Mind and Muscle, The Placebo Effect The Placebo Effect is a sneaky mental technique that's been used since at least World War II. When the medics and field hospitals ran out of painkillers, they would give the wounded soldier the best pain killer known to man.
Soldiers would be shot in the butt with what they thought was morphine. What they weren't told was that their morphine was just a good dose of saltwater. The amazing this is that when injected with this saltwater, the soldier's pain would fade, at least for a short time.
What Makes It Work? The doctors weren't trying to fool their patients; they were trying to help them by activating the placebo effect. What happens is basically a series of reactions occurs in the brain that change its functioning. Just like the soldiers thinking they were getting painkiller, which they fully expected to ease their pain, it worked even though they were given saline solution. The result was the same, it killed the pain. The reason it works is because your brain controls your body, and your thoughts control your brain.
Supplements and the Placebo Effect The placebo effect is relied upon by the supplement industry. The fact is, most of the supplements lining the shelves today are just highly marketed, flashy tubs of non working placebo effect in a can. Most don't have any active ingredients, or have very few that would actually help you gain muscle. Most supplements work because of the supplement placebo effect.
Most people buying supplements do so after they get "educated" on the subject. They usually get expert advice from their friends or supplement, I mean Bodybuilding, magazines. In all cases, someone takes a supplement because it supposedly worked for someone else and they genuinely believe that it will work for them.
The belief is key here. When you believe something completely, and back it with emotion, you can accomplish things that once seemed impossible. This includes physiological changes, or changes to the body. By thinking and believing that the supplement that was just consumed will cause muscle growth, the brain takes it as instructions. Basically, because of the individual's strong conviction, the person's brain will actually get to work and start the muscle building process. It will do this because it was told to do it.
When someone starts taking a new supplement, they believe it will work, otherwise they wouldn't take it. Now, with everything staying the same, your belief that the supplement will do what it is supposed to is enough to spark muscle growth. How many people actually don't change anything when they start a new supplement? Almost all trainees will actually ramp up their training and change their outlook on what is possible when they start a new supplement.
Time To Take Credit Think about this, if you didn't take the supplement, but ramped up the training, would you gain muscle? Yes you would, so supplements aren't necessary for building muscle. Too many people give all of the credit to the supplement, its time to take the credit. The supplement didn't lift the weight, you did. The chances are high that the supplement didn't really do anything, except for the placebo effect. Some supplements are worth taking, but if you don't have the proper foundation, they won't do you any good.
Below are a few easy things to do to get off of unnecessary supplements:
1. Slowly reduce your intake of the supplement and monitor your results. Make sure that you really believe that they will improve, use the placebo effect to your advantage.
2. Remember that you are lifting the weight and doing the work, not the supplement. You need to take the credit.
3. Believe in yourself and your ability to build muscle. Your faith in supplements can build muscle, believe in yourself and watch the results improve.
Its your turn to keep your money away from the supplement giants and turn the table by using the mind muscle connection, the placebo effect, to your advantage.