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More To Gains Than Supplements

More To Gains Than Supplements

by: Brandon Richey–Get Free Updates And Training Guides Here

More To Gains Than Supplements

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So today I’m going to be handing the reins over to my friend Adam Foster (aka Shreddy Brek)  from across the pond over in the U.K. Adam is a competing bodybuilder and is going to set the record straight today as it concerns the misuse and abuse of supplements in the fitness industry. Before you go blend that protein shake take the time to read this. Enjoy. 

Guest Post by Adam Foster: 

One of the biggest misconceptions around bodybuilding and gaining muscle is the reliance and use of supplements. There are a number of factors that lead to the misconception, much like the misconceptions that plague IIFYM. These factors aren’t necessarily related to the fitness industry either.

Rather they’re issues that lie deep within our western world culture. Marketing, advertising, sales and shortcuts are all what add fuel onto the burning fire that is the notion of “protein powders make me bigger”.

How many times have you heard a woman saying she doesn’t want to drink a protein shake as she doesn’t want to get “too muscular”. Instead they’ll search for some magical, best protein powder for women, or a meal replacement shake, based on its marketing and packaging being more appealing to women.

Here is a thought ladies. Take a look round your gym, at the dozens of teens you’ve seen in there for months. Drinking out their shaker cups daily. How much muscle have they put on? Next to none. Believe me, you don’t have to worry about a protein shake making your sprout muscles like the Hulk (or She Hulk).

How To Make Progress

So if it not supplements, where do our gains come from? There sure as hell ain’t no gains tree I know about just dropping fresh gains for us to pick up and devour. To truly progress in bodybuilding, strength training, or just improving your physique, you just need to follow these simple steps.

  1. Train with intensity
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be Patient
  4. Be on point with your nutrition
  5. Rest Well
  6. Be Patient

You might have noticed that point 3 and 6 are the same. This is because it’s often the part where people fall down. Sure there are a lot of people in the gym who think they train hard, but really, they don’t. You will all know a ‘healthy eater’ who knows what their protein intake is off the top of their head, but can’t tell you how many grams of carbs they’re having in their post workout shake. Or how many calories is in their fast-food breakfast muffin.

Providing everything else is in check, which if you’re reading this article, I’m assuming that everything is and still the most common downfall will be not having patience.

It takes months to see results. It takes years to sculpt an impressive, muscular physique. So after 4 weeks of training, many people aren’t happy with the results (due to a lack of patience) and then start looking for shortcuts. These ‘shortcuts’ are marketed in a way to generate sales for companies, and to make us believe that if we don’t use the supplements, we’re shortchanging ourselves.

The belief is sold to us that if we don’t use a specific pre-workout then we won’t be training hard. Additionally if we don’t have an exact brand of post workout shake then our time in the gym has been wasted. Finally, if you’re not using fat burning pills then you’ll never get shredded.

I could go on.

As a teen I fell victim to this when trying to bulk or cut during my training phases. I remember coming off a summer cutting phase and I was desperate to gain more size. I opted for a weight gain shake called Mutant Mass. I gained 14 lbs in 10 days. SCORE! I thought I purchased a solid ticket on the gain train. As I pointed out years later in my mutant mass review however… this 14 lb gain wasn’t muscle. It was predominately water weight, fat, and a tiny amount of muscle that I’d regained as I adjusted my caloric  intake from a deficit when I was cutting.

I’d tell my friends i gained 14lbs in 10 days though, then they’d go and buy it. They’d go tell their friends, and so on and so forth.

The question is how much did this truly contribute to my gains? Well if you apply common sense ask yourself the following question.

In 10 days how much can your physique, strength and workouts actually improve? The answer…Not 14 lbs of muscle worth that’s for sure.

As someone who reviews a ton of supplements and offers protein discount codes over on, I feel its important to point out that there is more to gains than just supplements.

Here are a few misconceptions that I hear, or that I’ve helped to educate people about over the years.

