T Nation

Help! No Supplements Available!

CT, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on how to change training with no access to supplements for the next month or so. It is not something I have a choice about, and it is clearly not what I would like to do, but it will be the situation–temporarily–and hopefully for no longer than a month.

When I say no supplements I mean possibly no whey protein either. Creatine is available. Nothing else but solid food and, possibly, whey protein.

Suffice to say, I can’t take a month off. But I do need to know how you’d recommend changing from my current scheme (your layer system). Primary goals being in order of importance: strength, power look size

This is going to be a hard month and I obviously cannot continue the layers, but I’d like some insight if you don’t mind on what I can do to maximize the training in this difficult time. I know the basics and I have a few ideas, but I’d like your input very much because I suspect you have a few tips and tricks beyond the basics.

I’m really interested to see the response to this.

do supplements really dictate training style?

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
do supplements really dictate training style?[/quote]

To a degree yes, to a degree no. They do hamstring results however. Perhaps hamstring is too strong a word…but they do not allow getting all you can get out of training by any measure.

how?

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
how?[/quote]

Its simple, really. We start with the premise that the more we lift heavy, the bigger and stronger we get. Plus, when you engage in heavy strength training, you do two things: 1) stimulate anatomical and physiological adaptation, and 2) deplete nutrients from muscle cells and neurons. Both things impact each other: the more adaptations the body needs to make (be they anatomical or hormonal), the more nutrients are needed. If your body is lacking nutrients, it is lacking the means to lift heavy.

A person who lacks any supplements, as I have often experienced, must be fully aware that maximum gains are not possible. You can get big and strong, but not to your genetic potential. The issue is recovery. Solid foods take time to digest, and therefore the nutrients aren’t readily available for your muscles to use to recover. This means your muscles need more time to fully recover before you engage in heavy lifting again. Instead of benching three times a week with great intensity, you’d probably have one heavy/intense day and one light/moderate day.

When you have supps, be they simple, like whey protein, or advanced, like PLAZMA, the game is changed because your recovery time is shortened. Shortened recovery time allows more work to be done. Instead of one heavy/intense bench session as above, you could probably fit two (possibly three) in. The more you can lift heavy, the bigger and stronger you can get.

If you are on no supps, and doing an extremely high-intensity plan, like Meadows Reactive Pump, or CT’s layer system, you’d conceivably have to make some concessions or adaptations to the program to provide for the increased recovery time. Such concessions minimize the effectiveness of the program.

[quote]defenderofTruth wrote:
A person who lacks any supplements, as I have often experienced, must be fully aware that maximum gains are not possible.[/quote]

such, such nonsense.

(if this was a joke then I’m sorry, my sarcasm detector’s in the shop…)

Your are talking as if supplements were steroids. They help but it is a really really small difference of like 5% or even less. Honestly i’ve tried a lot of supplements and then removed them for money issue and I didn’t even noticed the difference, I continued to be bigger and stronger even with less supplements than ever before!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but legal supplements aren’t that big of a deal.

A lot of the times they aren’t even supported by research. We have solid evidence for eating protein right after training, check. So in that light protein shake supplementation is justified. But when it comes to things like casein hydrosulates, not so much. The story is compelling: fast absorption of peptides leads to greater amino acid availability in muscle. But turns out research done on this topic suggest casein hydrosulates lose to the usual whey protein. Turns out they don’t act any faster and on top of that more of it doesn’t even absorb.

We have pretty solid research on creatine, whey, beta-alanine and mct-oil, but as far as anything else is concerned there is really no good evidence they would do anything at all.

[quote]Toohard wrote:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but legal supplements aren’t that big of a deal.

A lot of the times they aren’t even supported by research. We have solid evidence for eating protein right after training, check. So in that light protein shake supplementation is justified. But when it comes to things like casein hydrosulates, not so much. The story is compelling: fast absorption of peptides leads to greater amino acid availability in muscle. But turns out research done on this topic suggest casein hydrosulates lose to the usual whey protein. Turns out they don’t act any faster and on top of that more of it doesn’t even absorb.

We have pretty solid research on creatine, whey, beta-alanine and mct-oil, but as far as anything else is concerned there is really no good evidence they would do anything at all. [/quote]

Those are all supplements that impact recovery, and thus impact the amount of work that can be done within a given amount of time. The point still stands: if you have no supplements, like whey (be it concentrate, isolate, or hydrolyzed), creatine, amino-acids, etc, your ability to recover from intense strength training is limited, and recovery takes longer.

Consider the case of creatine. In order for muscles to move, they need a phosphate from ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate)molecules, making ADP (adenosine di-phosphate). When a muscle lacks the necessary ATP from either anaerobic or aerobic functions, it cannot move. Creatine supplementation provides a means to more quickly replenish ATP stores (by supplying a phosphate to ADP). The athlete who uses creatine increases his/her ability to recover and thus get more work in.

I’m not saying that supplements are essential for training, but use of supplements can and does impact the style of training you choose. You can’t expect to do a John Meadows’ Reactive Pump program unless you have the means to assist in recovery.

