”I’ll take it,” I said to the pharmacist with a tone exhibiting no traces of decomposure even though my heart was inflamed by hope gradually charging the deepest layers of my spirit. I took the powder and carefully placed it in my backpack as if it was the cure I had been searching for my entire life. I headed home, and with each step, I felt more and more connected to the deeper rhythms of life. I passed by the same places, but I wasn’t the same. I saw the same antagonists, but my fear and hatred were muted. I was glowing inwardly. I had found a way.
Moments later, I was behind the locked door of my room. I unzipped the backpack and carefully took out the box that was going to elevate my being to the upper echelons of human existence. Upon removing the cap, a heavy odor of vanilla emitted by the magic dust imported itself inside of me. Little did I know that I was about to enter just another chamber of the same old misery.
Today, I present you 10 ugly truths I wish I knew before purchasing my first box of protein powder.
1. The marketing mechanism has not changed
In the past, the major ingredient of protein powder were dehydrated soybeans mixed with kelp, wheat germ, dextrose, plants, herbs and flavorings. According to many old-timers, it took a special kind of dedication to drink the old Weider and Hoffman protein formulas due to their brain-melting taste.
Nowadays, the industry offers a large variety of protein powders based on super advanced formulas that make the old stuff look and feel like cat food. And while the taste and the production process may be different, the marketing mechanism has not changed – men carrying physiques built with the help of steroids and growth hormone are still the poster boys.
Ironically, or not, the effectiveness of whey is also pretty similar to what it was 40 years ago. I’m sorry, but you can’t expect magic. Protein does not have a significant impact on your male hormones – the actual key to more intense protein synthesis [muscle growth].
2. People force protein powders to work
What if I told you that my first Adidas shoes made me run faster? Yes, I am serious. My grandmother bought them for me when I was a kid. I can’t tell you if they were original or fake, but as soon as I put them on my feet, I felt lighter and quicker. I had to be. I was wearing Adidas after all. Ha-ha. Of course, it was all an illusion inhabiting the brainwashed head of a child.
Protein powder does the same to souls yearning muscle mass. Many lifters start to train harder and eat better after buying expensive supplements. When you add in the placebo effect so common for naturals you have a recipe for gains.
In short, supplements work because we ”force” them to.
3. Protein powders stab you in the stomach
Processed nutrition carries a nutrient composition that differs significantly from that of whole foods. The artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols that make your protein powder taste like cherry are not completely digested and hang out in the intestines where they become fermented by colonic bacteria. The side effects are all kinds of stomach discomfort. The situation worsens if your body does not tolerate dairy products.
There are two solutions – quit or find a product that doesn’t cause similar reactions. Can you guess which one I chose?
4. Pro bodybuilders don’t take whey protein
The professional assassins of atrophy better known as bodybuilders and fitness models take very little if any supplements because they are clearly ”red pilled” and understand how the game works.
The big guys don’t waste their time searching for the perfect protein blend and the purest form of creatine. They are too busy figuring out their next steroid cycle and diet plan – the pillars of bodybuilding and fitness modeling.
Yet the system inflames your imagination with photos of hardcore muscle constructors meant to convince you that every pro is obsessing over powders. Can you imagine Phil Heath calling Jay Cutler to discuss the best whey protein for a post workout shake? Funny, I know.
The same holds true for all popular supplements. Unless they are filming a commercial, professionals don’t waste their time with BCAA, fat burners, multivitamins, weight gainers, pre-workouts, muscle milk, carbohydrate blockers and other forms of hallucination-inducing substances.
5. Fast absorption is overrated
The industry relies on sexy terms to confuse you. ”Protein absorption” is one of many. It’s true that whey protein isolate is absorbed very fast, but who cares? Assimilation speed has no impact on the end result.
French researchers did the following study: 26 y/o women were separated into two groups. One group took protein evenly throughout the day while the other consumed 80% in a single meal. There was no difference in nitrogen balance, whole body protein turnover, whole body protein synthesis, or protein breakdown.
