If You Don’t Believe in You – how do you expect anybody else to?

Have you ever met somebody who is just so confident that they light up the room? people listen to what they have to say and try to do what they can to please that person ?

That is self-belief in action, These days with political correctness and everybody being offended by everything they can find so they can go and complain about it on social media hoping to get the next viral post that we have all stopped thinking about how we treat ourselves.

The inner voices are just as destructive as the external pressures on us, and we cannot “log out” of these, rather they come to us in the dead of the night and stop us sleeping, if we manage to drift of they haunt us in our dreams.

Their is no difference between you and the confident person who manages to bend society to their will, other than they believe and trust in themselves, every action and effort comes from a belief that they are able to do whatever task it is, from learning a new skill to influencing a room of investors.

What I want you to do

This morning, evening or night, just start to believe in yourself, always reinforce your belief in your mind, body and soul, repeat it like a mantra every time you feel unsure or unable to do something, remember failure is almost never because you cannot, it is simply that you have tried for the first time, you will find that as soon as you start believing people around you will change and you will fall over themselves to help you achieve your goals.

Living without borders – your choice not society.

Since the dawn of civilisation man has sought to dominate his fellow man (and women and woman), this appears to be the core of human nature, we seem programmed to either dictate or obey, and I am sure that you are well aware of what type of person you are, the dictators are headstrong and already questioning my point of view, let alone my audacity at voicing it, and the obedient are already nodding in approval at my clumsy summing up of all human nature in less than a single paragraph.

I have never made any secret that I wanted to start this blog to make some money, it is on all previous posts and of course you can see the advertising plastered anywhere on this site that WordPress will allow, but I also wanted to offer my opinion on life and the ways that we can recognise oppression no matter how stealthily it is applied.

Authority

I am no revolutionist calling for the dissolution of government and law in order to be free, the loss of these things would only result in control and oppression from another source, society needs rules and controls in place in order to provide safety and security to the masses, and it is under this guise that we are controlled by stealth in a way more sinister and in an order of magnitude that few will ever give consideration to.

What is Life About?

This depends on your point of view, there are two schools of thought.

Coporate

  1. Learn while at school
  2. Leave school and get a job or go to university and get a better job
  3. Pay TAX and buy things on credit
  4. Save the rest of your money in order to pay for old age and infirmity
  5. Pay off all debts before you reach the end of your working life
  6. Enjoy up to ten years existence before finally dying and leaving space for the next cog in the machine

My View (and increasingly the view of others)

  1. Learn life skills in addition to academia individually focused, the same people that tell us we are all unique are also providing our children with a “one size fits all” education system
  2. Be encouraged to start a business or learn a skill that is relevant or that you have an interest in regardless of gender, race or any other barrier society can think of
  3. Pay TAX and contribute to the well being of your fellow human, sounds odd me saying this but TAX is what underpins civilised society and civic resource without it life would be very very grim
  4. Make enough money to not have to worry about money
  5. Retain the right to anonymity and privacy within the borders of civilised behaviour
  6. Live a fulfilled life where time is spent being productive and forming relationships in equal measure
  7. The right to equality, actual equality where no one person is given an advantage over another regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or lifestyle choice

The Origin of Your Borders

All behaviour is learned once we get past the simple functions of breathing and the desire to eat and drink to sustain ourselves, our tastes our likes and dislikes and desires and aspirations are all a product of our education during the most formative times in our lives Childhood and it is this very programming most of us need to break in order to remove the borders we have built because we were taught to, and this is not always a bad thing, parents on the whole teach us what they think we need to know to keep us safe, we are taught to avoid fire and learn to swim to avoid drowning and social skills in order to not feel alone and make our place in society, and it is also a generational thing, generations have held different things in importance, and this has been passed on to the children who have interpreted it and applied it to their reality like a giant game of Chinese whispers, this is then shaped by peer groups and ultimately partners and the responsibility of children in adult life, but what if what you knew was not true or what you were told was designed to extract money time and life from you ?, a heads up would be nice.

Heads up!

