Author Topic: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians  (Read 1230 times)

Valley of Plenty

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Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« on: August 16, 2020, 08:18:53 PM »
I've been actively working on improving my fitness for the last 1.5 years; specifically seeking to increase my weight with lean muscle. I'm a naturally thin guy with a crazy fast metabolism, so weight gain has always been a challenge. I started going to the gym in April of last year, and in the first six months I was able to increase my weight from 135 to 150, and from there I've pretty much been holding steady. I'd like to put on another 10-20 pounds, but the gains just don't come as easily as they used to. From what I understand this is normal for people when they start lifting, and to continue achieving gains you have to get creative. I've changed up my workouts to include more high weight/low rep sets to prioritize muscle growth over definition, and I've been making a focused effort to monitor my nutrition to ensure I'm getting enough calories and protein.

I'm also looking to add in supplements to help push me over this hump. I'm looking for suggestions for the most useful supplements that carry the best value for the cost. I'm seeing stuff like a one month supply of testosterone booster for $50, which seems outrageous to me. I want the gains, but I also don't want to be a consumer sucka.

What I currently use:
  • Body Fortress Whey Protein - $35 for about a 2 month supply
  • Six Star Pre-workout (with creatine) - $15 for about a 2 month supply
  • Six Star Testosterone Booster - $15 for a 1 month supply

Am I covering all the bases? Are there better options that I'm unaware of? This is roughly $70 a month once I add in the cost of gym membership (I know, home gyms are better but I find the gym membership provides enough value to me to justify the cost), but it's something that I don't mind spending money on because it is definitely benefiting my health and wellbeing both short and long term.

Any feedback and suggestions appreciated!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2020, 02:47:53 PM »
Unfortunately I donít have much to share around this, except my hindsight. I was quite similar to you, naturally thin with a fast metabolism and couldnít gain weight. I got sick of being the skinny guy and wanted size. I joined a gym and it came with a half hour PT session. The guy said, what you want? I said, to be bigger. He said, ok: no cardio, eat 6x a day and heavy weights, low reps (if you can do 8, increase the weight). Well, it worked like a charm and I gained 40lbs in 4 months. Because I was thin already, it filled out nice but of course there was fat. I didnít care. Now, almost 20 years later and Iíd love to be that thin guy again. My fast metabolism was changed. Food sticks, losing weight is hard. Thereís no value being overweight when youíre older. I have to constantly workout to keep my body from exploding in size. I wish I had loved myself more, wish I had developed confidence not from thinking that Iíd be more attractive bigger, but more attractive because I was comfortable with myself. I wasnít and still struggle with that. It doesnít get easier as you get older, it gets so much harder.

If I had to do it all over again, I wouldnít worry about the size gain, as much as eating healthy, regular workouts and find activities that keep me active that I enjoy. Now, itís more important to have a strong functional body than one that impresses others.

All the best in your journey with this, please though, consider giving as much focus to loving yourself and being comfortable with who you are, as youíre putting in to changing your body.

LifeHappens

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2020, 11:22:56 AM »
Since this is the MMM forum, I feel compelled to tell you testosterone boosters are a waste of money. This is a good place to start for further research: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/do-testosterone-boosting-supplements-work/

You'd probably do better to spend that $15 on protein or healthy fats.

Optimiser

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2020, 12:29:42 PM »
Eat more food

MissPeach

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2020, 02:12:49 PM »
I highly recommend reading the blog by Legion Athletics (Mike Matthews) or downloading some episodes of the MindPump podcast. Both have a lot of great advice for hard gainers. To be honest supplements are going to be the least effective option as long as your protein consumption is good and you're eating enough.

The guy who run the Legion blog also wrote a book called Bigger Leaner Stronger that's on Amazon. The women's version of that was one of the first weight lifting guides I picked up and it's amazing. A lot of the content is available for free on the blog but it's laid out in a way that's easier to follow in the book.

The Mind Pump guys used to be hard gainers when they were younger, have been personal trainers for a long time, and used to run gyms. One of the three guys also was a professional competitor. They have published some good ideas on how to get extra calories into your meal plan without needing supplements and have admitted they thought they would work then they were young and realized they didn't.

mcneally

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2020, 03:40:11 PM »
There's decent evidence for the benefit of creatine and not really any other supplements. 2nd that there are no (legal, over the counter) supplements that will boost your testosterone.

