The supplement world is a massive cash cow and companies are cashing in on this market hard. Mainly because there is a huge obesity crisis in North America and UK. The supplement companies leech off people’s insecurities and promise unrealistic results. Often the results they promise are not even anything to do with their product and they know damn well that the average user will never get near the ideal image they paint. Let’s get straight to the point, 99% of supplements are a waste of your money, time and consideration.
For the objectives of the majority of individuals they just are not required. Proper diet and exercise will get you there. At best some supplements will give you a mental placebo effect that they are helping you when in fact cleaning up your diet or exercising more effectively are the real differentiators.
The population is growing more and more overweight every day so preying on this issue is relatively easy. Actually creating something which makes a difference is another deal altogether. Items you will hear about:
Derived from animo acids, thought to help with mobilizing fat and tissue repair. No strong evidence to suggest that it truly useful for either of these purposes in the average male. Don’t bother.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
It’s a free fatty acid that supposedly helps to manage bodyfat. There is some evidence that it can help control weight in obese individuals but nothing in terms of average or well trained people. Seriously, don’t buy into the hype.
Thermogenics (things which heat up your body)
Products like Alri Hyperdrive, Hydroxycut, Lipo 6 etc etc etc. None of these supplements have worked for me when I was severly overweight, I’ve also trained numerous clients who used these supplements and for most people who are visibly fat there was no noticeable fat loss. If you were to come to me and say I am 8% bodyfat and I want to get to 5%, I need any edge which do you recommend, I would say Hydroxycut is the best blend that most likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck…for the normal person trying to lose weight these really won’t offer a tangible difference. If you really must buy something then green tea extract by itself has shown to have some benefits but nothing groundbreaking…
Yohimbe (or Yohimbine):
Now there is some science behind this but it’s a bit more complex. Yohimbine is an alpha receptor antagonist. Particular a2. Without going into the detail it can help with fat loss but only under certain conditions. Those conditions are that you need to have low insulin levels (even small amounts of insulin can render yohimbine useless) and you need to do some exercise really to take advantage of a2 antagonism. You also need to take a fairly high dose to get the desired effect and some people get bad side effects…the HCL version is much better than herbal stuff. Is it going to make a huge change, probably not unless you can figure out how to use it properly and are at low levels of bf already. FYI getting low insulin levels in this case means not eating for around 3 hours and then doing a slow warm up.
Surprisingly enough the simplest of them all is probably at a base level one of the most effective. Caffeine pills around 200mg are pretty common and can have a thermogenic effect on the body as well as standard stimulant boosts. It can also offer a synergistic effect to other things like yohimbine (or if you are more familiar with slightly riskier things it is the C in ECA)
Ephedra (herbal version of Ephedrine which requires prescription in the UK and many others)
Herbal ephedrine or ephedra is basically useless in my view. Ephedrine HCL particularly when mixed with caffeine is shown to have strong fat loss effects (it is a beta 2 antagonist). It’s an asthma medication in HCL form and as well as hitting beta 2 (and to a degree beta 3 which is less useful) it opens the airways and heats the body slightly. All sounds good except as you can guess it’s prescription only in this country and a bit risky if you have an existing heart condition or blood pressure issues. Again though it’s really only for those at the lower fat levels and to boot the generally sold stuff is just the herbal (diluted) version which is shit. So in summary for most of you it’s probably another don’t bother.
And a whole host of other stuff. Seriously until you hit 10% body-fat don’t even think about it, even at that point I’d recommend you think very carefully about spending your money and ask me if you want.
So to conclude,