T Nation

Newbie questions: supplements

Hey there again, guys. I had some questions concerning supplements that I was hoping could be answered:

1.) Pure creatine vs. ‘blend’. I went out yesterday to buy some creatine, and various suppliers make the pure kind for a reasonable price. However, a very strong looking guy behind the counter at GNC suggested I buy a type of creatine that had a laundry list of different sugars with the creatine, which ‘aid absorption’. This creatine was a lot more money. He said that the sugars included with it are ‘too hard to find in the diet, and are scientifically prepared for maximum absorption.’ Is all this true? Or would plain old pure creatine with some fruit juice and bread do it for me? The articles on this site didn’t seem too clear with me on it.

2.) If I get pure creatine, how do I 'load' it? None of the bottles had any intructions in this regard...how much, how often, and for how long? All the servings were 5 mg of creatine. I weigh 180.

3.) I've read with great interest about 'Tribex-500' on this site. I went to the GNC again, and discovered various products there with similar active ingredients...but not EXACTLY the same ones. (Tribestan, etc.) Are these of any value to me, or should I get the one made by this site? I guess this goes for the ZMA product too...I mean, it's possible to make the exact levels of vitamins with different bottles of cheaper supplements on the vitamin rack to equal what's in the costly ZMA. Again, does this have any utility? I doubt that the makers on this site would recommend otherwise, but still, I wonder.

Any testimonials would be appreciated.

Strato: Have you NOT read the FAQ yet? Or any articles on T-Mag?

I performed a search here on T-Mag using "creatine" as the subject. A whole list of articles appeared. You do not need to load creatine.

What brand of creatine was this "big buy" at GNC trying to sell you? Okay, forget that, just read all that you can regarding creatine on T-Mag. 'k?

The ONLY company that produces Tribex-500 is Biotest. Have you even checked out the Biotest store? And remember, you get what you pay for.

Use plain creatine and take it with simple carbs (juice or eat a slice of white bread with it). The guy at GNC probably got a kickback for selling that brand. Read the “dirty tricks” article at T-mag. As for tribulus, Tribex is at least twice as potent as any other trib product. If you don’t use Tribex-600, just don’t use tribulus. As for ZMA, raead the T-mag interview with Victor Conte.

Do a forum search for “creatine” and read my posts on it.


Yes, I have read many articles on here. I wouldn’t post these questions otherwise. I’m asking for testimonials because a lot of the articles contain contradictory information. Yes, plenty of articles pop up with the keyword ‘creatine’.

The brand was ‘Interactive Creatine Blast’ with a ‘bioprene delivery system’.

If I ‘get what I pay for’, I guess I should buy this stuff then, right? It was quadruple the price of pure creatine.

I’m well aware the Tribex product is available here. That’s why I was asking if the alternatives at the GNC containing similar ingredients were any good. The majority of products I see talked about on this site aren’t available in the store, so I was wondering if the stuff I can walk down the street and buy has any utility at all. Also, obviously the makers of the products for sale here would never say anything other than ‘our stuff is best.’ I was after more of a personal testimonial angle.

The only non-white powder plain creatine that I like is a product called “TRAC”, which stands for Time Released Arginine Creatine, from a company called MHP. TRAC is on the expensive side, so if it’s not in your budget just stick with plain white powder creatine, such as Prolab’s brand. As for tribulus, I find that Tribex-500 AND Tribestan are both very good products. I don’t think you’re getting inferior tribulus from Tribestan, rather I think it’s a pretty good product.

Strato: THEN you must have read the following article: “Dawg School: Basic Training for Beginners, Heirarchy of Needs” by Chris Shugart. I believe you should read that article along with the “Dawg School: Beginners Blast Off Program”. As well as the following article: http://www.testosterone.net/ articles/160supp.html (space at "/’ and “articles”).

Reason I'm suggesting this, is that I really don't think you're at the point to look in to Tribex-500, creatine, etc. You're at a point where you need to begin all over again, i.e., look at your diet/nutrition, rethink your training. Start all over. THEN once your diet/training is in gear, you consider supplementation.

Become a bonafide lurker of the forum and just read, read, research, read and learn from T-Mag. Also go to johnberardi.com and learn about diet/nutrition. THIS is not a flame.