Imagine somebody knocking on your door and coming into your house, complaining about how draughty it was and how cold it was, asking about your energy bills and seeming shocked and appalled at how much it was costing you, this goes on for an hour or so and then they announce themselves as a double glazing salesman, you would question everything they said from the outset, why? because they profit from the system they are selling you, well society is the same, and it must be approached the same, the rules and regulations are all drawn up by the very people that stand to profit from the rules and regulations, and while, as I have stated rules and regulation are required for civilised society to function, you should question the design, look past the glossy brochure of a 3 bed semi detached and a nice family car on finance, booking holidays on credit cards and spending nearly every waking hour on social media.

I am not even remotely trying to tell anybody how to live their life, I am just saying that if you are happy truly happy then fine, you do not need to do anything, just simply go on about your lives as you do now happy and content, but if something niggles you in the night or when you see the next reality star millionaire while you are struggling to put food on the table for your family then start a different thought process to the one you have now, and start asking questions.

What the Hell is my Point ?

This is the point, life is a one time deal, until proved otherwise we are here for one go only and this means we have a finite amount of time, the system isn’t set up to favour the intelligent the brave or noble, it is set up for people that know how to play the game, that is why when you go to work 9 – 5 everyday of your life, pay off your mortgage and only take one holiday a year, you end up struggling through old age and if you have to go into sheltered housing or the care system any legacy that you may have in the form of the house you worked so hard to pay off is sold to relieve the burden on the countries fortunes, whereas people that go on TV or post regularly to social media or can get finance, seem to operate with impunity, they live lavish lifestyles and have all the time in the world to build relationships with partners and children, sadly they mostly just can’t cope with the money and end up broke with a drug habit.

So this is my point, the borders you have to wealth happiness and peace of mind are constructed at an early age by the education system and peers, you (without realising it) then perpetuate these borders as you go through life re-enforcing them and in some cases using them as an excuse for an unsuccessful life, but there is another way.

Rule for Success

This is what I suggest, follow it if you will but at least think about it, Failure is a fact of life, there are many many things that we will fail at, either we just are not capable of doing something or we lack aptitude for a certain discipline, but failure cannot exist without a catalysing action, and this is where your borders are hurting you and holding you back, an example from my own experience is this, I was homeless and in need of a job, I had no money and no way to get any, I have always suffered from a fear of heights it at one point in my life was debilitating it was that bad, but this situation was worse, I saw a construction job that involved working away advertised and went for it, it would solve my accommodation issue (if only during the working week) and would provide enough money for food and at the very least a hotel at the weekend to stay in, so I went for it, my first duty was as a grouter, this meant that I had to climb up a ladder in a newly constructed skeleton of a building and pour concrete into the joints, this was in the open with no safety rails just a ladder and a hard hat, prior to this I had to cork the joint, which meant leaning out over the side of the building and pushing foam into the joint, I froze at the bottom of the ladder, and nearly refused to go up, people were watching and it was a little intense, I had told others and been referred to as the one afraid of heights all my life, but I needed the job and the place to stay, so I climbed, and by the third time I was running up the ladder, without any thought to the height or the great expanses of open space, because I removed the border to my progression, because it was self imposed, I perpetuated the conditioning and therefore I could change it, the border didn’t really exist,

And this is what I am suggesting you do, when you think of doing something and the inner voice says that “it’ll never work” or “you can’t because you are no good at it” stop and realise that it is not real it is a product of control exercised throughout your formative life that you need to rid yourself of, forget the border and try, if you fail you fail but you will never again think “what if?”

Becoming Pro-Active – The Pain Before the Glory

It is not rocket science that if you have lived a life a certain way for an extended period of time a sudden 180 change is going to take some effort and unfortunately some pain, the issue with a reactive existence is that it becomes very tiring, every situation that requires attention becomes added pressure and a burden, you will have found yourself saying “why me?” and wishing you had a day that wasn’t filled with the stress of juggling so many issues and invariably payments, well that day is coming believe me it is within the vast majority of peoples grasp and usually within a perfectly reasonable period of time.

