Pennies a dose.

Posted: September 12, 2010 in Rants

Nothing is more fun than jacking with a 120 pound guy who’s desperate to gain weight. Typically, they’ll ingest just about anything to try and get the pro-bodybuilder look. A particular favorite of mine is to tell them that a diet of eggs, whey protein and sauerkraut is responsible for every ounce of muscle I’ve gained along with what ever the hot supplement of the week is.¬† If they follow that strictly they should gain some muscle at the cost of intestinal troubles that would make it impossible to live with yourself.

What can I say? Those guys are skinny because of genetics and lifestyle, I gain fat easily because of genetics and lifestyle. Listening to people complain about not gaining weight brings out the evil in me.

Genetics and hard work are responsible for any muscle gain on my part. If I watch my diet and work hard I can gain muscle, not as easily as some, at a higher rate than I gain fat. I do eat a lot of lean protein and avoid refined carbs, that helps. A traditionally big eater, being able to put away three to four thousand calories a day in high protein, high fiber foods without blinking makes it easier for me to gain muscle. Eventually however, the spare tire catches back up with me and I have to diet.

I’ve experimented with supplements in the past but with little success. After wasting a lot of money and doing a lot of reading I’ve come to one basic conclusion. Body composition is determined by three factors, only two of which are under your control.

You body composition is a result of your:

Genetics

Diet

Lifestyle

If you’re naturally skinny, even the best 1,200 calorie a serving weight gainer won’t help you gain weight if you’re a highly active person who doesn’t eat enough. Stop hitting the gym for two hour hypertrophy based workouts followed by full court pick up basketball games after working all day roofing houses on three crackers, a happy meal and two glasses of water a day. You need time to recover and excess calories. If you put on weight like I do, you’ll never be able to out exercise a bad diet.You cannot eat 6000 calories a day in junk and expect any amount of jogging to keep you thin. You cannot dirty bulk and expect good results. Get used to planning every meal every day for the rest of your life.

Balance the two things you can control for whatever your goals are. Then go cry to the therapist about what you inherited from mom and dad if you must, cause you’re hosed when it comes to genetics.

You’ve got to tailor you diet and activities for both who you are and what you want. Supplements might help a fractional amount, but they can’t undo your dietary sins altogether. Supplements, like most fitness gimmicks, are largely for making people other than you money. My rule is; food for muscle, supplements for health.

You could spend $40 for a 50 serving tub of Super Advanced Ultra Jacked Muscle Builder Energy Pro (take three servings daily) or you could buy a year’s supply of Fish oil, the benefits of which are supported by numerous studies. Three or four cans of tuna added to your diet will probably do the same as the $40 tub-o-wonder for a hell of a lot less. The Fish oil supports healthy joints, brain function and contains those wonderful essential fatty acids that help you feel like you want to look. Good.

Supplement for health. For pennies a day you can get the following at any grocery store:

A Multi-Vitamin

Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium and Zinc

Fish Oil

Vitamin C

Take these before you take anything else. Then EAT REAL FOOD. No matter how much your supplement cost, it can’t help you perform if your health is going to hell because you’re living off of rehydrated powders you bought off the internet and frozen diet dinners hawked by photoshopped fitness models.

If you must visit the supplement store due to some kind of pathology or inner weakness consider just a Basic Whey Protein supplement and some additional Glutamine. Creatine I also found somewhat useful, but only for short durations. These three aren’t in the pennies a day category but they are cheap (quarters a day) and fairly well studied. It is an absolute, however, that they should come after real food. “Supplement” means something you take in addition to a healthy diet, not alchemy. Lead does not transmute into gold, crap food does not transmute into muscle, fat will not evaporate into air.

Food for muscle, Supplements for health. It’s a quality of life thing people.

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