Its thirty minutes before you’re due to attend the gym for your weekly chest session. You add 2 scoops of your favourite pre workout supplement to your shaker cup and fill with cold water, watching as the powder comes to life and a fluorescent green liquid fills the cup. You know this radio active looking substance will give you an energy kick and help you squeeze out a few more repetitions at the gym, but what else is it doing to your body?
Although many weight lifting supplements are effective in helping you realise your training goals, they might also be linked with several serious side effects. With products ranging from stimulants to hormone boosters how much do we really know about these supplements and the long term as well as the immediate, short term impacts which they could be having on your body? Obviously, supplements aren’t made available without testing and strict guidelines, but research relating to the possible effects of such supplements over lengthy periods of time are inconsistent and inconclusive to say the least.
Here at FitnessBeans we recognise the importance of proper nutrition and understand that supplements play a huge part in achieving this. Subsequently, this article should not be considered a scare tactic, but more so an informative guide to highlight several negative effects associated with the excessive use of weight lifting supplements.
This reported effect is linked in particular with creatine supplementation. Previous research has identified that creatine can actually be the cause of both muscular cramps and strains. Furthermore, when consumed alongside stimulants, as is often the case, this enhances energy levels and might serve to give a false impression that an individual can actually lift more than they are physically capable of. This mismatch and judgement of error can ultimately result in injury.
This is correlated with elevated protein intake and makes particular reference to supplements which serve the purpose of providing high protein levels through their usage. Excessive, high supplementation over a lengthy period of time may bring about or enhance kidney related conditions. This is because the kidneys are responsible for processing the by products of protein metabolism. Excessive protein consumption may therefore place heightened stress on this particular vital organ.
Whilst the previous points consider the potential dangers of creatine and protein supplementation independently, liver dysfunction is correlated with the use of either or both of these popular supplements. Long term creatine usage has been hypothesised as a cause of liver problems whilst excessive use of high protein supplements has been thought to both exacerbate existing liver problems as well as enhancing the potential risk for liver dysfunction in the future.
The consumption of excessive amounts of any food and drink, not just weight lifting supplements, has the potential to bring about unwanted short and long term impacts on the body. Even fruit and vegetables in excessive amounts can be damaging! The key is to strike a balance and this rule also rings true for supplements.
Problems such as musculoskeletal injuries, kidney damage and liver dysfunctions are all associated with excessive use and can easily be avoided. As a result, these conditions should not overly concern you, but instead teach you to use supplements sensibly and responsibly. The guidelines are there for a reason and should be followed and respected at all times. Remember, if you can lift 100kg with 2 scoops, you won’t be able to lift 200kg with 4 scoops!
Provided you follow the guidelines and cease use immediately if you notice any unwanted symptoms, then supplementing should bring you nothing but success in the gym.