The majority of the stress caused by debt and a reactive lifestyle actually stems from the time that is required to complete the various to keep your head above water, this ranges from extra shifts/hours at work, taking a second job or waiting on hold for an adviser along with many others that also owe the company money, there are 438000 hours in 50 years (the majority of peoples working life) once you take away the 127750 hours for sleep (assuming 7 hours a night, which if you are reading this you probably don’t get) that leaves 310250 waking hours, now I am not going to go into the time spent brushing our teeth and walking the dog but you get the idea, time is finite, it does not bend to our will and it does end, so let’s try and spend less of it doing things we don’t like and more that we do.

Quantify, Quantify, Quantify

I have said it before and I will say it again, the very first thing we need to do is quantify the problem, get a fresh notepad from the store and sit down with a coffee and literally write out everything you owe and who too, depending on how much you have ignored this will probably be the most painful part of this process as the page builds up into a seemingly indestructible wall of issues, also include not only debts but all the things that you need to do in order to make your life easier, documentation that hasn’t been updated from when you last moved or a niggling pain that you need to see the doctor, even down to your job / career that you either want to change or improve,

once it is there stop and take a look around, nothing has changed as a result of writing this down, your life is no worse than it was before you started, in fact it is now better, for possibly the first time in your life you are now in control, you now have the jump on all your creditors, your boss, and the thoughts that creep into your mind and keep you awake in the early hours of the morning, this sheet and this notebook are now a map to peace of mind, something that should never be for sale but we sell it before we even know what it is.

Begin

This as I have said previously is the key, to BEGIN if this notebook now gets shut and never looked at again then what use is it? you haven’t alleviated the problems by writing it down yo have just catalogued your issues, power is nothing without control and you now have created both, don’t shut the book on it and walk away.

Conclusion

Please look back on https://thetraineesuperhuman.com/2020/02/06/proactive-or-reactive-win-or-lose-its-your-choice/ if you have just reached this page for any background to the above, helping people understand the reality of what is holding them back or down is something I am passionate about so please subscribe as we go further through this journey and start living the lives we deserve.

Proactive or reactive? win or lose it’s your choice

I have spent a lot of my time talking about how to improve your health and your wealth, I and millions of others (you included) are all chasing the dream of financial independence, we live it, breathe it and try every day to find the one thing that will push us over the threshold and onto the land of milk and honey, but, how many times have you stopped to think what that threshold is ? what is the goal all about, and after all what is financial independence really?

There are some who believe in a new form of slavery, not bonds of chains and rope but rather we are bound be finance agreements and mortgages, and I have to say that after having given it some thought I have to agree, everywhere we look there is an advert for the latest thing we need to own or do or go to in order to feel successful, and a valued member of society, well it is on the latter that I wish to start.

Society

If you stop and have a look around it is not difficult to see the holes in the fabric of society, consumerism has become king and we have started to allow the creation of global mega corporations that control all aspects of our lives, more now than at any in history society as a whole has become obsessed with consuming and the acquisition of goods, in the absence of leisure activities able to keep up with our “on demand” expectations we have created our own digital escapism and in turn been infected by it’s influence, the YouTube stars we created through our own boredom are now the billionaires that we look up to and aspire to be, we have attempted to become gods and we have failed, en mass we are declaring bankruptcy and filing for divorce children are uprooted and their loyalties tested as parents scrabble for the last vestment of their borrowed life, meanwhile war, famine and global poverty rage through the developing countries like a storm across a meadow, destroying the crops and killing off life with no remorse, so we turn to mentors, motivational speakers and preachers for answers, so desperate that we do not check any credential preferring instead to listen to the mantra of success and happiness that will extinguish the darkness we have created in our lives.

Pretty Grim right? although I have taken some artistic licence I do stand by the above completely, social media has provided a platform for easy money and peoples true colours are showing through, girls young and old post erotic pictures to gain followers and money, lads generally set about doing bizarre things on video in order to attract enough followers to be rich, and motivation evangelists preach their lessons on a 24hr loop to get your subscription, the problem with this is simple, if we created this phenomenon then what can we learn from it? it has been formed by us for us and now we turn to it to help make our lives better?.

