Fitness Supplement Roundup

Alex Rodriguez may not be popular, but the guy pulls in more than $30 million a year, and word is he scored with Madonna. Is it the steroids? Not likely. A look at the pluses and minuses of ’roids – and other, friendlier supplements.

Anabolic Steroids
Plus: A-Rod’s stats, we suspect, didn’t spike from 2001 to 2003 by accident: Combined with an optimal workout regime and nutrition, steroids boost muscle mass, strength and help shorten recovery periods.
Minus: Shrinking testicles; baldness; mood swings; depression; liver and kidney strain; jaundice; and more! Plus, they’re a controlled substance.

Creatine
Plus: Creatine boosts muscle mass and improves anaerobic (high intensity, low volume) power.
Minus: Your body creates some creatine naturally: take a supplement and you run the risk of your body ceasing that production. Consult a doctor.

Protein Powder
Plus: Convenience. Ingesting protein within a half-hour of your workout is essential to building muscle mass. A shake, unlike a steak, is easy to bring to the gym.
Minus: The powder offers lower quality protein than natural sources do. Plus, some are loaded with aspartame, artificial colouring and other additives.

Gatorade, etc.

Plus: A whollop of sugary carbs gives you the hydration and glycogen (carbs) you need to last long into the game.
Minus: It’s fluorescent sugar water: You’re getting a huge dose of artificial sweetener.

Glutamine
Plus: Shortens recovery time and increases endurance for hard-core endurance athletes.
Minus: You’re likely not that hard-core: For the typical an-hour-in-the-gym-three-times-a-week guy, the body produces sufficient glutamine.

Photo courtesy of J. Coterhal.

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