The message of today’s post is really quite basic, but it’s something that every person out there trying to build muscle, burn fat and get into great shape needs to understand.
It might sound a bit harsh, but after 15 years of firsthand experience and dedicated research on the topic, I can very confidently say:
The majority of bodybuilding and fitness supplements being sold today are… quite simply… bullshit.
Yes, there are a small handful of research-backed supplements available that ARE worth using and that can deliver a slight increase in the overall effectiveness and convenience of your program… and yes, I personally use a few myself and recommend them to my clients and readers where it’s applicable.
However, the “good ones” are extremely few and far between, and in all but a couple of cases, they aren’t going to deliver any real immediate muscle building or fat burning results anyway. Instead, they’ll simply fit into your overall program as a whole and maximize your results by a few percent over the longer term.
Beyond a few simple basics though, most of what’s out there just flat out doesn’t work, and most trainees hugely over-value these products and have totally unrealistic expectations about just how big (or rather, how small) of an impact they’ll actually have.
I certainly like the idea of popping back a few pills and seeing a quick and easy boost in muscle growth and fat loss as much as the next guy, but it just doesn’t work that way, no matter what that supplement ad with the photo-shopped fitness model on it told you.
In reality, the supplement industry is mostly made up of hugely over-hyped and over-priced products that will do absolutely nothing for you whatsoever… and even the ones that do “work” will still only deliver modest results at best.
The majority of the products lining the shelves at your local supplement store are packed full of ineffective ingredients that are NOT backed by any real scientific research… they’re typically under-dosed, poorly formulated and have the specific ingredient amounts hidden behind “proprietary blends”… and in some cases they don’t even actually contain what the label says.
It might sound crazy, but these sorts of things are actually common practice, and it’s very easy for supplement companies to get away with them since the industry is barely even regulated by the FDA in the first place.
The simple fact is that any random Joe Schmo off the street with a few bucks and a business idea can hire a contract manufacturer, slap a few random ingredients together in a bottle and instantly be in the supplement business.
If you really think the people running the show at your favorite supplement company are a team of “supplement scientists” walking around in white lab coats, conducting careful research and precision engineering every product based on the “latest breakthrough research”, you may want to think again.
In reality, it’s mostly just a big marketing game… a marketing game perpetuated by people who, far more often than not, really don’t care about you or your results, are NOT supplementation experts themselves in the first place, and who simply tell you what you want to hear (no matter how outlandish or unrealistic it may be) in order to make sales and profit.
This is just the way it is, and the sooner people realize this, the sooner they can begin saving themselves hundreds and even thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money each year, while at the same time improving their results by shifting their focus onto the things that truly matter, namely proper training and nutrition.
(If you want to get some more detailed insight into a few of the common tactics supplement companies routinely use to scam customers out of their money, make sure to check out the following YouTube video I uploaded recently: 7 Ways Supplement Companies Are Ripping You Off)
It’s time to get back to reality here.
If you really want to build a significant amount of muscle, lose fat and develop an impressive, head-turning body, here’s the big secret…
1) Train hard.
2) Eat right.
3) Do the above two things over, and over, and over, and over again, week after week, month after month and year after year.
No pill or powder can ever overcome the fact that being in truly great shape all comes down to basic hard work and consistency over the long term.
It may sound cliché, but it really is the truth.
Your muscle building and your fat burning results are going to be decided by what you do in the gym and what you do in the kitchen, and even a proper supplementation plan is only going to make up a very small portion of your overall results.
Think of supplements as simply being the icing on a big cake.
The big cake represents the fact that you’re in the gym training hard week in and week out… getting stronger over time… sticking to your nutrition plan consistently… resting and recovering adequately in between workouts… making an effort to stay injury-free…
And from there, whatever supplements you decide to include in your plan are just that last bit of icing on top.
It’s not that I’m against the use of supplements; I’m simply against the over-use and the over-emphasis of supplements. And the truth is that most people really do place way too much value on them.
So, get your training in order, get your nutrition in order, and then if you want to fully optimize your results by including a few basic supplements to meet your specific needs and to squeeze out a few percent of additional results over the long term, then that’s fine.
Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that supplements are going to make a world of difference… don’t make the mistake of thinking that you need to spend thousands of dollars on these products every year… and don’t make the mistake of thinking that they can ever take the place of basic hard work.
If you do want to know which specific supplements I recommend for various purposes including the exact recommended brands, dosages and other useful tips, then make sure to download my complete Fitness Supplementation Guide for more information.
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