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How Bodybuilding Helps You Choose The Right Supplement!

Nowadays we are faced with more choices than ever before. Finding the right supplement for your needs can be a daunting task. Bodybuilding can help. Find out how.

By: Marie Spano

Article Summary:
  • If you want to get the right supplement for you it is best to clearly define your goals first.
  • Before you take anything you should check out the ingredients for harmful side effects.
  • If you're still unsure of what to take try contacting other people on BodySpace for advice.

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How Bodybuilding Helps You Choose The Right Supplement

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15-year mortgage or 30-year? Volumizing shampoo or one that hydrates your hair? Nowadays we are faced with more choices then ever before. And, for many consumers its a daunting task to look at shelves of 20 types of nutrition bars and figure out which one tastes the best yet delivers the most nutrition bang for your buck. How the heck can you make a quick, yet educated, decision? Turn to your bodybuilding knowledge.

We Are Faced With So Many Options Nowadays Making A Choice Can Suddenly Become Very Daunting.
+ Click To Enlarge.
We Are Faced With So Many Options Nowadays Making
A Choice Can Suddenly Become Very Daunting.


What Are Dietary Supplements?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defined dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 as "a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet." Dietary ingredients include one or more of the following combinations:

  • A vitamin
  • A mineral
  • A herb or other botanical,
  • An amino acid,
  • A dietary substance for use to supplement the diet (the FDA gives examples including enzymes or tissues from organs or glands)
  • A concentrate, metabolite, constituent or extract

Now, given the gazillion different dietary supplements on the market today, how do you go about choosing the right one for you? Turn to bodybuilding.

There Are So Many Similar Supplements On The Market Today It Can Be Hard To Choose The Right One For You.
+ Click To Enlarge.
There Are So Many Similar Supplements On The Market Today
It Can Be Hard To Choose The Right One For You.


How Bodybuilding Helps You Choose the Right Supplement:

Bodybuilders follow an approach to training to get the best results possible in minimal time. And, they apply the same logical thought process to choosing a dietary supplement:

1. First Ask Yourself "Why?"

When you go buy a car, you have a pretty clear indication of what you are looking for. You don't walk into a dealership looking for a two-door sports car and walk out sold on a family van that gets 18 MPG. Yet people take this approach with food and supplements all the time! They go in thinking "okay, I want something" and then let 18-year old store clerks (who make different levels of commission depending on what they sell) sell them on something they don't need. So first, clearly identify what it is you are looking to accomplish with the dietary supplement. Examples include:

    • Better skin
    • Muscle growth
    • To make up for a dietary shortfall of calcium and vitamin D
    • Enhanced immune health

2. Are You An Athlete Tested For Banned Substances?

This is a simple yes or no question with big consequences. If the answer is yes, you are limited by your sports governing body regarding what you can take. Take something not on the banned-substance free list and it may cost you playing time or worse yet, your livelihood.

You Don't Want To Ruin Your Athletic Career By Mistakenly Taking A Banned Substance.
+ Click To Enlarge.
You Don't Want To Ruin Your Athletic Career
By Mistakenly Taking A Banned Substance.

3. Ask If The Supplement Could Be Harmful.

Even if you don't have to follow the mandates of the NHL, NFL, MLB, NCAA or Olympic Committee, you still have to ask if the supplement is safe for your use. And, googling isn't exactly the best way to find out if it is safe or not (because people write just about anything on the web; unless of course you Google an author's name you trust or a website you trust for health information and that particular supplement). So how do you find out about any potential side effects or interactions with any medications you are taking? Ask your pharmacist (but also do your own homework by thoroughly reading the literature that came with the medications you are taking), double check by asking your doctor, and, check out the following websites:

And, check this information at regular intervals. After all, what we deemed safe at one time (or even advocated in the case of partially hydrogenated oils) may be found unsafe upon future research.

RELATED POLL
Do You Check For Harmful Side Effects Before Taking Supplements?

Yes I Check Out Everything I Put In My Body.
No If They're Selling It, It Must Be Safe.

4. Find Out The Best Supplement For You.

There are many types of supplements within the same class. For instance, if you are looking for calcium, you can choose calcium carbonate, calcium citrate or forms of dietary calcium. And, you can also choose tablet, chewable or liquid in a variety of doses, with or without vitamin D, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. So, how do you know what to choose in a dietary supplement?

First, ask a sports dietitian who can sort through your medical history and dietary intake and make the best recommendations to fit your needs. Next, look through the reviews and forums on Bodybuilding.com. Yes, research matters and it helps guide us to supplements that have been shown in the lab to work. But, anecdotal experience plays an important role as well. And, your fellow gym goers on bodybuilding.com can tell you if the supplement tastes good, mixes well and produced results for them (as far as they can tell since after all, sometimes we may not pinpoint the exact thing that is delivering the results).

5. Does It Fit Your Budget?

If you want the most out of your money, figure out your budget and what fits into it. I'd rather see someone spend money on glucosamine; physical therapy and massage if their joints ache then buy 6 beers and some bar food every Friday and Saturday night. But, that's a decision you need to make - we spend money on what's important to us.

Make Sure The Products You Are Looking At Aren't Going To Break The Bank.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Make Sure The Products You Are Looking
At Aren't Going To Break The Bank.


Additional Tips to Finding the Right Dietary Supplement:

Search BodySpace Profiles

If you think you need something but you aren't sure what, check out the BodySpace profiles you admire on Bodybuilding.com. You'll find out what the best bodies take and how they take it.

JOIN BODYSPACE TODAY
BodySpace: Strength In Numbers!
BodySpace is your key to bodybuilding, transformation, or fitness success. Create your profile, start a BodyBlog, meet others with similar goals, and share information.
[ Join BodySpace ]

Call The Company

Sure, a company's job is to sell. But, there's only one surefire way to find out what is in a product when the label doesn't tell you (caffeine content isn't always listed, it may not be obvious if gluten is in the product), call them!


Conclusion

When you are in search of a car, nice suit or anything else you put on or near your body, you do your homework right? Well, carry this over to what you put in your body. In order to get the best results for good health and a fab physique, you must be mindful of both your exercise program and diet + supplement program. Follow these steps and you'll build a better you with less time and money spent and, fewer potential negative side effects.

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About The Author:

Marie Spano is a leading authority on translating the latest nutrition and exercise science research into real life applications. Ms. Spano has also helped pro athletes and Fortune 500 executives enhance their health and performance through sound nutrition practices. She is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com. For more information see: www.mariespano.com

References:

  1. Overview of Dietary Supplements. Food and Drug Administration.

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