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What About Supplements?
How do you know which supplements to take and which ones are a hoax? Do you really need them at all?
Everywhere you look, someone is trying to sell you health supplements. This one helps with weight loss, this one boosts your energy, this one gives you amino acids that it insists you absolutely need. How do you even begin to figure out what’s right for your body (not to mention keep from going broke)?
Max Muscle Sport and Nutrition off Hoadly Road is a great place to get some questions answered. I’ll admit, it took me a while to first set foot in the store because, frankly, the big body builder photos intimidated me. That’s not what I was looking for; I just wanted to make sure I was fueling my body right.
I got the push I needed when my 30 day experimental nutrition/fitness plan called for more protein than I cared to try to eat via chicken or egg whites, and the exercise routine begged for some kind of muscle recovery supplement. So in this case, supplements seemed reasonable to me. I knew I couldn’t actually eat as much protein as the nutrition plan called for, and muscle recovery was definitely going to be vital if I plan to survive this month. So with a list of suggested items from my trainer, I had the confidence to actually open the door of Max Muscle and walk in.
Once inside, I realized there was nothing to be intimidated about. The two women behind the counter were more than friendly and ready to help me find the things on my list and answer questions. But when Erika Davitch, a sports nutrition coach and business manager of the Max Muscle store, showed me the gigantic container that the protein powder came it, I balked. Was I really going to need all that much? I’m not a huge fan the aftertaste of protein shakes, so this seemed like a big commitment to me. And it came in three flavors. If I picked the wrong one I was doomed for at least a couple months.
Davitch came to the rescue by offering me free samples of all three flavors to take home right then and I could come back to decide on which one to take the plunge with. That problem solved, we moved on to item two on the list: a glutamine powder to help with muscle recovery. This didn’t have flavor options so it was easy. Finally, protein bars—also readily available in various flavors but you could get them individually.
Ok, so if you have a list in hand, this is easy, right?
Well, if you are starting more from scratch, Max Muscle also offers free half-hour nutrition consultations, with no obligation to buy anything in the store. You set up an appointment and one of the trainers will talk with you about your goals and how to achieve them—taking into account whether you want to use supplements or not.
“It’s amazing how much nutrition is key to your fitness success,” said Kelley Spense, the assistant manager. “And of course we think our stuff is best, but you don’t have to use it.”
If you want more than just the half-hour consultation, they also offer 4 to 16 week plans, meeting once or twice a week and customizing the plan to help clients achieve their goals.
Davitch laughed as I confessed my stereotype of the business as just a place to get bulk-up vitamins. “Yeah, it kind of has that image, but it’s so much more than that,” she said. “We have people come in here who don’t want anything to do with supplements; they just want a nutrition plan. Or we have 80-year old women coming here to get their vitamins. It’s all part of the Max Muscle experience.”
About this column: Cherise Curby explores ways to stay fit through local venues