What’s the worst supplement you’ve ever had?

That’s a really a good question…

It could be the amino acids I bought because I read an article in Men’s Health talking how good they are for muscle building.

So I went and bought some tablets, but they were too large to swallow and left a horrible chalky taste in the mouth if you tried to chew.

I never finished the bag and they didn’t really do anything.

Then I got Grenade fat burners, which lived up to it’s name as it gave me diarrohera so explosive you might think someone had shoved a grenade up there.

My experience with Grenade represented by an image.

I had to stop taking these when I experienced a night of hot sweats and heart palpations – a scare which made me think I was going to have a heart attack.

Then there was a Herbal Life meal replacement, which although pleasant in taste was overpriced multi-level marketing (MLM) branding, meaning I lost more pounds sterling, than what you see on scale weight.

(And as a note: the friend who I bought the product off to support their new ‘business’ took home mere pennies from the sale, such is the horrible reality of MLM).

The actual worst of the worst is R2 by Nu Skin.

It combines all the things I consider bad in a supplement:

  • Overpriced.
  • Side effects on my bodily functions.
  • No visible results.

I still have no idea what it actually does and the organisations product description on the website doesn’t make it any clearer what actual benefits are.

“Pharmanex’s ageLOC R2 day and night is a powerful product combination that works by targeting YGCs related to cellular purification and cellular energy production toward a more youthful time. ageLOC R2 promotes three dimensions of vitality that typically decline with age—physical vigor, mental acuity, and sexual health. Men and women over 18 can enjoy ageLOC R2 to fully engage in an active life, and who want to feel youthful and vibrant.”

What does that mean?

Again, this was partly bought to help support a friend in their new MLM business and again, they took home a pittance against the mark-up price.

I was also sold by it’s almost miracle like qualities (I can almost hear the hands of slapping against the heads of thousands of fitness experts).

My seller friend had been taking it and had made major gains.  Being younger and eager to get myself to the next level (and more naïve), I was sold

Was any of this backed by science?

The answer is no.

The reason was allegedly that it costs thousands to do this type of testing, which would add to the cost of the product.

This is worded to think a favour is being done to the buyer, but a cynic might think they say this so the BS behind the product does not get disproved.

A pill doesn’t get results…

As mentioned, I was quite competitive in the obstacle racing scene and was getting to a good level, recently finishing in the top 20 of a smaller emerging race.

Following the event, I logged into Facebook and saw a post from a Nu Skin rep featuring me, making claims how much R2 had helped me get these good results.

I took exception to this as it dismissed all my hard work for a pill I’d only been taking for about a week.

My success was not from a magic pill, but from the grind:

  • regular hitting the gym and running
  • working on my techniques
  • gaining experience from running other obstacle races
  • on point nutrition
  • optimal rest
  • being an age were my body could endure more stress and recovery more effectively.

Not a magic pill.

The quest for instant gratification

In my post 7 Tips to Manage Your Weight Loss Goal, I talk about the importance of patience.

This can apply to any fitness goal whether it is weight loss, getting stronger or faster, patience and persistence is what get results, not pills.

I’ve learned this the hard way.  If there is anything offering quick results it’s either not healthy, not sustainable or too good to be true.

The only supplements I recommend for results are creatine and protein powder, but that comes with the important caveat that these should be balanced with a regime of nutritious diet, exercise and rest.

Could a magic exercise pill exist asks Men’s Journal?

The answer is no, no it couldn’t

They only exist in the minds of marketers knowing they can sell products to people who want shortcuts over hard work.

And if you want my recommendations…

If you are looking for a good protein powder then I recommend USN Whey Protein, and for creatine check out SCI-MX Nutrition Pure Creatine Monohydrate Powder.

Both I like for the good balance between affordability and getting good results.

(Note: both these contain affiliate links to Amazon.co.uk, which if purchased will support me.  If you want to shop around or find in your local currency just copy/paste the product names into a search engine as I do genuinely use both and fully recommend both these products for strength training goals!)

Wishing you all the best in your success:

James @ perfectmanifesto.com


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7 thoughts on “The Magic Pill

    1. If you are looking at performance (stronger, faster, more muscular) both can help.

      I’ve found protein powder useful to help with recovery of muscles, and useful to help give boost to ensure getting enough protein in the day.

      Creatine can make you look more muscular and it might be a placebo effect but when I first took it, I felt a lot stronger (if you’re doing reps you can endure more, if you’r doing heavy low reps, the weight doesn’t feel as difficult allowing to do more). I know from friends doing sport they noticed an improvement in their endurance and strength when performing.

      If you are looking at scale weight then creatine tends to retain water (which helps with a more muscular look), so you come off heavier. Because of this if someone is skinny frame it helps them look more athletic, but if someone has a higher % body fat that definition won’t show as effectively

      Protein powder can be a great tool for weight loss if used carefully, I’ve used it as a meal replacement and an alternative to snacking. Care needs to be taken with the quantities as there is a bit of sugar and fat in dependent on the brand, so having 2,3,4 or more shakes a day can soon put on weight, especially when you include milk.

      If a person is new to working out, I’d recommend to try prolonging taking any supplements as you’ll see a lot of results in the first six months, then adding a supplement when you start feeling results plateau.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! 🙂

        If we are talking a steady state (i.e. like running a marathon where you maintain a pace to complete a long distance, rather than cardio that requires bursts of energy (like sprinting or HIIT) then protein powder is a better choice.

        Creatine is good for when energy needs to be produce explosive rather than in the steady state.

        Protein powder has good crossover to endurance cardio as the stress put on the muscles is good to aid recovery.

        Liked by 1 person

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