So What Protein Do You Use?

Well my number 1 brand of choice would have to be myprotein.

“Oh so that’s how you put weight on, with myprotein impact whey?” 

No. I use Myprotein because they offer bulk supplements at an affordable price. The End. 

People place so much importance on the type of protein they use, or should be using. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked. As if the brand of protein I’m using is the biggest contributor to my gains.

Contrary to what the magazines or online advertisements will lead you to believe, you can build muscle or get shredded without using a protein powder! That’s right – you don’t need protein supplements at all.

So why do I, and countless others use them?

For a few reasons.

  • Value For Money
  • High Bio-availability
  • Convenience
  • Taste

A tub of whey protein, bought in bulk, will easily provide you with a cheap serving of protein. It’s easy to consume and generally tastes pretty awesome (relative to your own taste buds).

However your body sees this protein in a very similar way as it does from meat, eggs, and other protein sources.

You don’t have to hone in on just one type of protein. For instance, just like you can build a muscular physique without eating turkey, you can also do it without having to consume protein shakes.

The Take a way:

You’re better off looking at the different types of proteins available, as opposed to the ‘believed’ difference in brands. Make sure to do your research into the differences between the various sources of protein such as casein, whey, and egg. Also make sure to look into the different levels of filteration used in whey protein, concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysed.

When you know about how each protein source differs then decide on what will be best for your body just as you would when deciding what foods you’d eat. The brand is almost irrelevant. Use your common sense. Don’t go for something that is too cheap (not just in pricing point, but in it’s quality). Likewise you don’t need to pay the over inflated supermarket prices for protein powders that you can buy much cheaper online.

Pre Workout Buzz

This is my biggest annoyance by far. I Mean By far!

I can only blame this on bodybuilding forums, teenagers and ‘bros’ posting youtube videos and group locker room moron discussions. I’ve literally read on the teen forum board that someone thought the pre-workout supplement jack3d was…well just read the quote below.

“I’ve never taken steroids, but i imagine this is what it would be like”

Honest. On my life. I wish I had taken a screenshot of this post and kept it for instances such as this, but of course I didn’t.

A pre-workout, no matter what the advertisement tells you, will not, and I mean NOT make you ‘gain faster’ in any significant way. They won’t make you increase your bench by 10% in 2 workouts. They won’t make you add slabs of muscle in 2 weeks and you certainly won’t have a 6 pack  by the end of the month.

People associate a pre-workout with an increased energy output. Because of this, and the hyperbole that is marketing, they also believe that taking this pre-workout (or worst yet, overkill with 2 or 3 scoops of it) will help them smash through their bench press plateaus.

No. Just… no.

Personally I’m not a huge fan or user of pre-workouts. Some days I’ll train twice a day (usually separating out shoulders and legs) and on these days I’ll usually take some pre-workout if I feel I need it before my 2nd training session. Likewise if I’m training early in the morning and feeling fatigued from the night before I might take one. I certainly don’t take them daily.

I actually wrote an article looking at how you can create your own cheap homemade pre workout supplement. I feel no brand loyalty with any pre -workout supplement. I’ve used a variety of pre-workouts from the Dorian Yates Nutrition range, Raze from The Protein Works,The Ronnie Coleman MY O Blitz, SCI-MX Xplode Hardcore, along with PHD and Myprotein pre-workouts.

The brand isn’t what makes the product effective. It’s the ingredients.

The Take a way:

Whilst useful and helpful, a pre-workout would be one of the last supplements I’d recommend to anyone. If everything else in your training and diet plan isn’t on point then I’m sorry to disappoint you, but a pre-workout won’t give you that beach body you desire so much. 

If you’re simply looking for a ‘pick me up’ before a workout then go with some black coffee or a caffeine capsule.

You should research the ingredients first and then look to add a pre-workout supplement to your stack. Until then steer clear and focus on your diet. Clean this up and you’ll feel way more energized for your next workout.

