If there was ever a question in the gym and fitness world that is sure to divide opinion, it may just be this – ‘Can I trust supplements’?

Depending on whom you ask, their views, loyalties and experiences you are sure to get a variety of answers.

Ask me for instance and I would say that every supplement I take I trust 100% to do the job it is intended for….but then I am a qualified nutritionist who does his research and knows exactly what to look for in an effective and trustworthy supplement.

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How to know which supplements you should trust

To enable you to increase your chances of choosing which supplements to trust, which ones to avoid and get the benefit of my experience, here are some recommendations I have outlined for you:

1. The first point is to understand exactly what the supplement is designed (or making claims) to do.

Whey protein powders for example are not a magic formula that commands your body to build muscle. Likewise fat burners do not literally melt fat from your frame allowing you to either sweat it away or simply flush it down the toilet.

You need to cut through the marketing hype and ask yourself exactly how does this supplement work and how will it help me achieve what I want? If the packaging or website doesn’t make it clear then ask the company….they should be able to tell you, right?

2. This brings me nicely onto my second recommendation – Who is the company?

Are they simply a marketing company out to make money or are they genuine people who want to help you achieve your goals and know a thing or two about the type of supplements that will help?

This is where you may need to do a bit of research. Make a phone call or send an email if necessary. All reputable supplement sellers will have someone, such a dietician or nutritionist, who can advise both them and their customers on the best products, ingredients and how they work.

3. The first bit of research you can do without even speaking to anyone is simply  reading the packet and, more specifically, the ingredients list!

The biggest thing for me when reading the ingredients and properties of a supplement is making sure I understand what the ingredients are. Long, scientific and even made-up words all send out big warning signals.

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If you are about to put something into your body you should at least know what it is. Similarly, ‘proprietary blends’ and ‘manufactured formulas’ are simply ways to avoid telling you what is exactly in a product.

At this point you’ve got to ask why they do not want you to know what is in it. The only real reason is that is either something nasty, which should obviously be avoided for the sake of your health, or cheap fillers pretending to be something special to justify the price tag.

4. Whilst doing your research make sure you also check out the independent customer reviews.

This will take a bit of skill to determine the genuine ones from the company’s self-written or paid for ones, but if 90% of the reviews are stating the product is rubbish and one or two are stating its great I know which I’d believe.

Social media, forums and the companies own website are great places to find these. Even better still, talk to people you trust who may have used the products and see what they think.

5. Whilst customer reviews can be bought, manipulated and self-written, independently tested quality assurance can’t, so check what industry standards the manufacturer adheres to.

The main ones to check for are good GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) and ISO9001. These both require a manufacturer to adhere to strict standards of quality, ensuring that you are getting exactly what it says on the packet. If there is no sign of any quality assurance or a money back guarantee I would avoid it totally.

It very much is a case of ‘Buyer beware’

If you do your research first, read the reviews and ask the company if you are still unsure, you will go a long way to getting a good quality, effective supplement you can trust.

If you still have questions about what supplements could benefit you in achieving a particular goal please get in touch, I will be more than happy to help.

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