Intelligent Supplementation – by Jamie Bolton

Supplements are a fairly new phenomenon. And that they definitely are. A phenomenon. People rage about them; the pills and the powders. But the reality is that supplements are there to do just that – supplement a diet.Today, I’m going to take you through the 3 levels of supplementation as I see it: the Essentials, the Useful, and the plain-ol Questionable.
These 3 supplements I consider staples in my cupboard. And here’s why.

Whey Protein Powder. This is more for convenience and cost than anything else. Getting 1.5g/lb from real food isn’t always easy, especially when on a budget. Simple whey concentrate does the job very well. It doesn’t need to get much fancier than this. Bear in mind, that if your budget or schedule allows, then you could consider this one optional. There is nothing that protein powder will do that real food can’t.

Multivitamin & mineral.  A varied diet full of whole foods should in the perfect world cover these needs. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Most of us don’t eat that varied a diet, moreover nutrient levels in food aren’t what they once were, due to the way we farm our food, soil degradation and the like. See this as a cheap insurance policy against vitamin & mineral deficiency.

Omega 3 Fish Oil. Our food used to be full of it. Our environment and food rearing practices means now – not so much. In fact, the ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s we used to consume was about 1:1 up to 1:3. Now it’s like 1:20 or more.
Omega 6s are inflammatory. Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. So by supplementing our levels of omega 3 up, we can help bring the ratio back into balance, and bring down inflammation. Why is this important? A tonne of health problems are linked to inflammation. Asthma, heart disease, tendonitis. Even DOMS can be worsened by an inflammatory diet. And this is only skimming the surface. Run a google search and you will see the list of benefits goes on. And on.
A good prescription for dosing is 1g for each % bodyfat you are. If you are 15% bodyfat, 15g of fish oil, and so on.

Fish Oil - the list of benefits goes on and on...

These two supplements both help increase work capacity when training. They allow you to do more work. (Remember though, you actually need to do more work to take advantage!)

Creatine – probably the most proven and researched sports supplements. It does work. It’s just not the magic some people want it to be. Creatine is an entirely natural substance and works by increasing the amount of phosphocreatine in your muscles, which allows for quicker restoration of ATP levels, which increases your anaerobic work capacity. In layman’s terms, it means you can work harder in short bursts, resulting a rep or two extra per set, better recovery between sets, or even better speed-endurance in sprinting. In short this means you are increasing muscular overload, i.e. challenging your muscles more. This may help you to progress faster. You could seek to increase creatine levels through diet, but this would involve eating about four kilos of steak each day, so concentrated supplementation is a better option.

In fact, Dr. Rick Kreider of the University of Texas and Editor-in-Chief of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recently said that not taking creatine could put athletes at a higher risk of injury from a neurological, recovery and temperature regulation perspective.

It’s worth noting that Creatine will cause some water retention in muscles, so when taking it expect bodyweight to jump by a few kilos, and likewise when you stop, the reverse will happen. For more info, I’d really recommend reading here.

Beta Alanine – Beta Alanine is a naturally-occurring non-essential amino acid. Similar to creatine, it works by increasing work capacity by delaying fatigue. But it does this by increasing the number of hydrogen ions in muscles, which act as a buffer against lactate accumulation. Over the course of a workout, this may result in extra reps and/or better recovery between sets. Unlike creatine, beta alanine won’t cause any water retention.


Everything else. When it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Now I’m not knocking everything else entirely. Some of the other stuff out there can & does work. But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Instead, I would rather invest my pennies in better food. Sure go ahead and try some of the other products out there. If it works, great. But just don’t expect miracles. Remember, good training and diet will trump this stuff every time.


People these days seem to think you can’t get to any decent level of development without taking supplements. Oftentimes one of the first things I’ll get asked is, “what supplements do you take?”. People seem to forget that the likes of Steve Reeves achieved pretty remarkable physiques without any supplementation (nor steroids either).

Steve Reeves - built without supplements

If you are intelligent with your diet, I honestly believe there should be only a very limited role for supplementation. Supplements can help along the way, but they are just that. They won’t make up for crappy training or a rubbish diet. Remember the two things that always produce results – hard work and consistency.


Stop Looking for the Secret Formula – by Jamie Bolton

Stop looking for the ‘secret formula’, there isn’t one. 

Now I hate to break it to you, but the truth of the matter is this – you probably already know everything you need to know in order to succeed. However, the problem is, you just don’t want to do it.

“Ya i know squats are a great exercise but they’re kinda hard” or
“I know veggies are great for you but its boring to eat them”

These are such retarded statements when you think about it, yet we hear it all the time. People are afraid of doing the very things that they know can produce results.
Why? Because its hard and there must be some easier way.

You probably know everything you need to get there, just do it!

If you log onto any strength training forum and you will see endless threads with people asking for critique on the minutiae in their program, diets and more typically most of the time – supplements.

