Supplements can be the glue that binds your training, nutrition, and recovery. However, if you use them the wrong way, they can also be a corrosive force that leaves you lacking results and underperforming. Or worse yet bad decisions with supplements can make you test positive on a drug test. What you think is your friend are little more than frenemies in disguise. Fortunately, by supplementing the smart way and realizing the most common mistakes, you can turn the tide and enjoy tremendous improvements. Here’s how to avoid the missteps that most beginners make.


Mistake 1: Supplements Replacing The Basics

There simply is no substitute for a healthy diet, consistent exercise, and a quality sleep routine. Get those elements right for at least a month before you think about using supplements.


Mistake 2: Not Reading The Label

Don’t believe craftily constructed marketing campaigns where your favorite influencer tells you about how a certain supplement helped them achieve their like-worthy body. Instead, read the ingredients of the supplement and figure out if you want those in your body. Search for things like sugar and look out for its popular disguises in the form of dextrose, maltodextrin, fructose, and sucrose. If it’s listed first or second, you’re paying a lot for mostly sugar.


Mistake 3: Assuming It’s Safe

The onus is on you to make sure the supplements you’re taking are safe and drug free. If you’re competing or being drug tested in your workplace, then some supplements can get you into serious trouble. Look for third party testing certificates such as the Certified Drug Free program from the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) who have decades of experience in anti-doping and sport drug testing. BSCG offers the Olympic standard in analytical testing to finished product brands, ingredient suppliers, manufacturing facilities, teams, leagues, athletes, and other consumers that want to verify that the quality of products and ingredients meet expectations. This critical information helps ensure ingredients are not contaminated with drugs or other agents that can lead to health concerns or positive drug tests.


Mistake 4: Thinking More Means More

Being greedy won’t get you closer to your goal. Taking double the recommended dose will never give you twice as much muscle or lose twice as much fat. In some cases in can cause unwanted negative side effects or even harm you. Sticking to the supplement manufacturer’s guidelines will help keep you safe and healthy in the long term.


Mistake 5: Not Paying Attention

Try to use one supplement at a time until you know with certainty how it reacts to your body. If you start off with a six-supplement stack, you’ll never know which supplements work and which don’t. Start with one at a time for roughly 3-4 weeks then progress to adding more if your supplements are well tolerated. Keep a journal to help you understand the effects and see if a product is really benefiting you.


Mistake 6: Blindly Taking Advice From Others

Spend 15 minutes researching a supplement and its ingredients before you take it then do the same for the manufacturer who makes it. Do consider the advice of experts like nutritionists, dietitians or coaches as they can guide you to the best choices. It’s best to use supplements with proven efficacy, manufactured at the highest quality with no contaminates that could harm you. Again, to make your supplement choices easier, look for third-party certification like the BSCG Gold Standard seals that include audits on quality and compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices. It’s the peace of mind that will help you avoid making silly mistakes with your supplements and help you enjoy all the improvements an informed supplement routine can deliver to your overall performance.