I write diets for people on a daily basis. I’m always asked while sitting with a client what supplements I use. To be honest I’ve never been a big supplement user. I believe pretty much everything I need can be obtained through food.
Here are a few observations I’ve made with the supplements that I have tried.
Glutamine – did absolutely nothing.
Leucine – did absolutely nothing.
BCAA’s – did absolutely nothing. It did make water taste nice though.
L-Carnatine – did absolutely nothing.
Chromium – did absolutely nothing.
Beta Alanine – did nothing other than make my skin feel disgusting.
AAKG / Arginine – did absolutely nothing.
HMB – did absolutely nothing.
Tribulus – did absolutely nothing.
Fat Burners (any of them) – made me piss a lot for the first few days and that’s about it.
Peptides – IGF1 / MGF did absolutely nothing. CJC1295 made my belly pinch go from 5mm up to 12mm after 2 shots and took close to 3 months to get it back down. GHRP 6+2 I stopped after 2 shots after learning how GHRP 6 stimulates the obesity hormone. Strangely enough I wasn’t interested in getting fat!
When I say did absolutely nothing I literally mean nothing happened. Not only did my body not change in any visual way, there were no changes through any body testing measurements. My training also had no significant change, other than what was expected through following my program. If these products cause better protein synthesis, muscle growth, hormone increases blah blah blah then there should have been some visible or measurable change. This is what the supplement companies are telling me. But nothing happened. Nothing!
I tried correct dosing, over dosing, specific timing, stacking. I tried every way that was recommended by the supplement company. I even tried what people were saying on forums and nothing happened.
I don’t care what unseen biochemical processes may occur in the body by using these products. They didn’t do anything that I could see, feel or outwardly measure.
Unless before taking a supplement to increase hormone levels, you get a blood test to see what levels you actually have, then a blood test after taking the supplement to see where your levels are again, you have absolutely no idea what is going on inside your body. You also have absolutely no idea if the supplement even did anything. How you feel can be all in your head.
While taking the supplement did you start to eat cleaner and train harder due to the placebo of having a chemical in your body? Perhaps the changes are due to finally eating and training properly and not the over the counter supplement.
Creatine on a high carb diet did make me look and feel fuller. With that said I didn’t train any different, get any better pumps, have more energy or lift any more weight.
Pre workouts – anything with cheap nasty caffeine or other chemical stimulants did nothing more than give me splitting headaches and made me fall asleep during the workout. Followed by a come-down feeling after the shit workout.
Intra workout formulas gave no boost in energy and usually made me feel like I wanted to sleep. After a few weeks of use and body fat tests, I would also pinch fatter.
Pumping products / Nitric Oxide boosters gave me no greater pump than when I trained normally. If you can’t pump a muscle through weights and reps without the help of a bunch of chemicals to force fluid and blood into the muscle, then you’re seriously doing something wrong.
A few of them actually destroyed all pumps. Where I would pump through normal training, if I took these products, I would literally not pump. They seem to have the reverse effect on me. When I didn’t take them I not only trained better than when I did, I also got better pumps.
WPC / WPI / Casein powders – I have never noticed a difference between taking any of them. Saying that WPI is more bioavailable and absorbs quicker than WPC or Casein means absolutely nothing. I have no idea how quickly my body absorbs or uses any of them to start with so saying one is better than the other is pointless. I have spent periods of time taking one or the other and noticed no difference in training or my body. I mainly use casein these days because I like how it mixes into custard. Have I gained more muscle because I use casein before bed and it apparently helps stop muscle break down due to the slow absorption? No.
Am I a doctor? I wish. Am I a scientist? No. Am I even smart? Ha! Hell no. I don’t claim to understand how the body works and what happens when I put certain micro / macronutrients or chemicals into it. I don’t particularly care either. Knowing how the M-Tor pathways work or which amino acid causes what reaction isn’t going to help me move weight from point A to point B.
So with my simpleton mind I read the basic claims of the supplement and look at what apparently happens when I take it. If I’m being promised muscle growth, crazy pumps, unrivalled energy and focus but getting none of these, then I’m sorry but I’m saying the product is bogus.
Those product descriptions are awesome. I don’t think there is a supplement available that I can’t read the label and get excited and think, “I need this in my life!” Only to remember that they all say the same thing with the same outrageous guarantees that never happen.
I’m not saying all supplements are BS. Magnesium and Vitamin C are two things that I have found to have a massive positive effect on muscle soreness and recovery so I will always use them. But most of them are. I’m talking more about traditional “bodybuilding” supplements. I’ll admit I haven’t tried many of them simply because I now refuse to waste good money on something that I know wont even come close to the manufacturers claims. Eat good food, train hard and heavy and the rest will take care of itself.
The two things that have affected my body more than anything else over my years of training are: training and food. When my training is progressing and I’m able to push my body to the limit of what it can do, I look my best. When I can’t train properly for whatever reason, I look worse. When I increase or decrease my food there is a noticeable change in my weight, conditioning and how I look. If that change is positive or negative directly relates back to my training. No supplement I’ve taken has ever had mind blowing results. So I don’t use them. It all comes back to my training and food.
I have said many times before that steroids don’t fix bad training. If drugs can’t fix it, then a legal over the counter supplement certainly wont. Quit wasting money on branch chains, pre / intra / post drinks, hormone boosters, fat burners, N02 boosters and other useless supplements that are nothing more than a $100 placebo. Buy some nice food and go lift some heavy weights.
If a car engine modification promises extra horsepower and none is gained, then the modification is considered useless. For some reason in the supplement game, even though no measurable or noticeable gains are achieved, a supplement can still be considered beneficial and even essential. How does that work?
This is not intended to spark a debate about what works and what doesn’t. If you’ve found supplements that have worked wonders with massive strength gains and noticeable differences and you now resemble Ronnie Coleman, then fantastic. Me? Unfortunately I still look like me and I’d rather not spend money to look like me. I’m trying my best to not look like me and supplements didn’t do anything to help that.
So I don’t use them.