Supplements 101- No Proprietary Blends.

Feb 05, 2014
Supplements 101- No Proprietary Blends.

Just Say NO to what You cant read on your supplements

Know how much you are taking and why

It’s likely that you’ve already watched my videos on why you shouldn’t spend your hard-earned money on supplements that use proprietary blends.

And yoH3u may have read some of my other articles on it already. But, I can’t express enough just how silly it is to take a supplement that you have no idea how much of each ingredient is included in it. So I must continue to break it down for you.

I have been doling out supplement advice online and in print for more than a decade.

Those who have followed that advice have made impressive gains in muscle size, strength and endurance, while often losing body fat, even after being stuck at a plateau for several years. Thousands have reported gaining 20 pounds (9 kg) or more of lean muscle following my Shortcut to Size training, diet and supplement plan at And thousands have reported losing more than 20 pounds while building significantly more muscle mass and strength following my Shortcut to Shred training, diet and supplement program. While the training and diet components of those programs are the most critical elements, the supplement regimen plays a significant role in allowing such unreal results to be achieved naturally.


Supplements can enhance the results achieved from any solid training and diet program.

But the supplement regimen must include what I call the Three T’s. The Three T’s stands for:

1) proper Type

2) proper Timing

3) Proper Total

The proper total refers to the proper dosing of the proper type of supplements taken at the proper times. Research studies and years of use in the gym have provided us the knowledge regarding how much of each supplement is required to be the most effective. As an example, years of research have concluded that the minimum dose of creatine monohydrate to provide benefits is 3 grams. Evidence from the real-world laboratory that I call the gym, shows that taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate preworkout and postworkout works even better for most.

The research on beta-alanine suggests that a minimum dose of 1.6 grams is required for it to be effective.

And taking higher doses twice daily (such as preworkout and postworkout) provides even better results. The nitric-oxide-boosting and energy-producing supplement citrulline malate has been shown to require a minimum dose of a whopping 6 grams taken before workouts to deliver its benefits.

Given the mountain of knowledge on the proper dosing of supplements that we now have in 2013, you would imagine that it’s simple to find supplements on the market that deliver the proper supplements in the proper doses.

Yet sadly you’d be wrong. Consider the preworkout supplement category, which is one of the hottest-selling supplement categories. After all, the two most critical time windows in the day for nutrition/supplementation are right before workouts (preworkout) and right after workouts (postworkout). But if you examined the supplement facts panel on 99 percent of the preworkout products on the market today, you would find that the doses of each ingredient have been replaced with the term “proprietary blend.”

What is a proprietary blend?

The supplement companies that use the term want you to believe it means that the amount of creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate and many other ingredients that they have included in their preworkout formula is in a combination that they spent years studying and perfecting to get the precise amounts of each and every ingredient to deliver the best product on the market. And that that precise formula that they painstakingly produced is so secretive that they don’t want other supplement companies ripping them off and creating their own version.

In actuality, “proprietary blend” means that the company doesn’t want you to know how little of each ingredient they put in their formula.

Instead of listing the dose of each ingredient so that you can be sure they are in efficacious doses, they hide the insignificant dose behind the term “proprietary blend,” in the hopes that no one’s the wiser. This allows them to cut corners and make more money while you, the consumer, wastes money on a subpar product that produces little actual results.

Using a product that fails to list the doses of each ingredient and instead lists a proprietary blend means that you are blindly trusting a supplement company to have your best interest in mind.

And while many companies don’t mean any harm, I can assure you that it’s not the ones that hide the doses of their ingredients behind proprietary blends. Think about it. Would you ever buy a protein powder that doesn’t list how much protein is in one serving and instead just lists “proprietary blend”? Of course you wouldn’t. That’s because you know that you need a certain amount of protein before and after workouts and at other times a day for maximizing muscle growth. So why wouldn’t you want to know exactly how much creatine, branched-chain amino acids and beta-alanine you are taking? You also need certain amounts of these ingredients to maximize muscle growth.

Taking a product that doesn’t list the doses of its ingredients not only makes it impossible for you to ascertain the effectiveness of that product, but it makes it impossible to work that product in with the other supplements that you also take.

This becomes quite problematic in the case of caffeine. Suppose you happen to be taking a fat burner with caffeine in it and a preworkout supplement that also contains caffeine. Yet both products list a proprietary blend with no dose of caffeine given. You wonder if you should take both before workouts. If both contain 150 mg of caffeine per serving or less, then taking them both before workouts would not only be fine, but it would actually be quite beneficial to your performance in the gym. But if both have more than 300 mg of caffeine per dose, then you likely do not want to take both at the same time. Unless you are not very sensitive to caffeine, a 600 mg plus dose of caffeine can make you feel lousy and ruin your workout. It’s cases like this where I believe that proprietary blends not only cheat the consumer, but they are irresponsible and can actually cause harm.

The good news is that many companies are now stepping up and being more transparent with their formulas.

This allows you to ensure that a product is providing you the proper doses of every ingredient in it. And if it’s not, you can choose a better product or add other supplements in the proper doses to enhance that product. So be a savvy supplement user and think twice before using products with proprietary blends. Do your homework and learn what the correct doses are for each ingredient you consume. is designed to educate you on supplements and their proper dosing. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the better the results you will get.

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