Bearded Beast of Duloc
Join Date: Jul 2009
Training Exp: 20+ years
Training Type: Powerbuilding
Fav Exercise: Deadlift
Fav Supp: Butter
Rule #8: Ignore The Guy Next To You
This rule ties in closely with Rule #7 but isn’t quite the same. Here it is: Don’t be insecure. If you’re lifting this puny little weight and the guy next to you is lifting 5 times that amount (or even 100 times) WHO CARES! He’s not you, you’re not him. Don’t start cheating so you can use more weight. If he’s using bad form and cheating a lot then that’s his mistake. It reminds me of a story I heard from bodybuilding author Mike Brown: “…I saw [a fellow] years ago doing an exercise and bragging that he was ‘using the same weight as Reg Park’. Reg Park at that time was almost as well known as Steve Reeves, having won the Mr. Universe a short time before. Mac MacFarland, the 1963 ‘Mr. Hawaii’ winner, looked at this guy contemptuously and asked him, ‘If a pudgy nobody like you is handling the same weight in the same exercise that Reg Park is, don’t you think that maybe you’re doing the exercise wrong?’”
Remember the tortoise and the hare. If you work hard enough, long enough, and never, never, ever quit, you’ll get there too – well-built, safely and with proper form.
You have to swallow your ego. I had been training for almost 10 years when I decided to learn the Olympic-style Lifts (the Snatch and Clean and Jerk). I had to go from Squatting with 445 pounds to Snatching with 65. Do you know how foolish that made me feel (and look). Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Do what’s right for your body, not your ego. And through it all remember the golden rule of drug-free weight training: HAVE PATIENCE!
Rule #9: Spend Your Money On Plenty Of Good Food – NOT The Latest Supplement
This is one of the sadest things in the Iron Game today. Those supplements did not make Lee Priest huge. Go back and read Rules #1 and #3. The industry is big money. The athletes are paid to advertise those supplements. I remember cart loads of products from the 1980s (when the supplement industry really took off) up through to the present. I think I’ve taken most of them myself. So have my friends and people I’ve trained and trained with. I thought for awhile that the “secret” would finally get out about the bullshit supplement industry, but it’s only gotten incredibly worse. I know that the latest magazine says product so-and-so has been scientifically proven to increase muscle mass. Don’t listen to it! I could turn up studies showing that anabolic steroids don’t build muscle if I had to (actually, studies reaching that conclusion were fairly regularly published at one time) . A lot of those studies are funded by the same companies that sell the products. That’s right, they’re paying the researchers’ paychecks! That should tell you something. Even the most honest studies can be misquoted and re-interpreted to sound like they’ve found the breakthrough “key” to massive muscles. Believe me, I myself could describe chicken breasts so that people would be clamouring to buy them for their potent muscle building effects.
And speaking of the ridiculous, I was flipping through a current muscle mag just this morning and came across some miraculous claims for “high molecular weight glycogen replenishing waxy maize”. In America and Europe we call that corn. Waxy maize is a Chinese variety of it …and we all know how huge it’s made the Chinese. Anybody who’s stupid enough to believe that a species of corn is going to “pack on the muscle mass” probably can’t read anyway, so I don’t know who those supplement swindlers thought they’d fool. In that same magazine they were touting the anabolic properties of Goat protein. Goat protein? Jesus. What will they come up with next? Milk from Ms. Olympia’s tit (if she still has one)? On the other hand, they make millions of dollars a year selling that crap – more proof of P.T. Barnum’s “a sucker born every minute” theory.
He should be ready just in time for the Olympia.
Remember, I know how scientific research works. I’ve seen papers published that were the result of complete fabrication. I’ve seen grad students (who write the majority of the papers you’ll see published), under extreme pressure to graduate, completely “invent” their results. I’ve seen professors with 30 years experience blatantly plagiarize (actually photocopy) the works of others so they could continue to get grant money. Just recently a major drug company got busted for “funding” research and deliberately keeping their involvement a secret from the publishers of the scientific journals the articles were being presented in. Trust me, everything that’s in print – no matter what the source – is not necessarily trustworthy.
