How many times during your workouts do you see young kids signing up at the front desk and before the ink is even dry on the contract, they're on a bench press loading up 45's on each side?  Then they struggle to bang out a solid 3 reps before they realize it's too heavy.  Chances are that these kids today have not been properly educated on any form of equipment, nutrition, and yes - supplementation.  It seems people today will rush out to their closest vitamin store and buy whatever new hits the market.  You see these same people spending astronomical amounts of money on supplements that they don't even know what they are or what they will do for them.  Maybe its time we educated the people that need educating.

At this point you may find yourself asking; "When should I start using supplements?"  A lot of the gym population in this era will work out and train quite hard but yet still wonder why they see no changes in their physique or any gains in strength for that matter. So rather than going out and buying the highest calorie weight gainer, the most potent creatine monohydrate, and the biggest jug of whey protein you can find in your quest to build lean muscle, you should start off looking at your diet and training regimen.  Packing on quality size isn't all about drinking the most shakes you can, but it has more to do with your overall nutrition and weights! 

The first thing you should do is get an orientation with a personal trainer at your gym.  Sure it may cost you a "few" bucks, but the information you'll gain in that initial session will be worth every penny!  Start by looking at your body and focusing on areas you might need to work on.  Keep in mind you can't ignore the areas that don't need the most attention.  After establishing a full body workout program that incorporates heavy, high-intensity training you should take a look at your food intake. 

We all know how good a burger and fries taste, but now its time to get to business.  Gaining quality muscle mass doesn't come from eating "junk" food every other day.  You want to get as much "clean" protein, carbohydrates, and even fat calories as you can per day.  What is considered clean and not clean?  Clean protein comes mainly from chicken, steak, fish, protein powders, and even low-fat cottage cheese.  Consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight per day is a key factor in this nutritional aspect.  For example, if you are 155 lbs then you should be consuming at least 155 grams of protein a day divided across 4 to 6 meals and shakes.  Water is one of the biggest factors in gaining quality weight and staying healthy.  Your muscle is made up of mostly water; therefore, you should be consistently replenishing yourself with water throughout the day.

At this point you've got your training and diet under control, so now it's time to think about incorporating some supplements into the plan.  People are often confused when going out to the nutrition store and trying to buy the right supplements.  Not many people really stop to think of the cost or the quality of those supplements.  Keep in mind that the cost doesn't always mean the product is guaranteed to work.  Nor does it mean it is going to do anything different or anything better than the more affordable products.  Optimum Nutrition is an excellent brand because they are a manufacturer, they produce quality products, and as a result their price is more affordable than the rest!  Quality products with a reasonable price is the biggest thing you can ask for from a supplement company.

Come back tomorrow to find out what specific supplements I recommend to help you reach your goals!

Glen Pacyna
ON Reps and Sets Athlete
Personal Trainer / Natural Bodybuilder

The author is a compensated ON Sets and Reps Athlete, however, the views, opinions, and comments expressed here are those exclusively of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Optimum Nutrition.
Leave a Comment
Pete Savvides
Jun 09, 2007
Awsome read Glen. your 100% correct, getting your workout program and diet down first is key