Whey protein is basically just a type of food, so I wouldn't really consider that an additional cost other than to the extent that your grocery bill has otherwise increased since you started lifting.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2020, 08:35:29 AM »
Some good advice, along with misinformation here.

Eat more food.
99% of supplements are worthless, literally their packaging costs more to manufacture than the "active" ingredients.
Get on a solid training program. (starting strength, Mad Cow 5x5, etc)
Lean mass takes time to build, gaining 40 lbs in 4 months is pretty much guaranteed to be 75-90% bodyfat.
Creatine is not bad for your kidneys, especially when taken sensibly (5g of monohydrate per day).
Most doctors know VERY little about diet/nutrition and even less about supplements. What is taught in medical school is knowledge that is 50+ years old on these topics

I wanted to elaborate on the creatine fear mongoring. I'm sure @feelingroovy has good intentions and I do not doubt her husband had high creatine levels when getting bloodwork done. Creatine, when taken sensibly (5g of cheap monohydrate per day) is completely safe. I have a health science background, and worked in the industry for 5 years. One of my employees, who was also a powerlifter/bodybuilder had one kidney since birth, despite not being allowed to do many things due to his condition, taking creatine was not one of them. He was monitored very closely with blood/urine samples taken every 3 months, and he never had issues, extensively researched the topic with his own doctor and others.

There is a danger in "loading" phases that are prescribed by many creatine supplements, which tell you to take 4x the dose for a period of X days. This is a marketing gimmick to make you buy more of the supplement.

@feelingroovy's husband probably had high creatinine/urea levels from an excess amount of protein in his diet, which BTW new research shows that you do NOT need nearly as much as previously thought for optimal recovery/growth. Old school of thought was at least 1g protein per lb of bodyweight per day, I would not go over 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass.

-former competitive drug free bodybuilder/powerlifter/lifelong student of nutrition/supplementation.

Edited to add: when I worked for the worlds largest supplement retailers, we received more supplements for free than we knew what to do with, I still didn't take them (besides creatine, and occasionally protein powder mixed into my oatmeal/shake if getting it from food was too inconvenient due to work schedule etc).

"By eating large amounts of protein foods e.g. meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, milk and yoghurt before commencing dialysis, you will affect the buildup of urea and creatinine in your blood. An appropriate daily intake of protein should be advised by your dietician."
« Last Edit: August 19, 2020, 08:38:31 AM by 2Birds1Stone »

GuitarStv

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2020, 01:29:36 PM »
If you want to gain more muscle mass, lift weights, consume more calories. increase your protein intake slightly, and get lots of sleep.  You don't need any supplements at all.  I'm saying this as a guy who went from 170 lbs to 230 in a couple years while keeping the same waist size (and experiencing a tremendous increase in strength).


If you've desperately decided that you NEED supplements, protein powered and creatine are the only ones I'd recommend because they're proven to work.  The majority of the supplement industry is pretty hand-wavey and short on actual evidence that the stuff being sold works as advertised.

Protein of all kinds (including protein powder) helps you build muscle and will help your body keep more lean muscle mass on it's frame than you would otherwise.  There are a lot of arguments as the the amount of protein to take, but most agree that between .5g - 1g per lb of bodyweight is ideal.  Protein can also help with recovery from exercise soreness.  The main benefit of protein powders is that they taste like junk food and (if isolates) are quickly digested which some argue is beneficial if taken immediately after a workout - the theory being that faster introduction of protein after training stimulus will reduce catabolism and increase the anabolic return from the workout.

Creatine helps people perform more repetitions of weighted exercises that you would otherwise be able to do (does not increase your max lift).  This can help increase volume which can lead to greater training stimulus / bigger muscles.  It causes more water retention in your muscle (makes many people look kind of puffy) so you're guaranteed to put on weight when on creatine.  It should be taken in cycles where you load your body up for a few months and then go off for a few months, not all the time as the body eventually develops a resistance to the stuff.

bloodaxe

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2020, 01:38:56 PM »
Anabolic steroids are probably the best bang for your buck.

GuitarStv

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2020, 01:42:33 PM »
Anabolic steroids are probably the best bang for your buck.

Hey, the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL can't all be wrong can they?  :P

ROF Expat

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2020, 02:08:27 PM »
Valley of Plenty

+1 for most of what 2birds1stone has to say, and a few extra thoughts: 

--How tall are you?  A lean and strong 150 with a goal of 170 is a lot different for 5feet tall than it is for 6 feet tall. 

