Do you consider using supplements cheating?

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Rush
9/8/09 9:12:28PM
ok, I know that certain supplements are not banned from competition, but I got thinking about some of the "legal" supplements out there. As an amateur athlete, I train and compete solely for the goal of improving myself and conquering personal challenges. That being said, when I actually thought about it, using supplements like NO2, would kind of feel like I am cheating myself. In other words, I would feel like my achievements are the result of the chemical, not my natural body.

That being said, I am happy that I don't use these types of supplements.

What do you guys think about the subject?
Nightmare27
9/8/09 9:22:49PM
There are alot that I wouldnt consider cheating and NO2 is one of them but the testosterone boosters and all of that seems too close to steroids to me. They do the same thing or at least theyre trying to. Just my opinion though.
bojangalz
9/8/09 10:32:54PM
kind of a loaded question. the term supplements is pretty broad. Daily multi vitamins are essentially a supplement arn't they? I doubt anyone would consider taking those "cheating". I'm not sure I consider taking protein supplements cheating either.

I've had a goal of gaining some lean muscle mass and packing on a couple extra pounds on my upper half. I tried a very heavy protein diet, but simply couldn't consume enough food (not enough room in there I guess). So I'm taking a whey protein supplement daily.

If you're talking about altering your body's chemical/hormonal make-up (testosterone, etc) then yeah; my personal opinion is that's cheating a little. But I think the whole idea is nothing more then a matter of personal opinion to begin with.
Rush
9/8/09 11:01:06PM
I'm just looking for opinions. I'm not interested in what is legal or banned, but rather what people on here thought of supplements. That is, I used "supplements" in the broad sense because I wanted to see where people drawed a line with respect to feeling like they are cheating themselves in terms of their athletic accomplishments.
seanfu
9/8/09 11:29:36PM
If you call safe/legal supplements cheating you would have to call athletic diets cheating. The fact is that there are no real definitions of chemical cheating in reality. If there are roids out there that do no harm whatsoever, and actually benefit the body, should they be illegal?

For instance, I cycle Creatine when I peak for competition or lifting. This is something naturally found in the human body, yes, but it is also VERY performance enhancing, at least in my case.

Also, there was a problem a few years back with olympic athletes getting injected with packed red blood cells. Blood cells carry oxygen to the body, so a higher count means better cardio. Athletes were getting a great boost out of these injections. Should that be illegal? If so, then should high altitude training for the same purpose be illegal? Should there be a standard maximum for red blood cell counts?

You can't define legal from illegal, but if you ask me I say no. I say there should be a list of banned substances that are banned specifically because of health dangers. Banning weed is bulshit. Banning certain kinds of supplements because they contain trace amounts or other illegal substances and not because they are dangerous is bullshit.

It's like Joe Rogan says, it's just the athlete of tomorrow, and that scares people. Your body is just not designed to keep up with what it needs to for MMA peak training.
SmileR
9/9/09 1:10:21AM
I don't consider it cheating at all. I use Protein almost every day and thats classed as a supplement. I also use creatine every few months if I'm looking to add a bit more definition.

I'v done months of training and used nothing except a healthy balanced diet and the only difference I found at the end was I had a lot less energy and a hell of a lot less money from buying all the foods I needed to replace the protein and energy I had used.

On the up side I also found out pea nuts are great for energy which I didn't know until I did that.

Some of the newer supplements that are coming out now I can see being banned from competition soon.
I haven't heard of NO2 so I'll have to have a look into it.
kopower
9/9/09 1:16:16AM
I consider it cheating a bit. Especially if it's not in your normal diet. Is someone gonna keep taking whey protein or some other supplement when they are done with athletics? Probably not. Your everyday diet is the norm and as soon as you stray from that, it could be considered trying to "cheat".
seanfu
9/9/09 1:21:24AM

Posted by kopower

I consider it cheating a bit. Especially if it's not in your normal diet. Is someone gonna keep taking whey protein or some other supplement when they are done with athletics? Probably not. Your everyday diet is the norm and as soon as you stray from that, it could be considered trying to "cheat".



