We all want to get big and strong, gain weight and muscle, and there are different routes that people take to get there. Some people take the steroid route and get big and strong fast, however this often has direct health effects later on in their life. Taking steroids was actually legal back in the day and many of the old school bodybuilders like Arnold freely admit that they did take them. However many of us decide to take the natural route. Even with the natural route, you can however take different supplements that are supposed to be safe and without any illegal substances. It turns out that sometimes they are not.

There are thousands of different supplements out there. You see them advertised in different magazines and all over the internet. There is often a picture of the big buff guy next to them, with the text that this guy took this supplement and it helped him get that big. These advertisements are very powerful. They send subliminal messages to your head. “If I just take this, then I can be like that guy!” So people buy them and think that these supplements are the answer to their prayers. However they are not. They are just supplements; something that should supplement all the other things that you are doing in order to get big and gain weight and muscle. That means a good diet and a good workout routine.

Most of these supplements are safe and can help you out in your quest to gain size and muscle. However you always have to watch out. Recently, Rob Riches got kicked out of a bodybuilding competition, because he tested positive for some banned substances. It turns out that these substances were found in a supplement he bought over the counter at a store (at least that’s what he is claiming, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt). This supplement is called Craze and it was really hyped up, even winning bodybuilding.com’s New Supplement of the Year Award in 2012. With this type of hype and exposure, most people buying it, will not think twice that it might actually contain something illegal. However it does. USA Today did an investigative report on it and found that it contains a chemical similar to methamphetamine. The tests were done at different laboratories in the US and South Korea and so should be enough evidence to prove this. The article mentions another product from a different manufacturer that also was tested and found to contain the same chemical.

How is it possible for these substances to get into these products and for these products to be sold openly on the market? “These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there’s absolutely no guarantee of quality control,” states Pieter Cohen, who is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

However there is no need to be alarmist. Most supplements that are sold on the market, do not contain these or other illegal substances. They are safe and can really help you if taken in the right amounts. So how do you minimize your risk of buying something that could contain something illegal? First of all don’t believe all those glossy advertisements, but do your own research. There is plenty of information available on the internet. The rule of the thumb is that the longer the supplement is on the market, the less likely it is to have something illegal in it. It has been used by many people and most likely someone would have exposed it already. It is usually the new, untested supplements that pose the greatest danger. Try to stick to your basic supplement categories, things like whey protein, casein protein, BCAAs and others. These basic supplements are safe. It is usually the supplements that contain all kinds of mixes that could potentially also contain illegal substances. So my advice here would be to stick to the basics and get the tried and tested old supplements, which do not promise to give you the world, instead of the really hyped up mixes of all kinds of different substances. Supplements are supposed to only SUPPLEMENT your workout and eating efforts, not replace them.

Credit: 1; Photo by Daily Nouri on Unsplash

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