When we eat, drink, and sleep properly we create an amazing foundation for our physical fitness level. Excellent nutrition is a cornerstone of building a lean muscular body; and, without proper nutrition, you are destined to set yourself up for a fall. But that being said, there is a lot of controversy as to whether or not supplements are necessary.
Obviously the best miracle supplement you can ingest is the natural food that has grown on this planet for millions of years, but you’ll see many hard core athletes, bodybuilders, weight trainers, runners, and every other kind of athletic person take such things as: a daily mutiple vitamins, Vitamin B, E, D, C and various numerical values of those, HGH, Creatine, Fish Oil, and on and on and on.
Years a go I went for the Bill Phillips Body for Life Challenge and actually finished in the top 2 in the nation in my age category. I dedicated myself to eating the finest of veggies and fruits and lean proteins, but I’ll admit that I did take creatine monohydrate (EAS brand) and also Betagen (EAS brand) every day religiously. They are indeed supplements and are not anything like a anabolic steroid, but I did notice a noticeable difference in my recovery time from my workouts. I’ve tried other supplements along the way, but it seems like for me at least, the Creatine product seemed to make the most impact.
Now, you might ask if there is any creatine sources in our food and there actually is. A nice lean rare steak is loaded with it, and you’ll have to determine if the red meat is something you want to that degree in your diet. A nutritional scientist (Dr. Fuhrman) states that the problem with the red meat is that absolutely ups your chances of cancer — especially if you eat a lot of it over a lifetime. Now that’s not good news for me because I do love lean red meat, and I probably eat a lot more than I should. But back to the creatine subject, if you want to increase your intake you can do it with an engineered supplement that you take orally or by eating a lot of the red meat like beef for instance. You just have to weigh out the ramifications of every single thing you put into your body. Gargabe in Gargbage out…..so be careful. Excellent in … Excellent out. So what supplements should we take??
Again, I’ve never met any person in the gym who takes the same supplements as anyone else. You’ve got to go to health store like GNC or Super Supplements etc. and get into a fairly intense and investigative discussion with the people selling the product. Ask for a small sample and try them out and see if they work for you. I’ve heard of some great supplements only to shell out a lot of money and find out they don’t agree with me. But one consistent thing you do see is protein supplementation. A nice protein smoothie type shake is great after a workout and it helps deliver the protein needed to rebuild the muscle tissue after a workout. If you don’t have a good protein source in your diet, your workouts will be waisted because you have to have the necessary proteins available to mend and build new muscle fibers.
Now there is also the placebo effect of this stuff and who knows how much of that is present. A Placebo often works for people with diseases etc. During World War II when medical supplies ran low, the army doctors would sometimes give out a simple sugar pill and tell the patient that it was a pain killer that would give them relief. As amazing as it may sound, in a good percentage of cases it worked. The patient believed, and so the brain actually provided relief from the ailment or injury. So, I also know that if you truly believe a supplement is working for you and is making a difference, that belief will reinforce that and it may psychologically give you a boost in the gym. I say, as long as something is not harmful, than that is totally fine and great. We forget that the biggest boost for any activity in life is our belief in it. The same applies to supplementation.
One other point that I’d be careful of though, and that is something called the sedimentation rate of the blood. Just like sediment in a stream, we can actually ingest so many minerals, vitamins, etc. that you can actually create too much of a sediment (on a micro level of course) within your blood stream. You don’t want to turn into a piece of stone like the image to the left. Remember always, a great physique has to go deeper than the skin. If it doesn’t you might as well be a stone statue.
I remember a good friend telling me that she was taking a supplement that was supposed help with hee breathing (she was a runner) and after several months, she said she actually noticed that she was breathing out a fine white smoke-like powder after she had upped the dosage to an extreme level. Obviously she was disturbed to the max and quit taking it, but there’s a good bit of warning there for all of us as well. Just because it’s placed in a bottle and put onto a shelf, does not mean it is healthy. In fact natural type products, supplements, etc. do not have to undergo the rigorous testing that pharmaceutical drugs do. And if a company wants to call their ingredients a proprietary blend– then they can get away without even telling you the true story of what’s in that capsule you are taking.
I wish I could be more definitive on this subject. I’ve written before on supplements and I always come back to the same conclusion. If it works for you and you don’t have anything but positive effects from it, then by all means go for it. Just be aware that if you start out with excellent nutrition, you’ll most likely be getting (for the most part) all you need to ensure at least a base level of nutritional support for athletic activity.
If it gets more extreme (like it does for hard core athletes and intensive natural bodybuilders) for you then do you research and be aware of any and all negative side effects (possible, rumored, or otherwise) and then proceed cautiously.
Remember, you are talking about your health here, not just getting bulging rippling muscles. I know of one particular muscular model who is in the grave because he forgot that health (not size and muscle volume) must come first. Good luck and keep a great attitude in all of your endeavors!