(You know it’s getting wild in here when I have to start the post off with this)
For some in the fitness world, they are an integral part of the routine. For others, (and I admit, previously I was included in this category) the mere mention of supplements in conjunction with a fitness routine makes them shudder. Like a four letter word. S*pp&#m#!$. Heh. In fact, in writing this post, I’m fully aware of the debate it will probably spark.
But let’s talk about it.
In my schooling, I was taught that there is nothing we need that our bodies can not produce themselves, or that we can obtain from a healthy diet. And in theory, I suppose this is true. In the past, I had always had the perception that people took supplements simply to try and “cheat” the system. You know, lose weight faster, gain muscle faster. I was queen of preaching that “all you need is exercise and a healthy diet, there are no shortcuts”.
And I still stand behind that statement…that there are NO shortcuts.
But here comes a two part debate.
1) in a *perfect* world, yes, we could obtain all of the nutrients we need from our diet. In a perfect world, I would have my own garden with produce grown in nutrient rich soil, harvest my own free range, grass fed cows and chickens (sorry vegetarian boyfriend), eat fish from sparkling, pristine waters. Oh, and I would eat well rounded, balanced meals obtaining perfect proportions of fats, carbs, proteins, and all of my vitamins and minerals.
But my reality, and the reality for many, is this: my produce, which is likely grown on soil that has been depleted of it’s nutrients for decades from overuse, is often shipped across country, again losing precious nutrients every day it takes to get from the tree/ground into my digestive system. I don’t even want to THINK about what the cows and chickens I’m eating are eating (or getting pumped full of…) And a balanced diet? HA! I’ll be the first to admit that my diet SUCKS. Sometimes it’s all I can do to remember to eat, between carting my kids around, working, teaching classes, general house stuff, errands, and of course, training. Convenience food is the story of my life, though I’m really making a better effort at doing a much better job eating REAL foods.
2) Sometimes, there are crazy people (ahem) who go above and beyond what the human body is accustomed to in the average day. Like, say, aWOD or two, a run, teaching 3 spin classes, and squeezing in a lifting session, while training for some ridiculous race…day after day.
When I was in California for the CrossFit games, we sat down for a lovely dinner with some of the people from GNC, I was happy to hear them say that they believe the same thing. That the average person DOESN’T need to get their micro nutrients in pill/powder form. But then there are those of us who do much more, and thus we need much more than we can easily and accessibly obtain from a regular diet.
I’ll be honest with you, I breezed through my semester of sports nutrition on the general basics. I know how the body works, how we digest and use our carbs, proteins, fats; which vitamins are water soluble and which are fat soluble, etc. etc. so on and so forth.
But here I am. 44 days (ack!) out from the BIGGEST athletic endeavour of my life.
The Spartan Ultra Beast (26+ mile obstacle course) followed the next day by the Spartan Beast (13+ mile obstacle course). SpartanRace.com
And right now, my body can NOT fail. My workouts are teetering on that fence between over training and doing just enough to survive a race of this caliber. So, be it necessary or not (insert your debate here) I’m giving my body a huge extra boost.
|And yes, there’s more… (and yes, I love me some GNC!)|
I won’t go into massive detail about what I’m taking and why (because again, I do not want anything to be skewed as a recommendation) , but I will say that be it physical or mental, I have noticed a huge difference in my recovery and ability to perform in my workouts. And if that will help me get to the starting line of the Ultra Beast unscathed (because you know the course will kick the ever loving $@#& out of me) then I’m all for it.
So, let’s hear it: do you supplement? I’d love to hear your opinions (and yes, debates, I know they are coming, just keep it civilized). If you do, what do you take, and why?