Here's The First And Most Obvious Question: Do World-Class Power Athletes Really Use Supplements?
Machine: Everyone I know does. Different people have varying degrees of success with them because everybody is different. When you get to this level of competition, you gotta increase your edge in any way you can.
Vag: The powerlifters all say they do, but in my experience, many don't. But more and more are beginning to.
The Lad: I always have and I've been in international competition for 20 years.
Schak: Every pro I know and I know almost all of them use some kind of supplement. I know for a fact Ron Coleman takes a suitcase full every day.
Freak: Yeah, but it's only the basic, tried-and-true stuff like protein, aminos, a multi, etc. They aren't using all the new hyped shit.
What's The Role Of Supplements In Bodybuilding & Powerlifting?
Machine: It's different for everyone. For me, the right supplements definitely allow me to train harder and recover at an advanced rate.
Big Joe: Supplementation is an integral part of my nutritional plan for the simple reason that anyone even remotely interested in good health, let alone bodybuilding, will find it very difficult to obtain adequate nutrition from food alone. Add to that the stresses of heavy training, whereby even if you were able to consume the necessary volume of food to meet all your nutritional needs, your digestive system would not be able to handle it.
Vag: I agree with Machine. As a powerlifter, I also use supplements to help my body recover faster. I have designed my routine so that I can focus on recovery. The hardest part of being natural and training at the level I am at is dealing with the pain from training. There is a lot of soreness that comes with training heavy all the time.
My routine is set up so that I cycle my overtraining. That goes against most training methods and most would call me crazy, but I believe the body needs to feel the weight and you have to push it. With this comes a complete breakdown, and supplements are the only way to naturally aid the extreme amounts of calories I need to repair.
The Lad: Supplements. The word speaks for itself? These products help supplement your dietary intake with more nutrients than you can normally eat in your daily meals. As a powerlifter, my supplement program is basic, but necessary.
Schak: Vag is right. They "supplement" what your body needs and does not get when training hard and heavy each and everyday. You need all the help you can get to recover and to give the body what it needs and then some that you just don't get from food.
Freak: Yup. Their role is to supplement your basic nutritional program, provide the body with extra nutrients that are missing or in insufficient quantities to allow the muscle to grow, get stronger, at optimal levels.
You Guys Have Been Around The Block. Which Supplements Are Scams?
Big Joe: Anything that sounds too good to be true...
Freak: Yeah, like all those products that claim "steroid-like" gains or have steroid-sounding names to mislead people.
Schak: I don't know how many ads I've seen like that? gain 30 pounds of lean, ripped muscle in 12 weeks. It's obvious that it just don't work that way. You also got ads that display a guy who's a fat ass, and then the comparison shot that shows the guy in show shape. They claim it's all from the product when actually it's the guy in a photo 3 years later and on the shit.
Machine: Me, I think a lot of the liquid creatines are scams. I'm no chemist, but I don't see how they could keep compounds like this stable. Athletes should make informed decisions about supplements. They're no magic bullets. Too often, guys get too caught up in looking for a miracle to save them.
The Lad: All those companies you guys are referring to are those looking to get rich quick, who haven't been around for a long time. There is a very fine line between misleading the general public and simply puffing up the product and, in my opinion, too many supplement companies cross that line.
Yeah, So Guys Want A Quick Fix When It Comes To Supplements? Why Is That?
Schak: People will always look for the easy way to get somewhere or do something. They look for the secret and think it comes in a pill or powder. Everybody wants the easy way out. If there's one thing we've all been preaching here, it's that there ain't no shortcuts.
Machine: I disagree. I never heard anyone say supplements are short cuts to hard work. In fact in a world where so many things are incorrectly named, supplements are exactly what they claim to be. They are an additive to be used in conjunction with all the other elements of a well-rounded athlete. They can't be the basis for growth in and of themselves.
Big Joe: That's what we know. A lot of other guys don't know that. And because hard work sucks, few want to do it. In this country, we got a pill for practically everything under the sun.
Vag: Yup. This country is all about the easy way out. People don't become fat asses overnight. It happens over time. So why do they think they can lose everything overnight? It's going to take time to get it back in shape or develop the muscle mass they desire. If you want quick gains and fast development that won't last, then don't fucking talk to me. Doing things right takes time.
The Lad: As we've become a more and more technological society, we've also become lazy. Hard work is one you'll never get in a pill.
Alright, So Which Supplements Do You Guys Use?
Machine: Almost too numerous to mention. I use all the Animal products. The newest one, Animal Test, is fucking awesome. Since I've been using these supplements, the biggest assistance has been my recovery time and ability. They have both increased.
Schak: Right on. I just used Animal Test too and gained 4 lb. on it. Now that don't sound like a lot, but for a guy at the pro level, that is a lot when every single pound comes hard earned.
The Lad: I use 1 Animal Pak daily, but during the last 2 weeks before a contest, I go to 2 daily. I also use the Stak, Cuts, and a lot of protein bars, plus coral calcium. Like Schak , I just started Animal Test because I'm dieting and 4 weeks out from a NPC show. Never have I been this hard and vascular at this bodyweight this far out from a show. Man, Animal Test is the best.
Freak: Maybe I'll give Test a shot too... Sounds interesting. I just use BCAA Stack, whey protein, Animal Pak and M-Stak. BCAAs after workout to replenish lost aminos during exercise. Protein powder to supplement my protein intake. And Animal products pretty much year round.
Are There Supplements You Guys Consider Essential?
Machine: I think every one should at least consider using a multivitamin/mineral product like Animal Pak and a really proven meal replacement powder. After they see the benefits of those supplements, they will become interested in others.
Big Joe: Yeah, a good multi like the Pak is key, plus I think a solid protein powder.
Vag: Protein, vitamins, and amino acids are what I recommend. It all starts with the Animal Pak though. Awesome product. But it's not just a multi. It's a complete supplement for all power athletes.
The Lad: All of those things, plus a good calcium and joint supplement for me.
Schak: Looks like everyone agrees. Animal Pak and a protein powder. If you get more involved in bodybuilding, then you add the other Animal products to get you to the next level.
Freak: In the following order: vitamins, protein powder, BCAAs, glutamine, and then maybe creatine.
Do Powerlifters Use Different Supplements Than Bodybuilders?
Machine: I'm a bodybuilder, but I cut my teeth on powerlifting. I think both athletes tend to gravitate to the same products, especially since powerlifters have been getting in better shape to compete. However, there are some things they cannot use depending on the federation they lift out of.
Big Joe: Yeah, powerlifters use less of the "cutting" type supps, but there are many more similarities than differences in general.
Vag: Excluding Animal Paks and other Animal supplements, we powerlifters have no supplements especially formulated for us. No one has taken the time to see exactly what we need in a day to promote our heavy lifting. As I do, I figure out my diet as best I can, and then find the best supplements for the buck.
The Lad: Powerlifters like me use supplements in season that bodybuilders use in the off season and vice versa.
Dollar-wise, How Much Supplements Do You Use Per Month?
Big Joe: $250
Machine: At least $400 per month
The Lad: $250