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If you’ve ever walked into a store like GNC or Vitamin Shoppe you may have noticed there are an overwhelming number of supplements on the market. Where do we start if we’re looking to incorporate supplements into our lifestyle?

It’s hard to say. It depends on what your goals are. Many people already take an energy supplement in the form of caffeine via their coffee. Some people take a supplement like Clenbuterol and are stripped of their Tour de France title. If your goal is to be stripped of your Tour de France title then you know where to start.

I decided to talk with some people in the industry. Kristi and Scott McGihon are associated with a company called Advocare which has products for sports performance, weight management, energy, and children’s nutrition.

I asked how they came to be associated with the company.

Kristi: “I was a track and field athlete for eight years after college in the heptathlon. I was also on the U.S. Bobsled Team for two years. I coached and trained throughout my athletic career—for money. There wasn’t that much money in track and field at the time. Near the end of my track and field career a training friend of mine told me about an Advocare supplement she was taking. I looked into it specifically with the intention of talking her out of using it. She sent me a bunch of stuff to read and a sample of the product. After researching it I felt comfortable trying it. My main concern wasn’t so much for my career as for my reputation.”

“I felt the effects of the product immediately. I looked at the people involved in creating it and at the professional athletes who were unpaid supporters of Advocare. I knew I wanted to take a performance supplement to close the gap between myself and the people who actually were cheating. I decided to go for it. Since I was going to be using it so often, Scott and I decided to align ourselves with the company.”

Scott was a swimmer at UC Irvine and until last year was the swimming coach at UCSD.

“I think being a collegiate coach is a great job—for a single person. 80-hour weeks are pretty much normal. I didn’t want to miss my kids growing up. Fortunately I was able to retire while they’re still young.”

Scott credits supplements with increasing his musculature while slightly reducing his waist size. “I always struggled to put on weight. I know, I know, terrible problem to have but as a competitive athlete it is a problem. I was eating 6,000 calories a day and still losing muscle mass.”

The benefits of supplements will be debated for some time to come. There are those who claim they are merely expensive urine. Yet competitive athletes performing at the highest levels couldn’t imagine training without them.

Kristi explained part of the problem. “Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. There is no way to verify what the ingredients of a supplement are. It could be anything. We have an independent lab in London, England test our products for purity and to ensure they are free of over 200 banned substances.”

I asked if this meant they were approved by the Olympic Committee. She laughed. “The Olympic Committee or the NCAA will never approve anything. They’re just not going to put themselves out there like that. What they do is ban substances. All I know is that I was tested seven times as a competitive athlete and came up clean on all of them.”

For those interested in learning more about supplements, Kristi and Scott have created a convention to be held this Saturday at 10:00am at The La Costa Resort and Spa.

“We’re excited because there should be 600-700 people attending. Next week we’re going to Washington DC to discuss health and diet with congressional representatives. We think that when individual citizens have more energy and are in better shape it makes us better as a country.”

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