I did not begin to use creatine until late into 2001. This was after 18-years of training. The strongest supplement I used up until that point was GABA, multi-vitamin/min tabs and Vitamin C. I have always made sure my diet (which consists of goold, old fashion food), was rock solid. And that my training was smart, and relied on quality - not quantity.

jcbart - Tribex-500 and Tribestan were both tested for active ingredients and while I don’t remember the exact numbers, Tribex had something like 40 to 50% more of the active ingedient than Tribestan. So there’s no comparason really. The poster above had it right, if you’re going to try a tribulus product, go with Tribex or don’t use tribulus at all. By the way, the same study had Tribestan come in second and the other tribulis supps where even way below that. So Tribstan is the #2 product, but Tribex is so far ahead it’s not saying much being #2.

Hey TEK, sorry pal but I gotta disagree there, study or no study I find Tribestan to be at least equal to Tribex-500. I take tribulus for reasons other than bodybuilding, and Tribestan has always worked just as well as Tribex. And that’s from the personal experience of seeing the results myself, the best study you can count on in my opinion.

skip the trib and zma, buy plain creatine boom problem solved

Damn, Patricia, give the guy a break, his questions are legit. Not everyone needs to train 18 years before using creatine.

Still Patricia makes several good points, diet and training are more important than creatine.

Find yourself a creatine monohydrate, you don’t need the stuff with sugars in it. Drink with grape juice and enjoy.

I got to agree with TEK, Tribestan is inferior to Tribex. Both personal experience and the research I’ve seen confirm this. Sure, I felt something from Tribestan, but it wasn’t anywhere near what Tribex did for me in even less time.

You all give great advice but I can’t believe you left something out. Strat, get the fuck out of GNC. If your’e looking to save cash on supps buy them on the net. Try DPS. Actually that might be a good idea for a thread if it hasn’t been done. Where does everyone get their supps?

To answer your questions:

  1. The guy’s trying to sell you something that isn’t really necessary. He’s either stupid, deceived, dishonest, or all three. Unless he can explain to you EXACTLY how these “scientifically formulated” sugars are better than what you can get in your diet, go with plain creatine. That’s been the overwhelming opinon on the Forum - which you would know if you had done a search here.
  2. Loading isn’t necessary - which you would know if you had done a search here.
  3. Tribex was first on the market, and other companies weren’t even thinking about tribulus until Biotest started marketing it successfully. Then, all of a sudden - boom! - every knock-off company around has a trib product out. Biotest is the leader, at least as far as this goes, and has historically been loath to put out a product that they couldn’t do better (usually a LOT better) than the competition. Thus, if they have Product X out, you can believe that it’s probably significantly better than anyone else’s Product X.

    Now, if you’re new to Biotest and T-Mag, there’s no way that you could know this. Fair enough. And asking for testamonials is certainly one way of trying to cover your bets. But let’s face it: until you try for yourself, you’re not going to know for sure how your body reacts. And since you’re here, using the free T-Mag discussion board, it seems to me that the best thing to do would be to at least give T-Mag/Biotest the benefit of the doubt and try Tribex over some other Trib product. If it doesn’t work for you, or if it does but you want to see whether a cheaper product could work as well or better, hey. No one’s gonna object to your switching. But that’s AFTER you try Tribex.

I am really disappointed at the level of hostility I have encountered on this forum. I’m new to it. I’ve made two posts, and people have griped at me to do a search instead of ask for the opinions of others that know a lot more than me. A few things:

1.) I just realized this morning that if I search the forum, different things pop up than if I search the homepage, which I had been doing (and coming up short for opinions/testimonials). I read almost everything that popped up on the home page about creatine, and some articles there said to load it, others didn’t. I don’t think I’m such a tard for asking the long time users here a question like that. And regarding the search functions on the forum/vs home page, sorry that it wasn’t that obvious to me. Like I said, I’m new to this site, which I have found to have a lot of amazing information, which is very exciting for me to take in. Sorry if my enthusiasm to be the best I can be as fast as possible grates on you guys so much.

2.) Char-dog, Tribestan has been on the market since the early 80’s. Tribex has been around that long? They did it first? Tribex also contains two other ingredients that I don’t know much about, and am going to try and do some reading on. Tribex isn’t sold in Canada in the same formulation (where I live, and this is from what others who use it have told me, and I want to know why.) You’re right, I won’t know until I try it out to see what it does, but a few testimonials about it wouldn’t hurt (since, like I explained, I didn’t realize how to search for.)

