Before I knew how to see the best gains I’ve ever seen, I watched the big guys at the gym, thinking if I did what they did I would get their mass. You know what it’s like, you see the same guy at the gym daily and wonder how he got so fit.
I tried new exercises.
I increased the weight I was lifting.
I spent extra time in the gym.
I still didn’t see any gains.
After about a month, I asked one of the guys. “What do you do to get so big?” He told me it was all about the supplements. He gave me some pointers and told me to head on over the nutrition supplement store. I went right after the gym. I couldn’t wait to pack on some mass.
I got inside the store and was overwhelmed. I even had a list. There were products with flashy labels and some of them contained many of the things on my list.
Did I get them individually? Did I need them all? Did I need the one that burned fat or the one that improved my endurance? I'll just the one that advertises to make me the biggest. I'm sure it's true, I'll look exactly like the guy in this Twitter photo if I take the one he uses!
I didn’t know what to do. I left there with an empty bank account and bags full of supplements.
I stuck with it, following the directions of the big guys at the gym and the cashier at the supplement store. I didn’t see the gains I was expecting. I was disappointed and decided I wasn’t meant to lift heavy.
Then about 3am, I sat straight up in bed.
It’s not meant to depend on, it’s meant to enhance. What was I enhancing with these supplements? I dozed back off dreaming of macronutrients with pitchforks. That dream changed the way I packed on mass.
You’ve been reading just waiting to find out what my secret is. It’s the single best way to pack on mass. It has the least risk with the most benefit. It’s affordable. It’s simple and healthy.
Eat your nutrients.
Eat protein. Eat fat. Eat carbohydrates.
You can’t rely on supplements. Those are meant to supplement nutrition if you aren’t able to intake enough. Those are meant to help maintain function for those who can’t get the needed nutrients.
In the body building world, it isn’t uncommon to see the big guys with a supplement stack. It is also not uncommon to hear them swearing by the use of a certain “pre-workout” or protein powder. For example "undisputed_athlete" below.
These supplements are stated to have serious benefits and to help gain muscle mass. Often readily available and without any regulation, supplements are not approved by the FDA nor are there studies that prove the claims on those flashy labels.
While supplements are nutrients that occur in your body naturally, they are man made. They are made in factories that produce large amounts of these products without regulatory environments. Would you take a medication that was not approved by the FDA? Would you eat food that wasn’t regulated by the USDA? Yea. I wouldn’t either.
So why is everyone so quick to jump to supplements?
They’re easy. They give you what you need without you having to know what’s in the food that you are putting into your body. Why bother with how many ounces of meat and veggies you’re eating when you can just get it all in a pill?
Let’s take a look at the three most commonly recommended supplements.
Creatine claims to enhance athletic performance. Supplement makers state that creatine will give you more energy during your workouts and therefore, increase your muscular endurance. While some people using creatine have reported these effects, there are no scientific studies indicating that the SUPPLEMENT is responsible. The only thing that is certain is that increased Creatine intake causes more creatine in the system. No one needed a study to determine that.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that your body uses to convert other nutrients into fuel for your muscles. In fact, your body makes it’s own Creatine using other amino acids inside your body. Creatine is broken down in your kidneys, so ingesting Creatine in supplement form at the dose suggested can cause your kidneys to work harder and cause unneeded damage. In addition to that, the potency of your bottled magic isn’t certain. One scoop can contain more than the next scoop.
If you want to up your Creatine intake, do it correctly. Creatine occurs naturally in red meats and fish. While venison and other wild game is considered to be the source with the most concentration, it is also found in red meats and fish, like salmon and tuna. Grill a steak and toss that creatine. You can’t even grill Creatine, it’s lame.
Before you pour that powder into your shake or oatmeal, hear me out. Whey and Casein proteins fly off the shelf and into the hands of body builders everywhere. It is true that protein helps your muscles recover. It is true that you need quite a bit of protein to promote growth of lean muscle mass. It does not need to come from man made, unregulated powders. If you eat the correct foods, you can get the amount of protein you need without ever buying another powder.
Whey and Casein are the most commonly recommended proteins for body builders. They are the two proteins found in milk. Casein makes up about 80% of the proteins found in milk products. Casein is released slower than Whey which makes it pretty important for the breakdown and building of muscle fibers. Casein is naturally found in milk products and in the highest concentrations in greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
Whey protein is often used to promote the growth of lean muscle mass. There are no definitive studies indicating it’s benefits over other protein sources. In fact, studies suggest that there is no statistically significant benefit to ingesting whey protein over meat derived protein. Both milk and meat derived proteins are complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the 9 essential amino acids. If you eat a post workout meal that includes a chicken breast, you will get the same benefits as if you chug a shake.
BCAAS or Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched Chain Amino Acids are beneficial to recovery and help aid your body in protein synthesis. There are no conclusive studies that suggest taking BCAAs in excess of what your body needs promotes additional and increased muscle growth.
Since BCAAs come from proteins, you can ingest all of the BCAAs you need by eating complete proteins. The only conclusive results regarding BCAAs state they are beneficial as a supplement to the nutrition of vegetarians, since most plant proteins are not complete proteins.
If you eat that steak you grilled, you can toss the BCAAs out with the Creatine!
Steak - 2
Supplements - 0
And the taste of one steak is one thousand times better than all of those supplements.
Steak - 3
Supplements - 0
Supplements are not manufactured with regulations. There is no guarantee how they were manufactured, what they contain, or if they perform the way they are advertised. There are no conclusive studies indicating that supplements are needed with a well-balance diet. There is no evidence to suggest that supplements in addition to a well balanced diet help muscle growth.
If you want to increase your muscle mass, increase your caloric intake. Increase your protein intake. Eat the nutrients your body needs to recover from exercise. Obtain these nutrients from whole, natural foods.
Yesterday, the guy who told me about the supplements asked me where I bought mine from. He thought they were better than his since he'd seen my gains blow right by his.
I told him a farm.