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Fat Loss Supplement Goldmine or Scam?

by Todd Scott, ISSA-CPT 

Training Advisor, Men's Fitness magazine

Back in the early days, when I was still learning about how to lose fat (more specifically, before I knew a dang thing about losing fat), I would literally buy and test every supplement I could get my hands on. Literally, If I had an extra dollar to my name, it'd go towards supplements.

Like many, I believed supplements were the secret to building muscle and losing fat.

I even "secretly" took a supplement taunted (at the time) as "The Legal Anabolic" called Boron. In short, it's basically an element that's naturally occuring in the environment, and actually found in small amounts in our saliva.

But in the back of the fitness magazines, it was the NEW supplement that increased testosterone by 200-300 percent. I'd hit a legal goldmine! (more on this later)

And I say I "secretly" took this supplement, because I was in High School during this time, and the bottle had on it, printed loudly, Anabolic "Sterol" Complex. Note it says "sterol", not steroid. But the similarity in the names, and me not knowing what "sterol" meant but that it was "increasing my testosterone by 300%!", made me want to keep it hidden from my parents, more specifically my mom...

Because I didn't really know if I was taking steroids or not? But I reasoned that they had to be legal, because I ordered them out of a magazine, right? So, in order to be safe, I decided not to tell anyone so as to not get into any trouble.

One day, she happened to find my underground goldmine supplement hidden (I think) under my dresser drawer. Without mentioning a word to me, she FLUSHED them down the toilet.

I guess it didn't take me long to discover they were gone, and I KNEW my mom had found them.

"Oh great! I'm gonna get a beating," I thought.

But she never said a word, so I asked her where the pills went.

"In the toilet," she says. "You don't need that garbage. It's Steroids, and they're bad for you!"

Well, they weren't steroids, what they were, I'll get to in a bit. But that's when I decided to go incognito.

I had a summer job out on Lake Bruin in North Louisiana. So, I asked one of the bosses if I could have it shipped to his house, so my mom wouldn't confiscate them again.

"Sure," he says. "No Problem."

So the battle was ON. Every few months my mom would find a bottle and flush my hard earned money, and my 300% testosterone increase down the flippin' toilet.

After about 6 months, I realized, to my astonishment, that the boron really wasn't doing what it had said it would... So, I guess (I don't remember making a conscious decision) I just stopped ordering.. I mean, 2 bottles were $49.95 (which was like $1,000 dollars to me at the time), and my mom kept flushing them down the dang toilet.

"Whatever," I thought, "I'll find something that's gonna burn fat and build muscle, you just watch."
Well, some 7-8 years later, I came across a report on the supplement Boron.

The report stated that the supplement "Boron" claimed to have the same benefits that made me buy it in the first place....

"Increases testosterone by 200-300% to build muscle & burn fat at astonishing speeds. The Incredients are so potent, they're almost Illegal."

But, that they left off the most important part of the study:

"Studies show that in Post Menopausal Women testosterone increased by 200-300% in some subjects.

Well, I wasn't a woman. And I wasn't post menopausal.

I got scammed... by clever marketing.

It's kinda funny looking back on it, but it just goes to show you, that you can't believe everything you read. And that there ARE con-artists out there just waiting for unsuspecting victims to fork over their hard earned cash.

So, I just chalked it up as one of my many learning experiences.

Fortunately, there ARE things you can do to see through the Glitz and Glamour, and keep from being the next supplement victim.

How to Protect Yourself:

1. Research reliable websites: See what they have to say about any product you're thinking about buying. If you can find it on one site, you should be able to find it on many.

2. Don't always buy into the big buff guy at your local nutrition store: Okay, these guys are ripped and have muscle bumps all over them, but just because they sound like they know what they're talking about, doesn't mean they do. A lot of times, they're simply regurgitating the marketing jargon they constantly read.

Approach these guys like you do a website review, with caution. I'd suggest visiting 2-3 supplement stores JUST to talk and ask questions about the supplement in question. Do NOT go to buy the first time around. Just see what they have to say, and leave. Just tell them you'll come back later.

note: I've sent many clients to a supplement store to buy 1-2 things, warned them of the guys at the counter, and to just say no. They end up walking out with 100-200 bucks worth of junk the guy convinced them to buy. When you go in the first time, don't take any money or credit cards with you, unless you're 100% positive you're ready to buy.

3. Internet is just as harmful as it is good: If you choose to do your own research, make sure you visit MANY websites to get your information. Just because you read it, doesn't mean it's true. It's hard to tell fact from fiction.

4. Look for reviews from experts: If you can't find any experts that has a review of the supplement you want to buy, email them. A lot of times these guys are super busy, so you may not get a reply right away. I get a few emails per day about different fitness topics, though I can't answer personal emails in depth, I read every one personally and try to reply as quick as possible. A lot of times, I'll take the most popular question and answer it in an email newsletter.

My take on supplements, and the Only brands I use:

I've been out of the "take every supplement I can get my hands on" game for nearly a decade. I stick with the core products that are proven to work. In no particular order, these are the only type of supplements I use myself and this is where I order them:

1. L-Glutamine (amino acid) ==> BCAA

2. Whey Protein (pure) ==> Prograde Lean     ** 20% OFF by Clicking Here

3. Meal Replacement shakes ==> Prograde Workout ** 20% OFF by Clicking Here

4. Protein Bars ==> Prograde Cravers

5. Creatine ==> Phosphagen HP ==> EAS



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