Yes, you can, but supplements – even some basic ones – will make your life a LOT easier.
Protein, creatine and BCAAs are pretty much no-brainers, in our opinion. If you work out – especially resistance training – these things will help your overall energy levels, recovery time, muscle growth, strength, fat burning…you name it, they help with it.
Yes, you can get these things from your diet, but not really in supplemental amounts, which is the whole point: to not just get the bare minimum, but to get the most out of your training and lifestyle!
Pre-workout supplements are a slightly different story. There are good ones, even great ones, but there are also horrible and useless ones.
A quality pre-workout can make a massive difference to your workout session. For people who lift weights we’d go so far as to say a pre-workout supplement is a must. It will help with muscle contraction force, power, endurance, intra-set stamina, and they can even set you up for burning fat more readily, improve your mood, and kickstart the recovery process, muscle growth and strength increases after you finish.
Fat burners, weight loss supplements, diet pills and other capsule based weight management products are even more of a minefield than pre-workouts.
However, just like preworkout mixes, they cannot all be judged by the same standards.
A fat burner for example is only as useful as the person is willing to burn fat. You cannot and should not expect them to melt away your fat while you eat what you like and do what you like.
Some of the top fat burners can maybe help you burn an extra 300 calories per day. And if that doesn’t sound like a lot then think of you basal metabolic rate as about 2000 calories, and then imagine you design your diet and eat around 2000 calories per day.
Suddenly 300 calories per day is a big help. In fact, it’s about a pound in weight loss over the course of 12 days.
People often dismiss fat burners as a scam, but what are they measuring to determine that? How do they know so much about the science, or the efficacy of ingredients? Are they experts in bio-chemistry? Do they even monitor their body composition closely enough to know what a difference would look like?
We’ll say one thing, people who DO measure their physique and count calories, and record reps and sets and hours of sleep DO take fat burners – quality ones, of course – because they understand that the small differences add up.
Naysayers, who simply react without having the facts, are just as bad as the people making garbage products, because they often don’t have any backup to their claims.
Caffeine – Good To Know!
Caffeine gets a bad rap for no other reason than this lack of understanding. People think: caffeine…that’s in coffee. I drink coffee, so why am I paying for this stimulant in a capsule…? OR something along those lines.
Caffeine works, for fat loss, for energy, for focus and even mood. It is – with creatine a close second – the most researched and most proven ingredient on the planet.
One of the issues with caffeine is that people can’t distinguish between pure anhydrous caffeine that makes it all the way to your intestines without being absorbed yet, and a cup of the black stuff.
The biggest problem, however, is tolerance. Caffeine has an “insurmountable tolerance”, meaning once you habitually consume it, you become tolerant to it to the point where no matter the dosage, you will not get any effect from it.
The effects of caffeine in someone who has reset their tolerance is dramatically different to someone who consumes caffeine daily. The habitual caffeine consumers will get nothing out of caffeine.
The people who cycle caffeine will get all of the benefits, including fat burning.
If you drink 2 or more cups of coffee daily or have taken caffeine-based pills for 8 to 12 weeks continually, reduce your intake for a week until you can come off it for a full two weeks.
This will reset your system with the initial reducing week helping to limit withdrawal symptoms such as headaches etc.
After that 2 weeks of zero caffeine, you will once again be “caffeine naive”. And guess what, it will work for you like it did the first time…fat burning and all!