Dawg School- Hierarchy of Needs

Hey Chris, cool article. I wish I had read that a few years ago. I’d be alot bigger now! Question- do you think supplements can be moved down the tier given the new developments that have come along lately? Wouldn’t supplements get the newbie to that higher level faster?

I see your point, but a knowledge base of proper diet and training info still needs to come first. That said, I see some supplements as falling into the diet foundation. Protein powder is just food after all. To me, protein powders and MRPs should be budgeted as food, part of the grocery bill, not part of the supplement bill.

Another point: Sometimes supplements help a beginner to stay motivated. They don’t want the product to “go to waste” so they don’t miss any workouts and give it all they’ve got in the gym. This motivation needs to be intrinsic of course, but sometimes supplements can help in this transition from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation.

Most of us usually use supplements throughout the hierarchy I outlined, and that’s fine. We learn as we go. The problem comes when a person focuses all his efforts on one tier and neglects the others. As I wrote in the article, the best fat burner in the world isn’t going to make up for a shitty diet and an unhealthy lifestyle, yet most people jump right to the supplements before making an effort to clean up their diets. They fail in the long, of course.

Great article, although it did bring back nightmarish memories of high school health class!:slight_smile: Chris-I totally agree with your placement of each of the four components. Just curious, though: have you checked out the May 2002 issue of Ironman yet? I can’t wait for my subscription to run out, as the Muscle Link ads are really getting on my nerves. However, every millenium or so they include an article that actually peaks my interest. This month, they did an interview with Poliquin. I’ve been following CP’s stuff since he was at Muscle Media, then T-Mag, and now on his own, so I thought it would be a good read. They actually addressed the exact same issue as you. Interestingly, CP put training first, lifestyle second, diet third, and supplements fourth. Here’s a quote: “There are athletes who gain muscle on low-calorie diets, so diet is certainly not the first one.” I think he is seeing things through somewhat of a narrow scope. In other words, less that 5% of the population exercises intensely with specific physique improvement goals, yet he makes his decision based on this small segment. Meanwhile, the rest of the population sits in line at the McDonald’s drive-through. As much as it pains me to recognize that it is possible, one can remain in decent shape without exercise by simply watching one’s diet. All in all, it seems that you have to consider whether you’re talking about the T-Men out there or just some ordinary Joe. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at CP’s response, given that he is a strength coach and his diet ideas have always been somewhat “lacking” (most of them come directly from Serano). Then, he went on to recommend reishi mushroom extra as the next big supplement, which made me even more skeptical. Oh well, to each their own. I guess opinions are just like assholes; everyone’s got one.

Chris: I thought about your article this morning as I was listening to a group of ladies lamenting about their overweight, out-of-shape, poorly eating, couch potato husbands who were beginning to feel the ill effects of middle age. They were all sharing their “expertise” on
“Chondroitin this, and Vitamin C that, and Herbal Superstuff this, and Natural Remedy That” because they all made such a difference".

NOT ONE thought of perhaps having their couch-bound love-muffins 1)alter their diets 2)start exercising 3)Change lifestlyes (oh yeah…I think one guy had changed to Light Cigarettes and Light beer…no kidding! She was proud!). All just skipped over that stuff, right to the supplements. Wow…

So…I think that your pyramid has implications even beyond bodybuilding and/or lookin’ good (which is cool too!), but also for maintaining and/or restoring basic health.

As always…a great article! Mufasa

Eric- No, I haven’t read Ironman in a couple of years, or any other BB mag for that matter. I flip through them sometimes at the bookstore, but haven’t really read one in years. I suppose I should, but it’s like being forced to watch soap operas or that Maurie talk show: it makes me lose brain cells.

Anyway, I can see why he’d put lifestyle as #2 but as I wrote in the article, it depends on the severity of the lifestyle offense. As for diet, I think you nailed it: Poliquin works mostly with genetic mutants, many of whom are no strangers to performance enhancing drugs. It skews ones outlook.

And yes, Poliquin is a great strength coach and has had a profound influence on me, but his diet info has always been lacking. It’s just not his area.

Mufasa- Actually, I’ve written a “regular person” version of the hierarchy for non-bodybuilders. I was going to be a chapter in a book I was writing on general fitness. I may still finish the book, but it was just very painful having to write “down” to people, you know? I think it beats the snot out of Body For Life, but it’s just psychologically painful writing towards that audience. That market needs a tastes of “T” so maybe I’ll continue the project after summer. (I have some HUGE stuff coming up before fall this year and all my energies are focused towards those things right now.)

I loved your pyramid concept. One element which I think should be included - you alluded to it indirectly - is posessing the mental discipline to realize each of the tiers. Perhaps each tier should have its own requirement. For example, I have perfect discipline for training and supplements but have difficulties with the diet and lifestyle elements. It would be cool if could incorporate this element into your model.

I don’t think mental discipline can be included. I mean, it’s needed to even start a program or even to go seek info. Think of all the people who want to lose weight or build muscle who don’t even get on the net and start researching. The mental discipline would have to come first I guess. In the pyramid, it’s assumed. Correct me if I’m wrong Chris.

THIS is the article to send the newbies to check out. Especially the ones who ask about supplements after just a year or so less of weight training. A must-read even for the more experienced lifter. Thanks, Chris Shugart.

diet and lifestyle, imo, are very much interrelated.

Good point, dman.

Chris Shugart mentioned that Poliquin has good strength programs, but limited nutrition experience. I just bought “Manly Weight Loss.” Would I be better off following the T-dawg diet and using Poliquins lifting programs, than using both Poliquins’ diet and lifting program laid out in the book. Has anyone used both? What results did you have?

Great work of ARTicle. Now if the “forum experienced” would read it through, that would be great!