T Nation

Bodybuilding Fads 'n Scams?


So I’ve been thinking lately about all of the “stuff” I tried when I first got hooked on trying to look like a comic book super hero. From supplements, to workout programs, to anything in between, I can certainly admit my gullibility when I was younger in my quest to sculpt myself an impressive physique.

I figured this might be a fun thread, recounting tales ranging from simple inexperience, to pure idiocy.

Supplements I remember trying, adamantly convinced (and I made sure to tell all my friends) they would be the magic, missing ingredient:

-Liver Pills
-The Zillion pills in the Cybergenics Phase I Kit
-Larry Scott’s “SPECIAL” Protein powder (you had to mix it with cream, so you knew it was magic!)

Magic Programs (you knew they were good when they had to be ordered from “special ad-reports” in the muscle magazines!):

-Larry Holman’s program “based” on the famed Casey Viator Colorado Experiment (I forget the exact name at the moment)
-Any Cycbergenics program
-Anything Ron Harris wrote -lol

I’m sure there are plenty more, but it’s early and I’m sure this thread will gain momentum.



Oh man, I bought the Cybergenic program back in the 80s. Dropset squats to failure 3x/week, ending with bodyweight jumps until you couldn’t get your feet off the floor…


Muscletech!! I hate to admit I was sucked in to their 8 page '“Special Report” within the pages of Musclemag when they first came on the scene (RIP Bob Kennedy).


Mane past and present the entire industry’s built on this kinda stuff.

“Magic” Exercises are my pet peeve at the moment.

I swear to god if I see another “Can’t believe you are not following Ryan Spiteri” post on Instagram with some stupid arse exercise variation…


I still have the bottle of deer antler spray I won from the first time I met @The_Mighty_Stu at a training seminar he did at his gym in NY. Haven’t broken it open yet, saving it for my next prep so I can bring the magical gainzzzzz.


I don’t think either of these things are fads or scams, per say, but I combined them a decade ago and it was just awful!

Context: Just started lifting, wanted to gain size: 5’10", 112lbs dripping wet.

I combined these two concepts:
Drink a gallon of milk every day to add size
Drink at least a gallon of water every day because that’s what bodybuilders do

I was the most bloated I’ve ever been in my life!


Honestly the whole “want big arms? Squat. Want a big neck? Squat. Want to win in life and marry a hot broad? Squat” thing. Squatting is great, we get it.

Edit - sorry yeah, I fell into that for a while along with the “iso exercises are a waste of your time” thing.


Lmao! Hey, I had a supplement company offer free giveaways, I in No way endorse the effectiveness of deer antler for anything other than goring someone.



Animal Pak was a $30 lesson in how to turn my pee nuclear fluorescent yellow.


I’ve always been broke so I’ve never really done the fad supplement thing, but I bought into the compounds-only, no isolation work dogma for years


I’d add vanadyl sulfate, chitosan, and garcinia cambogia to that list. They were all “the next big thing” and the key for getting lean at some point.

In Flex magazine, Ernie Taylor once wrote about how he’d make tuna shake when dieting. So of course, I followed the recipe he laid out: 1 can tuna and 1 can Diet Coke in a blender. I think I might’ve gotten one sip down before deciding nope.

I also remember the old EAS Phosphagems, basically like Chuckles chewy candy with 1g creatine per gummy. I’d go through a full bag or two during a shift working at GNC and couldn’t understand why I kept getting stomach aches. There was probably 15-20 gummies per bag.

Last sad memory is one of those old school mass gainer shakes - could’ve been Russian Bear 5000, Mega Mass 4000, or mondo extreme bulker 8000. I remember one of them having a label recommendation to mix just a few scoops of the classic high sugar, low protein blend with a half-gallon of whole milk per serving. As if the 1200+ calories from the milk alone isn’t enough of a “mass gainer.”


Anyone remember when glutamine supplementation was going to be the next big thing? I would spoon it in my mouth and wash it down with water. Just awful.


glutamine is a big one I remember from college. The other one I can remember people being crazy about was nitric oxide supplements. For the pump. I also remember taking a zillion vitamins. I remember thinking more has to be better, right? Oh, and GREEN vitamins. you had to take like 10 a day, and they smelled awful.




Lol - I remember being home from college the summer after first discovering the gym, and buying my first weight gainer. I blended it up “as directed” (easily over 2000 calories) and slammed it down right before my buddies picked me up to go out for the night. It took a little while but I eventually thought I was either gonna crap myself in the backseat Of my friend’s car or I was gonna need to go to the hospital… good times :slight_smile:



It’s almost as bad as the Derek Poundstone chicken shake.


Blaine Sumner used to do this too. He did a sweet potato one that sounded bad ass, tried it, and it was. Honey, sweet potato, cinnamon and some bacon with milk in it.


Ugh! I went with some type of Weider stuff that tasted like rendered bone meal for a while, and Twinlabs amino acid tablets that were intensely bad.


Vibrating shit…such as the ‘Shakeweight’…I remember my Mum having an arse wobbling machine as a kid, lol


I always though John Parillo was full of shit with his program and advocating guys eating 10,000 calories a day back in the early 90’s