My take on supplements.
Today I want to talk about supplements.
The supplement industry is a massive 60+ billion dollar machine, and it’s fueled by flashy advertising campaigns that promise fast, almost magical results.
When you’re working hard and are excited about losing fat or gaining muscle, the desire to want to maximize your efforts is, naturally, quite strong. The supplement companies realize that, and they are absolute masters at convincing you that their products are just what you need to reach your goals.
Supplement companies, for the most part, are also full of crap.
Early in my transformation I was guilty of falling into the supplement trap. Just look at that pile of expensive supplements that I’d amassed back in early 2006: pre-workout and post-workout energy/creatine products, “fat burners”, transdermal “fat burners”, NO2 products, natural testosterone boosters, vitamins, amino acids… the list goes on and on. And that’s just what I had on hand that particular day–back in those early days I tried many more products than that.
Back then I used to spend hundreds of dollars every month on supplements. I was always willing to try that exciting new product that promised to take my workouts to the next level, would enable me to become stronger, get leaner…
Here’s what I’ve learned: 95% of that stuff is worthless crap at best, and possibly even harmful to your health.
Yes, harmful. The supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA in the same way that pharmaceutical companies are. As long as supplements don’t claim to “treat, prevent, or cure diseases”, manufacturers of these products can pretty much make any claims that they want. They don’t have to prove the efficacy–or even the safety–of the products they are selling.
Are there worthwhile supplements? Yes, absolutely–but not many.
I’m presently closing in on the end of my 2012 cutting program. I’m at 5.9% body fat, and that’s the leanest I’ve ever been in my life. Would you like to know what supplements I’ve used on this cut?
A daily multivitamin and BCAAs (I also use Nitrean protein powder, but I consider that a food and not a supplement).
That’s is it. That’s the whole list.
In addition to the two supplements I used on this cut, I do feel there are some other worthwhile supplements out there, but the list is very short: fish oil, a joint supplement (Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM) and creatine monohydrate. I’ve also found AtLarge’s ETS (Micro-lactin) to be effective in combating muscle soreness, and AtLarge’s RESULTS (creatine & beta alanine) to be a solid post-workout product while bulking.
Full disclosure: AtLarge Nutrition is a JSF sponsor. I selected AtLarge as a sponsor because their very limited selection of products is–for the most part–in line with my way of thinking.
Folks, the keys to fat loss and/or gaining muscle are proper diet and hard work–not magic pills or powders. Put in the work and save your hard-earned money!
I’ve opened the April “100 Challenge” for entry. Summer is coming, are you ready?