Today I called a pair of dumbbells “motherfuckers.”
As in, All right you motherfuckers, let’s go.
I never talk like this. At least not to inanimate objects. My friend Kyle — who was working out with me at MUST — burst out laughing.
What’s next? You gonna call the barbell a pussy? he asked.
Thing is, I wasn’t upset at the dumbbells. I was amped. I was ready to lift.
There are two reasons for this.
The first is that strength workouts — the ones with weights — make me feel way different than the Hurricane please-kill-me-now workouts.
After a Hurricane I feel wrecked, like I want to lie on the couch for hours. In my post-Hurricane stupor, even the smallest activities — walking to my car, talking to someone for more than four seconds, sitting upright with my eyes open — all seem like insurmountable tasks.
But after a weight workout I feel like I’m invincible. I have energy, my muscles are full and look good in the mirror, and my general attitude toward life is more optimistic.
The second reason I’m amped is a social factor. Having Kyle here lifting weights with me reminds me of a few years ago when I did nearly every workout with a crew of guys.
We’d all meet at the gym, warm-up, and then lift heavy stuff together. It was awesome.
But for the past year or so I’ve been training on my own, coming into the gym at weird hours when no one’s around, simply because my schedule is different than all of my friends’.
I feel like I work harder and don’t give up as easily when I have someone there to push me.
Kyle and I spotted each other on the bench press, said stupid shit like Get two more, man! You got it in you! and all that other stereotypical bro talk. We gave each other high fives. It was fun.
And really, that’s another thing training is supposed to be, at least if you want to do it the rest of your life. It’s supposed to be fun.
That’s something else my workouts have been missing.
(Of course, “fun” is open to interpretation. I’m sure there are a lot of people whose idea of fun doesn’t involve hanging out in a musty garage gym and lifting things. But it suits me.)
I’m only 5 days in to my experiment and even though it’s hard at times — especially during my two-hour long lunches — I’m having a good time. I’m having fun.
Even though Kyle won’t be able to make most of my workouts, I feel good knowing I have JB and Martin — my two coaches and far-away training partners — out there keeping track of me.
Other highlights from Day 5
- Doing curls with 40-pound dumbbells and feeling like a boss.
- Drinking my peri- and post-workout shakes and laughing over how ridiculous the names of these products are. Purple Wraath? Universal Torrent? Supplement companies are shameless.
Do you need supplements to gain muscle?
The short answer is no.
In Scrawny to Brawny we like to say "Supplements are supplements.” In other words, they’re stuff you add to a smart eating and training program. They don’t replace them.
Despite what the supplement ads say, no guy has ever built a good body by taking a weird powder with a stupid name and doing nothing else.
But there are some supplements out there that can help — safe ones with legitimate research behind them — and they’re the ones we recommend in our S2B Coaching Program.
Even then, we have some clients every year who don’t take any supplements, and they still build muscular, athletic bodies and do great in the program.
For this experiment, however, JB decided I should use a few supplements strategically to maximize the amount of muscle I could build on such a short time-frame. With only 28 days to gain 20 pounds, I have to look at every opportunity to take in more calories.
The following supplements surely didn’t “make the difference”. But they did help.
Supplements Nate Used For This Experiment:
Multivitamin: Helps fix small decencies of vitamins and minerals. I used Optimen Multivitamin. (If you’re a guy — and you probably are, if you’re reading this — consider a men’s formula, which is often lower in things like iron, which we tend to have in excess, at least since we quit bashing each other with clubs and bleeding a lot.)
Protein powder: Makes eating large quantities of protein easier. I used Optimum Gold Standard Casein (for my Breakfast Pudding) and Jay Robb Egg-White Protein (for my Super Shakes).
Vitamin D: Even though natural sunlight allows our body to create Vitamin D, many of us are still deficient, which can lead to loss of muscle strength and mass and low levels of immunity. I used Vitamin D3 by NOW.
Creatine monohydrate: Helps regenerate muscle energy stores and can improve strength, boost performance, and increase muscle mass. I used Biotest creatine monohydrate.
Liquid fish oil: A key source of omega-3 fatty acids that helps improve mood and motivation while boosting fat-burning and dampening inflammation. I used Carlson’s Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil.
BCAA capsules: Helps reduce the chance of muscle tissue breakdown while stimulating protein synthesis, leading to better recovery and preservation of lean muscle mass. I used Optimum BCAA capsules before my workouts and on my fasting days.
Greens powder: Veggies, fruits, algaes and/or grasses that have been compacted and distilled into powdered form and contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. All good things for a growing man. I used Biotest Superfood.
Peri-workout drink: Supplies essential amino acids to help re-build muscle and acts as a performance-enhancing stimulant. I used Purple Wraath by Controlled Labs.
Post-workout drink: A mixture of high-quality protein and fast-acting carbohydrates that helps your body recover and rebuild quickly. I used Universal Torrent.