Back in Arnold’s era, there was no quickly absorbed whey. Most protein supplements were garbage. The only one tasting fine was Reo Blair’s Milk & Egg protein, but it was super expensive. Most bodybuilders were not even considering supplements other than vitamins. Yet they were exceptionally big. How? Genetics + steroids + training. Modern times ain’t much different.
Bottom line: Satisfying the daily protein needs of your body is more important than fast absorption.
6. The target audience of protein powder are kids
The people who buy the largest quantity of protein powder are 15-year-old teens with easy access to their mom’s purse. Younger people, carrying a spark of naivete and innocence, are more likely to invest trust in the system. Experienced men know that if something is too good to be true, it’s probably part of a crafted lie.
7. The labels lie
How do you know that the label of a protein box is accurate? How do you know what’s in the powder? How do you know that the magic dust contains as much protein as the promo says?
Yes, if you are buying expensive products from respected brands, you are probably getting what you think you are getting, but not everyone can afford to purchase high-end powder.
I bought my first box of protein when I was sixteen years old. I didn’t have a lot of money so I went for the cheapest possible solution that I could find locally. Years later, I read on a bodybuilding forum that my choice had been quite poor since the products of this particular brand were known to contain impurities and too much soy.
”Real” food often contains poisonous elements too, but you have a higher chance of knowing what you are consuming. When you are eating eggs, you know that you are eating eggs. When you are eating fish, you know that you are eating fish. When you are eating peanuts, you know that you are eating peanuts.
8. Extra protein does not equal extra growth
As a result of intense brainwashing, many lifters develop protein OCD inducing profound self-hatred and guilt when an arbitrary quantity of protein has not reached their veins.
”Oh, no! I lost track of time and forgot to take my shake,” screams the maniac.
Calm down, soldier. First, the body is not as fragile as you think. Your muscles will not evaporate if you skip a meal or two. You will have to starve for days for catabolism to begin. Past a certain point, extra protein does not equal extra growth. Once the muscle has received the supply of amino acids it needs, everything else is invested in funds other than MPS [muscle protein synthesis].
9. The studies say whatever the industry wants them to say
The modern religion is called scientism. People believe that every conclusion made in a lab is the highest form of truth. I understand. After all, the world has never been more visual. We want pictures. You know what people say today – ”Pics or it didn’t happen!”
The problem with science is that it needs sponsors. This leaves us with two possibilities – government-funded science and private company funded science. In both situations, there are possibilities for manipulation.
Supplement companies take advantage of the aforementioned dynamics and interpret the findings in their favor. Whenever a study concludes that an activity or a substance can have even the slightest positive impact on growth, the discovery is extracted out of context and amplified to epic proportions to serve the current agenda.
I am not against studies, but since there are so many of them these days, you can always find one supporting your thesis. Studies are not dogma – just supplementary information.
10. You don’t need supplements to reach your maximum muscular potential
The goal of the industry is to alter your perceptions by filling your head with irrational ideas and fears. The industry wants you confused and scared to act on your own. Your desire to build muscle mass makes you dependent. To the industry, you are what an addict is to a dealer – a man in an unconscious state of mind with money.
The images, the articles, the videos…and the rest of the content pushed in your face has one goal – to make you feel inferior and open you to crazy suggestions. One of those suggestions is that you can’t reach your maximum muscular potential without supplements.
We’ve all heard the classic sales pitch: ”In the modern, stressful world it is impossible to supply the body with the nutrients it needs for proper recovery and growth.” Not the case at all. You can reach your maximum muscular potential without touching a single supplement, but you think you can’t because they told you so. Even if all protein powder disappears from Earth, the size of natural and unnatural bodybuilders will not be affected one bit.
P.S. Potential: How Big Can You Get Naturally is out.
There is a 25% discount until Friday.
Use promo code “natty” at checkout.