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Nutrition

The Three Worst Supplements For Weightlifting

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When it comes to supplements, weightlifters suffer from a poverty of choice. There’s so much stuff on the market that it’s hard to know what you need, what works and what’s just snake oil. Supplements can play a key role in helping you to achieve peak performance. However, a lot of what’s out there isn’t going to do anything – or worse, actively work against your fitness goals. 

It takes a discerning eye to figure out what you need to add to your stack. Unfortunately, a lot of the common supplements that weightlifters feel like they “need” are actually just doing a whole lot of nothing when it comes to their performance and recovery. So we came up with this list of three supplements basically every weightlifter has somewhere in their house that they should throw into the garbage where it belongs. 

BCAAs

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are often touted for their muscle-building and recovery properties. However, recent scientific scrutiny raises serious questions about their efficacy. 

BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. While these amino acids play a crucial role in protein synthesis, the idea that supplementing with BCAAs offers significant benefits for weightlifters is facing increasing skepticism. BCAAs almost certainly don’t live up to their proclaimed advantages, if they do anything at all. In a worst-case scenario, they might drive weight gain. 

BCAAs have been marketed as a shortcut to muscle preservation and growth, especially during periods of calorie restriction or intense training. However, recent research challenges the isolated use of BCAAs, indicating that their effectiveness may be compromised when not consumed in the context of complete protein sources. 

Unlike complete protein sources such as whey or casein, BCAAs lack other essential amino acids necessary for comprehensive muscle protein synthesis. Weightlifters aiming for optimal muscle development will find greater success focusing on well-balanced protein sources from food rather than relying on BCAA supplements. 

Additionally, the body’s ability to regulate its own levels of BCAAs may negate the need for supplementation in individuals with a protein-rich diet, making the touted benefits of BCAAs for weightlifters a subject of debate within the fitness and nutrition communities.

Turkesterone



Turkesterone, a naturally occurring ecdysteroid found in certain plants like Ajuga turkestanica, has gained attention as a potential supplement for athletes, due to its purported anabolic properties. Indeed, some enthusiasts laud turkesterone as a huge game-changer for muscle growth and performance.

But as with other “miracle” supplements, a closer examination reveals a lack of robust scientific evidence supporting these outlandish claims.

Despite the hype surrounding turkesterone and its classification as an ecdysteroid with potential anabolic effects, the scientific literature on its specific benefits for weightlifters remains limited. Studies conducted on turkesterone are small-scale or performed on non-human subjects. Thus, it’s difficult to draw definitive conclusions about its efficacy in humans. 

Moreover, existing research has not consistently demonstrated significant muscle-building effects aligned with the bold claims made by some supplement manufacturers. 

Fat Burners


In the pursuit of lean physiques and accelerated fat loss, fat burner supplements offer a glimmer of hope in the battle against excess fat. Fat burners often contain a proprietary combination of stimulants, herbs, and other ingredients purported to boost metabolism and increase your body’s ability to burn fat. 

However, the effectiveness – and safety – of these supplements for weightlifters have come under scrutiny. While the idea of a “magic pill” that melts away fat is enticing, the reality is fat burners are not the silver bullet their proponents claim.

One primary concern lies in the reliance on stimulants commonly found in these supplements. While stimulants like caffeine may provide a temporary boost in energy and metabolism, the potential for side effects such as increased heart rate, jitters, and disrupted sleep can negatively impact overall training performance and recovery. 

Furthermore, the long-term sustainability of relying on stimulants to achieve fat loss goals is questionable, as the body may develop tolerance, diminishing the initial effects. As weightlifters evaluate the role of fat burners in their fitness journey, it becomes imperative to weigh the potential risks and limited evidence of efficacy against the allure of quick fixes for fat loss.

When you go supplement shopping, it’s important to only purchase supplements that help you meet your goals. At best, the wrong supplements will do nothing. At worst, they will actively work against your goals.

Do you use any of these supplements? If so, why? What do you think is a useless supplement? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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