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Workout supplements

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Posted (edited)

It is really a nightmare trying to find something out there. Is anyone here familiar with any workout supplements that are good? I've been boxing for a month or so, dropped 20 pounds, and doing fine. I figure why not ramp it up a bit? My goal is is more muscle definition, a slightly sculpted look. It's a personal challenge since I've never been in optimum shape in my life.

I've looked up Force Factor ( I just received a trial bottle - will cancel immediately so I'm not charged :lol:) and Nitro Force. Of course, 90% of the reviews are ever more inventive press releases presented as testimonials - they can't be trusted. I'm just looking for something to add to my daily routine that will help me push harder during workouts, and hopefully, help with muscle-building.

Overall, just something healthy that I'm missing. There are fish oils, all sorts of vitamins I've looked at and I'm simply in a state of paralysis at the moment. I have no idea where to start, what to get, or what exactly to look for. I suppose I'm interested in any supplements, vitamins or otherwise that people are using and think are good.

Edited by mosaic

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Posted

This may not be what you wanted to hear, but -- I doubt you need any supplements at all. Supplements are a sure waste of time (not to mention money) if your diet is poor, and, if your diet is adequate, then your increased physical activity is all that you likely need for your health.

Michael

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Actually, decent supplements can be beneficial insofar as they will supplement your training.

Typically, however, a psychological problem arises as the athelete becomes disillusioned with the prospect of 'natural training' and tries to use the supplements not to facilitate physique, but to satisfy an addiction.

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It's been well over five years since I last spent any time going through the primary literature on supplements, so I don't know what the current status quo is. I doubt much has changed though.

At that time, the only supplement that showed any sort of tangible benefit was creatine. I've heard plenty of anecdotal evidence from friends and people in the gym for using branched-chain amino acids (BCAA's) and stuff like hydroxycut, but nothing more reputable than that. Furthermore, the benefits reputedly seen in with most supplements will truly only be of any tangible benefit to elite level athletes for whom a fractional benefit can make a significant difference in outcome. The same (or better) result for an intermediate or recreational athlete can be achieved mainly through training modification, diet or rest.

However, if you are more interested in the psychological benefits than any putative direct physiological ones, fill your boots. I've had friends and workout partners that swore by any number of supplements but their results/gains weren't any greater than mine without the stuff. While an anecdotal n=2 case-control is hardly reputable either, I daresay it's not an isolated case.

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Posted

Shucks. My concern is physiological not psychological. I suppose just eating better ( as I have been) and maintaining my current pace will have to work. I may try some vitamins though which are cheaper and last awhile.

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Posted

I used Maximuscle supplements in the past, mostly protein shakes with a small amount of creatine. I saw some significant results but I think this was mainly because the balance of my diet was poor with not enough protein and eating the wrong foods at the wrong time of day. My suggestion would be to look at your diet first.

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Posted

I'm not going to dispute that diet isn't important, but you seem to be implying that the supplements you took, Hugo, would have been ineffective - or, at least, less effective - if your diet had been of a decent standard.

Surely, even with a decent diet, the supplements would facilitate physiological gains?

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They weren't ineffective but I found I could reduce my usage by eating better, particularly more protein. The creatine made a significant difference.

The main problem with supplements was the cost...

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Posted (edited)

Well, I've been on this Force Factor stuff and I am working out a lot harder but I'm not sure if it's because I got this stuff and started to push myself more or because of the stuff. :lol: And that's how these things get you! I'm still deciding whether or not to get another bottle. My arms certainly are gaining some definition but then they were before this stuff. Argh! I'm in the position Godot warned about - the psychological effect, linking the supplement to better performance erroneously. Ah, well. I'm doing fine otherwise - lost six more pounds but in actuality, probably more than that. The Pillsbury Dough-Boy thing that was going on with my stomach is at end.

Edited by mosaic

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Posted

Glad to hear that the training is going well for you mosaic. If you're happy with the gains you're experiencing and paying for the supplements aren't too much of a hardship, what's the harm in staying the course?

Personally, I don't think it's necessary, but you might feel otherwise.

If you're willing to test the product a little bit more rigorously, you could also set yourself up as the guinea pig in your very own case-control comparison. You would need to buy one more bottle of the stuff and commit to two cycles: one cycle with and a second without the supplement. Continue your training as per usual for both cycles. Take a week at the beginning to establish your T0: measure your weight, circumference of your neck, arms, shoulders, waist, hips, thighs, calves, possibly even have someone reputable take skinfold measurements. Hell, even take a few pictures for a visual comparison. That first week, maybe work to set some personal bests for specific activities that are the most important for you. If you spend any time doing weights, max bench, max squat and max deadlift are easy options. For cardio, you could measure your 5km time or set a time limit for skipping. Whatever you choose, they should be activities that are a regular part of your training that you would expect to improve as you go. If you want to get some good data to plot trends, retake the simple measurements maybe every other week. At the end of the first cycle (T1), do the full set of measurements and retest your target training measures. For cycle two: wash, rinse, repeat including a final full measurement (T2).

While the magnitude of gains made over cycle two (from T1-T2) may be greater than those in cycle one (from T0-T1) simply as a result of the training gains made during cycle one, the more important difference will be in the rate of change over the course of each cycle. Is the rate of change different between the two cycles? Which is greater? How much of that change attributable to the physiological benefits of the supplement versus any supposed psychological benefit? One confound possible is that if you take the supplement in cycle one, you may experience a latent training effect, thus distorting your results from cycle two.

You could even use your own "mini-trial" as an added psychological boost for your training. ;)

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Posted

Thanks for the detailed explanation, Godot. I doubt I'll do such a rigorous study though. :lol: I just want to workout man! But really, my time at the gym is not conducive to that study for the time being. Basically, I come in and do the rounds on my own with occasional help and push from the coach or other trainers. That is, 6 rounds each jump rope and shadowboxing to start, 10 rounds heavy bag (in the past week for 2-4 of these rounds I've had someone hold the bag which is a serious workout in of itself when they know how to push you). After the heavy bag is I do two rounds speed bag, ball, or the mitts with the trainer followed by an embarrassing struggle to do 100 situps. Ideally, I should finish with two rounds of sit-ups - however much I can do - but for now I've been doing a flat 100, however long it takes me. Don't ask or comment. I'm warning you. :lol:

Anyway, I'm gonna go ahead and get another bottle and see what happens. Cost is not an issue for the time being. I just need to be able to justify to myself the expense. I'm not a fan of wasting money but I'm shedding pounds too consistently to eff anything up in my routine.

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