No Good, Magic Supplements You Should Avoid

In 2017 alone, 2082 articles were published under the keywords ‘sport nutrition’. Let's hope you're a fast reader.

When new clients start up training they’re rightfully very excited. You may find yourself in these very shoes yourself with a new fitness routine.

Most of that excitement is very well placed into areas that count the most:

  • Buy-in, understanding that training is a process and nothing comes overnight
  • Sticking to a schedule, leaving room for what’s important, your new habits
  • Consistent focus on form and practicing good technique.

Sometimes, some of that energy needs to be redirected when we get to the nutrition bit. Occasionally, that excitement can push you into the nearest supplement store.

Some change is good. You can overhaul your steady diet of fast food and snacks into one of healthier foods.

When it comes to supplements, some caution is warranted.

The savvy supplement salesman knows a new trainee when he/she sees one. You don’t look like the typical bro he sells useless BCAA’s to (more on that another time).

A few hundred dollars lighter, you walk out of the store with things neither of us have heard of;

  • “Fat burners”
  • “Stacks”
  • “Prohormones”
  • Glutamine
  • etc.

You can avoid most of this confusion by having a conversation with your trainer.

To be honest, I can't keep up with it all.

Luckily, the International Society of Sports Nutrition tries to!

Here the ISSN has provided us with an overview of the current state of the science related to optimizing training and performance enhancement through exercise training and nutrition.

Here are The Supplements You Need to Avoid

Supplements with little to no scientific evidence supporting their use for muscle building:

  • Agmatine Sulfate
  • Alpha-ketoglutarate
  • Arginine
  • Boron
  • Chromium
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA)
  • D-Aspartic Acid
  • Ecdysterones
  • Fenugreek Extract
  • Gamma Oryzanol (Ferulic Acid)
  • Glutamine
  • Growth-hormone releasing peptides and Secretogogues
  • Isoflavones
  • Ornithine-alpha-ketoglutarate
  • Prohormones
  • Sulfo-polysaccharides
  • Tribulus Terrestris
  • Vanadyl Sulfate
  • Zinc-magnesium Aparate

Supplements with little to no scientific evidence supporting their use for performance enhancement:

  • Arginine
  • Carnitine
  • Glutamine
  • Inosine
  • Medium-chain Triglycerides (MCT)
  • Ribose

Unless something changes, you won't find any of these on the shelf at the studio.

Write these down on a notecard before going shopping.

If you would like more information, I will take a deeper dive into the review in a separate post. The topic will cover theory vs. findings and why these supplements don't work.

Other recommended resources for supplement and nutrition information:

Examine has never sold a supplement and exists to read, review and publish information about research.

Alan Aragon is a passionate nutrition researcher and educator who publishes his own research review. I have personally met Alan and his work is amazing.

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Steven Mack is founder and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the private training studio, Simple Solutions Fitness. He consults for Stronger by Science, a leader in fitness research dissemination, and is a former Mizzou football walk-on. Steven dedicates his professional life to helping people through his writing, speaking, and role as a personal trainer.