Time for some Tuesday, trainer tough love. Every once in a while, I have a few topics that come up – either common misconceptions, ideas and exercises people get wrong, whatever they may be. We’re going to tackle these on Tuesdays with bonus articles. They might be what you want to hear. They might be something you don’t want to (but need to) hear. Regardless, let’s get into the third installment of Trainer Tough Love.
These days, I’d be hard-pressed to scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or really any other social media for more than a few minutes without seeing an ad for Herbalife, Isagenix, Thrive, or any number of multi-level marketing, supplement companies. Each one claiming to be “the next big thing” that will “transform your life” and help you reach your fitness goals.
These posts often annoy, and even frustrate me because they attribute a person’s success to a product. The product didn’t lose the weight or hit a PR in your squat. You did that. You. Not a shake or pill or magic drink.
It’s no secret that when you make a monetary investment, you’re more likely to stick to a goal. This is a major reason why people hire coaches and trainers. It’s not always that they need to learn new information and workouts, but that they need an accountability check. The act of checking in with a trainer and knowing there’s someone there who is looking out for you makes you more likely to adhere to a workout program.
These companies and the trainers who promote them create this accountability. You don’t want to waste your investment. In addition to adding a shake or pill into your day, you also drink more water and prep your meals. You start a workout routine and make sure you stick to it. Over time, you see progress. Wow, you think, these shakes are incredible.
But it’s not only the shakes, pills, or supplements. What these products do well is draw attention to other habits that may be holding you back from reaching a fitness goal. You changed your eating habits, water intake, workout routine, perhaps even increased your sleep and decreased your stress levels. And yet, the supplement must be the cause! No, no, no. The supplement didn’t do this. You did this. You set a goal, committed to it, and made it happen.
It’s not that I don’t believe in supplements; I do believe that you should have a diet worth supplementing before you spend money on the extras. Make sure you’re eating 80/20 whole, nutrient-dense foods. Make sure you’re drinking your bodyweight in ounces of water throughout the day. Make sure you’re exercising at a moderate to high intensity 3-5 days per week. Then, look at supplements to help give you the extra edge in your fitness journey.
A few supplements I incorporate almost daily:
- Creatine; The most researched supplement. Creatine influences:
- Multivitamin, Vitamin D, and Iron; I eat a diet that is full of colorful veggies, but I like to make sure I’m getting all the vitamins I need each day. Especially vitamin D from October-May, because living in Wisconsin, even if I did spend enough time outside with my skin exposed to the sun, it’s not strong enough to synthesize adequate vitamin D.
- Fish Oil; I do enjoy eating fish, but I do not buy or make it nearly often enough so I choose to supplement with fish oil daily. Supplementing with fish oil ensures that I have a good intake of omega 3’s which help with lowering blood pressure, slow the development of plaque in the arteries, and reduce triglycerides.
- Protein Powder; I like protein powder every now and then when I’m in a rush or know I’m going out to eat later and want to make sure I’m eating enough protein throughout the day. It’s not an everyday drink for me, but a supplement that I like to have on hand.
But I don’t rely on these supplements to add the full amount of any nutrient into my daily intake. They add the small extra touch to round out an already nutritious diet, 80% of the time! Personally, I would rather eat a meal than drink a shake. I would rather enjoy my morning coffee and get enough sleep than mix energy drink packets into my water throughout the day. I would rather take credit for my own successes than attribute them to a product or company. I encourage you to reflect and do the same. If you want to use these products because you genuinely love them, I absolutely support that. But don’t attribute your success and hard work to a shake, drink, or magic pill. Own it for yourself.