• How sponsored tests of supplements are set up

    by MNBBC.COM

    Such cases are very well known. You enter your regular portal or message board and the first thing you see, is that the company XYZ is starting a new supplement test. Big cash, variety of supplements and prospect of getting jacked within your reach. Thousands of members pray to be chosen. There is, however, one problem. Such test doesn’t have anything to do with truth, honesty and reliability.

    It’s all based on a relatively simple scheme. First, they announce recruitment, and the administrators of particular site, along with marketing department of the company, do everything they can to create a show. Huge drama, tension, „special effects“ we may say.
    Finally they present „the chosen one“ with a majesty worthy of the Last Judgement. During next 6 or 16 weeks, he’s going to be the local „Neo“, showing the world what miracles these supplements can do. He’ll train hard lest bring shame, he’ll write down everything he does and everyone around him will envy him. Then, there is a grandiose summary of the results. Mission complete, the product sales go up to the roof, the producers and administration count their profits and thousands of members (with their brains fried) dream of supplements at night because they won’t grow without them!

    A trained eye of someone who has training experience lasting more than couple of months, will immediately notice that there is a legal manipulation going down here. An experienced bodybuilder, weightlifter, powerlifter knows the ropes and sees that someone is trying to deceive him. This lousy, poor-quality marketing is nor for him. The target: millions of teenagers, both male and female. Every year a new group of fools to be deceived. It doesn’t matter that all the followers will swap bad for worse. It doesn’t matter that a large percent of them will take the failure to their hearts, feel weak and lame. They’ll take steroids in order to show the wordl what they’re capable of. Here, the health doesn’t matter. What matters is money. Business is business, as they say in western countries. At the end of the day everybody has its own brain and should know what this is all about. What if he doesn’t? „Ignorantia legis non excusat“ as antique Romans used to say, every lawyer will remind you of this. Taking into consideration the fact that there are many quasi-sites and portals selling you total marketing crap, we feel obliged to straighten things out and explain, step by step, what the reality looks like.

    Finding the „Chosen one“ - four main sins of a bodybuilder that marketing preys on.

    There are many sins, bigger and smaller that a beginner might face. These are the elementary basics, which must be realized in order to achieve success. Not a distant one but such which will make a difference in the first weeks of the journey. To make things even more entertaining, after first obstacles and sacrifices, the whole thing seems to be so obvious, comfortable and natural that you stop treating it as something that decreases your progress. Remember that unless you accomplish this - you won’t progress. Everybody who achieved success knows that, so does the marketing department of company XYZ and so called „experts“ from the administration of the website.
    Cardinals sins of a bodybuilder:
    Bad diet
    Bad regeneration
    Bad training
    Lack of training continuity

    Diet is the key. No mercy. No diet - no mass. A great majority of people eats too little.
    It is beyond doubt. Without a proper intake of nutrients you can only „reshape“ your body a little bit, which is often mistakenly taken as progress. Unfortunately the process stops if it doesn’t go along with increase of protein, carbohydrates and fat intake. 99.9999% of people beginning their bodybuilding experience eat definitely too little, to irregular and without proper proportions. This will screw (a proper word for this) your chance for a better physique.

    When looking for the so called guinea pig, people who didn’t have a proper diet, were active on forum, very respected and well-known but without a particular progress in the nearest pas - are chosen in the first instance. For a marketing guy, such person is a true blessing. There isn’t a simpler thing than creating a beast from underfed guy - his body literally yearns for more food. Supercompensation is on such level that only thing he has to do is put the barbell off and start eating. The plateau will not only disappear but also the body will make up for the mass losses - all that without a significant effort.

    Training logs to which the marketing guys have access only make thing easier. The members are always very keen on keeping track what’s going on there. It’s almost like going to a fortune teller and being shocked after 5 minutes that she guessed what kind of partner you’d been looking for. When there are no training logs - the whole thing is carried out in a different way. You have to fill in an application, send it to the producer or have a short conversation with his representative (or administrator's representative) by chat/e-mail.

