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Protein Supplements, Powders, etc.

April 29th, 2011

Are protein powders bad for you? I hear some people say they are like roids.

Protein powders are not bad for you, and they are nothing even remotely close to steroids.

Protein powders are, in essence, a relatively easy way to meet your daily protein needs. While for many lifters protein supplements are somewhat useless, many lifters find protein supplements useful because they tire of cheaper sources of protein (beans, eggs, etc) and because they don’t like to spend the money on good meat or fish. Thus, the overriding principle of protein supplements are simple: if you need them, feel free to use them, but keep in mind they don’t do anything beyond provide you what you could get from a carefully managed diet.

I will say, however, one nice thing about protein powder is it’s freaking efficient — usually (but not always), the protein to calorie ratio is pretty damn good, meaning you get more protein for the calories you intake. In contrast to some protein sources (fattier meats, etc), protein supplements are a great way to get protein when you’re trying to maintain a calorie deficit. If you do choose to get a protein supplement, look around carefully and don’t just buy the crap at Wal*Mart — find something well reviewed, tasty, and cheap.

As for the whole steroids thing, that’s just a joke people say because many people consider protein powder to be some sort of illicit, steroid-like substance. Similarly, supplements like creatine do not come close to steroids — they’re just supplements. Steroids are not sold at your local CVS.



June 9th, 2010

I’m really scrawny, and no matter how much SL 5x5or other lifting I do, I can’t gain right. I’m interested in starting some ‘roids. What do you think?

Well, first off, drugs of that caliber are illegal, so I have to advise you don’t do so simply on the basis of legality. Yes, it makes very little sense that they are illegal, and most of the ideas regarding them are misconceptions, but the fact remains nonetheless.

Outside of that, however, there are multiple reasons why not to do steroids. While it seems tempting to do them because they help body builders bulk up, steroids have a lot of nasty side effects that make them pretty horrible for anyone who wants to look good. First off, taking steroids inhibits natural hormone development — it’s a temporary effect, but nonetheless a pretty strong one. Steroids can also strongly encourage gynecomastia (aka “bitch tits”) — meaning you develop breasts. Steroids will typically give you lots and lots of acne, and encourage the chances that you begin balding early (if you are going to). Other side effects include liver damage, changes in your cholesterol, and the like. There are a lot of horrible, horrible side effects — read about them yourself.

If you want a quick way to bulk up and put on muscle, do GOMAD — that is, drinking a gallon of milk a day. While this is not advisable on the long term, GOMAD is a great way to rapidly put on weight and muscle — for all intents and purposes, it’s shocking your body into developing muscle quickly. GOMAD is never advisable for people at normal/heavier weights, but if you do it (with a very heavy, extensive weight training regimen, including lots of compound lifts) as a skinny guy, you will gain muscle like crazy, and you will usually keep it. GOMAD is basically a hellishly intensive bulk, a very effective one.

So basically, don’t focus on steroids, they are almost always a very poor answer to a problem you can fix in a much more efficient and legal way. Stick to GOMAD and intense training, while remaining patient, and you will get results.

Weight lifting and staying slim

October 7th, 2009

I want to weight lift and look muscular, but not massive and nasty. Think Ryan Reynolds, not those guys in those weightlifting magazines. How do I do it?

The anwer is simple: the same way the weightlifting magazine guys do, sans the roids and the overeating.

There’s a silly presumption (especially among women) that weightlifting in any fashion will make you some sort of roided out freak- which simply is not true. Realistially, if you maintain a normal lfiestyle and avoid doing any sort of crash diets or taking any sort of drugs, your body will naturally maintain a very nice size- that is to say, unless you have some massive bearmode genes, you aren’t going to become some sort of massive roided out freak in two seconds.

The way those guys in the magazines becoem big is 100% drugs and/or other forms of supplements, often aided by good genes. In all honesty, it is very unlikely you will EVER become like that without injecting heavy amounts of drugs into yourself: it isn’t sustainable or easy. A scant percentage of the population can indeed get this big, but it’s very likely not you.

That being said, embrace powerlifting and the legitimate weight lifting- don’t do silly little “lean muscle” exerises because you’re afraid of becoming Ronnie Coleman or something. Stick to the basics, and build muscle naturally. Obviously, don’t take steroids, and avoid overeating. You’ll turn out fine.

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