--Be patient.  15 pounds in six months is great progress if most of that is muscle.  Gains in strength and size will slow down as you progress, that's just reality. 

--Work hard at an effective program (I'm a big fan of Starting Strength) and don't be shy about eating a lot of food to support building your new muscle.  Understand that some of that food is going to be converted into new bodyfat as well as new muscle.  Losing that new bodyfat is probably going to involve a separate effort. 

--I wouldn't waste the money on most supplements.  I took creatine for a while.   It gave me a quick weight gain (all water as far as I could tell), but the real value was that it seemed to give me a little more capacity for hard work.  Nothing dramatic, but an edge that helped me complete the fifth rep of work sets when I was pushing my limits and setting new PRs.  If you are really pushing yourself and making progress in terms of weight lifted, I think creatine can be useful.  Otherwise, I don't think there is much point to using it.  It is the work (actually, the recovery from the work) that is going to make you bigger and stronger, not the creatine itself.  I'm not a doctor, so you'll have to make your own decisions about the safety of creatine. 

--Think about reorienting your goals away from size gains and toward strength gains.  Strength gains come faster and are easier to measure, so they can be more motivating than size gains.  And size will almost certainly follow strength, although your genetics will play a role in what you can ultimately achieve. 

dcozad999

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2020, 02:15:55 PM »
I third the protein and creatine only advice.

As far as preworkout supplements go, slam a cup of coffee before your workout. It will do just as much for you as thee supplements will.

Morning Glory

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2020, 03:53:13 PM »
We go through a lot of whey protein at my house. The cheapest source is usually Myprotein.com when they have a sale. Its a bit annoying because they send you an email with a different percent off every day, and the regular prices aren't that good. The 50-60% ones roll around about every 3 months, where you can get an 11lb bag for $50-60, and they have a lot of flavors to choose from. They have good prices on the creatine too, during sales.

I have also found good sales on the combat whey protein at Costco, the 5 lb bag is usually $40 but they have been as low as $28 during the monthly sales.

Creatine and creatinine are two different things with sound-alike names.. Creatine is an amino acid, just like arginine or tyrosine. The idea is that your body can use it as a building block to make more protein to build muscle. It does not damage the kidney. If you consume more than you need your body will break it down for energy to be used or stored as fat. My husband tried it and it gave him horrible gas.

Creatinine is a byproduct of protein metabolism. It doesn't damage the kidney either, but it is useful for measuring how well the kidney is functioning. If you have too much creatinine in your blood it means your kidneys are not doing a good job disposing of it, so there is a high probability that something is wrong with them. The most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes, hypertension, genetic diseases, and autoimmune diseases.

GuitarStv

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2020, 04:43:37 PM »
Creatine does not build muscle, it is buffered in your muscles.  This increases muscle performance, particularly in strength endurance.  It does this by increasing the amount of energy recovery that occurs in your muscles when under stress - beyond what would naturally be possible.

Valley of Plenty

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2020, 01:26:06 AM »
Valley of Plenty

+1 for most of what 2birds1stone has to say, and a few extra thoughts: 

--How tall are you?  A lean and strong 150 with a goal of 170 is a lot different for 5feet tall than it is for 6 feet tall. 

--Be patient.  15 pounds in six months is great progress if most of that is muscle.  Gains in strength and size will slow down as you progress, that's just reality. 

--Work hard at an effective program (I'm a big fan of Starting Strength) and don't be shy about eating a lot of food to support building your new muscle.  Understand that some of that food is going to be converted into new bodyfat as well as new muscle.  Losing that new bodyfat is probably going to involve a separate effort. 

--I wouldn't waste the money on most supplements.  I took creatine for a while.   It gave me a quick weight gain (all water as far as I could tell), but the real value was that it seemed to give me a little more capacity for hard work.  Nothing dramatic, but an edge that helped me complete the fifth rep of work sets when I was pushing my limits and setting new PRs.  If you are really pushing yourself and making progress in terms of weight lifted, I think creatine can be useful.  Otherwise, I don't think there is much point to using it.  It is the work (actually, the recovery from the work) that is going to make you bigger and stronger, not the creatine itself.  I'm not a doctor, so you'll have to make your own decisions about the safety of creatine. 

--Think about reorienting your goals away from size gains and toward strength gains.  Strength gains come faster and are easier to measure, so they can be more motivating than size gains.  And size will almost certainly follow strength, although your genetics will play a role in what you can ultimately achieve.