But as I said, I am a scientist. Not all science is “bad”. In fact, some research is simply invaluable to our body of weight training knowledge. Knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff is a job best left for the true “experts”, not the guys in bodybuilding magazines or on websites who stand to make millions by selling some supplement. If you have the scientific background, I encourage you to review the published research yourself, or subscribe to Alan Aragon’s Research Review or get his book “Girth Control: The Science of Fat Loss & Muscle Gain”. You may be surprised that the only scientific “proof” you find regarding most popular bodybuilding supplements is proof that they have no effect on building muscle or reducing body fat. But even a minimum amount of “research” (and a small dose of common sense) will tell you that all of the major bodybuilding magazines and internet websites have supplement lines or make money directly selling other supplement brands. Pick up a modern bodybuilding magazine – at least 70% of it’s content will be supplement ads (often disguised as articles to further mislead you) featuring bodybuilders who are practically 100% anabolic drug built and dependent. Do you think for a minute you can believe anything they say about supplements? If you do, you’re incredibly naive and it’s time you grew up.
The sadest thing is when I hear a naive beginner talking about a top bodybuilder and the supplements he takes as if the supplements actually had anything to do with his muscle development …something like, “Do you think this guy could get so big without steroids or supplements?” Let me tell you something. There isn’t a supplement on Earth that’s 1/1000th as strong as even the weakest of anabolic steroids. And I’ll go even further… there isn’t a supplement on Earth that’s stronger than even a glass of milk. It’s seems that the latest rash of them aren’t even any stronger than corn …literally. Sorry for bursting your bubble, but that’s the truth. All those fancy packaged “anabolic, extreme, bio-, -test, -abol” whatevers are nothing but the height of pure, unadulterated bullshit designed, first and foremost, not to build muscle but to get your money. Any gains you do seem to get from them are placebo effect. When asked about “fat burners”, Rob Hope (he’s one of the most muscular natural bodybuilders to ever live) said, “Nothing works better that a strict diet and the right amount of cardio.”
Several years ago I noticed the supplement industry starting to use the term “stacking” to describe the practice of taking several supplements at the same time. “Stacking” actually originated as the practice of combining anabolic steroids that worked by different mechanisms in order to produce a greater effect than taking either of them alone (the “synergy” effect that the fitness industry loves to harp on so much). Stacking useless supplements is akin to throwing good money after bad – 99% of the supplements on the market do nothing, so 0 + 0 is still 0. The supplement industry latched onto the concept simply to get you to buy more than one of their supplements. I think for supper tonight I’m going to stack a chicken breast with some rice and a glass of milk or, even better, Reg Park’s favourite stack of steak, eggs and wine …or maybe the real anabolic secret would be some goat meat and corn?
Perhaps a few words from Joe Weider himself would be in order here. When asked by Ken Leistner as to why the supplements he bought as a teenager didn’t produce the results as advertised, Joe had this to say:
“My job was to pull as many young boys off the street and into the gym as I could using the advertising that I did. By the time you realized it was bullshit, I already had you hooked into a healthier lifestyle of working out and eating better.” – Joe Weider 
…and so another supplement customer was born. But Joe obviously did know where true gains in size and strength came from. Again, I’m making myself a few enemies in the industry here because I’m telling the truth about their sham. Good.
But don’t get me wrong, after that fairly vicious attack on the bodybuilding supplement industry, I’m actually not saying that all supplements are completely useless – for example, high-potency multi-vitamin/mineral tablets are what I’d classify as a “good” supplement. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to grow. If you’re short on just one the whole muscle growth process can be halted. I recommend you take two a day – one with breakfast and one with supper. There’s nothing wrong with a little extra vitamins C and E either. And if you’re in really hard training some extra B-Vitamins can help. Nutritious supplements such as these can help give your body what it naturally needs. I’ve found that old-fashioned desiccated liver is one of the most effective supplements there is …if enough is taken (it rarely fails to get moderate strength gains going for awhile in myself or my “clients”). Creatine also gives a mild strength boost to most trainees – at least while they’re still taking it. But these things aren’t miracle pills and elixirs, they’re convenient ways of getting more of the healthy things that should be in your food. I know a few other supplement “secrets” that apply to people with certain “metabolic disorders”, but if you’re already “healthy” then practically every supplement is irrelevant compared to proper training, nutrition and rest.
Almost every supplement you see advertised in the muscle magazines and online is a waste of your money. They do nothing. On the other hand, don’t ruin all your hard work and dedication in the gym because you didn’t swallow a little vitamin/mineral tablet a few times a day …but don’t expect it to magically grow muscle either. The real function of supplements, in a bodybuilding sense, is to build health, as only a healthy body will grow muscle at the fastest possible rate. Incidently, this is how you should view ALL supplements: As nutritional back-up for an already sound diet and lifestyle. Think of them as a nutritional insurance policy – nothing more.
