When you step into a supplement superstore, it's easy to get overwhelmed with what lines the shelves: hundreds of vitamins, pills, and powders all promising to deliver miracle results and ramp up your training. And while there are health benefits to taking certain vitamins, sometimes less is more.
As personal trainer Max Weber, NASM, ACE, explained in an Instagram post on how to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, you may need to supplement where necessary. But what exactly does that mean? We reached out to Max, and he clarified a few things for us.
Although Max isn't a registered dietitian, he does have a few pointers on how to supplement to best fit your diet and workout goals. If you're counting macros and having trouble getting enough protein in for the day, he said a protein powder might make it easier. If you're looking to build muscle, that number should be about 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, according to Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. So if someone weighs 150 pounds, he or she should be eating 75 to 120 grams of protein daily.
If you need extra energy in the morning before a workout, he said you may need to use a pre-workout supplement. This may be especially beneficial if you are practicing intermittent fasting or training on an empty stomach.
Finally, he said that if you're not eating enough vegetables, especially leafy greens, you could be missing out on key micronutrients. In this case, a multivitamin may help. (In general, you should still try to eat several servings of vegetables a day).
At the end of the day, Max says supplements aren't a magic solution. "The bottom line on supplements is that they are not required to lose body fat and build muscle, but for some people they can make the process a bit easier," he said.
If you do need something to supplement your fitness journey, just remember these three items next time you hit the store: protein powder, pre-workout, and a multivitamin.