unprepared: there are so many people out there that have a completely skewed view on nutritional supplements. This cannot stand, so I’m dedicating this week’s Geek Jitsu to them, including what they are and why they could help you!

First of all, we have to define nutritional supplements. Because the part of me that is a lazy college student will never leave me, here’s Wikipedia’s definition of dietary supplements:

dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitaminsmineralsfiberfatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet.

Thanks, Wikipedia! Now, many of you will already be taking these in some way. I can’t imagine a reader of this blog who hasn’t taken a vitamin pill in his life. However, what many people think of when they hear supplements in combination with fitness and sports, is someone like this:

fitness supplement prejudice

Yeah, this guy showed up during a Google image search of “supplements fitness”

For the uninitiated, supplements are those powders and pills bodybuilders and athletes take. Also, some people confuse these things with doping. The former view is rather correct, but the latter is just not true. Nutritional supplements are in no way doping, but rather a very effective way to help your body getting the stuff he needs.

You see, no diet is perfect, and especially when you’re changing yours drastically, you ought to make a few mistakes. When you start doing regular exercise, your body will suddenly require resources it did not before. Don’t get me wrong, you can lose weight and look great without drinking a single protein shake, but the right supplements make your journey a lot easier. As the description indicates, supplements give your body what you can’t get in other ways. While you could just eat a lot of meat, protein whey provides you with the right amount of protein through a much easier method (and without having to slaughter a herd of cows). Using good old vitamin pills can also be beneficial for people who are somehow hindered in getting vitamin the normal way (for example, because of an allergy).

Supplying your body with the right resources is the number one argument for supplements, but what about possible side effects? Well, let me soothe your mind: I’ve been using protein whey since more than a year now (mostly after exercise, and since two month as a replacement for breakfast), and I haven’t turned into a dumb, drooling muscle beast unable of intelligent thought. Actually, I have only experienced benefits. Drinking a shake after training reduces the amount of sore muscles the next day, and using special diet protein as a breakfast replacement gives me a stuffed feeling until it’s time for lunch, and that’s considering I have breakfast between 6-7 AM!

Of course, supplements are just that: supplements. You can’t live healthy by just using them, but they are a good addition to your diet. Don’t forget to eat normal food, but don’t be scared to take a shake after a heavy workout or pop some vitamin pills when you think you need them. As with all of my tips, check with your GP or medical expert before heeding them (just to be sure), and have fun mastering Geek Jitsu, the art of being a healthy geek!


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