Poorly Written Media Content and Uneducated Store Clerks Hurt the Supplement Industry

by Matt Weik

I was reading over a few articles posted on some different news websites regarding health and fitness when I stumbled upon an article on two websites (the identical article) that truly made me angry. Both Fox News and Reuters published an article by a writer who has no clue what he’s saying when it comes to supplements. This got me thinking about these types of situations along with a few interesting finds from inside the article as well.

If you aren’t a writer in the industry, fact check EVERYTHING you write

In the article, I was reading from these websites, the author spoke about creatine supplements as well as “testosterone.” I have testosterone in quotes because the author of the article is a moron and has no clue what he’s talking about. What he should have said was “testosterone boosters.” The author went on to say how terrible these products are for teens and that they are doing harm to their body. For starters, while I don’t recommend anyone take either of these types of products if under the age of 18, taking creatine by the recommended dosages will still not harm a teen. Testosterone boosters are simply not needed as teens have enough natural testosterone flowing in their body that it simply does not make sense to add any type of natural boosters into the mix.

So, what does an article like this tell the public? The author states that phone calls were made to stores and questions were asked to the clerk. One question was if they (a teenager) can take anything to put on muscle. Many of the clerks said creatine and testosterone (again, my guess would be testosterone boosters, but that was not directly stated in the article). Anyone reading the article would think that nutrition stores are telling kids to use testosterone and steroids and that they can purchase such things at their location. Any non-informed person would lose their mind at the thought of a store selling testosterone/steroids as they are controlled substances and you need a prescription in order to obtain them. Here’s the first black eye from the article.

Store clerks with zero knowledge about supplements, health, and fitness

Have you ever gone into a supplement or nutrition store and spoken to a clerk that looked like he weighed 100 pounds soaking wet with all of his clothing on? Think they are going to give you some good advice on how to put on muscle? Probably not. Not only that, but many clerks out there are just holding down the job, they have no interest in learning anything about the products or ingredients let alone anything about the industry—it’s simply a paycheck for them.

The second black eye comes from the store clerks recommending these products to the teens when they should know on the label of all products mentioned, it states do not consume if under the age of 18. Whoever owns those locations called should take the employee into the back room and beat them with a broom. During the hiring and orientation process it should be made loud and clear that not all products sold in the store can be taken by everyone. In fact, MOST sports nutrition products on the market don’t recommend anyone under the age of 18 to be using them. That’s pretty common practice in the industry. So, the fact that a clerk is recommending AND selling the product to minors should open up some eyes and raise some questions. That part of the article I agree with and it should never happen.

What’s the take home message?

Just like with politics, there are multiple ways to look at things. How you read and decipher information from an article is generally going to be based off of your existing knowledge of the subject. If you don’t know any better and read a completely biased article or one that has a clear agenda, you might walk away from that article thinking the complete opposite of what’s truly the reality.

Don’t be taken as a fool by reading an article from someone who isn’t an expert in their industry or at their craft. Just like I wouldn’t write articles on sewing, I wouldn’t expect someone with 54% body fat to be writing articles about how to get in shape. So, please take the things you read with a grain of salt. If you are bothered by something you read, do more research on it to find out if it’s indeed true or if someone has an agenda to push where they want to give out bad information to scare people away from doing or thinking certain things.