Article by: Georgina Pekin
Photography by: Sienna Hagedorn
If you’ve gone to a gym in recent years, you’ve probably seen or heard about the various types of protein shakes and supplements that are taken after workouts. It’s no secret that professional bodybuilders and athletes take these supplements, but many regular athletes including high school students have invested in these products as well. The popularity of supplements like these has increased immensely in the past decade. Flip through any exercise magazine and you’ll see vast attention on protein supplements, making it apparent that these supplements and fitness go hand in hand. Annual sales of sport nutrition products in the US is over $2.7 billion, according to Consumer Reports. Whether you want gain or lose weight, slim down or maintain, there are options for almost all desired fitness goals.
However the question is raised, what actually are bodybuilding supplements, how much of an impact do they have, and are they worthwhile? Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding and athletics. They can be used in replacement of meals, to gain or lose weight, or improve athletic performance. Protein supplements are designed to promote increased muscle mass when combined with regular exercise. They’re usually in the form of pills, or a powder formula that can be mixed with water, milk or fruit juices. Protein powders comes in various forms, with the three most common being Whey, Soy, and Casein protein.
Like most artificial substances, there is still concern whether protein supplements are bad for our bodies. This can be true if the instructions are not followed, and supplements are taken in unnaturally high doses. For example, athletes are advised to never take more than 30 grams of whey protein at once. Another more controversial issue surrounding these types of supplements are the age at when they’re most appropriate to be consumed. For a variety of reasons based on legitimate research about protein supplements, the Physical Education department do not condone in anyway the use of supplements at ISM. High school PE teacher, Mr. Dodd gave Bamboo Telegraph a summary of where this decision came from and why this it is in the best interest of our students. Mr. Dodd states that “Most products are designed for ‘adults’ certainly age 18+. Metabolisms of developing teenagers differ greatly from adults. Also the relatively small muscle mass of teenagers mean that it’s very difficult for the body to synthesise the excess protein in these powder supplements, causing negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and kidney problems.” Mr. Dodd assured that the understanding of the effects of protein supplements on teenagers is valid and well researched. He states that while still a teen, “Eat smart and exercise each day, and you’ll never need these to bulk up or look good.”