The stupidest questions I’ve heard at the gym - part II

In the first part I related to the most frequent questions about supplementation, diet and training heard in a gym. Here’s another part of the common topics.

You should definitely read:

The stupidest questions I have heard at the gym – part I

“Is it true that supplements cause illnesses?”

Despite the countless scientific studies, it has been impossible to link the use of supplementation and nutritions with the occurrence of e.g. cancer. The only serious reservations appear in the context of “prohormones” - hard, toxic dope served in a colorful package. According to research, all you need is as little as few weeks of using prohormones to destroy your liver and kidneys. But that’s not all! In one of the studies the scientists collected data from 356 men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer between the years 2006 and 2010. They compared these results to those of healthy people. The men from the experiment were using diet supplements and nutritions.


The preliminary data points that diet supplements  increase the chance of testicular cancer by 65%. But - there’s one important note to make before you roll out your social warrior flag, rivaling that of the “murderous vaccines”: the researchers don not link creatine, amino-acids or proteins to cancer. Nevertheless, cancer is linked to prohormones and custom-made-steroids (designer drugs). What’s the explanation? Men frequently using gainers/diet supplements spike up the ‘cocktail’ with prohormones and/or anabolic-androgenic steroids. In vitro studies have shown that methanabol and stanazolol (winstrol) could be carcinogenic. But, as we know, there’s a long way between in vitro studies and determining the connections in live organism [1]. A great example of a designer drug is the oral-turinabol (NRD-born) - a milder methanabol. We can include THG (tetrahydrogestinon) in this group.


  • Steroids and prohormones can have negative influence on your health, especially in the long run.
  • At present, the connection between gainers or diet supplements and cancer is not confirmed.
  • If you are using supplements and gainers in moderation then the risk of any side effect is very small.
  • If you’re weary of the adverse effects of e.g. aspartame, acesulfame k and other sweeteners on your health, then simply opt to buy unprocessed food instead of gainers and supplements.

“How am I supposed to get rid of gut fat and build muscle?”

These goals are contradictory, and very hard to achieve simultaneously. I’d advise to get rid of fat in the first place.

To do that:

  • plan a diet with a negative caloric balance (if you can’t, use a ready-made diet, composed by a dietitian),
  • cut down on sugar, sugary drinks, snacks, fast food, processed foods,
  • start regular jogging, running, swimming, riding a bike, playing ball, etc. (the recommended weekly activity is 3-4 times per week, 30-45 minutes)
  • add a moderate-intensity weight training (60-70% of your maximal load) - free weight workout 2-3 times a week, 45-60 minutes,
  • after the adaptation period include a running training (2-3 times a week),
  • within a couple of weeks of running add an interval program,

You have to realize that you ruin 80% of your chances in the kitchen, not in the gym. You can train like a titan, but without an appropriate diet your gut will still be round and protruding.

After fat reduction:

  • slowly increase the calorific value of your diet,
  • minimize the additional aerobic training,
  • increase the intensity of your weight training (70-85% of your max load),

If you believe in miraculous metamorphoses that happen in 30-90 days - go back to the low-brow men’s magazines and science-fiction books. For most people both, fat reduction and building muscle mass, is an expensive, slow and long process, taking months.

“Is it true that, as a beginner, I should start at the machines?”

Nothing of the like. Machines are the slowest way to get any results at the gym. If you’re afraid of using free weights, learn the techniques with small weight. Training on machines excludes dozens of muscles (including the stabilizing ones). This kind of training is less fruitful. In general, the ones who point you to the machines are lazy trainers, because they’re too indolent to explain the nuances and your “more experienced” colleagues - the ones who don’t train half of their body and don’t know most of the strength exercises.

“Is it true that heavy weights are a danger to your health?”

Any kind of weight is dangerous. The weight that can cause you permanent damage is... Your own body. All you need to do is to maintain poor posture while working at a computer (hunching, slouching). You’re not only destroying your eyesight, but you will surely encounter problems with your spine. If you perform the exercises in the right way, the risk of a contusion is extremely small. Full-contact sports, such as box, Thai-boxing or MMA pose a much grater threat.

“Is it true that you should train each group of muscles once a week?”

The above “rule” is the result of using the old “split” model of training - one muscle group once a week. Many people don’t know any other way to train. I’m not saying it’s the worst way possible - has no scientific backup. There are many training models where the muscle groups are trained 2-3 times a week (up-down, push-pull, FBW, etc). Whether a bigger or smaller intensity of training will give you personally better results, is an open question. Before you try out different models, no one will be able to give you the answer.  For sure, over-training certain part will not help you gain inches faster.

“Is it true that you should train in a training belt?”

A bodybuilding belt doesn’t protect your from anything, it also develops bad habits and doesn’t allow you to learn the proper technique. You’re not protecting your spine - you’re excluding important stabilizing muscles. In the first years of your training, a training belt will be useful only a weight hanger. Its usefulness is marginal, aside from the time when training to beat a record (triathlon, strongman, powerlifting). If you want to buy a belt - better look for a triathlon belt.

Sources: Users of Bodybuilding Supplements Get Cancer of the Testicles More Often