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‘Is taking supplements an effective way to gain muscle mass?’

‘Is taking supplements an effective way to gain muscle mass?’

Jordan, 25, goes to the gym a lot. He wants to lose some weight and gain more muscle mass and is wondering if he should be taking supplements to improve his time at the gym.

My advice:

Jordan, a lot of folks are taking testosterone into their bodies in a variety of ways, whether it’s injections, pills, or shakes. I wouldn’t take any of these things. The best way to lose weight is to change your dietary habits, instead of focusing your energy as much on exercise.

Before trying anything, I recommend you go to the doctor and get a testosterone level because if your testosterone level is low, you’re never going to gain muscle mass. This is a very common problem and I see this in my office all the time. If your testosterone is normal, then everything is fine, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Men naturally have different body types. If you have a leaner body type, you won’t ever bulk up like Arnold — but that’s OK. You’ll still be gaining strength and you’ll look fit and trim and healthy.  It’s unhealthy to try to look like these overly pumped-up men in magazines. I don’t want you having a six-pack; I want you to have a keg. If you have a six-pack you’re probably not eating enough and you’re working out too much. I want you to be healthy, but I don’t want you to be obsessive about it. And I definitely don’t want you taking any supplements in the gym, especially supplements that will artificially boost testosterone. That’s going to make your testicles shrink and really hurt your fertility — it can also raise your risk of heart problems. So just don’t go there!

Best thing you can do is drink two 16 ounce bottles of water, because you want to be very hydrated if you want to get a lot out of your workout. Then, in between sets, eat an apple. What happens is when you’re building muscle while lifting weights; your sugar level really drops. Next time you’re at the gym, do two sets at the bench press, then take just two bites of an apple and you’ll be able to do the third set better than you were able to do the second set.

This is because while your sugar level is dropping, you become hypoglycemic and your glucose levels go way down. So don’t drink Gatorade or Vitamin Water, drink natural water and you’ll be able to work out longer and more efficiently. In between your sets, eat an apple and that’s all you’ll need to significantly improve your workout.

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