Many people try to cover up their problems by spending money on things they really do not need. Most of these purchases are derived from the best marketing. Yes, marketing, it works. Advertisers and marketers know your problems, your hot spots, the things that get you emotional, the things that get the money out of your pocket and into theirs. We buy things emotionally, not rationally, for the most part. We buy things like Lamborghini's, when a Dodge gets the job done. Things like exotic foreign pets when a puppy from the local SPCA needs you more and will probably be more loyal. Things like pills, liquids, and lotions to make your arms, chest and dick look bigger and harder, when hard work is free, but not as easy. These are all things that every guy wants in order to feel better about himself, because he will be looked at differently from the people whom he wants to impress. A lot of times people who have money, waste it, and people who don't have much, waste even more.
Let's look at the supplement industry, for example, since I get asked about this frequently. Advertisements make you feel like an explosion will occur the instant you pop open your new bucket of SLACKED HD!! Trust me, no explosion. There is not enough caffeine or steroids in the world to replace the feeling I get in the instant when I mentally prepare myself for a big lift. At that moment I feel like I have 1.21 giga watts!! running through my body. I am well aware of the benefits you might get while on certain supplements, some are good, some aren't, but I am more concerned with what you, alone, are capable of doing, not what you are capable of doing while you are "on". There is a reason why certain performances have an asterisk next to them in the record books.
A lot of people think that if they miss a meal or two they can help invigorate their spirits and energy by taking some shit in a can. Well, you might get jacked up and focused temporarily, hit the gym, and count your praises for that "pick me up" you had, like a crack fix from your local corner dealer. Here's the real deal, I am calling you a punk ass bitch. Offended? Fuck you. I don't give a fuck what you do. Do what makes you happy. But I will get my shit done whether I feel good, bad, tired, lonely, depressed, sick, fired up, or whatever, because I know this shit needs to get done. I do not have to be excited about everything I am doing or need to do. I just have to have the discipline to do it. If you can only accomplish great things while you are feeling great, then don't fucking bother. Millions of people around the world are working hard in a miserable environment, right this second they are fighting for their lives while you are sitting in a comfortable chair reading this rant on your laptop. What are you capable of when you're feeling a little shitty? What's the difference between your best and your worst efforts? Can I rely on you when you're tired, sick, depleted, scared, scarred, bruised, bloody, battled and weathered? Or do you only have what it takes when you are fresh, slept well, had breakfast in bed and all your powdered boosters served up to you in a delicious morning cocktail?
If this shit does not get you fired up, then you're doing shit the wrong fuckin way, man. If you're tired and depleted, you need better preparation, my friend. Trust me when I say this, I am talking to myself as well as you. I know the difference between feeling good and ready for the challenge, and tired and lacking confidence because of poor preparation. Preparation can mean getting the necessary rest you need, training with a good plan that is designed to accomplish a goal, and making the time to fuel yourself accordingly. When you are prepared, you will be more confident and you will perform better. Never rely on last minute supplementation to do the job for you that you failed to prepare for.
If your nutrition, training and recovery habits are already on point, there are a few things that I think can benefit most people. But, what helps one person may do little or nothing for someone else. Also, I do not believe young kids, adolescents, and as I previously stated, anyone who does not have their shit in order, should use any form of supplementation unless prescribed by their doctor. Keep in mind, I have done little, if any, research on supplementation except read some articles, take a few things myself over the years, and listen to the advice of some other experts in the fitness, nutrition and supplementation fields.
I believe that the most important thing you can do for your general health is regulate, or optimize, your hormonal levels. That topic is far beyond the scope of this article and can be better researched by reading the website of one of my favorite fitness experts, Mike Mahler, who actually just released a new book, that I highly recommend and even partially sparked this article, entitled, "Live Life Aggressively! What self help guru's should be telling you." It's a great read. He has dedicated much time to researching hormone optimization, but on a basic level it comes down to having a balance in your life. Balancing the types of foods we eat, like quality proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats have a profound effect on our mood, performance, behaviors, etc. This takes discipline and preparation to maintain good nutritional habits long term. I have written articles on nutrition on my site if you want more information on the topic. Sleep and recovery are imperative to optimal performance, but not absolutely necessary to just getting a job done. There is a difference. One can get you rewarded, the other can get you reprimanded. There also needs to be a balance between hard work and easy work, so to speak. If your training always consists of going balls to the wall, racing the clock, and maxing out everyday, your stress levels can get through the roof. Sometimes you need to back off, but that does not grant you permission to be a pussy most of the time. Strategic recovery workouts and deload periods can be instrumental to your long term success. This is a very interesting topic, and with proper application can significantly enhance the quality of your life, I highly recommend checking out Mike' website, his products and workshops for more information at...