Weight Gainers

Ok, depending upon body type (metabolism), activity levels, and your appetite, a weight gain shake can be super helpful. However you definitely don’t need one to gain weight.

There have been so many times I’ve had skinny guys (and i mean super skinny, sub 150 , 5 ft 10+ guys) tell me that they can’t gain weight, but they’ve been looking at a really high calorie mass gainers to the point it’s almost like I’m living the ground hog day.

People think that they need a weight gain shake to gain weight. What they don’t realize is that they need a calorie surplus to gain weight.

By all means if you have struggles with eating whether it is because of a small appetite, or your work schedule then a weight gainer is going to help you increase your caloric intake.

However if you’re simply using these shakes everyday to replace your food intake then you’re still not going to gain weight.

Specific supplements don’t make you gain weight. A calorie surplus does.

The Take a way:

Want a weight gain shake?

Go pour yourself a 3-500 mils of milk. Semi or full fat. Add in some porridge oats, 100 grams will do. Without even adding a scoop of protein powder, you’ve already got 20-26 grams of protein from the milk and oats alone. Feel like you need a little more? Then add in ½ – 1 scoop of protein powder. Needing to boost your fat intake? Throw some peanut butter in there (nuts n more is my recommendation, the stuff tastes great! It actually is higher in protein than regular PB as well. You can check out my nuts n more review for more info on their high protein peanut butter & almond butter range).

Blend it.

Drink it.

Want to gain weight? Eat more! Find out your maintenance of calories and make sure you’re getting 3-500 calories above this figure.

Over to you

I don’t want this article to come off too negative, or feeling too anti-supplement. I use a ton of supplements to supplement my diet. From vitamins, to protein powders, to creatine and amino acid supplements, my supplement stack is pretty varied.

However none of these have ‘made me’. None of these are a shortcut to gaining size.

What makes your progress are the following points:

  1. Train with intensity
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be Patient
  4. Be on point with your nutrition
  5. Rest Well
  6. Be Patient

Don’t get hung up on the marketing hype, or advertisements you see. If you see yourself making gains and then want to try these additional extras then go for it.

Dont think that supplements are the answer to making gains though. If building a good physique or developing strength was as simple as taking a tablet, or drinking a shake then the whole population would consists of bodybuilders and strength athletes.

Hope this has gave you something to think about along with some motivation!

Until next time guys you can follow me at…

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and If you are planning on buying any supplements you can grab some protein discount codes over at, allowing you to save money on your next supplement order.

Guys I hope you enjoyed today’s guest post with my friend Adam. If so then please make sure you share it out to your friends and family by using one of the social sharing icons below. Keep training smart. 

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My Interview With SEAL Grinder PT Coach And Friend Brad McLeod

My Interview With NFL Strength Coach Jeff Fish

More To Gains Than Supplements



I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Love the article my friend. I was just talking to a friend about Being Patient. We are so used to getting things so quick that we forget how much work those who have nice bodies have put into their physique. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline.

    I ll be sure to shoot you a follow on twitter.

    Stay healthy, stay well, peace!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Adam did do a fantastic job as one of our guest posters! Please don’t be a stranger and I will also look you up on the social media platforms. Thanks again for your feedback!

  2. On point article that hits all the salient features. I would add that people, all people, need to become students of physical culture if they really want to make consistent gains over the years. Forget about “quick fixes” as gains made quickly tend to be lost quickly.

    Having all parts of the equation accounted for includes working out in an intelligent manner. Contrary to the marketing spin there really aren’t any “new and revolutionary” systems around. Do the research. High quality sites such as this one, of which there are very few I might add, should be book marked and frequently consulted.

    As for supplements in general, there is a research scientist out of Maryland who use to have a Blog up … can’t find it at the moment. At any rate, a few years back he conducted legitimate research and study of the myriad supplements on the market. His conclusion at that point in time was that creatine monohydrate worked as advertised … and that was it.