    Believe me - each time there are hundreds of people willing to take part in the test (everything of course depends on the money). In every group, you’ll certainly find such people who won’t fail. They need food and they’ll get it - in a form of a powder. Here, we must focus on one thing. Everybody knows that protein or carbohydrate supplement is nothing other than equivalent of what we keep in our refrigerators. Although when a marketing action comes into play - supplement is treated as almost divine ambrosia.

    The guinea pig is provided with professionally designed diet by the experts from particular company. Sometimes, to make people confused, he’s allowed to design a diet himself. Then, appears someone, who has a great knowledge, keeps his nose to the grindstone and has no free time. Such person generously helps the guinea pig to correct the mistakes and designs him the diet. The thing is that it’s an open secret that the guy works unofficially for the company or forum and gets paid for it.

    The whole thing is carried out either officially - to let everybody know how the company XYZ carries for its readers, or unofficially to raise ordinary bodybuilder’s confidence, make him think that if the supplements are involved - he’ll have a brainwave. How this is going to look - it’s all up to the marketing guys.
    Whatever happens - message is clear - diet is a diet, but in order to grow you HAVE to use supplements.

    A plate of a bodybuilder shouldn’t look like that!

    Another factor which makes things look more attractive is regeneration and to be precise - the lack of regeneration. It’s another gift which „The Chosen One“ may introduce in the supplement test. There are various reasons. The guy may be overtrained because ate too little, trained to much to overcome plateau caused by not enough food (the most frequent case) or he trained like a madman 6 times a week 2-3 times a day while his job and lifestyle is more demanding than for a steelworker working in shifts. All you have to do is give the guy 1-2 weeks off, design a diet for him (not even aimed at gaining mass but maintain the state he’s currently in). His body will immediately produce the mass he wasn’t able to produce earlier (the skeleton system has already adjusted to it) - now you need a short break and there you go - the progress of a lifetime!

    The famous instruction - you’ve got 1-2 weeks to prepare yourself - this is the key phrase. Instead of working out in the gym, increasing the plateau our „naive guy“ works in excel, photoshop to prepare tremendous tables, images, he does everything in his power not to fail the company and millions of readers (also the „naive guys“). He doesn’t even notice that he’s body is going through changes even if he doesn’t work out. The change has already started! Now even if you grab the lightest dumbell, the biceps will explode.

    Of course at the end of the test he’ll praise the great, smashing supplements for regeneration. He’ll consider them the key factor while not noticing that he achieved success by sticking to the basic rule of bodybuilding - proper regeneration.

    We’ve got mass, power and regeneration. If everything is „all set“, the guy has to be guided carefully. Here are various techniques of support:

    - The wise guy, checks the training log on regular basis
    - Official coaches from the producer provide him with advice
    - Unofficial agents of the administrator give him clear, plain clues what to do, while pretending to be ordinary readers.
    This cannot fail. 100% support in terms of diet and training has to be a success. No magic here. It’s nothing other than advice that could be given by a good coach or someone who knows the subject inside out, without making him eat tons of useless supplements.

    What if it doesn’t work? The producer calls the administrator and looking for someone to blame begins. Time passes, crowd watches - we have to find the sacrificial lamb. It doesn’t matter that during the test the deliquent suffered from diarrhoea. It doesn’t matter that due to the high doses of cofeine, his heart worked at the verge of a heart attack. No, it doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that „he“ failed the supplement industry and he has to be punished for that. How on earth did he dare to question the „supplementation myth“?

    In such case „The Chosen One“ turns into „The Unlucky One“. Now he has to punish himself in the training log. His family failed him, professors at the university were to harsh for him, his girlfriend dumped him, dog bit him, his boss was too demanding - all this to blame the surroundings, to show how much he’d tried but couldn’t make it and to divert attention from supplements. What if he opposes to being treated like that? Well - the army of administrator’s agents will tease, offend and condemn him. These so called „experts“ will make everything they can to make his life tough. Atmosphere so bad, that everyone would run away from it. But not so fast! Officially, the producer and the administrator send a petition that if he doesn’t blame himself, he’ll have to pay for the supplements he was provided with (it’s obvious that he sold them and that’s why he achieved such poor results).

