Gym Supplements in Canada: Here’s What You Need to Know

Icy Canada Team
Icy Canada TeamJune 24, 2022
Updated 2023/09/02 at 10:20 AM
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by MilanMarkovic78 / unlimphotos

In 2016, the supplement industry was worth around 122 billion USD. This value has grown by leaps and bounds since then. One of the major sub-categories of supplements is workout supplements, which are further broken down into pre-and post-workout supplements, usually in the form of ready-to-drink shakes, powders, and pills. Pre-workout supplements are the most popular type of supplements in circulation and were projected to hit a market value of 13.89 billion USD in 2020 and increase to about 23.77 billion USD in 2027.

Many blogs and fitness gurus push gym supplements as necessities for improved physical performance, muscle growth and maintenance, and weight loss. In fact, gym supplements are so widely used and publicized that one can’t imagine working out without them. But are they that important to exercise, and what do they bring to the table? Let’s find out more on that below:

Steroids vs. Supplements

Although supplements and steroids tread similar lines of physical improvement, they are distinct in and of themselves. Steroids are classified as controlled substances and undergo rigorous oversight, unlike supplements considered safer and more effective. So, can you buy steroids in Canada? Yes, but they are only manufactured and sold by licensed pharmaceuticals.

Why are Steroids Controlled?

Steroids are artificial derivatives of testosterone, a hormone found in male humans. The substance was initially designed to treat medical conditions regarding reproductive problems, inflammation of body joints and promote musculoskeletal growth. Steroids are typically administered via topical application, injection or ingestion.

While the substance is easily one of the wonders of modern medicine, its usage is controlled and overseen due to unethical usage. Steroids produce a unique protein synthesis that boosts body strength and increases muscle mass, giving users a competitive edge over non-users. This is why the substance has no place in sports and is frowned on in bodybuilding communities.


Unlike steroids, supplements have a more natural origin, stemming from naturally occurring ingredients and nutrients and designed to complement vital compounds in the body that may be unattainable by regular feeding. The only similarity between steroids and supplements is that they improve endurance, strength, and muscle mass. However, supplements pose little to no risk to health, and are generally more available under multiple categories.

Supplements are categorized based on their nutritional value, and you can easily find one that meets specific health needs, like vitamin supplements to improve vitamin levels in the body, or protein supplements, used in bodybuilding to repair and build muscle, among others.

Should You Buy Supplements, and are they allowed in Canada?

In Canada, supplements fall under National Health Products (NHPs) and are considered non-prescription medications. The NHP regulations of 2004 describe such medications as probiotics, homeopathic medicines, minerals and vitamins, traditional medicines (e.g., traditional Chinese medicines), herbal remedies, and other products, such as essential fatty acids (EFAs) and amino acids.

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published research stating that pre-workout supplements provided ergogenic aid to gym users. In simpler terms, they improve the performance levels of active individuals, helping them avoid burnout at the gym.

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