A quick entry on the supplements I’m using at the moment in the lead up to the March show.
Are Supplements Bullshit?
The quick answer is “yes”. A more protracted answer is, “it depends”.
When starting a fitness routine many people shotgun a bunch of products recommended by an article or a trainer without logically evaluating the effect each supplement has on them.
A more intelligent approach would be to introduce one product at a time, judge how it “feels” in terms of workout productivity, energy, strength, weight gain/loss or whatever metric you’re aiming to achieve, and then decide whether or not to continue using it.
To be honest, I’m undecided whether some of the supplements I’m currently using have any benefit at all, despite the research surrounding them positive or otherwise. They’re cheap enough to continue using, so I add them in IN CASE there’s any subtle effect over time.
There’s also the concept of marginal gains which entails looking for all those little 1% improvements that can be tweaked over time to make a big difference. Once you get to a certain level, it’s rare to discover those earth-shattering game-changers – but rather it’s the aggregation of those marginal 1% improvements over time contribute to the greater success.
I’m steering away from buying branded products these days. With the outrageous markups and ever declining Australian dollar, it’s financial suicide to be paying out a mortgage sized payment on health supplements every month.
I use online bulk-retailers who aren’t crippled with fancy packaging and shop-front obligations who can deliver a quality product at a much cheaper price.
I shop according to quality, price, reputation and whether the company positively contributes to the development of bodybuilding or fitness in a positive way. There’s too many asshole, quick buck artists in this game who are out to fill their pockets and make zero contribution to the betterment of the sport, so fuck their merchandise. At the end of the day, you gotta vote with your dollars.
In addition, use non biased information sites like examine.com to make informed, researched based decisions on what supplements support your individual goals.
My retailer of choice is Bulk Nutrients whose service, products and delivery prices are above and beyond. The fact that they include some samples and freebies with every order over $250 make choosing to go with them a no-brainer.
(I’m not affiliated with any of these companies and receive no financial or product compensation for my recommendations.)
Whey Isolate – My meal replacement staple. Go with a good quality, reputable brand that hasn’t been associated with any of the recent protein scandal, amino spiking related chicanery that has been pervasive among some of the big name companies. I love the Bulk Nutrients flavours and their clean aftertaste. I’ve also enjoyed a local company’s product called Rare Candy and will use the Species Nutrition Whey Isolyse product in support Palumbo’s Youtube Channel.
PeptoPro – some people say intra-workout nutrition is bullshit marketing hype; for the average trainee looking to just work out and get fit, I’d be inclined to agree. However, applying the concept of marginal gains to my own goals, even if intra-workout nutrition supplies a 1% advantage to recovery and results, I’ll take it. I can undoubtedly say this product improves my recovery compared to the times I don’t use it.
Vitargo – In combination with a fast-acting, high quality protein, the inclusion of Vitargo during my hard sessions is a must. I don’t use it all the time, but if I’m going for PR’s or I’m at a peak part of my training cycle, I’ll use this as additional support for recovery. I went without it for a while because its pricey and recently just added it back in during a workout I was dying midway through. I not only blasted through the rest of the workout, but was covered in veins by the end as my body sucked up it’s sugary goodness.
ZMA – A staple supplement for athletes who are apparently deficient in magnesium more often than not. A cheap insurance policy. “ZMA ist ZMA” as the Germans say.
5HTP – I’ve been trying this product out for its sleep, mood and relaxation benefits. I’m not sure it helps as I’ve not noticed any discernible differences physically or mentally since implementing it a couple of months ago. I’ll try it for another month and then rotate it out to see if I realise any changes.
Melatonin – Definitely improves the quality of my sleep. I sometimes feel a bit groggy upon waking when I use this supplement.
Curcumin – Marked as a powerful anti-inflammatory, I’ve noticed less joint pain since using this product. It’s also been touted for its anti-cancer, cognitive protection and heart health effects.
Beta Alanine – Apart from the tingle and itches, I don’t really notice any improvement from using this, but include it in my workout shake because of the research in doing so. The product is so cheap I use it as a “just in case this shit does something” supplement.
Creatine – Never been a creatine responder. Never seen any differences in strength one way or the other, but I persist in using it because of its other proven beneficial effects on the body and mind.
AM Fat Burner – Received this as part of a recent free sample give-away but I’ve been impressed with its stimulant effect so far. Contains some pretty solid “fat-burning” compounds, but it’s too early (and difficult) to tell its assistance in helping me lose body-fat.
Green Fusion – I add this to my green shakes for added nutritional benefit, particularly post workout when I want to alkalise my system and flood my body with healthy nutrients. I don’t believe in “kitchen-sink” multi-vitamin formulations but instead go with a variety of fruit and veg fortified with this healthy greens blend. Tastes pretty good compared to some greens supplements which taste like green shit.
Metamucil – One of the biggest takeaways from Palumbo’s seminar is the importance of dietary fibre – I can’t justify using an expensive supplement like his Fiberlyse product, but this works well too. BE CAREFUL and buy the SUGAR FREE version as there’s no nutritional information on the product and I assumed that they were all sugar free. Meanwhile, I was supplying my body with 60+ grams of sugar everyday while trying to lose bodyfat.
Creon 25000IU – not a supplement but instead a prescription dietary enzyme, I use this because I’m skeptical of the over the counter probiotics sold a health food stores. I simply feel better when I take this with my meals in terms of it limiting any gastric problems – no post-meal bloat, food babys, heaviness, tiredness or excessive protein-induced, “quick open all the doors, windows and fans”, farts.
Quest Bars – Not a big believer in protein bars, but these seem to be the safe option for those wanting to take the edge off when chocolate bar cravings strike. They’re also a god send when dieting because they’re a mere 190 calories per bar. I love the choc-mint version. Some people remain suspicious of these bars, but as a sometimes treat, I don’t believe they can hurt.