Taking supplements allow you to train harder. With or without competition I would use supplements. Do I wanna constantly be dealing with a torn up body lifting 3 days a week, or do I wanna lift 4 days a week maximum force and still not have to deal with all the problems. Of not healing fast enough.

Also you're saying that adding suppliments into your diet to increase your healing should be illegal, do you train?
telnights
9/9/09 1:56:47AM
This will always be a gray area.

But to me it isn't cheating if it doesn't contain any banned drugs within it. Fighters and players will always try to find that line that wont get them suspended and some will cross it. The ones that cross it are cheating the ones that don't are not cheating.
RyanC
9/9/09 5:55:11AM
I'm a hard gainer. I'm naturally very thin, and I have a very hard time putting on muscle. Since I've started MMA I've also been lifting weights and trying to pack as much muscle on as I can.
That said it's very difficult for me, so I use a large variety of supplements to give me any benefit I can get. Everything I take is legal, and sold over the counter. I use creatine, NO2, any protein I can get my hands on, glutamine, L-argnine, and a host of amino acids, vitamins, and some natural energy boosting supplements.
I've used Bruce Lee's training regimen as a starting point, and I am taking a lot of things based off of what he swore by. I also read several body building publications for advice.

If you don't need a doctor, or a picture ID to purchase a supplement then it's game on for me. Most of what I take is either natural or exists in your body already. I'm just adding larger amounts of it to compensate for my bodies greater need.
RyanC
9/9/09 6:13:02AM

Posted by kopower

I consider it cheating a bit. Especially if it's not in your normal diet. Is someone gonna keep taking whey protein or some other supplement when they are done with athletics? Probably not. Your everyday diet is the norm and as soon as you stray from that, it could be considered trying to "cheat".



It's called gaining an advantage. Whey protein is just a protein derived from milk. Soy protein is made from soy beans. Creatine exists in your body naturally and in the meat of animals. I also take glutamine. Glutamine is nothing more than an amino acid which helps with recovery, and is found in your body naturally. When training hard your body cannot always produce enough of it. L-Arginine is another amino acid that has a whole host of benefits to an athlete trying to recover quickly and build muscle.

Saturated fat causes increased levels of testosterone. Is eating saturated fat cheating?

The only way to push your body to the limit and recover quickly is to satisfy a very specific set of needs it has after training. You can use 100% legal products to do so.
Rush
9/9/09 7:36:51AM
Again some of you are missing the point completely. I am not interested in talking about what is legal and illegal. I'm not interested in comparing legal to illegal substances, though if you want to, that's ok. Please answer my question too.

What I want to know is whether...


do you feel that you are cheating yourself? Do you feel that your accomplishments are based on the fact that you used a supplement and how does that make you feel?


For example, you run a race and get a personal best time, but right before you took some NO2 or ephedrine. Do you feel that your personal best was the result of the chemical? or It's kind of like a swimmer beating a record because they wore a better swimming suit.

I'll elaborate my point of view. The only supplements I take are a vitamin and whey powder. However, I don't consider them to change my performance because I take them well before or after a workout. They don't change my blood pressure or heart rate or my hormone levels any more than if I ate some food. Added to which, my performance is not going to change on any given day if I don't take it.

However, taking unnatural levels of certain substances (even though your body makes them too) that does affect blood pressure or heart rate or hormone levels to a degree that cannot be obtained with a normal diet, yes, I consider that cheating myself because my performance is most likely less than if I didn't use the chemicals.


We could expand the discussion of why certain substances are banned and whether steroids are philosophically the same/different than legal substances, but I would like my question answered too.
Rush
9/9/09 7:40:28AM

Posted by SmileR

I haven't heard of NO2 so I'll have to have a look into it.




