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Anyone have experience with typical bodybuilding supplements?

Blog Forums Drugs and Supplements Anyone have experience with typical bodybuilding supplements?

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    I’m thinking specifically of protein powders, creatine, l-glutamine, all recommended by a friend.

    I’ve been using creatine, and initially thought it helped with a better pump during and after weight training, but a few weeks in, and I’m not so sure.

    I’ve also tried Serious Mass, which Matt recommended, and a variant, protein powder with some straight up dextrose as a post workout shake.

    I’m not sure how much benefit any of these offer. I reckon the most important part of training is consistency, rest and adequate calories.

    Curious to hear anyone’s thoughts.

    Matt Stone

    Funny you should mention that as I got this email from someone yesterday…

    Hey Matt,

    I’ve been experimenting around with creatine lately and I swear the stuff really increases my libido! Like I have to masturbate five times a day or I don’t feel right kind-of-thing. I like it, and it seems to make me feel energized, in a pro-metabolic kind of way. Do you think the stuff is safe?


    Haha- actually, I have noticed that, but just figured it’s because I’m so damn awesome. Maybe it is the currah-tine, though.


    If you guys are so damn awesome, how come you are having to choke your chicken five times a day, instead of getting it on with a Dolly Parton blow-up doll, like I do? :)

    Ok the herb Bacopa Monneria helped me with recovery A LOT! I am not sure why I’m not using it now. That’s some good shit there.

    The Real Amy

    Rob, I heard some pretty bad things about creatine from someone who got really messed up on it, but I am totally blanking on what happened. It was years ago. I would proceed with caution. But maybe not all the side effects are bad!!


    Amy, I’d love to hear about what happened if you have any way of reaching that person from way back when. I’m not wedded to it, and any counter-arguments are welcome.

    Thomas- when you mention improved recovery, what do you mean? What specifically happened with that herb?

    The Real Amy

    Rob, it was someone I’m no longer in touch with, but you know what I realized last night? I was thinking of chromium, not creatine! Totally different, so I take back what I said.


    All good- thanks Amy.

    Anyone else out there with reasons to be suspicious of creatine, by all means chime in…


    Less DOMS on the Bacopa. A lot less.


    I take l-glutamine for gastro repair and mental health. I am not sure how well it works in terms of weight training. I lift as part of my regimen and don’t see any real differences in recovery time, etc.


    i use a whey protein powder cause everyone in the weightlifting community says you needz moar proteeeiiinn, but who knows if it helps or not.

    im curious about protein requirements for strength athletes in general cause most of the articles about protein and sports here and elsewhere on the web are focused on endurance athletes. none of the studies are ever done on olympic weightlifters or powerlifters


    I tried creatine a few times when I was in college. The first couple times it was pure creatine. Within a day or two of starting it, I noticed a significant increase in max squats, deadlifts and leg press. I also noticed the increased libido, as mentioned earlier (but I definitely wasn’t at 5 times a day…). The only drawback was that I would get muscle cramps more frequently when doing longer types of exercise- not necessarily endurance type stuff, but like playing basketball.
    During my senior year, I got more serious about lifting and making sure I was getting enough calories. I wasn’t taking pure creatine, but a protein + dextrose powder I was taking had some in it, though I don’t remember how much (it was GNC Pro Performance brand; I looked at their website and it looks like they don’t have the same thing anymore). That seemed to work like a charm. I was able to workout frequently without feeling sore or tired, and I gained strength and mass easily. I was up to 205lbs (I’m 6’0″), had to wear pants with a 34in waist, and my squats, deadlifts and bench were ridiculously high compared to what I can do now.
    I’ve always had issues with acne. During that time, however, people seemed to notice a it lot more, and a few people made comments about me taking anabolic steroids or something. I guess I was a little too sensitive about it then, but thus began my descent into trying to be healthy. The next 10 years could fill a book in the Othorexics Anonymous thread. I’m now at 165lbs, probably have a 31in waist, and still have acne.
    I would like to get into lifting again, but now with a job + house + family, it’s been a lot more difficult to find time.


    Thanks @derek I’m not sure I’ve noticed numbers increases independent of just the regular training and ample eating, but I don’t mind taking the creatine (monohydrate).

    Sounds like we have similar builds. I’ve long hovered around 160-165lbs, but went on a month of big eating and lifting, and am now around 185. Gut’s bigger, but so’s everything else: chest, legs, arms. I don’t mind. I’m gonna keep at it, and I suspect that over time, with regular training and my basketball playing, I’ll see some favorable recomposition.

    Anyway, good luck with finding time. I know it’s not always easy.


    My opinion is that all those workout supplements are unnecessary–and mainly just marketing. There’s some evidence that creatine can help, but it can give muscle a puffy look and it also fucks with some people’s stomachs. It did mine. In principle, there’s nothing wrong with protein powders, but it’s easy to get enough protein with food that actually tastes good, and you don’t really need that much protein to gain plenty of muscle.

    The most important supplement is calories–mainly carb calories–but I imagine you already know that. Top lifters just shovel in the food, and some of them just eat tons and tons of junk–because it’s a helluva lot easier to eat lots of burgers and pop tarts than arugula, chicken breast, and oatmeal.

    Besides that, the only “supplements” that are going to give real results are anabolic steroids, insulin, and growth hormone. Basic testosterone probably wouldn’t be that harmful in the short term, but it’s still not a smart choice. The ACE stack (aspirin, caffeine, ephedrine) will help you burn fat and increase your ferocity in the gym, but again, I wouldn’t turn to this if you can make progress without it.

    And it sounds like you’re already making great gains. I’d just stick with what you’re doing and not worry about taking a bunch of pills. Here’s a link to a recent article about the “vitamin myth” and why we don’t need a bunch of supplements to be healthy:

    For your lifts, concentrate on compound movements (squats, bench, etc.) for maximum stimulation of your own endogenous hormone production.


    Damn, late to the party. Anyway, supplement manufacturer/personal trainer here.

    You don’t mention your goals. Can i assume vanity muscle growth?

    Creatine: Use correctly. 10 week cycles with 5g 2x daily. Before and after workout. Creatine does not make you fucking super man. Just helps with recovery and facilitates water retention, hence the “bulk”. For every 10 weeks on, go 10 weeks off.

    Protein: Have some with every meal. Powders are unnecessary unless you have trouble getting the necessary amount of protein per day. If you can put down ~40-50g of protein per meal, then you really don’t need a supplement. BTW, 2C of greek yogurt has ~45g of protein. That is my go to.

    Pre-workout: Caffeine. Can arguably produce better in-workout results … but then again so can meditation.

    What’s your workout plan/goals? That will have much more relevance than me spouting out information about supplements and magic.

    Seay: Bacopa Monneria is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat anxiety. I have no idea how it works either, but i remember a pubmed article pointing toward free-radical elimination … somewhat a broad category. I took it for some time when i was on a low carb diet … results = nothing. Could have been the diet, could have been the herb.


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