The lineup of bottles, jars, powders, and pills is pretty impressive. It’s hardly the be-all, end-all heading into the first serious workout tomorrow. They’re just a part of it. It’s easier to drink a protein shake than try to eat a couple boneless chicken breasts. It’s simpler to take Amino Vital than trying to balance out my pre-workout meals. That’s what supplements are about.
(First – an aside. I meantioned in a previous post that I wouldn’t be doing Pilates despite the endorsement of Ryan Klesko. The reason is not that Giles doesn’t do Pilates, but that Klesko began doing Pilates to stay a baseball player, not to become one. It’s a great maintenance routine, but not one that will get me to the goal. The principle of specificity is going to force me to concentrate on burning fat, adding muscle, and making swinging a bat a big focus. Luckily, I have a batting cage handy!)
Here’s the current supplements I’m on:
Cellucor D4: The thermogenic I started with was good for kick-starting the fat burn, but has lost its effectiveness quickly. Part of the problem is me. I take in what one biochemist I spoke with last week called "a disgusting amount of caffeine." Thermogenics are mostly low-grade stimulants and I simply take more stimulation than most. My coffee intake is probably doing the same thing. I have some Avant HEAT, which is very good and will be subbed in soon. Some have had some problems starting a workout cycle when on HEAT, one of the reasons I’ve held off.
SportPharma 100% Whey Protein: The vanilla tastes pretty good, like a milkshake. I started slow, mixing it with soy milk and that was fine. Water’s not as texturally good, but it’s not bad and lower calorie, something I have to watch out for on a 1600-2000 calorie limit with very specific protein/carb/fat breakdowns.
Muscletech Nitro-Tech: This is just more protein, mostly. There’s some creatine monohydrate in here and some other additives, but the strawberry’s nice. I switch back and forth between them, more for taste than anything else. There’s some value to loading the Nitro-Tech, but I’m not doing it. At the point I start using creatine, it will be a creatine esther that doesn’t need loading.
VPX Dietex: Listed as a craving reducer, it’s actually reasonably effective. I can’t tell you why – could be Placebo – but it’s not bad. I’m waiting on some Avant Leptigen, which is much, much more effective at this. I’ll have more on this once it’s in hand.
AminoVital: Think of this as protein Gatorade and you’re not far off, though it’s much more technical. More people that I know in baseball swear by this stuff than anyone. It’s a good pre-workout drink that provides both hydration and available amino acids. You can tell that it reduces fatigue somehow. Good stuff.
ZAND Zanergy: A liquid multivitamin heavy on the B series. Since my caloric intake is way down, this makes sure I have the nutrition I need. Is it better than a pill? No, I just don’t like pills.
There are some things I’m going to add — Avant’s HEAT, Leptigen, and SesaThin, a couple Ergopharm products, and a Creatine Esther. I’d love for Muscletech to send me some of their GAKIC and LEUKIC, two high-tech supplements that I’m trying to avoid buying because of cost. I have some pitchers using GAKIC and it’s astounding, helping them put real velocity on the ball quickly.
One thing you might notice is that I’m not very scared of taking these and failing a drug test. NONE of these supplements has ever caused a cross contamination positive. Buy from a known manufacturer and a known source and the risk is minimal. Too many people inside baseball are scared now to take something as simple as a Powerbar because they don’t have the information they need. It’s going to be as big a part of baseball this season as the lack of uppers and the continued fade that old-school steroids make.
Have suggestions? Have a product you’d like me to try? You know where to reach me.
(As always, no product mentioned here should be considered an endorsement by myself, Baseball Prospectus. or MLB.)