A few moons ago I decided I wanted to get big and strong, and purely for all the wrong reasons. Vanity, insecurity… oh and maybe so the occasional college girl would notice me in excess of a walking-away, head-over-the-shoulder “thanks for the drink.” I was a 6’2” (still am, fortunately) 140lbs-soaking-wet freshman in college. Believe it or not, this fits the description of very few girls’ “dream guy”. I had just joined a fraternity and although the ice luges and jungle juice (grain alcohol poured from an Absolute bottles) helped, I was still virtually invisible. The new lifestyle improved my exposure to ladies, but with the added visibility came pressure to make my biceps more visible. Not just biceps though - all of the beach muscles, baby. At this stage of the game there was no such thing as leg day – you can hide chicken legs with jeans, everybody knows that.
(Note: Eventually I grew out of these things as I graduated Cum Laude with a Finance degree and became a capable investment analyst) So what did I do? Well ‘they’ said sleep was important for gains, so I made sure to sleep during my most difficult classes. ‘They’ said eating lots of quality food was going to make my muscles grow, so I sucked down every bit food under the sun (especially french-fries, those were a staple in the diet). ‘They’ said work out your legs because your frame will grow proportionally. I said ‘next’. They said try supplements. I was told that creatine is basically steroids (so be careful!), whey protein is what all the bodybuilders drink after working out, and pre-workout will make your workouts better and has stuff in it that will help you grow.
So I hopped into my 1998 Subaru Outback Wagon and drove my ass over to GNC to speak to an ‘expert’ and get the tools I needed to become Arnold. I was certain that only a few weeks after this trip I would land on every sorority girls’ radar within a ten-mile radius. I had never been to a supplement store and as soon as I heard the ‘ding’ from the store’s door opening, I was basically tackled by the clerk. The assault came from a puffy-armed, faux-hawked squeeze-the-blood-out-of-my-hand that called himself ‘Barry’. Barry didn’t care about what was on my list, Barry knew what I needed and he was going to yell it at me the entire time I was in the store. Worse than that, Barry didn’t seem to actually know anything. He trolled me up and down the store, telling me how ‘tremendous’, ‘powerful’ and ‘next-gen’ every single thing I touched was, including the blender bottles. “Bro”, he kept calling me, “You’ve never seen blender bottles like these!!” was when I decided it was time to leave, empty handed. I thanked Barry for his ‘help’ and went home to do some of my own research.