    Since people signing in for the test are rarely well-off, it’s a deciding argument. The guinea pig takes the blame. If he does it to extreme extent and puts the pride aside - in a month or two he’ll receive a chance to make up for it. Now the experts will be even more focused, they’ll find out why the previous test didn’t work, change the supplements and go for it once again. Now, there’s no other option - they’ve got so much data about the deliquent that he has to succeed. He obviously does. „The Unlucky One“ again becomes „The Chosen One“. He praises his success, he achieved thanks to the company XYZ on site ZYX

    So it goes my dear readers. On the polish market, it’s been going for over ten years.

    The history of the test problem

    Carrying out an on-line supplement test is an old marketing trick. As old as access to the Internet. Western countries were facing the problem in the 90-ties, it means when eastern countries were coming out of the iron curtain.

    Such trick won’t succeed in the west any more. It’s to obvious for the reader who’s already alert in terms of abuse. There, the evolution went further. The methods of promoting the products are more honest, clear and user friendly. In eastern countries, the readers are still learning how to recognize such mechanisms.

    The idea of this article is not banning the supplements as a whole. Our target is to clearly show, that misleading the clients with the help of legal, irresponsible methods is a really really bad form of promotion. To show that the potential client already knows these methods and it’s not a way to treat clients for the company in XXI century. Shame on you.

    Dear reader - please understand the basic things. Your progress depends only on your diet and health. If you eat badly or little - you won’t grow. If you’re sick - go to a doctor, solve the problem to allow the body function properly. If you train in a bad way - you’ll read in thousands of publications (on our site or books etc) written by experts, how to train and regenerate in order to be strong and healthy.

    Supplement, as the name suggests, is a way of replacing some elements of your diet if you cannot currently get them. It is to provide you with survival until you control the situation. It’s not a solid element of your diet. It’s a life saver - mighty and powerful tool which, used properly, will help you support your gains during bad times. When your family enlargers - you’ll think about the baby, not about preparing the meals for yourself. That’s when a supplement will help you not to lose 10 kilos till you get the diet right. A magnesium supplement will support regeneration, till you redesign your diet and provide yourself with valuable products. Don’t make a JUNKIE of yourself. Sport means health, not addiction. Supplement is a tool in case of emergency, not a solid element of the diet.

    Supplementation is neither a new extreme sport, nor religion!

    Remember - in a civilised world - if you’re interested in real information - you watch the news on private, independent stations - not on those influenced politically. In every democratic country the press is politically independent. You don’t expect an absolute truth when reading a monthly of XYZ company, do you?

    The same applies to everyday life. Don’t expect that everything you read on a site being dependant on the money it gets from selling you supplements, is true. That’s how they make their living. They’ll do everything to support the „supplement myth“. It provides them with really, really big cash. This is clearly visible on our polish market.

    We don’t like it, you don’t like it. Express it - these giant middle-man companies will face going bankrupt. Supplementation companies will be more client friendly. The marketing will also be more familiar with our needs, you’ll receive everything you want - instead of getting everything but with the „lowered“ price. The greedy intermediary will be eliminated and you, my dear, will know much more. The evolution has already made a difference in the west. Now it’s high time for us to do it.

    I know it might sound brutal. Please take it as grandma’s advice, who says „eat sweetie, you need to grow“, or dad’s „don’t stoop, women don’t like such men“. The truth is - stop being a SUCKER because of your own choices. There are no magic powders. There is only solid work, training, diet and super-solid result you’ll achieve. No chemistry, no steroids. Everybody can grow, everybody can be big, strong and healthy. The potential is there. See the daylight - no more being a sucker, time to work! A great physique is waiting for you!

    If you happen to be interested in this article - please let us know. This is a very complicated subject. In this short article we haven’t mentioned some of the interesting tricks that take place when producers fight with each other, we haven’t talked about stacking supplements on creatine, slips during reduction and other very absorbing, yet infamous mechanisms which in fact don’t break the law. It’s all about keeping up appearances. The things is to find the truth, which in this case is not hidden but known from many centuries.

    Let’s call a spade a spade - drug addiction, not sport.


    Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    Image: zmkstudio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net