A Short Guide Through the Supplement Maze

I don't know how many times in my life I've said the words, "a supplement is the extra, it is never going to be a solution." Regardless of the number, I know I haven't said it often enough to stop people from asking me the "which supplement" question..

The ads are out of control. If the ads were really based on truth, supplements would increase the size of women's breasts, turn undersized men into prospective porn kings, melt fat, dissolve cellulite, and even reward the hopelessly dull with magnetic personalities. They'll turn sexual duds into great lovers, they'll turn weaklings into strongmen, and they'll even give you and your loved ones the bodies of the Hollywood stars.

If supplements worked as promised, men would be combing the streets like cavemen looking to fulfill their "desires," and our society would be filled, not with overfat underfit working men and women, but with superheroes enjoying the rewards of their "revolutionary formulas."

What's New in Supplement Land?

Ephedrine's been "pulled" from the shelves. Sort of. While retailers and fitness outlets were told to stop selling ephedrine products (after a 90-day period in which they were allowed to crank ephedrine sales to the max), you can still walk into any pharmacy and buy Primatene tablets, 12.5 mg of ephedrine hydrochloride, over the counter without anyone batting an eye.

The supplement companies have rallied after their massive "last chance" campaigns by creating ephedrine-free formulas, most of which have replaced ephedrine with synephrine. Some companies have gone a step further and clumped together every legal stimulant they can find. By mixing yohimbe, l-tyrosine, mega-doses of caffeine, and some less popular herbs such as wormwood and prickly ash (hey, I didn't name them, I'm just reporting), they've created new "proprietary blends." Because these herbs aren't "popular" in sports nutrition products, they just blend into the list of long named compounds we've never heard of. Most people won't bother to look up the side effects of herbs such as wormwood. If they did they might find brain damage, psychosis, and irreversible damage to the central nervous system.

The government is becoming very actively involved in "cracking down" on supplements. It's absurd. Steroids run rampant, you can buy any drug on the internet, and Tommy Thompson (who happened to knock off a few pounds by dieting) decides he's going to stop the uncontrolled distribution of androstenedione. This is the compound that Mark McGwire was rumored to have been using years ago. It's such old news a crackdown today just adds to the absurdity of the situation and further illustrates the impotence of the government in controlling drugs, supplements, or anything else that finds its way through black and gray markets. While I'm not a fan of random use of any hormonal manipulators, I certainly think education should come way before a "crackdown."

The FTC does manage to shut down a handful of those marketers who go overboard with dubious claims. Thankfully they squashed the absurd marketing of the "Skinny Pill," a diuretic aimed at kids, and "The Greatest Vitamin in the World," a load of bunk put out by Don Lapre, the "pitch man" who neglects to tell his audience of his mulitiple bankruptcies when he pitches his "make lots of money" programs on infomercials.

Yes, the land of supplements is a massive maze and although new products arrive almost weekly, I'm clutching tight to my affirmations that we don't "need" supplements, and no supplement, in and of itself, will do very much of anything good.

To begin dissecting the maze, I'll divide supplements into three groups.

1. The worthless

2. The micro

3. The macro

The worthless are those that may use some sort of plant compound mixed with unfounded hype to promise miraculous results from the ingestion of whatever sea-organism or south american spore can be purchased inexpensively and disguised as miraculous. Seaweed is sold as a cellulite cure, plant spores promise to cure cancer, and leaves of some South American trees promise to restore hormone levels in testosterone starved men. Some of the "worthless" might also fall into the category of dangerous. As an example, the "seaweed" products are high in iodine which can adversely affect thyroid levels and herbs that constrict the blood vessels can contribute to risk of a cardiac incident.

The micro are the vital micronutrients that can play a role when mixed into an overall nutritional regimen, and most of which can be found in food. Many of these are overhyped via overblown claims. Prior to the FTC putting a stop to it, you might have witnessed as an example, Bob Barefoot promising that "coral calcium" cured everything short of bad breath, and no doubt if he thought of it, it would've cleared up halitosis as well.

Are there micronutrients that in supplemental form can help people maintain health, optimize fat metabolism, and help the body function more efficiently? Absolutely, but it's important to note they play into a very large picture. Some of the compounds I've mentioned as having legitimate consideration as supplements for those seeking fat loss are Acetyl L-Carnitine, Calcium, and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Some that can play a role in muscle development are creatine and L-glutamine. I want you, however, to recognize that while these nutrients have value, supplemental use without a concern for training and eating will have virtually no discernible effect. Even if you do train and eat right, the contribution of independent "micro" supplements will be minimal at best. Are there isoflavones, antioxidants, and polyphenols that can help to ward off cancer? Research indicates that there are, but that doesn't mean we've found a cure. It might more importantly indicate that eating a wide variety of natural foods including fresh produce might offer far more long term protection than any tablet or capsule.

When it comes to identifying the "micro" supplements, the challenge, for most people, is two fold.

1. Most people have difficulty distinguising advertising from science, research from hype

2. It's difficult to discern how much of these nutrients are being ingested through food, and whether supplementation would prove efficacious or wasteful

I entered the supplement business almost accidentally, and with no intention of ever going into the commercial marketplace with complete product lines. When I started learning of the deceptive advertising, the fraudulent product labeling, and the misrepresentations being made in the field of sports nutrition, I decided the only way I was going to feel comfortable endorsing a nutritional product was to create my own, and I decided it's best to focus on the third group . . . The MACRO!

Macronutrition is made up of those nutrients that have calories, nutrients that can serve either as building blocks for new tissue or can meet metabolic energy needs as caloric fuel. Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats. As I came to better understand the nutritional challenges most people were facing in trying to acquire lean, fit, bodies, I realized they were looking for the "micro-solutions" to MACRO shortcomings.