Reactive Living

This is an example of reactive living, and it is probably the most destructive thing we do, it will prevent you from truly excelling or changing your situation or (as is my main motivation) making a better life for your children and partners.

You see most of us live in a reactive state, a problem comes along and we react (because we have to) we see what needs to be done and somehow we find a way and do it, but stop for a moment, is this the best way ? has being reactive ever got anybody anywhere has it ever been a good solid way to plan a future? the answer is no, if you have to react to a situation it means the situation has become critical within it’s own context of course, and if you have ignored a bill for instance and then a collector arrives on the doorstep you have to react and it always costs more money than it would have to speak to the creditor and work something out, if you are falling off a ladder because you did not secure it properly you will need to react, sure you could aim for a bush or a porch that can break your fall, but you are still going to hurt yourself a lot more than if you secured the ladder correctly and didn’t fall.

In short a reaction tends to save a situation and you can always say “it could have been worse” but what we don’t stop to say is “it should have been better”, over time we have been taught to react, to allow things to get to a critical point and then to make one big herculean effort to clean up the mess, it is what finance and relationships and social media have come to be about, and yet when you speak to successful people nine times out of ten they had a plan, sure they had to react to situations, Richard Branson had to react during his bankruptcies, but the plan remained the same, the drive and the pro-action were identical to the plan prior to the set back, and in this respect a retaliation to a set back is not reactive living it is enforcing your will upon resistance to your cause.

Pro-active Living

Have you ever wondered when you look at the huge swathes of people that are successful how they got there? in some cases it is easy to see, expert business people who have studied and learned their trade only to make it in their chosen profession or career, to entrepreneurs who picked the right product at the right time and made a fortune probably after a whole load of products that didn’t, but this now extends to the social media types who are famous for nothing more than being famous, they have sold out themselves in some cases and in others they have sold out their children and families for fame and fortune, and for the ones that have really made it there is a lot of fame and fortune, while I hold the majority of the latter in complete disdain it is not because of money, it is because they feel that they have something to give the world other than the tedium that is their life supported by the bored and lonely and they try to educate when they used luck and being pro-active to get where they are not intelligence and reason, you see the one thing that cannot be taken away form these people is the fact that they just did it, whatever it was they decided to do they got up and started, they took a pro-active stance on life and changed the world if not for everybody else then at least for themselves.

And that is the moral of this post, being pro-active should not need any explanation as to how it makes your life better, if you pro-actively change your energy suppliers before the tariff changes you do not lose the money that they take between the charges going up and you noticing enough to do something about it, if you start a business and keep going at it always trying to get that step further along you will be successful in no matter what you do, and you don’t need any earth shattering idea to do it, you just need to shout louder than the other guy, health works on the same principle, if you leave your health until you are hugely overweight and unwell it will take longer to get right again and you will pay the cost of that time of being unhealthy through long term illness or ailment, mental health too, if you start to feel that you are struggling then see someone immediately do not wait until you have drawn a blade across your wrist and are asked why in the emergency room, one of the best things about this as a strategy is it is simple to do, you just have to do it, pick up the phone, design the website, go to the gym or sit down with your partner and work stuff out, but do it and do it now, start today and make a better future for yourself by yourself as nobody else can do it for you no matter how much they may want to.

Stop watching Porn – and other distractions.

The world is a distracting place that is a fact, and this is not a new thing, historically it has been this way since one person wanted to sell something to another, the only way to do this was through advertising, and so we have moved through many years of experimentation with newspapers and bill boards, radio and TV, and now the internet and tracking algorithms.

This really isn’t an attack on the porn industry (or any other for that matter) mainstream porn i.e. involving consensual adults has it’s place in societies fabric just like any other form of entertainment, but it is the way in which it and other distractions that are targeted that is the issue to the aspiring entrepreneur or student, as these adverts or “Calls to action” are almost almost unavoidable.

Size of the problem.

