Article By Paul Shortland
In business these days you need to diversify and spread yourself to be able to attract enough customers to make money.
Take my local gym, not only does it have the usual affair of dumbbells, cross trainers and benches followed by a plethora of machines but it also caters for Weightlifters. It has fraction plates, Jerk blocks and four Olympic Lifting platforms, along with high quality bars and a coach who specialises in Olympic Lifting.
It all adds to their ability to attract different customers.
"The Same Goes For Supplement Companies"
This is also true of companies who make supplements. I used to work for a manufacturing company as a quality control scientist. I got to enjoy testing various powders and new products not only for nutritional content but taste, appearance and even effectiveness.
But this was what they had diversified into, in the same manufacturing area (sometimes the same machine) we would be making herbal remedies, powders or tablets for a different customer base with different restrictions and requirements.
If you look at the WADA list of banned materials or those of concern, you could be tricked into assuming that all of these chemicals were manufactured in some high-tech lab with machines who have whirling and moving parts powered by geo-acrostic-fluctuations like some steampunk fantasy gone chrome.
This is normal, but sadly it is also wrong. The vast majority of these banned substances start life as stuff we already produce in our bodies or can grow. Penicillin comes from a mold that grows on things like bread and oranges!
Even the humble testosterone can be called various things scientifically (Androst-4-en-17beta-ol-3-one or C19H28O2). So suddenly this list (while it seems very high-tech) actually can be broken down into more humble origins.
Introducing Informed Sport
While the company I worked for did a thorough clean down of the machines between uses, you cannot guarantee that nothing passes over. This is where Informed Sport comes in.
Think of them as the BWL for your club or WADA for the Olympic bodies. They make sure that if they put the stamp on it that it is at a specific standard and meets set criteria for tractability, profile of materials, sourcing and tests carried out. Simply, they want to know it is what you claim it to be.
This involves a large amount of man power, analytical power and specialist knowledge not only to enforce but to follow, hence the steep price tag for most products that bear the name “Informed Sport” on its packaging. One tub of BCAAs can be £5 but that same make with the informed sport tag on it goes up to £15.
But Is It Worth It?
This strict enforcement and guidance gives you, as an athlete, the security that those supplements are at a standard that WADA approves of and gives you the protection that you can’t be caught out from “rouge supplements”.
The big question for most normal people will be one “is it worth it given the chances of being caught out?”. Statistically, the chances are that you won’t. Things have moved on and gotten better in the world of supplements, however, there still is going to be odd instances where people will get caught out or put on a watch list for no reason other than a doggy sup’.
If, like me you know your l-phenylalthronine from your d-aspartic acid you may be tempted to create your own supplements from high grade materials based upon what is on the label of your favourite supplement. I know a fair few people who do this among them are fairly respectable individuals.
What You Should Do
All I will say is this. I still get my supplements from a reputable company with the Informed Sport stamp on, and my advice is that you do the same. There is often more that is NOT included on the label than you realise, and there is a large amount of work done before it reaches your hands.
So, if you are a competitive athlete with Olympic goals in mind. Don’t risk it. Pay the extra or even better, get your sponsor to get them for you.
For everyone else, feel free to get that own brand supplement, generally it is just as effective as something double the price.