T Nation

It's Not Any One Thing...

I am bored and feel like writing so here goes.

Once upon a time I was making great gains. It was about the time EAS came out with Phosphagain. I was eating right, training hard, taking numerous supplements, getting plenty of sleep, partying little, and studying hard in college.

I was strict about training. I would not let the little things go by. In the school cafeteria I could have had the tastier regular Ranch salad dressing, but I went with the fat free. I passed the soda’s and lemonade and had water.

Why get calories from lemonade when I can get them from skim milk, or a chicken breast which provides protein I know my muscles need.

I wondered why I was making such great gains. Was it the Phosphagen? Was it the Phosphagain? Perhaps it was the Amino’s coupled with the high protein diet. Or maybe the Met Rx shakes. I had heard it over and over why the gains were coming steady, but it simply didnt register.

About the same time I had a 1971 Mach 1 Mustang. Horsepower it was all about and getting it is what I focused on.

As I was thinking about adding mufflers for 5 extra horses, put a cam in for 50 extra horses, K&N air filter for a few ponies, underdrive pulley’s for a few ponies…etc. Then it dawned on me.

There is not one single thing that will make the car a hulking beast that does wheelie stands past minivan’s at stop lights, it was everything.

And it was everything I was doing with my training that was getting me the great gains. Any one variable I was doing alone was not doing it for me. It was all the variables combined that was doing it.

Everything helped out a little to equate to great gains: aminos, diet, training intensity, exercise form, supplements, etc. Everything I was doing netted me a little more gains and in conjunction with one another, all together they equaled great gains.

Just like two hands on a single bar can lift more than the sum of two hands working individually. The theory is touted over and over again on this site: “there is no single miracle or trick.” It is a combination of things working together.

I had seen it before in books and magazines. People hinted at it with a hint for this or that, telling me to stay on diet, watch your form, training intensity, supplements- dont forget them. But somehow in the mix of which supplement to take, or exactly how many reps, exactly what do I eat, it was lost.

Over analyzing everything I simply forgot, didnt realize, or overlooked how simple it is, and that great gains do not come from any single thing. Great gains come from everything, not any one thing (unless your juicing, then its a different story).

Today at work someone told me I am stupid for taking so many supplements, dieting, drinking only water, all the things I do are not necessary to them. In vain I tried to explain that each supplement may add little to my gains. It didn’t comprehend for him and I didnt care to belabor the point.

So, to all the people at T-Nation, dont forget there is no golden supplement, no golden diet, no golden routine. Sure, some things work better than others, but dont get caught up in that. Put it on the backburner and experiment with it on the back burner. Remember that it is the totality of factors that makes great gains.

Just my thoughts and bored ramblings.

Petedacook

This is some good ramblings though. A lot of people do forget that each little thing adds up to BIG changes over time. When you think about if you got an extra 5% EACH MONTH, how much is that in a couple years? So doing every little thing you can to maximize your gains as often as you can will lead to all of those little things being automatic habits, and in the long run, will add up to a MUCH more improved body than otherwise.

[quote]allNatural wrote:
This is some good ramblings though. A lot of people do forget that each little thing adds up to BIG changes over time. When you think about if you got an extra 5% EACH MONTH, how much is that in a couple years? So doing every little thing you can to maximize your gains as often as you can will lead to all of those little things being automatic habits, and in the long run, will add up to a MUCH more improved body than otherwise.[/quote]

Many people can get too caught up in those “little things”. How many people taking ten different supplements actually need any of that? If they spent more time thinking about what they eat and when and actually push themselves in the gym, they would probably make more progress.

The OP wrote this:

Maybe his coworker wasn’t completely off. Why is he taking so many supplements and which ones is he taking? Often results speak for themselves. No one asks me why I drink water or why I eat like I do. They may ask me what it is, but they should be able to see WHY without me saying anything.

I think some of these questions pop up if you don’t look the part. If some skinny kid with no visible muscle mass is carrying around a gallon of water everyday, my guess is, he will get more questions of “why” than the huge guy who everyone knows lifts weights.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Many people can get too caught up in those “little things”. How many people taking ten different supplements actually need any of that? If they spent more time thinking about what they eat and when and actually push themselves in the gym, they would probably make more progress.
[/quote]

I agree with this, though I feel that as far as “sweating the details” goes, it’s on the more favorable end of the spectrum. You tend to see a lot of people, not just on this board but others as well, who are constantly asking what the “best routine” for mass is, or whether or not they should “cut or bulk,” or whatever.

None of which I have nothing against, but after a while you tend to wonder whether or not these people actually train, or if they’re so caught up in the details of designing the perfect program/diet that they forget to even show up.

“Analysis Paralysis,” as CT calls it. I’m no good at rhyming, so it took me a paragraph to spit it out.

If someone wants to invest in 5, 10, 20 different supplements, more power to them…it’s not my money. As long as they remember the biggest investment they can make in their training isn’t in a powder or pill, then it’s all good.