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Workout smart: nutrition first, supplements last

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- As Airmen strive to build muscle mass, increase speed and endurance, and improve overall health, supplements that are promised to provide drastic results can become the go to for those looking to gain an edge.
Although some supplements may provide a boost, individuals taking these products should make sure they understand how to properly use the supplements, what’s contained in the ingredients, actual versus desired effects, and possible reactions that could occur while taking the supplement.
“Individuals should do their research before purchasing and taking supplements,” said Maj. Elizabeth Sarnoski, 86th Medical Operations Squadron mental health flight commander. “They should also make sure that the effect of taking the supplement is within realistic expectations. It’s important to know what you are putting your money into and what the cost may be to your health.”
One issue with the use of store-bought workout enhancers is the ease of access with little to no regulation.
“The problem with these products is that people can go straight to the store and get them off the shelf,” said Sarnoski. “These products aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which could pose a threat to health.”
Instead of relying heavily on protein powders, pre-workout mixes and other fitness supplements, athletes should focus on proper nutrition.
“The key to maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle is always going to be nutrition first,” said Capt. Miriam Seville, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron nutrition program manager. “Workout supplements shouldn’t replace proper meals, diets or fitness programs.”
Information on different substances, ingredients, workouts and more, can be found on the Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC) website that also contains the Operation Supplement Safety High-Risk Supplement List.
The HPRC is a Department of Defense initiative under the Force Health Protection and Readiness Program with goal of total force fitness.
“There is no getting around hard work,” said Seville. “If somebody wants a fast track to a result, they may be inclined to take supplements which could harm them. When you think of Olympic athletes, they may take supplements, but their diets are (perfect) and they train like crazy. In the end it’s how you’re using your body and how you’re feeding you’re body that counts.”
For more information, visit www.hprc-online.org or call the Health Promotion Officer at DSN 480-4292