The 5 Most Overrated Supplements – Mind Pump

Check out the Mind Pump Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways (The 5 Most Overrated Supplements)

  • 1) Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
  • 2) Fat Burners
  • 3) Nitric oxide boosters
  • 4) Testosterone boosters
  • 5) Collagen protein 

Supplements Mentioned (Besides the Overrated Ones)


  • Mind Pump consists of Sal Di Stefano (IG: @mindpumpsal), Adam Schafer (IG: @mindpumpadam) and Justin Andrews (IG:@mindpumpjustin)
    • The trio have 50 years of combined fitness experience as personal trainers

First, Know This

  • “Diet, exercise, and lifestyle make up 98% of pretty much any result you’re gonna get; the other 2% comes from effective supplements” Sal Di Stefano

Most Overrated Supplement #1: Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

  • Sure, a small percentage of the population might find them useful, particularly those working out twice a day and having a hard time hitting their protein intake
  • The BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine (they’re all essential amino acids—your body can’t produce them on its own)
    • Complete protein sources (i.e., meat, milk, tofu, soy, etc.) contain these amino acids in high amounts
  • “Because BCAAs are essential, if your overall protein intake is low, supplementing will probably yield you some benefits” Sal Di Stefano
    • If you’re vegan, for instance, it might be a good idea to supplement
  • “If your protein intake is relatively high [0.6-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight], branched-chain amino acid supplements are a complete and utter waste of money”Sal Di Stefano
  • Also: too many BCAAs can cause competition for critical neurotransmitters in the brain, leading many to feel depressed and tired

Most Overrated Supplement #2: Fat Burners

  • Fat burners contain ephedrine, caffeine, and other stimulants that don’t cause fat loss per se, but rather suppress appetite
    • Also, the excess caffeine causes more twitching/non-exercise movement throughout the day, leading to more calorie burn
  • Given the above, a fat burner can help you lose weight, but because you’re likely to build up a high tolerance to the stimulants, you’ll feel like CRAP after you stop taking it
  • Also: Excess stimulant use causes cortisol (the stress hormone) to rise, leading to muscle loss

Most Overrated Supplement #3: Nitric Oxide Boosters

  • For background, nitric oxide is a compound that relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow
  • Nitric oxide supplements are marketed to help people get a better “pump” in the gym by increasing blood nitric oxide levels. However, there’s no proof an exogenous supplement can increase blood levels of nitric oxide. 
  • If you’re trying to get a better pump in the gym, just drink a half-gallon of water a few hours before your workout

Most Overrated Supplement #4: Testosterone Boosters

  • “What people don’t understand is that, if you already have normal levels of testosterone, a testosterone booster won’t put you above your normal range. It’s a waste of money for somebody whose testosterone is already normal.” Adam Schafer
    • That said, if you have low testosterone, a booster might help (although the effect likely won’t be permanent—after a few months, your body will re-adapt)
  • The BEST ways to boost your testosterone:
    • Eat whole foods
    • Strength train
    • Get adequate sleep
    • Minimize stress
  • Many people claim that testosterone boosters increase libido (but that doesn’t mean they’re increasing testosterone) 

Most Overrated Supplement #5: Collagen Protein

  • Collagen protein comes from collagen sources (i.e., tendon, ligaments, bones, etc.)
    • Many claim it improves skin, hair, and nail health, but it only does so in people eating low protein diets—ANY protein source would do the same thing 
  • Similar to BCAAs, if your protein intake is adequate, collage protein doesn’t do anything special
  • If you’re looking to increase your protein intake with a supplement, go with whey or egg protein, not collagen—these protein sources have superior amino acid profiles
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