Do Supplements Work Or Are They A Waste Of Money?

Should You Optimize Your Diet & Training Before Trying Supplements? Do you even need supplements? Are supplements a waste of money? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman answers these questions with surprising answers.

Full Video Transcription:

Have you ever wondered if you should really dial in your training in nutrition before trying supplements? Have you ever wondered if you really even need supplements? Have you ever wondered if supplements are just a waste of money?

These are the topics we're going to discuss today. But, before I get started, full disclosure, I own a supplement company called EndurElite. But what I'm about ready to say is probably going to surprise you.

Because you'll probably never ever hear an owner of another supplement company say what I'm about ready to say. 

Should You Optimize Your Diet & Training Before Trying Supplements?

So let's just get right into it with topic number one. Should you dial in your training in nutrition before trying supplements?

Absofugginlutely [SP] but, I think there are some exceptions to this rule when it comes to supplements that we'll discuss here in a little bit. But I want you to look at it this way.

How you eat and how you train on a daily basis will dictate probably 95% to 99% of how you perform on your training days, and in your races.

I do not think this can be debated one bit. 

Do You Need Supplements?

So, now that we covered that, let's go on to topic number two. Do you even need supplements? Of course not.

That's why they're called supplements, to supplement your diet.

And I'm pretty sure, the ancient Greeks weren't slamming caffeine during the first modern Olympics.

But, my point being here is, you need to eat right, to train right, to hydrate right, to sleep right to perform your best.

With the supplements, and I'm going to say this just one time, supplements are not needed. They are not a magic bullet that are gonna miraculously help you turn into a 15 minute 5K runner when you've been running 20 minute 5Ks before.

But that's not to say that supplements are a total waste. Because they can give you a slight edge when it comes to training and racing, considering that all other variables have been followed, like your training and your diet. 

Are Supplements A Waste Of Money?

So, this brings us to point number three.

Are supplements a waste of money? Yes and no.

They are a waste of money, if the supplement you are taking is full of ingredients that have not been demonstrated by the research to be effective. They're also a waste of money, if the supplement you are taking does have ingredients demonstrated by the research to work, but they are dosed at such a low amount that they're not gonna have any effect at all.

So, when are supplements not a waste of money? Well, you just kind of switch what I just said around.

Supplements are not a waste of money when they contain ingredients demonstrated by the research to enhance performance, and when they are dosed correctly. 

Supplements You May Want To Consider Even If Your Diet & Training Isn't Perfect

Now, let's go back to point one. You know, should you really dial in your training in nutrition before trying supplements? And I said there were some exceptions to this rule and I believe there is.

So let's look at four different supplements where it kind of breaks that rule of dialing in your training in nutrition.

Let's start with one of the most popular ones, creatine monohydrate.

You cannot possibly eat enough meat in your diet to get the right amount of creatine monohydrate on a daily basis, which is five grams. You would literally have to eat about 20 pounds of meat to saturate muscle creatine stores.

So this why the supplement is so beneficial. And to boot, I mean with creatine monohydrate, it has over a thousand studies showing it to be effective, increasing performance, strength, power, hydration, things like that.

So in that circumstance, you know, creatine can have an awesome effect on your performance, but there's no way in heck you can get enough through your diet.

So in that case, again, that breaks the rule that, you know, yes, you should absolutely dial in your training nutrition before trying supplements. But with the creatine you throw that in there and it's gonna have an awesome effect. 

Let's look at the second ingredient, caffeine.

Now you might be saying, well, I can just get caffeine through my coffee. And while that is absolutely true and it will have a great ergogenic benefit, supplemental caffeine anhydrous has been shown to be more effective than the caffeine found in coffee for enhancing, especially endurance performance, time trial performance, time to fatigue, things like that. So with caffeine, again, supplemental caffeine is better than the caffeine found in your coffee.

Again, it kind of breaks that rule of, you know, should you wait to try a supplement before dialing in your training nutrition. 

Let's look at another one. Protein powders.

Now, I'm going to say this right off the bat.

If you can get enough protein through your diet, there is absolutely no need to take protein powder.

But, for some of us, to meet our daily protein requirements, which can be pretty high depending on the duration and intensity of exercise we're doing, we just don't want to choke down another piece of chicken or meat.

And sometimes it's not convenient honestly to pop open and you know, start chomping down on a ribeye when you can just put a scoop of a high-quality whey protein into a shaker cup, shake it up and get the 25 to 30 grams of protein necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and muscle repair and recovery. 

Now the last ingredient we're going to look at too is carbohydrate.

Now, you might be saying too, well, I get carbohydrates through my diet. Why should I need to supplement it with it?

Well, this is especially important during races when you're probably not gonna want to eat a ham and cheese sandwich. And you might wanna be taking in supplemental carbohydrates like gels or waffles or sports drinks or things of that nature.

And it's especially important as exercise goes over an hour and up to two hours and beyond where your body needs carbohydrate to perform well.

I mean, show me any elite endurance athlete that doesn't take in carbohydrates in races over two hours and I will give you a bar of gold. Because, to perform your best, you need carbs during those longer races to keep blood glucose levels elevated. 

So that's just four examples. And there's probably a handful more of when, you know, supplements can be especially beneficial even if you don't have your training in nutrition dialed in.

So, that is all I have for today, my friends. If you want other videos like this on training, nutrition and supplements, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com.

Get social with us on Instagram and Facebook @endurelite. Until next time my friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast and stay informed.