[quote]defenderofTruth wrote:
I’m not saying that supplements are essential for training, but use of supplements can and does impact the style of training you choose. You can’t expect to do a John Meadows’ Reactive Pump program unless you have the means to assist in recovery.
[/quote]

You seriously think that you can’t do the Reactive Pump Program without supplements? Like you wouldn’t recover fine?

As good as peri-wo drinks and stuff are, they aren’t the difference between repping 315 and 405 lol.

Supplements are way overrated imo. I havent taken any the last 2 years, and havent noticed a difference whatsoever except better digestion from cutting out whey protein lol.

Hard consistent training and good food is all you need. Except if you wanna be a pro bber, but then you need way more powerful stuff than anything you can get legally anyway.

[quote]defenderofTruth wrote:
I’m not saying that supplements are essential for training, but use of supplements can and does impact the style of training you choose. You can’t expect to do a John Meadows’ Reactive Pump program unless you have the means to assist in recovery.
[/quote]

lol, yes you did. Look at your above post.

I haven’t used supplements, including whey (gasp!) for years and I train 5 times a week, high volume and recover just fine.

[quote]whatever2k wrote:
Supplements are way overrated imo. I havent taken any the last 2 years, and havent noticed a difference whatsoever except better digestion from cutting out whey protein lol.

Hard consistent training and good food is all you need. Except if you wanna be a pro bber, but then you need way more powerful stuff than anything you can get legally anyway. [/quote]

exactly. Supplements are fine if you need them to plug holes in your diet, like bumping up your protein intake if you need it, but to believe they are essential is just nonsense.

Without elite peri workout supplementation you cannot possibly get big, strong, lean or a combination of the three.
Just hope all your gains don’t waste away in that month.
Good luck OP.

Supplements are not a substitute and cannot defeat a bad diet or bad training.

[quote]defenderofTruth wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
how?[/quote]

Its simple, really. We start with the premise that the more we lift heavy, the bigger and stronger we get. Plus, when you engage in heavy strength training, you do two things: 1) stimulate anatomical and physiological adaptation, and 2) deplete nutrients from muscle cells and neurons. Both things impact each other: the more adaptations the body needs to make (be they anatomical or hormonal), the more nutrients are needed. If your body is lacking nutrients, it is lacking the means to lift heavy.

A person who lacks any supplements, as I have often experienced, must be fully aware that maximum gains are not possible. You can get big and strong, but not to your genetic potential. The issue is recovery. Solid foods take time to digest, and therefore the nutrients aren’t readily available for your muscles to use to recover. This means your muscles need more time to fully recover before you engage in heavy lifting again. Instead of benching three times a week with great intensity, you’d probably have one heavy/intense day and one light/moderate day.

When you have supps, be they simple, like whey protein, or advanced, like PLAZMA, the game is changed because your recovery time is shortened. Shortened recovery time allows more work to be done. Instead of one heavy/intense bench session as above, you could probably fit two (possibly three) in. The more you can lift heavy, the bigger and stronger you can get.

If you are on no supps, and doing an extremely high-intensity plan, like Meadows Reactive Pump, or CT’s layer system, you’d conceivably have to make some concessions or adaptations to the program to provide for the increased recovery time. Such concessions minimize the effectiveness of the program.[/quote]

Edited: Apparently I am in a pissy mood today.

But yeah, just to echo the sentiments expressed in this thread, most legal supplements are either totally useless or have very limited usefulness. Almost anything you can do with supps you can do with good diet and any workout plan can be done if you develop the appropriate base level of strength and muscle endurance.

[quote]defenderofTruth wrote:
Those are all supplements that impact recovery, and thus impact the amount of work that can be done within a given amount of time. The point still stands: if you have no supplements, like whey (be it concentrate, isolate, or hydrolyzed), creatine, amino-acids, etc, your ability to recover from intense strength training is limited, and recovery takes longer.
[/quote]

This is true and backed up by research. Post and pre-workout intake of protein and carbohydrates does help recovery, helps fill the glucosen stores and does indeed assist in reaching max protein synthesis, and thus maximum muscle or strength gains.

Whey is the fastest absorbing protein with best bio availability, as far as I know. So it would be the optimal source post workout. But how much faster it absorbs than whole food? I don’t know this, on top of my head I think it takes like 1 hour for whey to absorb and 4 hours to reach the peak amino acid levels.

My hunch is that consuming real food would be slower, but I don’t think it would be that much slower. So while whey would give one an edge, consuming real food in same time window would probably give close to same results.

I have to disagree though, I don’t think that supplements are essential to recovering from a training program. I mean if you can do it with supplements then you can probably do it without almost as well.

No way, you are all wrong. I took this awesome preworkout one time and I woke up the next morning a shredded 235 lbs… supps make a huge difference… but only in your pocketbook. I haven’t noticed any difference between supplement stacks and just eating clean healthy food.

[quote]bpick86 wrote:
Edited: Apparently I am in a pissy mood today.
[/quote]

There are supplements that can help with that…