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Are Supplements A Waste Of Money For Endurance Athletes?

Are Supplements A Waste Of Money? Should You Dial In Your Training And Diet Before Trying Them? What's The Real Reason Some People Decide To Take Supplements? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman answers all these questions and much more.

Video Transcript:

Are Supplements A Waste Of Money?

How many times have you had this conversation with a friend, colleague, or training buddy? "Hey bro, supplements are a complete waste of money." "Oh, yeah, why is that?" "Well, because you can get everything you need from a whole food diet. Supplements just, really, they don't do anything at all." "Oh, is that the case? Really?" "Yeah, besides, you should really maximize your diet and training before you even consider trying supplements." 

So, I have this conversation on a daily basis so I thought I'd shoot this video today, not to be controversial, but to have an open discussion about this and then also have you all comment on this at the end of the video with your thoughts. But be forewarned, assholes and trolls are not allowed to comment.

Anyone that wants to have an open discussion about this, comment below and we'll talk about it. So, in this video, we're really gonna cover three things today. We're gonna discuss if you need to maximize your diet and training before you try supplements. We're gonna discuss if supplements can make up for inadequacies in the diet or replace part of the diet. We're gonna talk about if it's feasible to get the amount of ingredients, and supplements from a whole food diet as opposed to getting it in supplemental form, and then we're gonna end with what's the real reason we take supplements. 

Should maximize your diet and training before you try a supplement?

Now, let's just jump right into this today with, kind of, the first debatable topic, and this is, "You should maximize your diet and training before you try a supplement." You should absolutely maximize your training and diet, but to not try a supplement before you do that is, kind of, a little short-sighted in my opinion. We need to stop treating them as separate things, like, again, you should absolutely maximize diet in training. I don't think, necessarily, that you should wait to take supplements if you want to as part of a good diet and nutrition plan. So, point being, "Stop treating them as separate." Diet, training, and supplements all go hand-in-hand. They don't have to be excluded from one another. 

Can an inadequate diet can be replaced by supplements?

The second question here or the second topic we're gonna discuss is if an inadequate diet can be replaced by supplements, and the answer to this is no. As the name implies, supplements are meant to supplement the diet. They're not meant to replace any inadequacies at all, again, to supplement the diet. And let's move on to the next one.

Can you get the efficacious doses amount of a supplement or ingredient through a whole food diet? 

This is a little bit of a tricky question because the answer is, kind of, yes, but in a lot of cases, it would be nearly impossible to get the efficacious amount of a certain ingredient or supplement through a whole food diet and let me give you a few quick examples here. Creatine monohydrate, efficacious dose, depending on what you're trying to accomplish, is 2 to 5 grams daily. Now, to get that amount through a whole food diet, you would have to eat about 10 to 20 steaks a day, which, sign me up, I'll head to the Brazilian steak house right now. It'll give a whole new meaning to the meat sweat. So you can see how hard it would be to eat that amount of meat on a daily basis to get the efficacious dose of creatine. 

Another good example is beetroot. You'd have to eat about a pound of beets a day to get the efficacious amounts of nitrates from beetroot powder to have any effect on endurance performance. Again, you can absolutely do it, but I don't know a lot of people who wanna eat a pound of beets a day. Same thing goes for things like beta-alanine. Beta-Alanine, you have to get about 3.2 grams daily to saturate muscle carnosine stores and the amount of meat you'd have to eat to actually get to the amount to saturate muscle carnosine stores and then, also, considering what beta-alanine carnosine is also used for in other bodily processes, it would be extremely difficult. 

And things like fish oil, you know, amounts vary for athletic performance and benefits anywhere from one gram to six grams daily. That's a ton of fish. I don't know any American that eats that amount of fish. Same thing goes with choline. We're pretty deficient in choline, you know, good sources are eggs and some meats, but it's hard to get the recommended amount to improve performance through a whole food diet. 

There are also things like vitamins and minerals that a lot of the athletes are deficient in and that are, you know, supposedly eating a whole food diet, but they're still not getting the right amounts needed for health and well-being. And then you look at things like caffeine where you wanna be getting about 3 to 6 milligrams per kilogram body weight, which you absolutely can get through coffee, but there's a lot of research shows that supplemental caffeine anhydrous is a lot more effective than the caffeine found in coffee, but in coffee's defense, there's a lot more things, and they're like theobromine that may offer some benefits as well. And a lot of times, you know, taking supplements comes down to a matter of convenience, so things like protein powders, for example. Like, if you have a high protein requirement, I mean, you can only eat so much chicken, and beef, and tilapia, and things like that, where sometimes taking the supplemental form of protein is so much easier to meet your daily protein requirements. 

So you can see how, you know, you could possibly get all those efficacious amounts through an adequate die,t but you see how difficult it would be based on the amount you would need to consume to, you know, saturate certain stores of things like, you know, creatine or beta-alanine or some of those other ingredients. So, let's go on to the last one. 

What's really the reason we take supplements?

We take supplements because we want a competitive or an ergogenic aid, that meaning, you know, they may give us a slight improvement in performance and sometimes that's what we need when we're racing and competing and I have zero issues with that at all. You know, supplements allow you to train harder too. So, you know, taking something like creatine, for example, if you just take it by itself, it's not gonna do anything, but it helps push you harder in training so you get stronger, faster, more powerful, and your body adapts to higher intensity of exercises, and get stronger that way. Now, if you take creatine away, those adaptations aren't gonna go away and it's, kind of, same thing with like caffeine. 

You know, caffeine can help us train at a higher intensity and we can improve things like VO2 max or lactate threshold, things of that nature, from just consuming the caffeine. So, we're pushing our bodies harder and that's where the adaptations come in, but if you were to take caffeine out of the equation, you know, your body's not gonna automatically revert to a lower VO2 max or lactate threshold. 

So, to sum it up, supplements, in a lot of cases, help us push harder, help us to train harder, to really get greater adaptations to exercise. Now, let's wrap this all up. Now, let's answer the big question here, you know, are supplements absolutely needed or necessary? Of course, not. Again, they're there to supplement the diet. On the same token, do you really need that $200 pair of running shoes or the $10,000 bike or all these other pieces of fancy equipment? No, you don't. I guarantee you, there's some guy out there eating McDonald's all day long and, you know, running with a pair of Walmart shoes that could kick all of our asses given, you know, our fancy equipment, but at the end of the day, whether it's, you know, supplements, a piece of equipment that's really fancy, the latest and greatest bike or running shoes, these are all ergogenic aids that are designed to give us a competitive advantage. 

Again, they aren't needed, but we are looking for a competitive advantage, I mean, almost every endurance athlete is. They want that little extra advantage that can help them run faster across your competition or go longer. So that's really the whole purpose of supplements. Enough of my rant today. If you like this video, please share it with your friends who think they can get everything they need through a whole food diet. If you want other videos like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel or join our Endurelite Training and Nutrition Club page, and until next time my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed. 



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