However a brand, manufacturer, retailer or advertiser wish to dress up a supplement – "sports supplements", "bodybuilding supplements", "dietary supplements", "health supplements", "weight loss supplements", "muscle building supplements" etc. etc. – and the wonder claims associated with such supplements, you must first consider the fact that it's a supplement – something to add.
When considering the above in a food context, successful supplementation will be to fulfill your nutritional requirements. Genetic differences aside, a very basic nutritional example is anyone involved within sports and exercise. The individual's protein and overall calorie requirements will be greater than a sedentary individual of similar weight and size. Although the individual involved in exercise may find it easy to increase their carbohydrates and fat intake at meals, they are inadvertently to consume an extra couple of chicken breasts a day in order to increase their protein consumption. Subsequently, although this individuals calorie intake may have increased slightly (through large carbohydrates and fats), their percentage of protein intake is lower, not greater. Therefore, sometimes the most common form of supplementation is that of a convenient protein shake. Again though, this is to fulfill your nutritional requirements – to have as well as regular food, not instead of / rather than.
Fulfilling your nutritional requirements with, or without, supplementation can make a huge difference to both your training and quality of life. In short, the most important supplements will be your key nutrients, but, in certain circumstances, and depending upon your training and related goals, other supplements can be of benefit.