Q: Tom, I know that you aren’t really big on supplements, but I remember reading somewhere that you said you believe in a few basic supplements. Could you tell me which ones? I also read something on a website where someone said you are the most “natural” bodybuilder he knows and that you don’t even take aspirin. Is this true? To tell you the truth, Tom, I do not believe it is possible to obtain 3% or 4% bodyfat with as much muscle as you have without drugs or at least fat burner supplements. And also, don’t you think that the term “natural bodybuilding” has been abused quite a lot everywhere? No one who uses it on the net is really natural. Natural would mean one eats only what appears in nature and does not ingest man-made stuff from bottles. Right?”
A: You're absolutely correct - the definition for "natural" is vague and open to an individual's interpretation.
If you take creatine supplements, does that mean you're no longer natural? After all, you can't get that much creatine out of your
food in its natural form (unless you eat half a cow!) I guess it depends on your definition of natural
I used ephedrine back in the 90's. That was legal and over the counter, but it was still a drug. does that mean I'm not a
natural bodybuilder anymore? Again, it depends on what "natural" means to you.
To me, the definition of natural in the context of bodybuilding, means no illegal drugs, prescription drugs or any substances that
are banned in competition.
I also use the term “natural” in a different context when describing my food. I realize the word natural is thrown around in food marketing all the time, but I have a definition for it. Natural food is food that has not been “messed with” by human hands. If it grew on a tree, off a plant or out of the ground - it’s natural. If it walked, flew or swam - it’s natural (vegetarians feel welcome to use the first half of that definition)
As for supplements, I use only a multi vitamin and an essential fatty acid supplement, either an oil blend, flax oil or fish oil (although I prefer to get EFAs from eating fatty fish such as salmon. I always prefer real food over supplements).
I’ve used creatine in the past with success. The increase in strength is noticeable. I use some protein powder almost every day (mainly because it's convenient and I think vanilla protein powder mixed in with oatmeal and some cinnamon tastes good). I consider protein powder natural and nothing more than “powdered food.” I also use post workout recovery drinks when I’m working on gaining muscle.
That's it. I usually take no other supplements and I use no banned substances or illegal drugs and never have. I’ll take a drug test anyday…
Don’t underestimate what you can achieve naturally. Natural body builders are setting new standards for muscle size and
conditioning every year. You’d be surprised what you can achieve if you'd stop doubting and instead start believing in yourself.
The minute you say, “There’s no way that guy is natural” you just put limitations on yourself. You defined yourself, not the other person.
If you don’t believe it’s possible to reach low single digit body fat without “fat burning” supplements or drugs, then you never will. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said in the book of the same title, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” Have you heard of “self-fulfilling prophecy?”
Even when you believe you can do it naturally - and you should - you’d better be willing to work for it. when someone has a well-developed physique, it’s easy to dismiss their results to drugs or genetics. You know that line about success… “The harder I work, the luckier I get?” Well, in bodybuilding it’s like this:
"The harder I work, the better my genetics appear and the more I'll get accused of taking roids."
When you look at that guy with 3% body fat and dismiss it to drugs or genetics, you didn’t see what went on behind the scenes.
You have no idea how hard that person worked. You have no concept of the amount of sacrifice and discipline involved unless you were
there with them.
Every time I’m tempted to think I’m training hard, I go spend time with someone better than me and then I get a wake up call and I realize WHY they are better than me. when I see where the bar has been raised, it makes me raise my own standards.
Most people not only underestimate the amount of hard work and discipline it takes to reach extremes of low body fat and
muscularity, they are downright delusional about the amount of results they expect for the amount of work they put in.
Then they have the audacity to complain that “It can’t be done without steroids or fat burners” … or “It’s all about genetics.”
Most people have been so brainwashed by advertising for supplements
and diet pills that they get frustrated and give up at the drop
of a hat when they don’t have six pack abs “almost overnight” like
the ads promised.
Forget about drugs and forget about so called fat loss supplements. A great body doesn’t come in a pill - never did and never will. Stay natural (drug free), eat foods as natural as possible and work your butt off. Raise your standards. Believe in yourself.
Pay your dues.
If you’re willing to pay the price in hard work and discipline -
and if you also have a rock-solid action strategy such as what I provide in
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle - then I don’t think there’s any
limit to how lean you can get.
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle and the national best-seller, The Body Fat Solution (Avery/Penguin books). Tom has written hundreds of articles and has been featured in IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Men's Fitness, Men's Exercise, Exercise for Men and on hundreds of websites worldwide. Tom is also the founder and CEO of the Internet's premier fat loss support community, the: Burn The Fat Inner Circle.