The answer to that question, my friends, is "yes, so here’s the latest in the 11 Laws of Nutrition, a series designed to get you thinking about what, why and how you eat. Hopefully, itll inspire you to take all the hard work and commitment you use on the exercise mat and transfer it to the placemat. Here is law No. 9. (And, in case you missed the others, here are No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 , No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8)
People often ask me, Tony, if you eat like a king with a diet full of organic, free-range, homegrown, farmers’ market food, four or five meals a day, why do you still need to add supplements?
The answer is simple. You dont. That is, of course, provided you live in a magical fairy land free of toxins and stress, where you can be 100% sure that the perfect meals you eat fit your exact needs. Also, you need to make sure that you dont exercise too hard. If your life fits all this criteria, then no supplementation for you! Enjoy your time on the other side of the rainbow. Here on planet Earth, we need supplements to make the most of our lives.
Believe me, when it comes to healthy eating, I walk my talk. I do my best to use only the finest raw materials — and I have the resources to do a great job of it. But for all my good intentions, sometimes Im still stuck in an airport with nothing but roasted nuts, a bag of baked chips and a bottle of water to get me through the next four hours. Not many micronutrients goin on in that exchange. Its nice to know I can always use that water to wash down a multivitamin as an insurance plan.
Furthermore, as much as I love technology, I dont run numbers on every single thing I eat and drink. I cannot say for certain that I get every vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient, enzyme, fatty acid, amino acid, acid rock, acid jazz and acid du jour that I need. And even if I were scoring straight As with my RDAs, there are all kinds of external issues that either drain you of nutrients or get in the way of their absorption. Stress, toxins, lack of sleep — these things can be problems. (So can alcohol and caffeine for that matter, but these arent issues for me ’cause Tony dont play that game.)
So, in this hectic modern world, we need a safety net to ensure were getting the nutrition necessary for survival.
But thats not the primary reason I supplement, given that Im not interested in surviving. Im interested in thriving — as Im sure you are. We push ourselves harder, jump higher and run faster than the average bear. We make the most out of this fantastic bag of muscle, skin, bone and organs we call our body. Why do professional athletes, gymnasts, football players, basketball players and lacrosse players kick ass? Is it purely because they eat three squares a day? Do you really think they got that way based on food alone? No way. If you want to perform, if you want to be athletic, if you want your muscles and your tendons and your ligaments to heal rapidly enough so that you can come back and do it day in and day out, then you’re going to need supplementation.
But when youre downing that creatine, multivitamin, Shakeology or whatever else youre using, remember that its only half the equation. Its a supplement, meaning it supplements whatever food you put in your body, even the super-healthy stuff. When you combine the two, you greatly reduce your risk of illness and disease. Nutritious foods and the right supplements can assist in lowering fat stores, losing weight, increasing energy, recovering from workouts and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints. They can also promote psychological health.
Supplementation is a crucial tool for building a better body, for pushing to the next level. Yes, its important to eat like a king or queen, but you shouldnt stop there. It might be good enough, but since when has good enough been part of your vocabulary? Its certainly not part of mine!