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Question
Posted by: Callie | 2005/11/25

Supplements

Hi, what would be the best supplements to use for a person going to the gym 4 to 5 days a week that will help with, definition, gain weight.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Callie

The problem with supplements is that they are never fully tested for side-effects or effectiveness, and so they are unknown in the long-term effects. The other problem that affects the muscle gain supplements is contamination, because there is no strict control of what gets put inside these products, and so there are cases of contamination. In the more well established brands, this is less of a problem but there are still risks associated. Basically, I would not recommend a product like this unless you are absolutely sure that you have exhausted all your options regarding training and diet first, which is very rarely the case.

The only time I would condone the use of supplements is when a person is sure that their diet is inadequate. Here, a vitamin supplement is usually adequate, because we in the western world are never deficient in nutrients like protein. So, someone wanting a protein shake just to be sure that they are eating enough protein is probably wasting their money, unless they are really eating very poorly/inadequately.

The other possible exception is someone who is trying to gain weight, and doesn't have the access to the food that is needed - again, here a protein shake may help to add to the protein stores in the body, and this is probably a safe practice. But, other mass builders, creatine, steroids, fat burners etc. I would not find any reason to recommend. So, if you are very sure and willing, then a protein shake is probably the best way to go. If you buy a reputable name, or a product from one of the established companies, the risk of contamination goes down as well.

So that's my advice, but the key is to train right, no matter what you eat or which supplement you take. It's not the supplement that causes the weight gain, remember, it's the training you do, and so I think you must focus on the training first and forget supplements until much later, unless you fall into one of these categories, and then maybe a protein shake will be all you need.

Good luck

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