There are so many supplements available these days; all promising different benefits and each offering something unique which sets it apart from the crowd.
If you want to get cut, defined, dry, bulky, massive, strong, hard, swole or just healthy, there are a million pills and powders to help you out.
This article and the following article is about the muscle supplements, and how to get the basics right before moving on so you get the most out of the more advanced products.
First, I want to cover some important ground. Supplements are one thing but if some questionable lifestyle choices are taken, there may be little point in even picking up a barbell.
From Noobs to the Experienced
People ask me whether they should get this bottle of pills or that pre-workout. Before I offer too much advice, I like to find out one thing: Have they got the basics right?
Lifting weights and building muscle – whether it’s definition or bulky mass – is a very rewarding pursuit. It’s one of the most positive transformations you can witness in yourself.
Supplements can either help the process to varying degrees, or they can be a waste of money. They can also be unhealthy, or simply unsuitable for the person’s goal or physical constitution.
There are a few, however, which most people can tolerate and which have been extensively proven via both scientific research and empirical evidence.
Yet still, beginners and experienced bodybuilders and gym-rats overlook them in favour of some untested crap in a bottle that costs a day’s wages.
Lift For a Year
I’ve had guys a week in to their new life on the squat rack asking me whether steroids are a good idea, because they “wanna get huge.”
While trying to remain calm, I tell them to lift weights for a year…and then come and ask the same question. It’s not that I’m going to advise them on steroids in a year’s time – but beginners need to understand one very important thing…
Provided your lifestyle is fairly clean and you have no medical conditions that prevent it, the physical and neural adaptation within the first 6 months of lifting weights is steep.
And if you continue to adapt with the changes, a full year of improvements can be made before the first plateau is hit. Many people don’t get this far – they give up long before. I don’t have to worry about those guys.
The ones that do make it have generally seen such an improvement, and learned a few things along the way. They might have long forgotten the idea of steroids.
Even boutique supplements can wait, at least until the explosive advancements of the first 3 or 4 months are in the bag.
Don’t Fight Your Lifestyle
The thing that frustrates me the most is to see someone trying to live two lives. On the one hand they want to look good, get fit, strong, big, whatever. And on the other hand they want to keep going out two or three nights a week and getting tanked until 3am.
Booze and sleep deprivation are completely counterproductive to physique enhancement.
What’s even worse is when these same people shell out $$$ on expensive supplements to try and help their goals, only to get upset when they see very little, or no, gains.
All they have to do is cut down the night life and alcohol and they’ll see them. They’ll save money on two fronts as well!!!
Don’t fight your lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with partying and getting hammered, it’s your own body after all, but don’t expect anywhere near optimal results from the gym sessions.
Diet and Sleep, Then Supplements
The previous section brings me nicely to my final point before we get into the next piece about the actual base supplements.
There are many many bodybuilders in excellent shape who don’t touch supplements, and work with nutrition and quality sleep alone.
It takes discipline but it’s achievable. If you are able to live totally clean, get at least 8 hours sleep a night and can afford the time and money to shop for the leanest meats and the highest quality produce, then I would suggest you try it.
There is a message in there for everyone though. You can achieve so much without looking to supplements, but you must start with your diet and sleep.
Supplements are not a replacement or substitute for cutting corners with nutrition and sleep. They should be a bonus to them.
Diet, sleep and training account for 90% of your progress when you strike a good balance. Supplements might add 10%.