I'm sure you have. It's aka nitric oxide. It is produced in your body at lower levels (from L-arginine if memory serves) and it causes vaso dilation (that means if dilates you blood vessels and thus reduces your blood pressure. Therefore more blood can get to your muscles faster, which is why NO2 makes you feel and look "pumped".
kopower
9/9/09 9:58:19AM

Posted by seanfu


Posted by kopower

I consider it cheating a bit. Especially if it's not in your normal diet. Is someone gonna keep taking whey protein or some other supplement when they are done with athletics? Probably not. Your everyday diet is the norm and as soon as you stray from that, it could be considered trying to "cheat".



Taking supplements allow you to train harder. With or without competition I would use supplements. Do I wanna constantly be dealing with a torn up body lifting 3 days a week, or do I wanna lift 4 days a week maximum force and still not have to deal with all the problems. Of not healing fast enough.

Also you're saying that adding suppliments into your diet to increase your healing should be illegal, do you train?



I don't consider it illegal. I do take whey protein when I lift and it works. My point is that you have to take amounts larger than what is naturally in your body to begin with. I know it's all legit but like you said, you take it to recover and build lean muscle. Without it is how your body would respond normally.

I use the word "cheat" very loosely and in context with the question.
RyanC
9/9/09 11:10:53AM
To answer the question: NO. I do not feel I am cheating myself. I started lifting and training supplement free, and started working in supplements once I began researching and learning what is what. I honestly don't notice a big difference in performance.
When I lift I document EVERYTHING. The weight or reps I'm lifting have not changed significantly, but I am putting on pounds since I began supplementing, and I was getting nowhere before. The main reason I take the supplements that I do is for recovery not performance. I want to give my muscle tissue the best possible environment to repair itself as quickly as possible so I can tear it up again.

Also, I don't think the sups that I take have much of anything to do with the way I perform in my MMA training. SO again, I do not feel that I am cheating or cheating myself.
telnights
9/9/09 2:50:06PM

Posted by Rush
do you feel that you are cheating yourself? Do you feel that your accomplishments are based on the fact that you used a supplement and how does that make you feel?



No...some people are blessed with good genetics, some aren't. Some people need that extra help to get where they need to be. Its not cheating yourself at all if you need the help. If you don't then great, but I still don't feel your cheating yourself out of anything. In fact I feel not using them your are cheating yourself out of a chance to be in even better shape. Now not saying use anything to get a edge but if its safe and doesn't cause health issue then your losing out of what you could be.
cowcatcher
9/10/09 1:05:31PM
i dont think its cheating any more than having a good diet or exercising are. supplements help, but are they a bigger boost than the other things i mentioned? absolutely not. no matter what you have to put the work in, and taking supplements shouldnt be a blemish on the hard work already put in, its an aid, but not a shortcut IMO.
Rush
9/10/09 1:54:41PM

Posted by cowcatcher

i dont think its cheating any more than having a good diet or exercising are.




Well, I certainly don't agree with you on this. I guess I look at performance enhancing supplements as kind of like prosthetics in a sense. Diet and hard work, even genetics I consider to be on the natural side of things, whereas your equipment and/or chemicals you put in your body are not natural.

I don't consider PE supplements to be any different than the fancy new pair of shoes one might wear. If those shoes allow you to run 5% fast with no additional changes in your body/training, how could one not think that their enhanced performance is not purely a result of the shoes.

I guess in the recent years, the process of how I accomplish my fitness goals is just as important as the bottom line. On a related note, I certainly feel for the world class swimmers that have had their records shattered because of improved swim wear technology and not necessarily an improvement of the swimmers wearing the new suits.
RyanC
9/10/09 2:26:33PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by cowcatcher

i dont think its cheating any more than having a good diet or exercising are.




Well, I certainly don't agree with you on this. I guess I look at performance enhancing supplements as kind of like prosthetics in a sense. Diet and hard work, even genetics I consider to be on the natural side of things, whereas your equipment and/or chemicals you put in your body are not natural.

I don't consider PE supplements to be any different than the fancy new pair of shoes one might wear. If those shoes allow you to run 5% fast with no additional changes in your body/training, how could one not think that their enhanced performance is not purely a result of the shoes.

