There has recently been the major fitness expo in the UK – BodyPower. If you’re not sure what it is, to put it in a nutshell, it’s the cliché of the fitness industry that everyone has in their heads when they think ‘Personal Trainer’ or ‘Bodybuilder’. That is, over-tanned, scantily-clad or topless fitness ‘names’ who are pushing a company’s latest protein-based supplement. These ‘athletes’ are sponsored, which is fitness industry speak for ‘they get free supplements but then need to hand out drinks for three days whilst showing off their bodies’. In short, it is everything that I hate about the industry. Worst still, these known faces make lots of money off the back of people buying the products they push – as though it was that product that got them into their shape – not the hundreds of hours at the gym and months of dieting.
Attending this event would make everyone believe that if they aren’t taken a cupboard full of supplementation, they’ll sacrifice all of their training time and their muscles will wilt away. This is far from the case. For most of my clients, and the needs of most of the population, if you are eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, you’ll probably have the vast majority of everything you need. A tweak here or there is commonplace but spending a fortune on supplements is unnecessary.
The most common supplement used is whey protein. I’ve recently been able to consume natural liquid whey protein from goats whilst in Serbia from local farmers. It’s viewed as a waste product in the cheese and yoghurt manufacturing industries. Under pressure to know what to do with such an abundance of waste, they have cleverly produced a powder which is sold in the mass market to build muscle. The problem, it’s effectiveness is significantly less than the natural product. The whey from big industry undergoes high heat pasteurisation and is subject to several acidic processes. Most potentially beneficial nutrients are eliminated and mixed with unpleasant toxins during production.
The result: some benefits exist – a higher protein intake is likely to increase the rate of muscular development, act as a form of anti-inflammatory and potentially reduce body fat (due to its satiety and resultant reduction in calories from other foods). However, natural liquid whey offers all of these too. Except more.
Fresh liquid whey has been shown to contain amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other organisms which; support the immune system and boost the fighting capacity of white blood cells to battle diseases, balance gut flora for healthier digestion, provide key amino acids for muscular development and repair, boost in the production of Glutathione which is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants and also contain key minerals such as potassium, iron and zinc, and vitamins such as riboflavin which helps the body to convert carbs into useful energy as well as fighting the effects of migraines. Locals suggest 1l per day for a couple of weeks provides noticeable, visible benefits.
Now I’m not demanding that everyone ignores easily-accessible powders, pills and potions in exchange for the real deal. The fact remains that ease of access is why these supplements succeed. However, if you are away this summer, keep an open mind to trying local cuisine, special foods that they swear by, and eating natural.
Natural is best. We all know it. Do all you can to embrace it!
About the author
Darren O’Toole is a Personal Trainer and founder of Dynamic Fitness Training. He is a running enthusiast who has completed four marathons and countless half-marathons. He trains clients with various goals including those preparing for races. If you would like more information or to book a free consultation, get in touch.
We’ve all seen someone in a work office, sitting down with their tub of powder and water, shaking away before guzzling down a concoction which if left unattended for just a few minutes will start to elicit the smell of a corpse. It served a purpose for me but marketers in the health food industry will have you believe that it would serve a purpose for you to, but will it? Click here to read all about protein, it’s benefits and protein shakes.