OK so to continue down the rabbit hole of Porn, the most famous site (no need to name check I feel) had in 2019 115 million visitors a week, as opposed to Udemy, which reported that in 2019 it’s student registration rose to the heady heights of 30 million, an impressive number but vastly skewed, the fact is that humans on the whole have always chosen the path of least resistance, it is in our DNA, this way we tended to live longer and to be able to thrive when opportunity presented itself and survive during times of hardship as we had energy in reserve, so we will look for an easy way to get the reward hormone dopamine, and when we are looking for ways to get this without having to do much more than a couple of mouse clicks it is there in abundance, and not just the Adult variety, when was the last time you found yourself in YouTube spiral where it just kept suggesting new videos and before you knew it you had spent an hour watching stuff 90% of which you hadn’t even asked for?

Why this is bad.

To illustrate this ironically we just need to look at the people we envy the most and how this is changing as we go further into the machine, not so long ago our people envy was the confine of rock and film stars, merchant bankers and the elite business people such as Richard Branson and Elon Musk, but as times change we are looking in other places and the distractions from the day to day tedium are becoming the single source of dopamine, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Messaging, online video, bloggers, vloggers, and tutorials, and that is not to mention all the get rich using my system folks, all these distractions simply make money for the people that have figured out the system, they have embraced the new world and are using it to make their corner comfy at the expense of the masses.

So what do I suggest ?

After all I am trying to make my bit of the world cosier by writing this blog and putting advertising on it aren’t ?, well yes I am and no doubt the vast majority or people reading this will have their own blogs and other social media, that they are trying to make money from all chasing the dream of the “laptop lifestyle” we hear so much about, and this is fine I am not suggesting that we stop doing or searching for what we like to see, hear or read on the internet, my point is that of paramount importance is the time we spend being productive against the time we spend kicking back congratulating ourselves on being masters of our own destiny while following an algorithm designed to draw you in through adverts or video interests or even music, there are a host of applications out there to help remove the distractions and the advertisements from browser based ad removers to running a raspberry pi on your network with something like pi-hole running on it, that blocks ads and uses blacklists to help protect against surfing to malicious websites, but really the best defence is to be mindful, try and complete any tasks that are going to improve your life or forward your business, blog, vlog or online company before sitting down and allowing the internet to suck you in and take hours of your time.

Conclusion

Time is finite thing and I personally have wasted so much of it that it is almost criminal, stop being distracted and look at everything in terms of cost, how much time will this cost me and for what reward ?

if the time is equal to or less than the reward it is a good thing if not then, it should be regarded as a leisure activity and done after work has been completed, the rush of dopamine you will get from financial independence and abundance, will last for a lifetime and far outweigh the hour or so pleasure following the internet as it twists and turns our minds and wallets wringing out as much profit as it can.

Do your Trapezius muscles suck?

Mine do, they are kinda there but not really and they have an annoying flat spot in the middle, I am literally going to the gym today to train back and it got me thinking, should Traps be trained with back or shoulders ?, traditionally I and many others would train them with shoulders, 4 to six sets of standing shrugs at the end of the shoulder workout and then off home for a well deserved protein shake, but hang on are they actually connected to shoulders in any way ? well from a movement perspective yes, slightly, they are attached into the base of the skull and out to the clavicle and then to the spine about midway down your back, this presents a problem when arguing for the mechanical movement of standing shrugs.

You see, looking at this picture, traditional shrugs actually only work a very small portion of the trap muscles, and are more likely to contribute to a slightly wider neck than the big blocks of muscle we are looking for, additionally they also seem to serve no purpose (other than stabilising the shoulder joint against the movement) in any deltoid activity as they are not overlapping in any way.

So I would consider that if we are looking for synergistic training they should in fact be trained along with the back muscles as they play a role in all back exercises, in fact as they are responsible for movement of the scapula ( the muscle fibres both pull back and down toward the spine ) it is fairly easy to see that these play a huge role in everything from bent over rowing to lat pull downs and chins as well as single arm Dumbell rowing.

How to best Activate them

As previously discussed the traditional straight backed approach doesn’t actually cut it for this muscle group as you are only activating a small portion of the muscle group, sure due to the nature of the muscle fibre it is easy to move a lot of weight over a small distance, but ultimately once you have fed your ego you must eventually move onto building some muscle, looking at the structure you need to draw the shoulders up and back to completely engage the large mid portion of the muscle ( the one that provides the size ) and for the lower portion of the muscle, you would try and pull down from only the shoulder, these exercises may look a little odd but once your traps start growing people will start to copy I assure you.

