When I was growing up there were still muscle magazines you’d buy full of advertisements for all the workout routines and newest supplements to buy to help get you jacked quick or burn body fat. Every page was just covered in overhyped marketing. I even remember going to GNC with my friend so scared to take this one brand of pills cause we thought it was legit the secret to muscle building (later I’d realize it was just leucine in pill form which is just protein). My older brother would hide a tub of creatine he’d bought in his closet and when I found out I thought “no wonder why he’s bigger than me he’s cheating!”
Of course now having spent 15+ years in the fitness industry and a Mind Pump fan myself, I’ve learned it was all fluff marketing. Companies took a LITTLE bit of science and made huge claims based off of it. ”Oh protein plays a role in muscle building? Let’s say our product guarantees muscle growth quickly!”
If you are looking for guidance on what it takes to put on size without supplements, be sure to check out my article on the 5 Keys to Help Hardgainers Pack on Muscle and Is a Full-Body Resistance Training Routine Better Than a Split?
A Tool is a Tool
Let’s not forget the answer is in the word already. A supplement has and will always be made to be just that. It’s SUPPLEMENTING your current nutrition lifestyle. It should never replace eating high quality whole foods. Our main goal is figuring out first what your goal is. Building muscle? Okay, then we need to get our protein down first. Usually that’s .82-1g/lb bodyweight. So if you are a 180lb individual, 148-180 grams of protein. For some people, that may be easy to get purely from just their food. For others, that might be harder. I tend to use 1-1.5 scoops of protein a day to try and hit my target. I have days where I either don’t have the protein readily accessible to me, or just fell behind cause I was busy and having a protein powder helps me hit my targets to build muscle without having to carry food with me.
There is also the convenience factor. Whether you are traveling, or working long hours. It isn’t always possible to have actual food with you. I know when I go on vacation, having a greens and protein powder ends up being SUPER helpful for me because we are usually on the go a lot. When we do go out, the options aren’t always high protein, and also I want to be able to enjoy the food on my trip and not have it centered around high protein meals. So again, supplementation is a nice tool to have by my side on days I need it quickly.
Hitting The Big Gaps in Your Health
Getting your blood and hormone levels checked is becoming increasingly popular. The guys just did an episode going over their deficiencies, and for as dialed in as even those guys are with their nutrition they had a bunch of areas that needed improving. Some people are more deficient than others. For example, The recommended daily dose for vitamin D is 5,000IUs. I’ve had friends who’ve needed 15,000IU’s just to reach ADEQUATE levels of vitamin D, not above average. Every person is different, so it’s important to not just blindly follow what someone says and get your own markers checked, but in cases like these, supplementation can be huge for closing these significant gaps in our physiology.
The Muscle Building Signal
At the end of the day, nothing will help gain muscle fast like sending a muscle building signal through a proper workout regimen focusing on progression combined with proper nutrition. If you aren’t in a surplus your body isn’t going to grow, period. No amount of supplementation will add muscle to your frame like a caloric surplus. Muscle is calorically expensive to have, so the body needs a damn good reason to add even MORE on top of what you currently have. Make sure you are lifting at least 2-3 times a week, and increasing reps and/or weight each week. Stay 2-3 reps shy of failure, and choose exercises that stimulate many muscles.
If you need help putting together a program that takes the guesswork out, check out our MAPS Anabolic program.