Updated: Mar 1, 2019
The supplement industry is major, multi million dollar industry major. Thus the chances that you or someone you know consumed a workout supplement (protein shake, creatine, pre-workouts etc...) is extremely high. But here is what I want to tell you, just like you cannot out exercise a bad diet, YOU CANNOT out supplement a bad lifestyle. It is important for me to state that you can acquire all that you need for your fitness goals through the appropriate consumption of food(s). Supplements as you know them are not a MUST!
Usually people who consume a workout supplement have already picked up exercise on a regular basis or just about to, and they are using supplements to get to their goals faster or timely. Furthermore, their sources of information include their friends and/or the local salesman at the vitamin or supplement store.
3 major factors affect your goals, DIET / EXERCISE / LIFESTYLE FACTORS. Lifestyle factors can be categorized as sleep, psychological stress and environmental factors such as chemicals like endocrine disruptors. Focusing 95% or more of your energy on those 3 components will guide you to your fitness goals or really close to it. However, if you absolutely feel the need to use supplements a great deal of due diligence will be REQUIRED of you.
Is your supplement evidence based? Here are a few research considerations to lookout for.
Any causality or correlation?
Are the results overstated?
Any conflict of interest?
What is the sample size of the research?
What is the control of the research?
Who was studied?
Where was the study?
Any research bias? (example: Pepsi is the main investor in the recent study of "why soda is good for you").
Was the study peer reviewed?
Does it apply to me?
Then, look into the supplement considerations.
Who's the company, and are they reputable?
Look into the ingredients. Avoid "kitchen sink" supplements and watch for proprietary formulas.
Make sure the product was tested in an independent lab with a certificate of analysis for the ingredients.
Check for quality assurance by seeing if the product was created in a GMP facility (same requirement to pharma companies).
Make sure it has a 3rd party quality assurance or NSF certified.
Look and analyse the clinical studies.
Check and avoid if product contains sucrose, hydrogenated oils.
Check for the therapeutic dose.