I guess in the recent years, the process of how I accomplish my fitness goals is just as important as the bottom line. On a related note, I certainly feel for the world class swimmers that have had their records shattered because of improved swim wear technology and not necessarily an improvement of the swimmers wearing the new suits.



You are giving supplements an awful lot of credit towards their effect on performance. It's not like I take some NO2 and suddenly I can bench twice my body weight for 20 reps.
Rush
9/10/09 2:59:14PM

Posted by RyanC

You are giving supplements an awful lot of credit towards their effect on performance. It's not like I take some NO2 and suddenly I can bench twice my body weight for 20 reps.



I'm not sure what your expectations and fitness goals are, but I am at the level where even a 5% increase in speed or strength can make a big difference. Of course the catagories vary depending on the activity, but to give you an idea...

My 5k race time puts me in the top 2% of all the racers. That would probably classify me as a "sub-elite" runner. I am at the point where it is very difficult for me to improve my personal best time by even 30 sec. IMO, I feel I am limited by the fact that my natural running potential is lower than elite runners, but I have come to terms with that.

Now, even a modest 3-5% increase in performace (about 30-60 seconds faster) would easily move me within the top 1%. Even though my time is not good enough to win the race, that is a big deal for me. To me there is a huge difference between top 1% and top 2% compared to top 19% and top 20%.

My point is, even a modest increase in performance can mean a great deal once you get to a certain fitness level.
RyanC
9/10/09 3:27:46PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by RyanC

You are giving supplements an awful lot of credit towards their effect on performance. It's not like I take some NO2 and suddenly I can bench twice my body weight for 20 reps.



I'm not sure what your expectations and fitness goals are, but I am at the level where even a 5% increase in speed or strength can make a big difference. Of course the catagories vary depending on the activity, but to give you an idea...

My 5k race time puts me in the top 2% of all the racers. That would probably classify me as a "sub-elite" runner. I am at the point where it is very difficult for me to improve my personal best time by even 30 sec. IMO, I feel I am limited by the fact that my natural running potential is lower than elite runners, but I have come to terms with that.

Now, even a modest 3-5% increase in performace (about 30-60 seconds faster) would easily move me within the top 1%. Even though my time is not good enough to win the race, that is a big deal for me. To me there is a huge difference between top 1% and top 2% compared to top 19% and top 20%.

My point is, even a modest increase in performance can mean a great deal once you get to a certain fitness level.



I guess what I'm getting at is that personally I don't believe any of the supplements I take gives me a performance advantage. They may be marketed as such, but I don't believe my performance is superior because I take these. I have not witnessed my reps or amount of weight I lift increase since I added these to my pre/post workout routine. The only increase in weight lifted has come after weeks of lifting a smaller amount of weight.

What I do believe is that my ability to recover, and to build muscle is greater when I take them because they maximize my bodies ability to do so. As I said before I am not cheating nor do I believe anyone else using the things that I use are cheating. Legal supplements obtained over the counter at a Target or Wal-Mart are not cheating in my mind. They are available to anyone for various health benefits, and they happen to be especially beneficial to someone who is lifting weights 4-5 times a week, and training in MMA 3 days a week.
Rush
9/10/09 3:55:27PM

Posted by RyanC

I guess what I'm getting at is that personally I don't believe any of the supplements I take gives me a performance advantage. They may be marketed as such, but I don't believe my performance is superior because I take these. I have not witnessed my reps or amount of weight I lift increase since I added these to my pre/post workout routine. The only increase in weight lifted has come after weeks of lifting a smaller amount of weight.

What I do believe is that my ability to recover, and to build muscle is greater when I take them because they maximize my bodies ability to do so. As I said before I am not cheating nor do I believe anyone else using the things that I use are cheating. Legal supplements obtained over the counter at a Target or Wal-Mart are not cheating in my mind. They are available to anyone for various health benefits, and they happen to be especially beneficial to someone who is lifting weights 4-5 times a week, and training in MMA 3 days a week.




