It all started back in college when I walked into my first supplement shop. Believe it or not, this was the time when Cybergenics first was formed. If you are not familiar with Cybergenics, they were the first supplement company to invent supplement marketing? They were brilliant at it.
The owner, who was from NJ, where I am from, was Scott Chinnery. He got so rich from the sales of Cybergenics supplements he was driving around in the Bat car. It was crazy. But I started using supplements around 1991. At that time there was no internet. All the information you wanted had to come from who you knew and the guy who worked at the local supplement shop. And the guy working at the local supplement shop was typically just a health nut, not really an expert at using supplements to build muscle.
In 1991, I started working out at college and of course wanted to use supplements to increase my gains. At that time I was about 6 feet tall and weighed only 160lbs. I wanted to be bigger and a trained twice a day. Needless to say, all the information I got was from bodybuilding magazines. Before my favorite bodybuilding magazine came out, I had to rely on Joe Weider and his mostly shitty info. His advice on weightlifting may have been good, but his supplement was out the right garbage. Supplements like weight gainer 10,000 were my favorite. I remember drinking that and blowing a freaking hole in the toilet! Never had I had the worst gas and farting in my life. As for supplements, I had to turn to the local supplement shop owner. I remember driving to the GNC next to my college and asking the guy about supplements. Picture this, a skinny ectomorph kid walking into GNC and asked the guy what PILL was going to help me grow muscle. A GNC salesman’s wet dream. Even though it was about 20 years ago, I remember the guy selling me Weider’s beta-ecdysterone. Also, he suckered me into buying Russian Bear Pill Packs. I kid you not, when I took these pills, my urine turned a fluorescent green. I showed my friends in amazement. Needless to say, my experience with my local supplement shop was ineffective at helping my gaining one bit of muscle mass. Beta-ecdysterone is just like buying snake oil, and the Russian Bear Pill Packs…well, God knows what was in those things. After my failure at GNC, next, I tried going to the local supplement shop that was by my mother’s old house. The owner was not a bodybuilder, nor a weight lifter; he was some guy that was skinnier than me. I remember that he sold me a bottle of something called Hot Stuff. Hot Stuff came in a liquid bottle. The stuff was this disgusting tasting, black liquid that you had to drink. It never did anything for me, but some people claimed it contained the real anabolic steroid Anavar. After my experiences with supplements, I was convinced nothing was going to work. I grew never to trust anyone that worked in a supplement shop ever again. And why should I, all they are trying to do is sell you products that do not work? Then around 1993 a magazine came out called Muscle Media 2000 and it contained great information about supplements, bodybuilding, anabolic steroids, etc.
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I remember knowing the date that magazine came out and I would run to my local supplement shop to get it. That is how I learned how to use bodybuilding supplements and lift.
The funny thing was, is that the magazine contained information that the local supplement shop owner did not know. I would read the magazine, gain all of this knowledge, and when I would go inside the supplement shop to buy protein or something like that, I would tell him what I knew. And this is how I started my company, Proteinfactory.com. Muscle Media 2000 got me thinking that the people working at the local supplement stores do not know anything…they are really just in it to sell you the supplements that have the biggest profit margins. And what got me was this…if a supplement store owner knows that something is complete snake oil, why would he continue to sell it? That I had a problem with. And the worst part about this is, that it still exists today. Most supplement store owners will sell you anything regardless if it works or not. Ninety-nine percent of them will sell products that are not the best, they don’t work, they taste bad, they have side effects, they’ve been recalled, and they have failed lab tests. Supplement store owners will continue to sell you supplements that do not work.
If I am going to buy supplements, I want the best, period! Unless money is factor, I always try to buy the best supplements I can. Take for example whey protein. This is one of the most common supplements you can buy from a supplement store. However, the qualities can vary drastically. Now let’s say you just started to work at this supplement shop and your store carries ten different whey protein powders, which is typically the case with many supplement store. Now you have some knowledge of whey proteins, and you know which one is the best. You know that ABC supplement is a whey isolate. The rest are whey concentrates. But the owner of this supplement store has told you to push XYZ brand which is a whey concentrate. So, Mr. Skinny comes in and asks you wish whey protein best is the best. You damn well that ABC is the best because it is a whey isolate, but instead you have to recommend XYZ brand because it is a whey concentrate. Morals come into question here. You just sold a guy some whey concentrate that is going to give him some serious gas and farting instead of a whey isolate.
Why would a supplement store carry all these whey protein’s but only one is the best? Wouldn’t you only carry the best, maybe you carry some because they are cheaper, but I would figure that if you are a buyer of whey protein you’d want the best?
Here’s the problem. The problem with the supplement industry is this…all the products are the same. And because they are the same, people try one brand of product and nothing positive happens, like weight loss for example, and they try something else. Do you think that if someone tried a weight loss product that worked they would stop using it and try something that did not work? No they would not! They would continue to use the product that worked. Did you ever hear of the expression if the wheel is not broken do not fix it? But the problem is is that 99% of the weight loss products on the market do not work to the level that someone is going to see weight loss. So after they try a supplement and they do not see anything drastic happen to their physique, they move onto the next krappy supplement that will not do anything either.
In addition to most supplements not working, the other problem is, that supplements that do have decent research behind them for say…losing weight, reducing pain, building muscle, and improving recovery time, work very weakly. Meaning they might improve recovery time but the effects are so small most people do not notice. In addition, you have to supplement for a long time to see the effects. I’m talking months..not days or weeks. Most people stop taking supplements after about a month of not seeing any positive results. Most of the time the supplements that people are using are not the best in that particular category. For example, you were going to buy a cell phone, which brand would you buy? Apple, Samsung, Google? Or some off brand at the dollar store? You’d buy one of the name brand because their quality is higher than the off name brand from the dollar store. Same goes with supplements….
On my website, under supplement reviews, you’ll see the supplements that I recommend in particular categories. Since I am a supplement expert you’ll see which ingredient(s) are the best in that category. For example creatine, the best brand is Creapure. Green tea, the best brand is Teavigo. L-Carnitine, the best brand is Carnipure. Citicoline, the best brand is Cognizine. If you buy supplements like this you can be sure that
1) you are getting the best brand of that particular supplement
2) You’ll be able to judge better whether you like the supplement or not. Because it wont be a guessing game, you would have used the best, and come to the determination if that supplement worked for you or not.
In conclusion, buying supplement from a supplement shop is not a good idea. Instead you need to do your own research and determine which supplement companies are using the branded ingredients that you like. Then, and only then, do you head out to your local supplement shop and buy yourself that supplements. And for Pete’s sake, do not let the supplement shop owner try to convince you that his “high profit” making supplement is better.
Alex Rogers is a supplement manufacturing expert. He has been formulating, consulting, & manufacturing dietary supplements since 1998. Alex invented protein customization in 1998 & was the first company to allow consumers to create their own protein blends. He helped create the first supplement to contain natural follistatin, invented whey protein with egg lecithin, & recently imported the world’s first 100% hydrolyzed whey.