The supplement industry has become a multi-billion dollar affair. From weight loss to body building and everything in between. Their slick advertisements grace the pages of magazines and the pictures of the people in them show gorgeous bodies.
All of it is nonsense. Some might use stronger language. There are two main reasons why it is compete nonsense (or bs, if you prefer) and they are:
- the supplements are not regularly nor third party tested
- the models had the bodies BEFORE they became sponsored by the company
What’s in it?
Read the labels of your typical supplements and it seems a world of wonder. Small, great tasting bars have 20 grams of protein and seemingly few net carbs. Pre-workout mixes claim to give you a pump and the ability to push through the most grueling of workouts. Some even quote university of this or that studies that show those taking the supplement put on 185% more lean muscle than the placebo group. Etc. Etc.
But what is really in that bar or tub? Is the protein one that is digestible and useable? When was the last time the tub of protein powder was checked for quality control? Who were the participants in these studies? What was their fitness level before starting? What genetic factors may have attributed to their gains? What about their diet?
Recently, a few brands started testing more regularly, from a lab they helped to create. Yeah, that’s unbiased, isn’t it? Who paid for the university studies? Well, the supplement company, of course. Again, is that study really unbiased?
Enter a third party
The first challenge for the supplement industry is to create and sponsor a third party the public can trust. This laboratory should be supported by all the companies and be easily audited by anyone. Full disclosure of tests on all supplements should be published and conducted at least twice a year. The tests should be blind with no brand names on the lab form. The label claims and how many servings are in the sample should be all that is given. Only after the test should the results be matched to the brands for publication.
Wait, did you say audited by anyone? Yes. Want to test some brand’s protein powder or creatine blend? Buy a affordable sample kit, put a few servings in, and send it off. In a few days, the results should arrive. The lab should not know what brand it was or what the label claims. Compare the results with the label and be done.
Uhm, consumer fraud?
Sure, there will be some idiots who will try to scam the companies and put product in that isn’t clean or some such. The community should be able to censure against them and the labs results alone will not be able to support a claim of fraud. It would be a waste of a testing fee and legal fees to file a false claim. Doing so could also end with the liar in jail.
Get cut. Win a contest. Get sponsored.
Another area where supplement companies could be more truthful is how their models got to where they are. No matter the type of supplement, the model or athlete chosen to present a brand already had the look the company wanted from the start. They do not take an average, out of shape individual and use their supplements to get them way you see in the magazines. For the fitness model, this is why it is so important to win a contest and get their IFBB pro card. That is one’s ticket to getting sponsored and perhaps making a living on working out and speaking about the products.
Yeah, you read that correctly. Think taking Joe’s Mega Muscle Buster is going to get you the body you see in the magazines? Not very likely. Will they help get you into shape with the proper exercise and diet, sure they can. But it is superior genetics that you see in the pictures. Supplements are that last 5%, not the overwhelming 95%.
The supplement industry knows that and plays on your desire to be fit. They purposely show you the end results and then imply, through clever use of words, that you too can get the same results. They cannot make the claim directly as that will get them sued.
The entire fitness industry does the same thing. Remember the Buns of Steel spokes woman Tamilee Webb? She was chosen for the product based on her buns BEFORE she ever did any of the workouts. Want to have buns like her? Get the tape, right? Well, yes, if you have the same genetics she does. Want to really get a butt similar? Hit the weight room and do stiff legged dead lifts. Get the glute muscles to grow, that’s how you get it, not endless cardio.
Pick an average person
Here is the second challenge to the supplement industry. Find someone in your target market who is out of shape, but willing to do what it takes to get there. Be open and honest about where they start, how they diet, and what exercises they do. Keep it real. No 4 hours of workouts a day because they don’t have a day job. Show how your supplements actually “supplement” their good diet, not replace it.
Want to appeal to men in their 40’s? Find a lanky hard gainer with a few kids who has to work 9+ hours a day to make ends meet and support a humble house. Find a coach potato who wants to get off the pre-diabetic path he is on and teach him a different way. Show how good food can be purchased on a budget. Make all the information available to whomever wants it. No secrets. Only openness.
Go ahead. I dare you. Find a teenage girl who is 30 pounds overweight and wants to know a different way. Show her. As she reaches various milestones, pay her more, and use her more in the advertising. It will take a few years, but the end results will demonstrate how your product can help. There is no miracle diet pill make it all good overnight. It takes hard work, proper diet, exercies, and sleep. And, of course, your product.
There you go supplement industry. The gauntlet has been tossed. Will you pick it up? Or will you let the lies continue for the sake of profits? See me for ideas on that 40 year old male.