What are the SUPPLEMENT Progression Levels for an Effective SUPPLEMENT Regime?
Updated: Sep 19
Supplement science has progressed dramatically in the last 20 years. We have supplements for almost everything, including accelerating fat loss, muscle gain, increasing focus, amplifying post workout pumps, sleeping better, combating stress, etc. With so many types of supplements around, how to make our Supplement Regime effective? Also, is there a scientifically recommended progression to be followed for getting the most out of supplements? Using the power of science, let's uncover the various Levels of Supplementation comprising Macro Supplementation and Micro Supplementation and when to progress from Basic to Advance levels.
What are MACRONUTRIENTS?
Nutrients required in large amounts in the diet are called Macronutrients. Nutrients that the human body needs in amounts greater than 10 grams a day are classified as Macronutrients.
What are MICRONUTRIENTS?
Nutrients required in small amounts in the diet are called Micronutrients. Nutrients that the human body needs in amounts less than 10 grams a day are classified as Micronutrients.
Supplements complement our Diet when we cannot obtain the required quantity or quality of Nutrients from Food alone.
#Type 1/ Level 1:
Macronutrients form the basis or type 1/level 1 of the supplement progression levels. That means, before moving on to the higher levels, it's critical to ensure our Macronutrient quality and quantity is adequate to meet our body demands.
Type 1/ Level 1 supplements include:
Pure protein supplements like whey, casein, egg protein etc.
Weight gainer supplements.
Meal replacement: As the name suggests, it not only supplements our meal but also has total potential to replace it.
Pure carb supplements like waxy maize starch, vitargo etc.
#Type 2/ Level 2:
Micronutrients form type 2/ level 2 of the supplement progression levels. Ideally, we should be at this level after ensuring all our Macronutrients needs (quality and quantity) are fulfilled.
Type 2/ Level 2 supplements include:
Vitamin supplements like vitamin C, vitamin E, multivitamins etc.
B complex supplements.
Magnesium, zinc, iron supplements.
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements.
Trace elements supplements like selenium, chromium, manganese, molybdenum etc.
#Type 3/ Level 3:
Standalone amino acids form type 3/level 3 of the supplement progression levels. Ideally, we should be at this level after ensuring all our Macronutrients and Micronutrients needs (quality and quantity) are met. Type 3/ Level 3 supplements include:
BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine): The human body cannot produce these; hence, these are called essential amino acids. Therefore, we are entirely dependent on food and supplements for all three branched-chain amino acids.
L-Glutamine: The human body can produce this but in limited quantities only. Hence this is categorised as a conditionally essential amino acid.
L-Arginine: The human body can produce this but in limited quantities. Therefore, this too is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid.
When we workout, the conditionally essential amino acid needs of the body increases. The body may not be able to produce conditionally essential amino acids in higher quantities. That is when we need to supplement with Conditionally Essential Amino Acids.
#Type 4/ Level 4:
Ergogenic Supplements form type 4/ level 4 of the supplement progression levels. These supplements enhance performance by stretching limits to Supraphysiological Levels. Ideally, we should be at this level after ensuring all our Macronutrient, Micronutrient, and Standalone Amino Acid needs (quality and quantity) are fulfilled.
Type 4/ Level 4 supplements include:
Beta Alanine etc.
#Type 5/ Level 5:
Thermogenic Supplements form type 5/ level 5 of the supplement progression levels. These are intended to reduce body fat in various ways—some help curbing appetite while others help promote fat to be used as fuel.
Type 5/ Level 5 Supplements include Fat Burners.
Importance of the SUPPLEMENT PROGRESSION LEVELS PYRAMID:
Not many people follow a scientific approach to Supplementation. It results in poor results or no results at all. For example, if a beginner deficient in Macronutrient(s) has a Fat Burner, it may result in very little or absolutely no fat burn. It may take us years to reach level 5. The point is to be at the correct level considering our lifestyle, training and goals.
Also, Supplementation does not mean an excess of nutrients. Excess of anything, including Supplementation, is wrong. Supplementation refers to the correct dosage of nutrients to overcome the deficits.
We need to scientifically plan our approach to Supplementation using the Supplement Progression Levels Pyramid.
The key is to correctly assess the level we are on and then progress to the next level.
Using the Supplement Progression Levels correctly, we can maximise the results and ensure optimum return on investment in terms of time, effort and money.
Now we understand how to make our Supplement Regime effective using the Supplement Progression Levels Pyramid.
What level do you think you are on? Use the Supplement Progression Levels Pyramid to assess your current and next level of Supplementation.