If you've ever heard me suggest any supplements as being valuable, you've heard me refer firstly to the valuable oils that are rich in the Omega 6's and Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. Essential fats are components of food, and even in supplemental form, fat is a "macro" nutrient. Secondly, you've heard me suggest that the category of supplements that have the most real world value are the nutrient formulas, the meal replacements . . . the "macro" nutrients!

If you've been with me for any period of time, or you've attended any of my seminars, you know how vital I feel it is to eat frequently if the goal is a lean, toned, healthy body. If you've ever tried to eat six meals a day, unless you're living a burden free life, you no doubt found it difficult. That's why in the realm of supplementation, if we're going to "fill in the gaps" in our nutritional programs, the primary concern must be the MACRO!

The first product I developed was my EAT! formula. After having lab assays done on some of the best selling meal replacement formulas, I was dismayed by the discrepencies between the label claims and the actual contents. I decided I would create a formula that would serve my clients for those times a meal was not accessible or convenient. I worked hard for over a year to create the optimal formula and then spent several months trying to perfect the taste. EAT! has evolved since then, and although I never expected it to become a major player in the supplement field, I am pleasantly shocked by the volume of EAT! we sell. It reinforced my belief that if you present quality with customers' best interests in mind, the customers remain loyal. EAT! combined the MACRO and the full array of the "micro" to offer a real-world supportive alternative that for most of my clients solved the "how can I eat this often" dilemma.

What does EAT! contain? What any good meal replacement formula should contain. A significant serving of protein, a slow release carbohydrate, and a complete mix of those micronutrients that act as players in the metabolic symphony. Since it's specifically for individuals who exercise, it also includes additional L-glutamine for muscle preservation and, based on consistently impressive research, some added phosphatidylserine (PS), which together with calcium and Vitamin C, can work to control potentially negative cortisol eruptions (no, that doesn't mean you should run out and buy a bottle of PS - it's a tiny player in a complex puzzle). I should also mention, EAT! is of course free from simple sugars.

With EAT! as the mainstay, I next developed some specialty products, all purely "benefit" driven. Rather than confusing people with the "micro" and attempting to sell through pseudoscientific double talk, I decided to create three new products:

GROW - for those seeking muscle growth

GROW! is essentially the EAT! formula plus more. It has creatine monohydrate added and some additional L-glutamine. It does contain some simple sugar, just enough to fuel intense training and enhance the delivery of creatine monohydrate into muscle tissue.

BURN - for those with fat loss as a primary goal

BURN! is a protein formula with very low carb content. It's ideal for those "protein days" that I strategically integrate into my programs to kick up fat release. Caffeine, for those who are not slaves to Starbuck's, actually does have the ability to amplify fat release a bit, so BURN! has a moderate dose of caffeine, and of course, the same vitamin-mineral mix as EAT!

RELOAD - a recovery formula to optimize performance

I share this with you to point out that when people are trying to buy "supplements" to achieve some result, when they're counting on the worthless and the micro to bring salvation, they're setting themselves up for certain disappointment. Years ago, when a woman came into my office for a consultation and removed from her purse a wild assortment of pills and capsules, I told her that she might try eating food instead of attempting to build it. In essence, hoping micronutrients will "work" is the same as hoping molecular bits of food will act as the foods themselves. I believe "supportive supplementation" is very much the same as "supportive eating." It's about getting the right mix of nutrients into your body to optimize metabolism and performance. As a result, I did, in putting together my formulas, "build food," or at least a replacement for it.

Do you need to buy my products to succeed with your fitness goals? Of course not! You don't "need" any supplements at all. If in reading this article you come to better understand how to "shop" for supplements, and you locate items in the local health food stores that meet your needs, they can certainly fit into your overall nutritional strategy assuming you understand their true value and protect yourself from believing unfounded hype.

For those who may have interest in trying my products, I do have a very special offer which I'll reveal after a few more thoughts related to my product line.

Although I was initially hesitant to venture into supplement land, it's been a rewarding journey for me. I just get frustrated when people seem to only focus on tiny pieces of the puzzle and expect that I'll reveal the "miracle compound." The miracle compound isn't likely to arrive, but again . . . there's no need for a miracle if you'll just mix common sense with legitimate science.

I studied the research and created what I believe are the best goal-specific products on the market. I could never sell these through regular channels, as the quality of ingredients I use prevent me from selling to a wholesaler who will then sell to a distributor who will ultimately sell to a retailer and onward to the consumer. In order to sell in the maintstream, you're forced to cut costs just to be a player. Because I supply product directly to the consumer, I can use the precise nutrients at the precise dosages I feel would be most valuable without worrying about "mark up ratios."

In addition to being goal specific, all four of my formulas, EAT!, GROW!, BURN, and RELOAD! fit into the regimen of anyone following TRANSFORM!

EAT! serves as the standard meal replacement

GROW! is ideal for the Strength & Growth Phase

BURN! is the perfect protein supplement for the Fat Liberation Phase

RELOAD! is perfect for refueling after any intense workout

Now, I'm thrilled to announce I have standardized all of our formulas in 2-pound containers. We will not have GROW!, BURN!, or RELOAD, back in stock until mid-April, but I'm offering a first-time-ever special. Each of the products will have a $39.99 price tag. If you order any four containers (in any combination) you can pay for only three! In other words, if you order EAT! and/or pre-order GROW!, BURN!, or RELOAD! now, and are willing to wait until April for delivery, you can order four containers for the price of three! That's any four 2-pound containers in any combination for only $119.97!

To take advantage of this offer, click here or call Holly at 1 800 552-1998

Supplements That Really Play a Role in Fat Burning

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