When To Start Taking Supplements

taking supplements

The other day, I was flipping through one of the popular muscle magazines for an article on shoulder training when I stopped and counted the sheer number of supplement ads. There was an amazing 85 pages of supplement ads! This magazine had almost half of it's content filled with supplement ads. The claims made in those ads made me laugh and some of them were downright outrageous.

Let's see, the first page is a two page ad that says in big, bold letters:

“Dramatically Increases Protein Synthesis To Take Muscle Growth To The Next Level”


“When Your Ready To Increase Size And Strength... Explosive Growth In Just 28 Days!”

Let’s say I was a beginner to weight training and really wanted to put on some muscle size for the summer.

Imagine if I went to the store and purchased a muscle magazine and started to look for some quality information on how to do this. What would I see? I’d see these kinds of ads that would push certain emotional buttons to get me thinking these are the exact supplements that are absolutely necessary to build some muscle size.

It doesn’t say nothing about proper nutrition or training, it just says you need this product to build muscle.

I mean really, what aspiring weight trainer wouldn’t want “Explosive Growth In Just 28 Days!”, especially if you're desperate. So, you run to the health food store and look for that “Ectobolin 5000" you saw in the muscle magazine and dish out 75 bucks for 30 pills. Chances are, it’s a waste of time and money.

This is exactly what happens and these ads prey on those individuals who want fast results with no real thought behind proper diet and training. Now, I’m not saying all supplements are bad or that the only thing that they’re after is your money. True, supplement companies are there to make money but there are some products that actually work. However, the point I’m trying to make is that before you head to your local GNC, you need to make sure you have all of your ducks lined up. That is, you need to make sure your diet and weight training is working.

I’ve been taking supplements for over 20 years and if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s to stick to products that have been proven to work, and to make sure my timing is right. I’ve fallen victim to bad products, just like everyone reading this has, and I’ve learned from it. I’ve also taken supplements at the wrong time and know that if your body isn’t ready for supplements, they aren’t going to work as well as you think they are.

Now, I honestly think that if you're thinking of taking supplements, you have to make sure that:

  1. Your nutritional schedule is up and working;
  2. Your weight training program is up and working;
  3. Your rest and recuperation patterns are working.

How do you know if the above points are in place? You’ll know once you start to get stronger in each weight training session. Here’s what I do. I’ll get everything in place and consistently weight train for about 6 to 8 weeks. In that time, I need to be making continuous strength gains in the weight room. Once I know I’m getting stronger, bigger, and tighter, I’ll introduce supplements. However, this only happens after about 6 to 8 weeks of steady training.

I never introduce supplements before that time because I’ve found that I get the most out of supplements if my body is primed and ready for growth. Your body has to be in an anabolic state if supplements are to work. This is the real key for optimal supplement success. If your body isn’t in a growth state, supplements are going to be a waste of time and money.

This time frame can be anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, depending on how well your diet and training is going. Remember, prime your body for growth (6 to 8 weeks of steady weight training) and than introduce supplements to your program. If your training and eating habits are sporadic, you're not going to make any progress with supplements.

I suggest that you stick to tried and tested products, such as simple protein powders, vitamins/minerals, and creatine. You don’t need anything more than these supplements to take your body to the next level. However, if you're looking for more supplements that work, or a more detailed schedule, check this page out.

I can say this with 100% certainty. Once you introduce supplements after 6 to 8 weeks of making continuous improvements in the gym, and watching your diet, they will help take your body to the next level of improvement.

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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