(Original post by Anavyssos)
What began as a legitimate question seems to have descended into an argument. As someone with experience in this area, I feel I can and should offer some good advice. I have done endless research and taken some of the main supplements myself. I shall try to get quickly to the point.
So, should you buy supplements? As you’re just starting out, no. They’re expensive and the benefit to you would not outweigh the negatives of the price. Concentrate on changing your diet and finding an exercise routine that suits your body and your time frame. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep. Arnie is famous for getting at least 8 hours a night.
What should your diet be? High protein (no more than 200g is necessary), low GI carbs and low saturated fat. Eat within one hour after exercise, and eat regular small meals. Take the time to figure out how you’re going to do it and plan – don’t do it ad hoc because you will fail. Protein powders are, as people have said, a meal replacement drink which can be good when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook. Bulk buy and check the per serving price. Try not to pay more than 30p per 20g of protein. 3 eggs have 21g of protein and from supermarkets will cost as little as 24p for 3, when bought in bulk. A multi-vitamin is also good idea, mainly because they’re incredibly cheap and can aid you when your diet might not be quite up to scratch. Make sure it’s got zinc in it. As you progress, add some flaxseed to give you omega 3, 6 and 9 in a natural form, which will also include good fats and protein. It is MUCH more cost effective to buy flaxseed rather than isolated capsules. Look at the grams to see why.
So when might it be worth buying supplements? The two that work are creatine and caffeine. If you want to, have a cup of coffee before working out to increase concentration. If you’re feeling like you don’t really want to work out, caffeine can be a good persuader. It can also slightly aid fat burning.
Creatine. Once you start working out you’ll soon come across it, and wonder if you should take it. I’m not going to go into the science of it, but whether it ‘works’ or is ‘effective’ is not up for debate. It makes you stronger, and that is useful for people who lift weights. Use it as a ‘boost’ to push past a plateau. You’ll find as you lift more and more you’ll hit a point you can’t break past, and that’s when creatine will get you through it. Once you have done, come off it, or you won’t be able to get that boost effect again.
The rest of the supplements, such as HMB, ZMA, BCAAs, CLA and Nitric Oxide to name a few, are very expensive and will have little to no effect. Read the positive reviews people give to see they have started taking them the very day they change their diet, increase their exercise and start taking creatine.
I hope this helps. Do your research, then go out and buy some chicken and eggs.