With so many supplements out there in the market, it can be hard to know what you need. We asked Sydney trainer, Alexa Towersey, what her go-to supps are and why.
By definition, a supplement is ‘added to something in order to enhance or complete it’. In a perfect world, I do not believe that supplementation is necessary: if we all had access to nutritionally dense food, ate perfectly, our environment wasn’t polluted with toxins and chemicals, we were never exposed to pharmaceutical drug, and we were never affected by physical, emotional or lifestyle stressors. Unfortunately, this perfect world doesn’t exist.
This does not mean that I recommend supplements to everyone. Supplements do not fix a poor diet, and they are not sustainable meal replacements. There is a time and a place for them, but until you have understood and addressed the basics of sound nutrition and lifestyle practices, supplements will be a waste of time and money. Worst case scenario, they can even cause health complications. And just like with training and nutrition, supplementation is a very individual process. I suggest asking your GP or naturopath for a simple blood test that could help determine any vitamin/mineral deficiencies and/or hormonal imbalances.
The most common supplements I get asked about are protein shakes and fat burners.
To be honest, I very rarely recommend protein shakes, especially for women. If I do recommend them, it’s post-workout for recovery, and they will be vegan in base (pea protein is ideal). I tend to avoid whey protein as it’s commonly included in the top food allergen lists (many people are lactose intolerant), and it tends to cause a big spike in blood sugar which isn’t ideal for fat loss. However, if your aim was to build lean muscle mass or size, or you struggle to eat enough throughout the day, then protein shakes are not only a convenient source of calories, but the protein is much more easily utilised by the body in liquid form.