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If I start going to the gym, will I have to take supplements?

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When we start in the gym, most of us think about whether or not it will be necessary to take supplements to achieve our goal. There are many variables that can make your goals in the gym met or not. Are supplements one of those variables? Let's see it.

Food, training volume, training intensity, rest, etc. These are all variables that will have a positive impact on training if we really know how to manage them. In fact, it is totally necessary to know how to use them to make progress in the gym.

But is the same thing true with supplements? The truth is that no, it is not necessary for us to take supplements if we start training in the gym or have been training for two, five or ten years. Sports supplementation is a variable that has taken on a role that does not really belong to it.

Although it is true that there are supplements that are safe and have evidence that they work such as creatine, caffeine, protein powder, etc., they are not necessary to advance in the gym.

It is curious to hear on many occasions “I take X supplement, try it” or “since I started supplementing with Not always going to failure is a good strategy to progress faster.

Therefore, it is not necessary to supplement with anything when we start in the gym or to progress, since other variables will give us that. In fact, the name “supplement” itself says so; It only serves to increase or reinforce something specific, which in this case is training performance. Be careful, because there are supplements that are sold as a panacea without evidence and can even be harmful.

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¿What really makes us progress?

training volume

Training volume is one of the most important variables to take into account to maximize your results in the gym. Within the training volume, we can divide it into:

Maintenance volume: It is the minimum volume that must be performed if we want to maintain our current muscle mass.
Minimum effective volume: This is the minimum necessary to produce a sufficient stimulus that allows us to gain muscle mass.
Maximum adaptive volume: This is the range of weekly sets where the majority of muscle gains occur.
Maximum recoverable volume: It is the maximum volume from which we can recover since performing too many sets constantly will mean that our body will stop investing resources in improving.

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Training intensity

Training intensity, along with volume, are the two variables that are most involved in improving weight training. Intensity can be defined as the amount of weight we lift, the speed at which we lift the weight, and the repetitions we miss from failure. Although very occasionally we can stay at RIR 0, that is, almost reach failure, it is best that we stay, depending on the exercise, between one and three repetitions of failure.

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Training frequency

Training frequency refers to the number of training sessions that have been carried out throughout the week. It is also defined as the number of times a muscle group has been stimulated. For example, if you have trained your leg twice in a week, it is said that you have done leg frequency twice.


Rest is one of the great forgotten things, not only at the gym level, but also when you want to have good health. A night's rest is vital so that there is progression when starting out in the gym. If we do not rest properly, our nervous system will not be able to contract muscle fibers correctly.

For this reason, we suggest that we sleep for around seven or eight hours every night and that these hours be of quality.


Nutrition is another of the great pillars of progression in the gym. It is important to introduce a minimum of protein to maintain muscle mass or even gain it if that is our goal. Depending on whether we want to increase muscle mass or lose body fat, we will have to create a caloric surplus or deficit.

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Jorge Camargo
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