If you are an adrenaline junkie, always taking caffeine or other stimulants, and generally need to artificially speed up your process, you will experience adrenal fatigue, which can have serious negative effects on your health. This is a major problem with many pre-workout supplements. If you can't get yourself up for the job, you might be playing the wrong game. I feel the same way about people who can't focus on the moment, always need to have their ipod shoved in their ears to get hyped up, or need constant external stimulation to get it done. You shouldn't need you favorite band jamming in your face to do it, just know what needs to be done, motivate yourself and do it to the best of your ability at that moment.
If you do take supplements, I recommend you take something that is going to enhance the quality of your life, your vitality and your general health and well being, not something that is marketed towards pumping up your biceps to disproportionate levels. If this is something you are serious about, you will do the research and learn the truth form non biased resources, not marketers selling you their shit. I have talked about this on my site before as well. We need to eliminate toxins from our body, not add to it. Many products today are very toxic and pollute our bodies. Go natural and organic if possible. We need things that lower our stress levels, optimize our hormones, and replenish us with the vitamins and minerals necessary to be as healthy as possible. Do more things you are passionate about and eliminate the things that deplete you of your energy like asshole associates, lying lovers, and bonehead bosses. We need to drink more pure water, eat more real food, especially vegetables, and exercise more with organic movement.
There are some really good supplements out there that will help you get the things you need in life. I am not hating on everything, just the marketing that steals your dollars and gives you a shitty product. Here are a few things I find of value, depending on your particular goal. You will, however, have to do the research to find whether it is right for you. Fish oil provides the Omega 3 fatty acids that are essential to health and performance, and are lacking in most people diets. Protein supplements are valuable for many if they do not eat as much as they require. It is debatable which is best, again, do your research. I do believe that whey, egg and hemp proteins are good choices. Creatine is a good choice for muscle building, but its effectiveness will vary among individuals and it will become less effective the more you use it. Glucosamine/condroiton/MSM has been found to help many with joint problems. Glutamine seems to help many with recovery and muscle building, while others report no noticeable results. Moderate caffeine intake can have positive benefits for brain function, but avoid excessive consumption. There are a million new products on the market everyday, I refuse to acknowledge them and experiment. If you choose to do so, best of luck. You'll probably be better off taking the real deal, hard drugs. I know a guy who once ripped a telephone pole out of the ground after smoking PCP, true story, I still have the splinters in my chest to prove it.
In short, most supplements are trying to be a quick fix to your failure of taking care of your self. Most supplements are not filled with the plutonium you are expecting from the marketing. Our bodies are designed to eat real food, not pills. We are designed to move in many movement patterns, not be forced through predetermined ranges of motion. We are supposed to be strong, mentally and physically. If you feel you need a product to help make you stronger, then by all means, go for it. But in the meantime, I am going to be eating real food that I prepare myself, and taking a few things like a daily multivitamin, some iron in the morning and some magnesium oil at night with a little melatonin to enhance my sleep. I sleep in a cool, pitch-black room, do some basic relaxing exercises like stretching and brain dumping to get me ready for another hard day of work tomorrow.
My respect goes to those who have fought the good fight for many years or their whole lives, without ever asking for praise. Not to those who did a twelve week super pump program and lost "X" pounds or gained "Y" muscle, only to go back to living a substellar lifestyle after accomplishing one relatively small achievement. Day in and day out, put in the work, stop wasting money on shitty supplements that you think will change your life, stop asking others for approval and do real meaningful work that contributes something positive to the world and not only your own vain personal goals.