“Like theres this super-duper creatine made in Russia lined with pixey dust, but is it better than this one which is cross-filtrated decarboned fossilated creatine which my mate said will get you hyuuuge” (yes both are made up before you go looking for them)

Dude for f**ks sake its creatine, it may well help but please just go and buy some standard creatine monohydrate and get over it. Heck go buy a gallon of milk a day instead, you’re probably not eating enough anyway.

Results are a function of two things – hard work and consistency. Nothing more, nothing less.

People want things that give them instant gratification….eat a donut now and yummm yeah, it tastes good, but is it really getting you closer to your goals? Replacing junk food with real food might not be instantly gratifying, but you’ll be thankful in a few months time when you look, feel and perform better.

That’s kind of the problem these days with society. Everyone wants instant rewards. No in fact, they expect instant results. Sure you’ve eaten like crap for the past 25years but somehow you expect to look like a mens health cover model in a month? Give me a break. Apply some logic here, if it took you years to get that way, you really think you can reverse it overnight?

If you want it, and I mean really want it, then you need to be prepared to make permanent lifestyle changes and stop looking for short cuts, because they’re aren’t any. There is no program that allows you to sit on your arse all day, eat crap and yet look & perform great, no matter how hard to you look for it or attempt to believe it exists. I know the magazines and media say it does, but guess what – they are putting out ‘lies’ in order to make you buy the damn thing because they know it appeals to the instant gratification people want to be true. It’s called marketing.

Anything is possible when it comes the realm of strength training, but it always boils down to one thing – desire. Those who want it enough are walking the walk, doing day in, day out what everyone knows produces results. They’re not hung up on looking for the ‘magic’ formula. They train like monsters, eat like beasts and sleep like babies. They don’t spend more time looking for a program or a diet than actually following it. They already know the real key to success – hard work & consistency.

Attitude – by Jamie Bolton

I’m going to cut straight to the chase and reveal the fitness industry’s biggest secret. Are you ready? But shushhhhh, don’t tell anyone. There isn’t one. What? Yeah there is no secret.

Wait what?

Look, what separates the weak from the strong isn’t some secret training program, it isn’t some revolutionary diet, it is ATTITUDE.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill

Notice that guy in the gym going hell for leather? Headphones in, sweat dripping off him? Yeah he’s probably lifting more weight than you are too. He might be mid-set squatting, looks like he’s beat, but he still drops down and gets that one more rep. Sod it, he went and got two more.

It might be that woman at work who meticulously follows her diet. She’s dropped more lbs in the past month than you have in the last year. Your buddy comes round and offers round some cake. You accept, heck it won’t hurt your fat loss efforts will it? She declines.

Or it might be a pal that gets up at the break of dawn to work out, since he’s got a job and family to support. He’s out in his garage at 5am, working to build a better him. How about you? Tucked up in bed, 5am’s far too early to work out after all? He’s breaking out PR’s before you’ve even opened an eyelid.

I’ll even go a step further with these stories. You analyze, as you do. The hardcore guy in the gym, he seems to be breaking the ‘rules’, he does far more sets than that muscle and fitness magazine said to. The woman at work eats too many carbs, sure they’re in the form of fruits, but that low-carb nutrition guru said that was bad. Our early-starter pal, he hasn’t got all the fancy equipment that our gym has, heck he’s just got a barbell, some plates and a rack, that can’t be good.

It’s funny, as despite this, I bet all of these people are making more progress than YOU.

But wait, you’ve got that super-duper, lean-muscle-freak-enhanced new program. Your diet, well that’s from the leading nutrition guru’s. Equipment? State of the art gym I bet. What’s going wrong?

Whilst these other people have ‘inferior’ set ups, they have the one thing that trumps everything else – attitude. They want it. They crave it. And you know what, they’re getting it – progress.

I wonder, and indeed worry, about the amount of people out there who focus on the minutiae in what they do. “Should I do 4×8 or 3×10?” or “Whats better – chicken or turkey?”, or in fact, more commonly something like “Should I take creatine?”, believing this will make all the difference. This is whats known as ‘paralysis by analysis’, or not being able to see the woods for the trees. People zone in on excess detail, losing the ability to make effective decisions, and worst of all, it’s on such marginal issues that it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.

The best program in the world followed half-heartedly won’t work all that well, if at all, period. A program with just an inkling ‘rightness’, but followed with unswerving passion and all-consuming desire to succeed trumps it every time.

Imagine what you get if you put it together. You educate yourself and follow a solid, proven training and nutritional program. And you follow it with such a zeal and dedication that suddenly you are that person I described above. You show an infectious intensity in the gym. You eat like your life depends on it.

Stop worrying about the fine-print of what you do and just do it. Believe in your actions. Drive to constantly be better. Be better.

The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” Henry Ford

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