Amongst the pages of all good bodybuilding and fitness magazines are a myriad of manufacturers attempting to sell you supplements with wild claims of almost every kind. They all have the miracle answer to your problems. But do they? Many of the claims that are being bandied around these days lack substance and do nothing to aid the consumer in the search for the product that is right for them.
So to help you make an educated decision when buying fitness supplements, bodybuilding supplements or general sports nutrition you need to adhere to the following basics.
1. The look of the product says a lot about the quality. It’s usually true that packaging quality reflects the quality of the product inside, that is, if the packaging is poor, the product is likely to be inferior, and if the packaging is high-quality, chances increase that the product is a winner.
2. Now you need to do as any good grocery shopper would do and read the back of the label. I would suggest that the first thing you look for is the serving size and then how long will the product last according to the directions. You need to be looking for a product that gives you at least a 28 day supply to be of any value.
3. It’s important to look for branded ingredient names on the back panel. While each product is unique, branded ingredient names can include names like “lean complex” and “rapid absorption initiator.” It’s usually a good sign if a product has branded ingredient names on the label as this can indicate that the product is of quality. While there is still the chance that low grade products can make up branded names in their advertising spiels on the packaging, usually the presence of branded ingredient names demonstrates that a company has put in considerable time and effort into making a quality product that may have some research backing.
4. Ingredient concentrations are important because ingredients make products work. For example, if a product contains metabolites like creatine, how much creatine does the product contain? This should be clearly listed on the label. To be effective and to meet claim, important ingredients should appear as close to the beginning of the ingredient listing as possible. This ensures that you’re getting enough of the active ingredients to expect that the product will deliver.
5. Real-world case studies and testimonials are fine, but the ultimate test is this: does it work? This is a question that is best answered by science.
In today’s market, there’s really no reason why a product shouldn’t be backed by science – unless it’s just hit the market and academic testing is ongoing. High-quality products will almost always have scientific references listed if label space allows.
6. Contact information on a product package is a sign that a company stands behind its products and is willing to step up to the plate to give you customer service, should it be required. Avoid all supplements that don’t list contact information on the label.
While these are general rules to use when picking a supplement, you need to be aware of what the ingredients actually do for you before you want to include them in your diet. So I would suggest that you research exactly what supplements will be beneficial to you and your goals.
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