I'm 6'0", currently 158lbs. When I started about a year and a half ago I was 135lbs.

cool7hand

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2020, 09:43:41 AM »
Two fitness sites I follow that include help with nutrition: https://www.strongfit.com/ and https://btwntheears.mykajabi.com/

Valley of Plenty

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2020, 06:00:35 PM »
I really appreciate all the feedback. Evidently I need to re-evaluate the benefits of testosterone boosters. I'm hesitant to just drop them based on the feedback here, because I've heard from many other sources that the right ones *do* work. I'll have to do some research and come to my own conclusion as to their effectiveness.

It does seem like the best thing I can do is eat more, which is unfortunate because I'm already eating a lot. I get over 3,000 calories most days. Consistency is somewhat lacking; I have an easier time hitting my calorie goals on days that I'm very active. On my days off I have a habit of not eating enough to hit my calorie goal. Meal prep is definitely something I struggle with. I've never been much of a cook, and I have a hard time motivating myself to take the time to make food in advance.

I should also look into specific workout programs. I've constructed my own routine that seems to work pretty well, but I don't suppose it would hurt to change things up and try a different approach.

GuitarStv

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2020, 06:16:13 PM »
3000 calories is not a lot for a 6' tall man who is trying to add some weight.

I am also 6' and was eating upwards of 5000 calories a day when trying to gain weight.  This is easy to get if you're eating total crap (cake, pizza, donuts) but gets almost painful when you're trying to do it in a clean way.  You may find it easier to replace all my vegetables with fruit (higher cal), and significantly increase consumption of white non-fibery carbs (white bread, white tortillas, white potatoes, white rice, white pasta) to make calorie requirements.  Then keep eating your chicken breast, cottage cheese, nuts, greek yogurt, and legumes.

Valley of Plenty

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2020, 06:25:53 PM »
3000 calories is not a lot for a 6' tall man who is trying to add some weight.

I am also 6' and was eating upwards of 5000 calories a day when trying to gain weight.  This is easy to get if you're eating total crap (cake, pizza, donuts) but gets almost painful when you're trying to do it in a clean way.  You may find it easier to replace all my vegetables with fruit (higher cal), and significantly increase consumption of white non-fibery carbs (white bread, white tortillas, white potatoes, white rice, white pasta) to make calorie requirements.  Then keep eating your chicken breast, cottage cheese, nuts, greek yogurt, and legumes.

I struggle to find a good balance between protein, carbs, and fats. Too much protein and I lose my appetite, but too many carbs and I don't have enough room for protein, etc.

I don't imagine I could sustainably keep up with 5,000 calories/day. On the rare occasions I'm able to get up to 4,000 I feel sick and bloated.

GuitarStv

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Re: Supplement Options for Muscley Mustachians
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2020, 07:37:40 AM »
3000 calories is not a lot for a 6' tall man who is trying to add some weight.

I am also 6' and was eating upwards of 5000 calories a day when trying to gain weight.  This is easy to get if you're eating total crap (cake, pizza, donuts) but gets almost painful when you're trying to do it in a clean way.  You may find it easier to replace all my vegetables with fruit (higher cal), and significantly increase consumption of white non-fibery carbs (white bread, white tortillas, white potatoes, white rice, white pasta) to make calorie requirements.  Then keep eating your chicken breast, cottage cheese, nuts, greek yogurt, and legumes.

I struggle to find a good balance between protein, carbs, and fats. Too much protein and I lose my appetite, but too many carbs and I don't have enough room for protein, etc.

I don't imagine I could sustainably keep up with 5,000 calories/day. On the rare occasions I'm able to get up to 4,000 I feel sick and bloated.

Try altering your the types of food and the way you eat it.  Try lots of small meals (or, conversely try fewer huge meals eaten quickly), reduce low calorie high fiber foods in your diet as they're filling without providing the energy you need.  Drink calories whenever possible, (whole milk and fruit juice are great for this).  Don't jump into the higher calories right away.  Try increasing daily intake by 250 cals each week so that your body gets used to it.  If you're having trouble eating protein because you're full of carbs, this is where chugging a protein shake can help (feels less filling).

Of course, this is assuming that you're weighing and logging every piece of food you eat in a given day.  If you're not doing that already but just estimating calorie content you're going to fail at this for sure.