Concentration Movements

  • Shrug – Instead of the traditional standing shrug, you should bend slightly from the waist and allow your hands with the Dumbells in them to hang naturally down, obviously you should not lean to far over as you are looking to move the weight with the same shrugging motion just in this modified position, I would also take whatever weight you are using now for shrugs and halve it too, you only have one back let’s make it stronger not damage it completely.
  • Trap Pulldown – This is the one that will get a few odd looks as people will genuinely wonder what the hell you are doing, but seated on the lat pull down keeping your arms straight, you are looking to extend only at the shoulder and the shrug in reverse, so bring the shoulders down and squeeze to the back at the full contraction.

Compound Movements

As a side note and to further illustrate the point, the Trapezius muscles are also heavily involved in the following exercises / movements

  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – and to a lesser extent bent over Barbell rows due to the lack of mobility of your hands with the latter.
  • Cable Seated Row – again the pulling back of the arms and squeezing toward the centre of the spine activates the Trapezius.
  • Chin-ups – These hit the lower Trapezius along with their seated counterpart the lat pull down.

So I hope that has been informative and I am open to any questions regarding the above, always be careful when training and always be extra careful when changing a movement / introducing a new position into a routine, as there is only a small difference in the positions it may be easy to think that you can handle the same weight as previously but remember the idea is to concentrate on a muscle group more targeted than before and so this my cause injury if not used to it.

Update After Trying my Own Advice

So often people write these guides and you sit and wonder if that is how they train or if they have even lifted a weight in their life, and of course quite a few haven’t, or at least they do not follow the routines that they put out it is all just for money.

So this, and all other training tips are as a result of considered thought and trying to work out how to do everything as efficiently as possible to achieve maximum results in the minimum time, this the trainee superhuman after all!

So I have updated this post with the findings from last night (at the time of writing)

The action of bent over shrugs feels massively unnatural, this is mainly because we are always taught that we should keep the back straight, in fact the very action of leaning forward immediately puts tangible stress on the middle of the Trap muscles, the important thing to remember here is not to bend to far over, concentration exercises are all about putting the muscle group in a compromised position where they can receive little to no assistance from supporting muscle groups, once in the correct position though the feeling as easy to identify, and the significant drop in the amount of weight I could handle showed just how weak the muscle actually was compared to what I originally thought, the numbers are standing shrug 40 to 50kg for 12 to 15 reps, bent over shrug 24 to 32kg for 12 so as you can see it was significant, today the muscle actually feels sore, all the way from the top of the structure (at the base of the skull) down to the middle of my back and extending out to the scapula, so I am fairly confident that this has had the required effect, it has also occurred to me that the strengthening of this muscle group will counteract office back strain where we tend to sit hunched over a keyboard all day long, by strengthening this part of the Trapezius we keep the top of the back flatter and avoid shoulders naturally falling forward.

So again hope this has been helpful, please let me know if not, or if you have any comment or suggestion on other training routines.

Are Healthy Supplements Killing you?

I am not the first and I most definitely will not be the last to ask this question, it had occurred to me previously that the level of trust we have in the supplement industry far outstrips the trust we have in professional health care, I mean after all when was the last time that you were prescribed tablets and just took them without a seconds thought, or indeed a lengthy talk from the medical professional with regard to possible side effects and dosage levels?

Yet we stream through the doors and surf the websites of health food shops daily spending millions on vitamin tablets, protein supplements and mineral compositions that are sold to us as a healthy alternative to medicine at best and at worst a cure for our ills.

I have recently been experimenting with varying supplementation and have had some mixed results, and some fairly disturbing ones, this has prompted me to write this article to get people thinking about the sheer amount of “supplements” we take and for what reason.

