BODYBUILDERS: The Ultimate Lab Rats
Just what do we mean by "natural muscle?" Even without supplements, how natural is it to eat hundreds of pounds of chicken and thousands of egg whites? Yes, devoted fitness people have some freaky eating habits, but stranger still are the chemicals and bio-engineered foods we supplement our diets with in the midst of our `healthy' lifestyles.
I started my supplementation before the protein powders were popular. I was sick of being the skinny kid. As a high school senior I was 6'1", 145 lbs., basically a set of human wind chimes. I used to make power shakes with ice cream, milk, and raw eggs. That was
before I knew I was lactose intolerant and that the raw eggs could have killed me with salmonella. Luckily, along came the evolution of the supplement industry. There were milk and egg protein and amino acid pills, the size of a baby's fist. Then supplement makers started to speak to me personally with products like `Instant Mass' and `SuperMass 700'. As the market grew so did the claims of the proteins. SuperMass 700 gave way to MassBuilder 1000, then 1200, followed by a puppy- chow- sized bag of MegaMass 2000. That's right 2000 calories in one shake! It dawned on me one day that they had never changed the formulas in the shake mixes to be more powerful, just made the scoopers bigger. Where I used to add a teaspoon to my milk, I was now adding 3 laundry detergent scoops to a gallon of water. I could only imagine what would be next. MegaMegaMass 10,000?! It would come with a snow shovel and a cement mixer. You won't have to drink it, just spackle it on and shape the body you want. The ultimate in body sculpting.
But all the extra calories didn't lead to extra muscle. Extra size yes, but mostly in the form of an expensive spare tire. So it was back to the labs and along came the supplement makers of today. They're smarter and bolder, making claims of miraculous transformations. Before and after ads featuring what could be the evolution of a species in 12 weeks. I really love when they show someone who is much more than out of shape. Then, in just a couple of months of drinking shakes, our man is bigger, leaner, tan and `Studplex Deluxe' has even removed excess body hair and fixed his bad posture! This metamorphosis isn't cheap either. When I did it, I gained 3 pounds of muscle and lost 5% of my income. I can only hope that the manufacturers of this stuff are even putting in what is actually on the label. I would be crushed to know that I have been paying $35 a tub for Ovaltine. Or find out that flavored creatine is nothing more than the magic dust that used to come out of a pixie stick. I guess I'm just a sucker for a fad if they say it works. At least that would account for my recent purchase of 500 milligrams of Placebo-bolin!
Like most lifters I am constantly looking for that ideal supplement that will put me over the top. I want the pill or powder that combined with proper diet and hard training will finally make me huge and ripped. So far huge hasn't happened, I've only managed to get medium. And the most ripped I've been was at my bachelor party. I was recently whining to my training partner about my lack of gains and like the good trainer he is, he grilled me for a diagnosis. "How's your
diet?" he asked. "Flawless," I said. "How's your training when you travel?" "Ferocious," I yelled. "Are you taking your Glutamine?" "What?" Oh great, I thought, now what am I not taking to keep me competitive. Suddenly I felt like the only car in the big race without a turbo charger. It made me wonder, where else was I missing the boat?
So I asked for the run down of what he was taking and he proudly opened a gym bag filled with pills, potions and powders that would have made Elvis shake, rattle and roll! Every kind of `ine' imagineable. creatine, glutamine, arginine and choline. Andro this and deca that. All legal over the counter supplements? but how much more could they make some of this stuff sound like steroids? They may as well market these drugs with mottos like Sunny Delight, "10% Real Juice!" So what if it's legal?does that mean if GNC could sell syringes that we'd all be in line the first Tuesday of the month with our scar tissue and our Gold Cards? Just look at the companies that are supplying our stash. They used to have healthy sounding names like, Nature's Best and Tree of Life. Now, they sound like chemical companies, Twin Labs, Bio-Chem and E.A.S. (Experimental and Applied Sciences). I want to know, are they experimenting on me or are they just applying?
Who's to say what is and isn't healthy supplementation? certainly not the government. You never see a Surgeon General in good shape. So it's obviously up to us to use some moderation and common sense. I know personally, I draw the line at anything that would require me to break the skin and I would definitely never use anything that was intended for veterinary use.. ever again.
I guess the only thing to do is continue to find what works best for you. Like with diet and training, every `body' reacts differently to what you do. It all comes down to making safe and educated decisions with your body. It's the only one you've got! I could go on about this all day, but my alarm just went off and its time to take my V2G, HMB and CLA.