The following is a guest post from Michael Gregory. More about Michael below.
Supplements reign supreme in our current age of quick fixes and “overnight successes.” I’m going to tell you 3 very obvious things when it comes to your journey to a better body before buying more supplements. I’m betting that you’ll shake your head yes the entire time you’re reading. At the end of the article you may still mold whatever I say to fit your current internal dialogue, but I implore you instead to use it as an opportunity to take inventory of where you may be deficient.
I doubly implore you to implement a positive relationship between these statements and your supplement budget. Buying more supplements is rarely the answer. Meaning the more adherent you are to these principles, the more you may (or may not) spend on supplements. Otherwise you could be spending your time and hard-earned money on the wrong things.
You Should Need Two Hands to Count Your Sleep Hours on Your Fingers.
The majority of the recovery process happens when you sleep. For most people as long as you aren’t having a Freddy Krueger-esque nightmare your stress hormones are lower when asleep than when awake.
Burning the candle at both ends may have some benefit in the short term but anyone trying to build muscle knows that nothing happens in the short term. You need long-term consistent training, sleep, and nutrition in order to fully make a proper physique change.
We know from a ton of research brought to the public by the likes of Dr. Matthew Walker and his peers that even 5 days of fewer than 7 hours of sleep has the same adverse effects mentally and physically as an all night bender.
Not sleeping is highly catabolic. Sleep equals anabolism.
An Hour in the Gym Shouldn’t Be a Novel Experience in Your Life.
Not training regularly enough but having a verifiable Thanksgiving cornucopia of supplements on top of your fridge is like walking around on the ground with a giant parachute strapped to your back.
Sure that parachute could save your life and would definitely make skydiving a more enjoyable experience but it’s not going to do you much good if you’re just watching Netflix in your underwear using your ex girlfriend’s account.
Likewise, a sandbox full of muscle building powders could help you grow some muscle and would make the muscle building process more enjoyable, but they won’t do jack-diddly-squat if you are chasing them with a beer while still binge-watching Netflix.
Think of supplements as a cherry-on-top. Without a solid training routine and the next thing (a solid diet) you don’t have an ice cream sundae, you just have a bowl of cherries that will make your throat itch and your tummy ache.
You Should Know How Much Protein You Eat on an Average Day.
Muscle isn’t built out of blueberry-scented powder. It’s built out of real protein. Gram for gram protein from whole food is the most anabolic thing you can shove in your face.
By knowing how much you’re eating on a daily basis you’ll know whether or not you’re hitting your max muscle building threshold. It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of .6-1.2 grams per pound of lean body weight.
You may find that is extremely easy for you to get and therefore not have to worry about the majority of supplements.
On the other hand you may be vegan or malnourished in general and find it difficult to hit your requirement. In this scenario you now know how deficient you are and can supplement accordingly.
How Do You Stack Up?
The above 3 statements are very basic metrics you can use to see if you are on the right path.
– Sleeping 7-8 hours a night
– Training regularly multiple times a week
– Eating enough protein
If you aren’t absolutely positively practicing these principles then don’t bother with buying more supplements. Buy more groceries, membership to a nicer gym, or more comfortable bed sheets. Those will add more weight to your lifts and lean mass to your frame than anything in GNC.
Michael is a USMC veteran, strength coach, and amateur surfer. As an intelligence officer and MCMAP instructor Michael spent the majority of his military career in the Pacific theater of operations. He now lives in Bali where he writes, trains, and has had multiple near-death experiences in surf that is much too heavy for him. For more by Michael check out his Instagram, Facebook, or his website www.composurefitness.com.