First A Word About the Industry

The UK vitamin industry according to https://www.hfma.co.uk/media-events/industry-facts/ was worth, in 2016 £421 million, and the market in the USA is worth an estimated $37 Billion, this encompasses sports supplementation and vitamins, minerals and general health supplement sales over the counter, this means that no matter what the tagline of an advert, you can be fairly sure there is a lot of money behind advertising it, additionally and more alarming from a consumer point of view is the amount of white label supplement companies that will allow you to design and package your own supplements and sell these on Amazon or Ebay or even at the local market, you can tailor the product essentially to meet the amount of profit you wish to receive from the sale and after the company has made the supplement packaged it and then labelled it for you I would imagine that the temptation to drop the more expensive ingredients down is quite strong.

This has another issue though, given the wide spread and cheap entry into the industry through this route, one can only imagine that the amount of actually different supplements on the market is quite small, and this means that we are making choices about which products to buy based on the quality of the label of which person is representing the product to us.

However we can still rely on the big chain companies can’t we ? well I guess from a quality control point of view yes we probably can, after all they will have the buying power to provide the best ingredients at a reasonable price, if they do or not depends on the integrity of the company I guess, but shoudl we even be taking them in first place?

Health food store checkup ?

The health food store shopping experience is a varying animal, occasionally you will encounter somebody who has done some training or is an enthusiast themselves, but ordinarily you are dealing with nothing more than a shop assistant, while they may be very good at serving people and very attentive while you are in the store this does not mean that their advice will extend much past the company line, partially because they probably don’t know better and partially because essentially they are employed to sell stuff for profit.

I made several purchases from my local Health store and was never once asked if I was deficient in what I was buying, or if I had any reason to suggest that I required a higher dosage than I would be receiving from my diet, or what my diet was for that matter, my purchases were simply rung up and I was sent on my way.

I feel that this is the first hurdle to be honest, this is really where there should be some interception and questions asked, for instance take a firm favourite of the health food store vitamin C, this little firm favourite is water soluble and can neither be manufactured nor stored by the body, it is consumed and used and flushed out taking free radical cells with it , it plays a fundamental role in the absorption of iron and has been shown to assist the immune system and has links to helping to prevent some forms of cancer, this is all good news, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is definately something we can benefit from, but at what dosage ?

When walking into a store there are many options, 500mg, 1000mg, 2000mg, buffered, non buffered, tablets, soluble literally the list goes on.

The recommended average daily intake for a healthy women is 75mg and 120mg if pregnant or breastfeeding, already we are way over that stated dose, so it is unclear why they should then go on to sell the higher dosages when 75mg would get the job done and that is the recommended intake, so at that we have not even considered dietary vitamin C (vitamin content present in our daily food intake).

The dosages however do start to have a sense of reason, albeit a little sinister when you consider the tolerable upper limit for adults is 2000mg or 2 grams a day, beyond this the concentration of vitamin C can lead to some pretty unpleasant effects to name a few, diarrhoea, nausea, headache and at the worse end gout, kidney and liver complications.

An accepted amount that is beneficial is around 500mg, this has been found to assist in certain situations on of which was a study on macular degeneration, during an age related eye disease study it was show when used with other vitamins and minerals to slow the progression of the disease.

There is vitamin C in the vast majority of food we eat, and it is added to a lot of breakfast cereals and especially for children as their diets tend to lack whole foods and therefore require supplementation to maintain the balance.

My Experience

Ok so onto the reason why I felt I needed to look further into this, I started looking around for ways to make myself stronger, healthier and more mentally agile, as a result I ended up following a course of the below supplements.

  • Fenugreek – A natural herb linked to the production of testosterone, as a man now in my mid forties, my testosterone levels have been steadily dropping for the last 10 to 15 years, and I wanted to find a way to halt this, fenugreek has been shown to increase levels of free testosterone in males when supplemented at 500mg a day, it does this through its constituent Protodioscin a saponin that may support the production of testosterone.
  • Tribulus Terrestris – Essentially added as it has been marketed as a testosterone booster by itself, it is considered to increase the potency of Fenugreek when taken along side, it is used widely for the treatment of many things but one of it’s reported effects is to increase certain hormones, testosterone is one, although you don’t have to dig to far into the research to see that the evidence is pretty weak.
  • Vitamin B complex – this was both to help with cognitive function as wel as the role that vitamin B plays in energy utilisation and in the muscle building process, by helping with the production of red blood cells directly helps provide more oxygen to muscles, allowing them to work harder and recover quicker.
  • Vitamin C – for recovery and immune assistance
  • Alpha-GPC – A nootropic compound that has been shown to increase brain activity and in fact is used in the medical profession to help treat Alzheimer’s and further studies have shown that when taken before an intense workout can increase growth hormone output post workout by significant amounts.
  • Fish Oil – for the EPA DHEA content again for cognitive function also it does contain omega-3 fats which are absolutely essential and were lacking in my diet as I was trying to cut down on my bodyfat quite drastically and was eating next to no fat at all.

