Over the last few weeks I have cut down on the amount of protein powder I have been using, and the last week or so I haven't had any at all. My digestion has improved, my bloating is gone (with it that horrible gas), and I have more money in my pocket.
To simplify things even more, I have gone to 3 squares a day for the most part, with maybe a 4th meal (no it's not Taco Bell) here and there when I feel like I need it. At first I was really hungry but after a few days that subsided and now I feel fine. I feel like my body has adapted and my energy levels are good. I load up on carbs at lunch on lifting days, and on non lifting days I keep it all very moderate. Around 2 P.M. each day I have some green tea or coffee and that satisfies my appetite.
So I started thinking, what happened to supplements being.............supplements?
What I mean is, a supplement is supposed to be just that. If you can't find a way to get enough food in, you supplement your diet with that. The last time I checked I wasn't living in a third world country. I can eat 24/7 and yet there I was, throwing down a couple hundred dollars a month on protein powder that I honestly never noticed made any difference in my training. So why was I continuing this warped pattern? That's a good question.
If your muscular gains or fat-loss is simply a matter of calories in vs calories out, then why do those calories have to be split over 5 or 6 or 7 meals? Of course, the reasoning behind this by a lot of people is nutrient absorption. This stems from years of bodybuilding mags telling people the body can't use more than 30 grams of protein in a meal. Thus the only way to get in enough protein per day is to eat 6+ times a day.
We really believed this shit?
Let's be real here, the supplement companies drive the fitness industry now. So if they want to push a "study" that supports their claims, they will. No matter how ridiculous it seems. I think we're all smart enough to use some common sense to know that you can't apply a hard and fast rule (like 30 grams of protein per meal) to that many people. Inmates are known for being jacked and strong. Are those guys getting 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight in prison? Highly unlikely. Do they probably have higher test levels than most? Most likely. So get you some test and eat 3 square a day. My point is, you can go back a long ways and find totally jacked lifters that didn't eat 6 times a day shoveling pounds of protein powder down their throat. Look up Chuck Sipes if you think you don't think so.
So why is the supplement industry so full of busts, when it comes to supplements then?
Because it's really all about the dollar. And supplement companies prey on the wishes and wants of aspiring bodybuilders, powerlifters, and athletes. If someone thinks that a supplement can give them an edge, they will use it. And they will spend a significant amount of money on said supplements. Eventually we learn this highly touted supplement really doesn't do what they said it will do. The consumer is out of hundreds of dollars, and the supplement company is hundreds of thousands or millions richer, with no repercussions for selling us a complete pile of shit. Doesn't really seem fair does it?
But I don't want to place all of the blame on the supplement industry here either. The consumer is part of the problem too, and so are "internet gurus" and trainers all over. I've heard guys say you need 400 grams of protein to grow. I tried that. Did I get "bigger"? Sure. Fatter, and felt like shit. And then when I dieted down I was basically the same size as before. A complete waste of time. I've done the same thing not worrying about protein intake and grown the same.
I've come to realize over the past few years that carbohydrates are really the key to gaining mass, not protein. So long as your protein intake is in a GOOD ballpark range, it's really the carbs that drive the mass gain.
Don't think so? Try to gain mass on protein and fats only with no carbs. Get back to me and let me know how that goes.
Ok so my point in all of this is, logic and simplicity is thrown out the door in training and nutrition now. Because everyone thinks there is some magic bullet being developed that is going to make them into 250 pounds of ripped mass with a 600 bench and 900 squat. There is no supplement that is going to do that. There is no training program that will do that.
If you want a "supplement" that is really going to work, decide whether or not you want to use anabolics and go from there. That is not an endorsement of them, just the fact that you're going to spend less money on them than OTC supplements, and actually get the results you desire. Otherwise I suggest you rely on good food and hard training, and put some money back in your wallet by not buying a bunch of shit off the shelves or on the net.
This isn't going to make me any friends in the fitness/supplement industry but I'm a nobody anyway. But I hate to see some young guy spending all the money he works for on supplements that don't do anything food won't do (actually they do less) so I hope they will read this and take it to heart. Use that money to invest in some mutual funds or romancing a fine piece of trim.
We all need to be smarter about this shit than we are. Chocolate milk has been shown to be pretty much a perfect post-workout drink. If you lift 3 times a week you can grab one at the store for a buck fifty. That's $4.50 a week. Or $18 a month. Or you can spend a few hundred a month on something else that does well, virtually the same thing, i.e. give you some simple carbs and protein after your workout.
If I had to narrow down the supplements I will still take it's pretty simple. A good multi-vitamin, and some BCAAs mixed with gatorade for during the workout. That's about it.
Yesterday I got hungry in between lunch and dinner. I had a turkey sandwich. I could hear the half full canister of protein powder crying about it from the pantry.