3.) I’m on a budget. Sergio, thanks for the advice on getting stuff online…after asking the guy there about creatine and other products he sells, I’ll probably be doing that from now on for cost reasons. As for trying out the Tribex first, well, I know the forum is free and everything, and it may indeed be the cat’s butt for products out there. But I’m not doing MYSELF any favours by automatically going out and trying it just because the company provides this forum to discuss workout techniques. I have limited funds, and I don’t think I’m out of line looking for a lower cost alternative. Give me a break. I volunteer at the Y so I can have a membership.

Anyway, thanks for all the good advice I received. I plan to implement everything I learn here as soon as possible. Sorry again for any overeager questions.

Don’t think of it as “hostility”. Think of it as a kick in the ass, to educate yourself.When I first came to this site, I read every single issue befoe posting.If I have a question (and I often do) I search the forum or the net first, then ask the forum for opinion/clarification.

Hey Strato,

Your enthusiasm is great. But if you lurk here a while, you’ll see a lot of the same questions will come up over and over given enough time. That doesn’t mean your questions are “bad”. But you may want to lurk and search before posting.

Sergio’s suggestion that you shop on-line is a good one. I highly recommend Netrition.com. They’re quick and their prices are fair. Plus they give you lots of free stuff (like t-shirts and water bottles). “Free”–now there’s a term that makes every student heart beat faster!

Finally, as Ko pointed out, you aren’t getting hostile responses, just fairly straight from the shoulder encouragement. Have you taken a look at Patricia’s photos in the gallery? Obviously she knows what she’s talking about. And she’s not the only one. There’s a lot of knowledge and training wisdom here. If you want to sit and think about how people meant to be perceived–go ahead. But that isn’t going to get your butt in the gym and working out.

Strato, fair enough. Sorry if my comments seemed, ah, unfriendly. I’m actually a very friendly guy, as everyone on the Forum here will tell you. :wink:

Tribestan has been out since the '80s? That’s news to me. Can anyone else provide confirmation about this? I normally wouldn’t doubt something like this, but I don’t ever recall seeing an ad for Tribestan that far back (and I’ve been involved in the iron game since the mid-70’s), and I think that I also remember reading in Biotest’s first articles about tribulus that Tribex was the first product of its kind. Now maybe that meant that it was the first really effective product, not the first product period… Any clarification would be appreciated.

As for not being able to get Biotest products in Canada, what do they do up there, check every single package that comes through the mail? I would think that you could order pretty much any legitimate product from an American Net company like Netrition or BAC and be able to receive it. Not the case?

Finally, as for being on a budget… If you look at the lab results given for Tribex versus Tribestan, depite the higher per bottle price, the price per amount of tribulus is actually lower for Tribex. So you would be saving money by ordering the Biotest product.

Hope this helps.

I’m going to go against the grain on this one and say that those special creatine blends are fairly effective. I will say though that if you use an ideal fruit juice like cranberry in the proper amounts you can get nearly as effective absorbtion. I’ve noticed extremely effective absorbtion when mixed with a strange juice called aronia berry juice. It has many of the same properties as cranberry but its taste is lighter and for some reason it seems to be easier on the gut. Keep in mind that if your body has a problem with creatine absorbtion you are going to have some seriously annoying dookie to contend with. In fact if you don’t find an ideal absorbtion medium the creatine will be a waste of money. Loading is not really required with creatine unless you are trying to volumize the muscle. There is reason to believe that this extra volume translates into real mass. But, it is only temporary mass and it will be lost after discontinuation. I’ve used creatine and noticed massive gains in endurance and power. The real gains in permenant mass came after discontinueing creatine though. I dropped my volume but continued with my regular training and load. I would bounce back a bit for two weeks or so then begin to fill out to the same levels the creatine gave me. The differance between creatine mass and post creatine mass will be very noticeable. While on creatine the muscle won’t be nearly as heavy or dense. It’ll have a spongy feeling to it. When you regain that mass after creatine it will be much heavier and much more solid. It looks better too.

As has been said already, a lot of this has been discussed before. I don’t use creatine, so its not going to be part of my response. As regards to the tribex, I’m finishing up my first time around on it… its lasting me a considerable amount of time. I would go for it. DPS and netrition both offer it at very low prices. The Avena Sativa offers some important benefits, at least according to the herbology books i’ve consulted - particularly in keeping things ‘in balance.’ Notice how biotest doesn’t offer every product under the sun moon and stars? Thats because they aren’t just trying to cash in on every fitness fan out there, but are looking to make the best products possible, when possible.