Now that may seem like a long list, and I suppose actually that it is, if my calculations were correct I should have been a quick thinking, strong quick recovering masterpiece of an individual, instead the opposite was actually true, I was becoming tired, and I mean falling asleep at the steering wheel tired, on several occasions I had to pull over and literally have a quick nap before continuing my journey home from work, I had headaches, really big ones, not stress headaches these were different, as if my blood pressure were elevated during a big deadlift or some kind of heavy compound exercise like that, my balance was of and I had to bail out of several workouts due to fatigue and generally feeling unwell, I had become confused as well at work easy repetitive tasks needed concentration more than before, the answer took a while but it was fairly obvious I needed to stop the tablets !

I stopped taking them on a Monday, and immediately the headache that I would develop while driving to work did not materialise, it took about a week for my imbalance to stop and go back to normal and my workouts took around 3 weeks to stabilise and only now (some 5 weeks from stopping ) am I able to truly push myself at the gym again.

Conclusion

I feel that I got out just in time, the detrimental effect that all the tablets was having was becoming intrusive it had affected my home life, my work and my training, I even took some time away from this website as a result of struggling to concentrate, but all the time I was convinced that these things were safe to take, why? because they are sold that way, the shops are bright and on the high street, websites are not seedy http affairs that you need a special browser for and pay only in bitcoin, so you think that all will be well, but the truth is that anything we put into our bodies is a balancing act, it can be hugely beneficial in small doses and poisonous in large, or it can be wholly ineffective in a small does and only worth taking more than is recommended, the supplement / health food industry is vast and does help billions of people make better choices, get healthier and live longer, but we have to remember that it is an industry, and it is going to make profit as and where it can see it, unfortunately that means that if they can sell something that won’t harm you unless you take a lot more than they recommend then they will because you will be a repeat customer, in exactly the same way as a supplement company will sell you a weight gainer loaded with sugar instead of protein because it is cheap and you will feel great when you start using it because you muscles will fill out with the extra calories and you will have boundless energy, at no point will they inform you that you could have got the same effect from eating a large quantity of doughnuts.

I am definitely not saying that we should not buy supplements, simply that we should use the intelligence that I lacked when I embarked on my rampage and dose ourselves accordingly, remember that you are putting extra something in your body, and in the case of vitamins and minerals the irony is that the majority of people that consider taking these things will also give consideration to their diets and as such probably are not deficient in the vast majority of the products they buy, they just don’t notice any side effects because they stay within a limit set to avoid any detrimental feeling.

The supplement industry is not evil or malicious, it is just profit driven, and anything profit driven has the potential to weigh potential for comeback against the profit made by selling the product in the first place, and that is where the consumer misses out if they don’t stop and clarify the claim of the companies on their products and also their own individual requirements.

Before embarking on any supplementation regime you should always look at your diet first, and make the adjustments there where you can, the clue is in the name supplement, the human body is an amazing thing and it knows what it needs from food and drink to help us to grown and thrive doing the tasks that we choose, it will adapt and grow or shrink as required, you will get faster or stronger through repetition and all through the bodies own devices, majority of supplement advice is to take that delicate system of hormones and proteins and hit it with a sledgehammer, if you imagine trying to fit a square peg in around hole, using a lathe to turn the peg and make it fit will take time and patience but the end result will be perfect, the peg can however be made to fit with a large hammer and enough brute force, but it will be ugly and weak broken and unreliable, life is a marathon not a sprint.