T Nation

Going All-Natural?

I’m a beginner and I have reservations about using suppliments. It’s probably just my imagination and whatnot, but is it “healthier” to just go all-out natural? What are the benifits of say, using things like Mag-10 as opposed to doing everything naturally? (Maybe explain to me how things like the above operate in the body…?) I know, I’m totally ignorant on the subject, but if someone could make clear and justify the use of suppliments (and perhaps even steroids?) it’d be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Joe.

Depends on the supplements. Most are just food, like protein powders. Saying, “I don’t think it’s right and/or healthy to use supplements” is like saying, it’s not right to eat alot of chicken for protein. Is it “healthier” not to take vitamins and anti-oxidants? Those are supplements. Is it healthier not to take a fiber supplement if you’re constipated? And while things like Surge are just nutrients, you’d be hard pressed to simulate the ideal formula with solid food.

Others, like MAG-10, can take your physique to levels that can’t otherwise be achieved or at least get you there faster.

And what the heck is natural anyway? It’s natural for babies to die of disease, yet we step in and stop it. It’s natural to let your teeth rot out, yet we invented flouride. Is it healthier not to “supplement” with Crest? Is it natural to eat 300 grams of protein a day? Is it natural to lift weights to simulate physical labor? Is it natural to build muscle you really don’t need in everyday life?

See what I mean. It’s really a silly issue. All that said, a beginner can make a lot of progress without supplements, but supps will make the process faster and easier. All you need is protein powder or MRPs right now. Focus on your diet and training first.

I think supplements & steriods only make faster gains. All throughout history there have been guys who didn’t have that sort of stuff & became unbeleivably huge & strong. The only stuff I might use is a good protein powder.

Joe, there’s nothing wrong with using supplements, so long as you go with a reputable company. But if you want some general advice, here are a few pointers: (1) At the beginning of your training (and by this I mean the first four years or so), you’re going to make good gains no matter what. Also, you’re (hopefully) going to be learning about your body and how it responds to various training and nutritional stimuli. If you take a lot of suplements, to say nothing of steroids, etc., you’ll never be able to tell whether an effect was achieved by correct training/nutrition or by the supp. So you’ll never know for sure whether you’re really learning anything or just eating and training like an idiot but spending money on drugs so you make progress anyway. Kind of silly, if you think about it. (2) Most supplements are bogus anyway. Although Biotest has established a sterling reputation for quality, I can’t think of even ONE other company in the field that can say the same thing. If you’re a beginner, you’re going to waste a lot of time and money on stuff that won’t do you a bit of good, just because you got taken in by some slick advertising. Why be an ad casualty? (3) Finally, if you don’t know what a given supp is supposed to do for you, and understand at least the basic idea behind it (chemically, physiologically, etc.), IMHO you have no business using it. Building a knowledge base takes some time, but is worth it in the long run. Anyway, I guess I agree with TEK about the whole “natural” issue being silly, but I still think that there are benefits to staying as “natural” as possible for several years before you start trying to add other stuff to your training and nutrition regimen. Good luck!

I agree with the other guys. One main point to address is that if you’re a beginner (assuming a younger guy) get your diet down first. Taking creatine and Mountain Dew then some Mag-10 isn’t very good for you. I’d just take a vitamin, then either some Surge or just some protein powder after you work out and before you go to bed (not Surge, but protein.) Eat good for 5 meals a day and you won’t need suppliments. You’d be amazed at just what eating good can do.

During the first few years of training,
I’d focus on supplements that enhance
your nutrition – products that contain
what’s in food, but in a form that lets
you get more or better quality, or lets
you get it without also getting a lot
of calories you don’t want, or a lot
of fat you don’t want.

Examples: protein powder, meal replacement
powders, Surge, creatine, Ribose-C (discontinued though), that sort of thing.

The only exception to me really is fatburners
like ECA (ephedrine/caffeine products), MD6,
or T2 Pro. Or maybe use of androgens, e.g.
Androsol, lightly during severe dieting where
otherwise you’d have severe loss of LBM.
E.g., applying only in the morning.

But so far as gaining muscle mass, I’d rely
on nutrition (probably aided by supplements) and training, rather than on androgens.