    Look at the NO2 boosters as a case in point. The original study demonstrating that L-arginine increased NO2 uptake was conducted with an injectable form of L-arginine. First pass through the gut destroys L-arginine and last time I checked some 23 studies had failed to demonstrate oral L-arginine did nothing more than make your wallet light. The original study also had participants on an insane amount of L-arginine … up to 30 grams per day if memory serves me well. At any rate, the simple fact is ALL oral NO2 boosters are bullshit.

    Tribulus terristis is another offender. The Bulgarians put out some ridiculous cover story to mask their lifters being juiced on ‘roids and people jumped all over it. No formal study has ever demonstrated any increase in testosterone levels, free or otherwise, in response to tribulus supplementation.

    When it comes to supplements, eat food. Take a decent multi-mineral multi-vitamin if you feel the need. Other than that, eat food. Check out the old time Strong Men. Some of their lifting records still stand. Like body building? Look up Reg Parks and take note of his 19″ gums. He was long before the steroid craze, and rarely, very rarely, did any direct arm work. Parks lifted heavy, primarily compounds movements, trained intelligently … and ate food.

    No, there is no magic potion that will transform you into something special overnight. It’s called intelligent, hard work over time and if it was easy everyone would be doing it. Look around you, not everyone is doing it. Much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news … there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny either. Sorry about that.

    1. Doc,

      Boy I’m glad to see you back on the site. I had a few wrinkles to work out a while back with moving the site to another server. Got it done, but unfortunately one or two of your comments (along with my response) were lost in the mix. I’m sorry about that little hiccup.

      Fortunately I have the best tech guy that helped me to get it moved the way I needed along with getting video back up as well!

      Nevertheless your input is right on point as usual! I know the readers will certainly gain insight into your feedback here along with Adam’s point on supplementation. You hit it dead on point with demonstrating the importance of consistent smart work and nutrition. Without either nothing will “optimally” occur.

      This is a definite, however I’m disappointed to learn there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny! Thanks again Doc!

  3. Hey Brandon, yeah, got a little over whelmed by life events in the recent past. I’ve returned to the gym after a 20 year period of doing body weight and kettle bell exercises post back surgery.

    I am at the three month mark and making good gains judging by the mirror and the number of double takes I get in the gym. From what I can tell, the majority of gym members have made -0- improvement or positive change in their physique during this same time period. I speak with my Son near nightly and we have a standing competition of “What’s the dumbest thing you saw someone doing in the gym today?” and I think I’m winning.

    I watch people … it’s a hobby of mine. I see people taking a pre-work out drink. I see them take a protein shake after working out. I see people doing the most insanely ridiculous crap and calling it “their work-out.” Their exercise selection is way off for what they are apparently attempting to accomplish and the sequencing just blows me away … nothing makes any sense whatsoever.

    So, they continue to swallow pills and potions with nothing save for money spent to show for it. Crazy really and outside of bragging rights that they went to the gym I fail to see what they are getting out of it. I’ve seen some of the strangest movements in my life being done as “weight training exercise” over the last few months … fricking mind boggling stuff. My Son tells me what I’m seeing is pretty much status quo and I believe him. Amazing how much has changed in 20 years … for the worse I might add.

    1. Doc,

      I’m stoked to hear you are back in the gym showing the rest of those “gym rats” how it’s done. However I’m sorry to hear about the “eye hurt” that is known as the modern gym goer’s “functional workout.” Haha.

      Unfortunately it sounds like I’m too late and that you have been exposed to the horror’s of the modern day gym goer’s idea of fitness. I totally understand where you’re coming from my friend.

      I too have witnessed the butchering of exercise form and the belief in all the latest “quick fixes” in the world of supplementation. Once again your insight is always extremely valuable and entertaining as well. I too have been busy with life events lately so I understand that my friend. It’s always great hearing from you Doc. Set those guys straight the next time you go in to train.

      Oh and by the way if you feel like sharing any photos of any craziness you witness in the gym then feel free to shoot me an email. 🙂

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