Supplements. Essential or Simply Beneficial...
Supplements. Essential? Beneficial? Both? Neither? Are they a requirement for young athletes and adolescents… will they be the magical rocket that helps them achieve their goals?
Supplements are marketed as the magical answer. If you scour social media, and television now, you will see supplements everywhere you look - and in turn, you’ll see people who “look the part” and athletes promoting them. So, we don’t blame young athletes and adolescents for viewing supplements the way they do, especially since they’re so impressionable at this age
What’s harmful is people thinking they’re essential and required for progress, success, and optimal performance. And yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Are they beneficial, yes - in certain terms... Are they essential, hell no
If you know our thoughts on the 95/5 principle when it comes to recovery and training (article found here) - the same can be used for supplements
The definition of the word supplement is:
"a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it”
And this is where so many young athletes and adolescents go wrong, as they do not have a solid understanding of nutrition, or current nutrition lifestyle in place that needs supplementing. They need to get the basics correct first, as everything they can get from a supplement they can get from real food - which is the preferred option
So instead of reaching for those supplements, which is like throwing a bandaid on the problem, instead we need to fix the issue to ensure the bandaid isn’t required in the first place. And to do so, to set this solid nutritional foundation, we come back to our five nutrition principles
- Consume your 5 serves of vegetables a day - making sure to taste the rainbow
- Consume a protein source at every eating occasion
- Don’t be scared of carbs, and consume them in a quantity that matches your activity levels
- Make the best choice you can at the available time
- Ensure you’re always well hydrated - with water being the drink of choice
Only once those principles have been mastered, and we simply cannot add anymore food to the diet to reach the young athletes/adolescents goals (or if physiological reactions and such arise) do we begin to entertain the thought of adding supplements
And so should you. Master the basic principles. And leave the over-priced, shiny supplements on the shelf where they belong