What about prohormones? Well, since the FDA crackdown in 2004 there have been two types: Ones that don’t work and are just another supplement industry rip-off of your money, and what I call legal loophole prohormones, which are essentially compounds that the FDA hasn’t caught up with and yanked off the market yet (remember, anabolic steroids themselves were legal until the 1980s – still are in some countries – and until late 2004 so were the previous generation of prohormones). Of course, these second types are a fine line from being steroids themselves and carry the same risks and dangers as well. Not all “prohormones” actually “work”, however. The problem is that just because a molecule is similar to another molecule doesn’t mean that it will behave the same way in the body …and you can’t count on your own enzymes to convert them into active steroids in the proportions that you would like – if your HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) and enzymes functioned so favourably you probably wouldn’t be interested in “prohormones” anyway. If you do find one that “works” then how’s that any different than taking the “real thing”? It isn’t, and if that “prohormone” is a little too close to testosterone in structure then it’s just a matter of time until the law classifies it as the “real thing” anyway.
Any “prohormone” that actually works does so via the same exact mechanisms as FDA-identified anabolic steroids, though legally cannot be based on the testosterone molecule, and carries the same risks and produces the same exact side-effects as those steroids. And the simple rule is the same: The more you gain while on them, the more you lose when you come off (due to your own choice or when the government catches up). Just look at any drug-built bodybuilder who stopped using steroids and you’ll see this for yourself. In the long run, chasing gains out of a bottle is a futile endeavour. In fact, if you even have the attitude that you need such things then you have a major problem and need an attitude adjustment …not to mention the fact that “prohormones” are banned by the drug-free bodybuilding and lifting federations and if they work they’ll also show up on drug tests the same as anabolics (after all, the drug-test has no idea about your drug’s FDA status). So if you ever plan on competing in natural bodybuilding or lifting contests and you take “prohormones” you’ll either flunk the drug test outright or the polygraph will catch you. Look inside yourself to build true muscle, not to the “miracle” supplement manufacturers who are in no way qualified to play with your hormones anyway. In the worst case, if you go chasing gains out of a bottle it could cost you your health, but most likely you’ll just end up wasting your money and wind up no further ahead …with the exception of expensive urine and maybe a few moments of temporary “glory” with the meatheads in the gym. In the end, wouldn’t you rather be able to say that you built your physique yourself, through your own dedication and persistence? Take steroids or legal loophole “prohormones” and you no longer have that right.
If you’re tempted to go to the “dark side” of steroids or “prohormones” then ask yourself, are you really doing what’s necessary to get your best gains naturally? Are you eating right? Are you getting enough protein? Are you sleeping right? Have you got stress and outside influences under control? Have you been training with passion or have your workouts gone flat lately? If you even suspect that you haven’t been giving any of these things your all (and be honest), then address those problems first, before you start risking your health and denying yourself the personal reward of knowing you succeeded because of you, not because you were weak and took some pills that any dick could have taken. If you’ve done all that, if you can honestly say that you’ve truly exhausted every avenue for natural improvement (and we’re talking a process of years here) but you still can’t build the physique you want then ask yourself whether your desires are even reasonable. Read my article on natual potential and see if your expectations are realistic at all. A lot of advanced trainees are carrying plenty of muscle but simply don’t know it because it’s been under a layer of fat for years. If you’re smooth and can’t see your abs then get lean before you assess your physique. You might be surprised, even shocked, at what’s under that layer of fat (I was). If you can honestly say that you’ve devoted years to correctly applied training and nutrition, have realistic expectations, are lean enough to be able to make an accurate assessment of your physique, and don’t have any psychological body dysmorphia problem, only then may you have to accept that you’ve hit your genetic ceiling. At that point you have to ask yourself are you content to accept the hand nature has delt you, or are you willing to risk your health and sacrifice your “natural” status to get bigger? How many people are actually in that situation? Very few of you reading this …a helluva lot less than those who are interested in shortcuts regardless of the risks, or excuses to take those shortcuts.
See the bodybuilding and supplement industry for what it really is and stick to basic, hearty, healthy nutrition. Earn your muscle by training hard and eating right. Learn from what I’ve learned the hard way in the past: SAVE YOUR MONEY! If you have some extra money spend it on some steak (or other good, high protein foods like milk, eggs, liver, yogurt, etc), not on the latest fad – no matter how enticing the advertising is. Some supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, protein powder, desiccated liver and perhaps creatine are worthwhile and convenient, but they don’t perform miracles. Which leads me to the next rule…
Destroy That Which Destroys You
"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."