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New Year. New You. Part Two. Pro Bonus: Stepping Up Your Workouts a Notch

From cleaning our yoga mats and staying safe at the gym, to adding supplements to our regimes, we’ve got you covered with tips from our NSF experts.

As the new year begins, you may be itching to step up your workout routine a notch. Or you may want to start walking, running or recharging your Asana yoga practice. Looking forward, many of us are setting goals for greater results with our workouts. When it comes to fitness, we’ve had it with lockdowns and the COVID-19 cooking frenzy and what it’s done to our waistlines, and we’re eager for an extra edge to boost our best fitness intentions.

From cleaning our yoga mats and staying safe at the gym to adding supplements to our regimes, we’ve got you covered with tips from our NSF experts.

Enter John Travis, Technical Leader for NSF’s Certified for Sport® dietary supplement certification and banned substance screening program. He helps give professional athletes and everyday ones, like me, the reassurance we need that the dietary supplements we choose have been tested and certified for quality, purity and safety. No doubt, if you’re getting back into the exercise groove or ramping your workouts up, you’ll hear a buzz about nutrition drinks, energy bars and protein powders. The sports supplement industry was valued at $13.9 billion in 2018 and is expected to jump to $35.35 billion by 2025.

Caveat: Like other dietary supplements, workout supplements are not regulated for safety, so it’s a good idea to research their effects and ingredients and consult with your physician before adding them to your fitness routine. Here are five tips for safely adding supplements to your workout:

  • Cautionary Tales

    It’s best to approach supplements with caution and consult a physician first, because of their wide variance in ingredient content and dosage. What may be safe for one person could potentially cause adverse effects in another. It’s important to read labels and stay within the manufacturer’s suggested servings.
  • Do Your Homework

    Check out what the FDA has to say on the website of the supplement company you’re considering
  • Learn About the Risks

    Some supplements may contain banned substances that could potentially disqualify student athletes from competition. Others can contain unhealthy or illegal ingredients. Be sure to avoid supplements that:
    • Claim to be an alternative to anabolic steroids, cause rapid weight loss, or treat or cure a disease or health condition
    • Contain high levels of caffeine (more than 200 mg per serving), green tee extract or other stimulants, which can lead to restlessness, anxiety, and racing and/or irregular heartbeat
    • Contain adulterants or unapproved synthetic stimulants, which may appear on product labels as ingredient names like geranium extract or 4-AMP citrate
  • Use Only Certified Products

    To ensure that pre-workout doesn’t contain banned substances, make sure it has been certified by independent testing firms, such as NSF
  • Sugar Busting

    Read labels closely, because a simple but deceptive culprit can be sugar. Be especially careful with smoothies. Various products make claims of ingredients being “all-natural” or “healthy” but commonly contain lots of sugar.

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