From CJ: “…I was wondering if you could talk about some of the weight training supplements on the market, such as creatine, protein powder, “muscle milk”, etc. Are these beneficial or harmful to take for a person who is trying to gain muscle mass? Thanks again for your insight!”
Your question touches on two primary Rock-Solid principles:
1. For whatever good something might contain nutrient-wise, what’s the downside?
2. Is it sustainable? Is it something you can healthfully be ingesting at your 100th birthday party?
So in the case of “Muscle Milk” or some kind of whey-based protein powder, let’s assume that it’s a protein that is highly-absorbable. Okay…but what else does it have? What’s the total bang for the buck that you’re getting for those 200 or 300 or more calories? Not much. There’s little to no fiber, zero phytonutrients, very few non-synthetic vitamins and minerals, etc. Sure, these things can help you gain some muscle weight, but I maintain that it’s largely because of the extra calories, not because of some kind of magical protein assimilation that’s going on, as these manufacturers want you to believe. I would pass on all of that shit, opting instead for plenty of nutrient-dense whole foods for your protein like legumes, spirulina, The Ultimate Meal smoothie mix, nuts, whole grains, a few soy products and the occasional soy or rice-based protein shake that includes “real food” in it. More on this in the book and in future blogs.
As for creatine, this is one of the only over-the-counter products I’ve seen that quantifiably CAN build some extra muscle mass and increase strength. And yes, you’ll even find that most of it is pharmaceutical grade and, therefore, 100% “plant-based.” BUT, again, this is not a sustainable food item. You would not want to be running this shit through your kidneys year after year. So the ONLY way I would possibly recommend it is if you were a natural bodybuilder, football player, had some kind of important “shirt-off” photo session coming up, etc. and you needed to use it on the SHORT-TERM for a bit of an edge. And even then, you shouldn’t even think about it until you absolutely hit a wall with your progress. Personally, I would pass on that, as well.
The bottom line is, when your diet and exercise program is “Rock-Solid,” you should be able to reach all of your fitness goals, provided that they’re not too far outside of your natural genetic capability. More on this in the book and in future blogs, as well.