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Supplement Shopping: How to Choose

By Roger Lockridge

The supplement industry used to be an industry that was supported by few people that followed what was perceived to be cult sports like bodybuilding and weightlifting. Today with well over 1,000 recognized brands and fitness becoming more of a part of pop culture, the supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar business. You used to have to go shopping to some special store that only sold these massive jugs and bottles. Now they are on major websites and you can even get them at your local supercenter. More products coming out every day which is promoted and marketed to be “the one”. The one that is going to take you, the customer, to a new level of physique development. New ads coming out daily with hyperbolic statements and pictures of the hottest models or most jacked dudes trying to get you to buy whatever they’re selling.

With so many supplement brands, products, and all of this marketing surrounding you, it can be difficult to make reasonable decisions if you’re trying to buy supplements for the first time of if you’re considering a new brand. Here are some suggestions for you to consider the next time (or the first time) you go shopping for supplements.

Speak to Your Physician

This is step 1 and don’t even consider step 2 until you’ve done it. Regardless of whatever advice you see here, in another article, or anywhere else, the fact is no one would know specifically what you can and can’t take better than your doctor. Experts don’t know what your body as an individual can take and what you might have an allergic reaction to. Supplements are designed to help you but it’s impossible for a brand manufacturer to know your particular issues if you have any. So set up an appointment and talk to your physician about what you’re considering and get sound and professional advice that you can benefit from before you even log on or go shopping for supplements.

Shop Based on Your Goals

If you weigh 110 pounds and you’re trying to gain 30 pounds of muscle, then what should you buy? What if you consider yourself overweight and you’re trying to lose bodyfat? Both of these situations require different types of supplements. The person trying to gain muscle would have no business using a fat burner. Mass formulas might not be the best option for anyone focusing on weight loss. There are supplements that everyone can benefit from regardless of goals like a multivitamin, protein powder, and fish oils. However as you start to get more specific to your needs, you’ll find that you need to be more careful choosing what you want to use to help you improve. Learn what ingredients are designed for your goals and keep your options to those choices.

Spend Time Vetting Brand You’re Considering

There is a chance that as you’re checking out brands, one or two are going to keep leaping out at you for a variety of reasons. Perhaps their logos are cool or you like the way they design their ads or you follow someone in the bodybuilding community that works with that brand. Maybe a bunch of people at your gym are using the same one. Whether it’s for any of those reasons or another, eventually you’ll choose one brand or maybe two to start using for yourself. This is where you have to investigate to be assured you made the right choice.

Have you ever heard how presidential candidates look for a running mate and people they consider are “vetted”? Vetting basically means that the person being considered is checked out and researched so there are no issues that would stand in the way of him or her doing the job should they get elected. You as the customer need to do your own “vetting” of the brand you’re considering.

How do you do this? Find out how long they have been in business, where are their products available, have they had any recalled, and make sure you read customer reviews. Most websites that sell supplements have a place where verified customers can give their thoughts. There are also expert reviews from well-known people in the industry that share their opinions honestly since they have no ties to the brand. All of this information can either verify what you believe or help you avoid making a big mistake.

Don’t Go Cheap when shopping

This is going to be the most difficult step for many people reading this and it’s understandable why. It’s simple to be out shopping at the grocery store. See some supplements that they now carry that are a lot cheaper than you see at your local vitamin store or even online and toss them in the cart. As tempting as it can be to save a few bucks here and there, this is one instance where the phrase rings true. “You get what you pay for.”

Going cheap on your supplements isn’t going to help you in the long run because they won’t serve you as well as other products that have more invested in them so the result will be – well, no results. This can be frustrating to say the least. So rather than try to save money now and find out later that you actually wasted it, decide that you’re going to spend that few extra bucks on yourself by buying the supplements you found to be considered the top of the line. And have the positive reviews to back it up.


In an industry where many different brands are offering so many different products and they are all struggling against each other for your attention, it can be a little overwhelming to say the least. Remember that at the end of the day, you need supplements that will help you reach your goals. So make your decisions with these thoughts in mind. Getting professional advice based on your medical history, learning what will help you, finding quality brands, and investing wisely are all ways you can be assured that what you buy and put in your body will help you.

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