I'll come back to this later because I am limited for time and am still writing a fellowship grant, but there are supplements that do (or are supposed to) increase your performance, three that immediately come to mind have already been mentioned on this thread. Whether they actually do or not is another issue, but then if they don't do something for you, why would one take them?

Many of them do not and are geared toward recovery, I agree and I stated my opinion on that aspect earlier in this thread.
RyanC
9/10/09 4:28:48PM

Posted by Rush

I'll come back to this later because I am limited for time and am still writing a fellowship grant, but there are supplements that do (or are supposed to) increase your performance, three that immediately come to mind have already been mentioned on this thread. Whether they actually do or not is another issue, but then if they don't do something for you, why would one take them?

Many of them do not and are geared toward recovery, I agree and I stated my opinion on that aspect earlier in this thread.



We'll have to continue this discussion at a later time then. I find this a very interesting topic. As I said, the supplements I take, some of which are supposed to increase performance are also beneficial to building muscle, and muscle recovery. Those are the two things I'm looking for: build muscle, recover quickly. I'm not competing against anyone in the gym. I'm just trying to get strong to benefit me in BJJ and MMA.

Creatine, NO2, L-Arginine (Kinda the same as NO2), all say they can increase your performance in the weight room, and maybe they do, but what I really want to get from them is an increased ability to build muscle and quick muscle recovery. I don't notice a difference in my workouts when using these. There have been times I thought I was maybe able to workout longer, but I'm not lifting any different then I was without these.

I do notice a difference in my recovery though. Using whey and soy protein along with glutamine, creatine, l-arginine, and some BCAA's I notice less fatigue and soreness after workouts which gives me the ability to lift harder, and more frequently.

Anways, to be continued . . . .
mikevolz
9/11/09 3:16:23AM

Posted by Rush

ok, I know that certain supplements are not banned from competition, but I got thinking about some of the "legal" supplements out there. As an amateur athlete, I train and compete solely for the goal of improving myself and conquering personal challenges. That being said, when I actually thought about it, using supplements like NO2, would kind of feel like I am cheating myself. In other words, I would feel like my achievements are the result of the chemical, not my natural body.

That being said, I am happy that I don't use these types of supplements.

What do you guys think about the subject?



legal supplements, no.

When i was a competitive athlete, i took any supplement i thought could give me an edge. i then stopped. the way i looked at it, i get <10% boost in my performance if i take all my supplements perfectly.

if i ate right ( hit my meal times, composed my meals of the right calories), worked out hard (put effort into every lift, wrote down every rep, tracked my progress), didn't drink ( a drop), stayed completely hydrated and carbed up, and got full nights sleep every night the boost in my performance would be much greater than 10%.

when I hit all of those things perfectly for 6 months and adjusted my body i would of then looked back into supplements, but i had a hard time, mostly with the sleep and getting perfect nutrition so i viewed it as a waste of money.

bottom line

why spend $X a month to receive this minimal boost, when a much greater boost to my performance can come from me working out harder/smarter. getting my rest, and not acting a fool?
telnights
9/11/09 11:33:44PM
Well I think some people are looking at this wrong to some degree. Supplements aren't made to give you a huge edge they are to help make it easier to build muscle and help muscle heal faster so less down time between workouts. Genetics plays a huge role in this. Some people's genetics are much better than others and that's fact. So some guys can get more out of work outs have less down time then another guy because of this. If you take two guys have them on the same diet, sleep schedule, and same work out the one with better genetics will come out ahead in gains in months. But if you take the same two guys and have the one with the not so great genetics do everything the same and take supplements there wont be that much of a difference in the end. Now I will say I have taken them when I wrestled but really didn't see much of a gain. But I have always been a really good athlete and never had to work as hard as others. But I have seen guys not so lucky make a huge difference in their ability's by taking them. It just helps even the playing field. Now I want to say again we are talking safe and legal supplements so no one confuses what I'm saying.
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