Due to a lot of comments about me writing “take creatine with caution” in my last article, I decided to write a quick post about my opinion about supplementation.
Now I’ll start off saying that I’m not against supplements, in fact, if you want to bang out 5-6 workouts a week and you’re not supplementing, that could be dangerous. However I find that many people take supplements for the wrong reasons.
First of all you must understand that supplement means “in addition”, and that before you take supplements everything you can do in order to achieve your goal should be done well (that means eating healthy, training consistently, having a good program). Supplements under any circumstances shouldn’t be taken to over compensate any bad habits of yours, they should be taken to boost your limits.
I’ll start with the ideal reasons to take supplements: you want to achieve results quickly or supplementing will help you surpass your max potential strength/gains. Now competing athletes(any sport) or soldiers for example are ideally supposed to be the only customers of these products, they both need to get as strong as possible, and they both need to get there as fast as they can, but in reality a lot of people who don’t fall under one of these two categories take them.
The typical guy at the gym will start out training, and very quickly (a matter of a month or two), after talking to some guys at the gym, start using protein supplements like whey protein. This guy wont necessarily know what he’s putting in his body and that’s where the problem starts. The first and most dangerous thing you can do is take a supplement with out being educated on its purpose, on its side effects, on how to take it and so on. I’ve never taken whey protein in my life, but I know plenty of people who have, and from my experience most of them have no clue what it is. Basically its a bi-product of milk, and for years companies would throw it away because its part of the waste from the process. When the bodybuilding revolution started to kick in the companies had a brilliant idea to sell it to bodybuilders, up to today it has gone through a few modifications and sometime they add vitamins, nutrients like zinc to it, making it even better for stacking on some mass. Whey protein is made for a very specific purpose, to help bodybuilders who already have a good rich diet to pack on muscles quicker. The question is do you really need quick results? There are many people who achieve great results without it. As a matter of fact you can get the same amount of protein and nutrients if you change your eating habits to all natural food sources like lean meat, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits, as long as you eat enough. Yeah, its harder and it takes more time, but I like to look at it as a challenge, seeing what I’m really worth with out any addition/help, finding out if I can achieve the goals I set for my self with my brute strength and willpower. And trust me, you can probably get to your goals with out whey protein, you will also be healthier. Don’t use whey protein to overcompensate for your bad eating/training habits!
Next thing i’ll talk about is performance and recovery enhancing supplements, every pro athlete (I don’t care what they say) takes them, now I’m talking about the “lighter” ones like creatine, clomitrol, DHEA and recently I even heard about caffeine supplements. The “heavier” things like steroids are a whole other topic, if you want my brief opinion on those its save them for the olympic games (don’t do them). Here’s a few questions you should ask yourself before you take these supplements: Do I need them to achieve my goals? Do I know everything I need to know about them? Will they cause me any damage/health issues whatsoever? Is it worth it? I feel that most of the people who take these are being impatient (they want quick immediate goals), and as I explained with the whey protein they are un-educated. The impatient approach is not only childish, it is also very obsessive, its as if you can’t imagine yourself doing/achieving anything without the supplement, and that’s where supplements fail. They cause impatient people an unhealthy dependence on them, and afterwards they have trouble training properly without them. Most of you out there can achieve your goals without these supplements, and as I said earlier it will take more time and more hard work but I believe its worth it.
For me training is about improving myself physically and mentally. I like to know when I train that its 100% me doing the work, it gives me a feeling of satisfaction and self-worth. I don’t want to feel like I’m taking the easy way out by taking supplements, and I don’t feel like I need them either, I have places to improve in my eating habits and my training is at times inconsistent, and that’s what will bring me closer to my goals not supplements.
To sum up this has been too long for a quick post, if you take supplements do it to expand your limits not to overcompensate for your bad habits. Peace 😉