Son wants to buy protein powder supplements to "buff up"

Help. What do I do? My son just got his first job and wants to waste his hard-earned money on protein powder to beef himself up. I told him those things are a rip-off. He also has a tendency to overdo things, and I know that can’t be good for him. I told him to give his money to the poor instead, that this is vanity at it’s worse.

Do any of you have experience with these powders? And, am I right if I forbid him to use them. (He’ll go behind my back, no doubt). I know I’m right about the vanity thing, but are these things safe?

Do any of you have experience with these powders?

Yes. I used them all through HS football and then for the one year I played in college. Also used them because I used to compete in lifting contests. There are good brands and then there are brands that are just a waste of money. Bottom line is that protein is essential (doesnt mean you have to have protein powder), but 1) it wont do anything if you dont work hard in the gym (they are not magic powders) and 2) you can get all the protein you need from regular foods, meat, chicken, fish, nuts ect.

And, am I right if I forbid him to use them (He’ll go behind my back, no doubt).

If he will go behind you back anyways I would encourage him to make sure he does his homework.

are these things safe?

I have never heard of any medical issues from people taking protein, other than the usual gas that sometimes associated with it. He starts getting into creatine and down that road is when I would worry. But for now protein is just that, protein and he can get it from regular foods.

God Bless

That’s helpful, thanks. It is vain though. :slight_smile:

I also used protein powder many years ago. I used Whey Protein but also made sure I was working out regularly. Working out is better than sitting idle…He could be hanging out with a bad crowd instead of working out. I don’t know of many “bad crowds” that work out? I understand your concerns now that i am older, could a family doctor influence him if your concerns don’t dissipate?

I have taken these powders a few years ago, when I was into weight training more…now, if we are talking about regular protein powder drinks that you mix with water or milk…then, those are pretty harmless, and they are really good for you. If you stick to a healthy diet, is the key. One can’t eat pizza and what not, and then drink these protein drinks, and think they will still end up ‘buff.’ But, the ones I’d stay away from are…Creatine, and others that come in those barrel looking containers…LOL Those have some additives that have the potential of hyping people up…or causing kidney problems.

I wish I could recall the protein supps I took back then, but they were like chocolate and strawberry flavored and came in a size that us mere mortals would normally take.:smiley: Good luck! But, don’t worry if they are the regular supps…they are harmless, as long as he eats healthy and works out. (and drinks lots of water…too much protein is bad for our kidneys):o

i was a nutrition major, a lifter and worked as a trainer in gyms for 10 years…

my advice…
if he’s bent on taking a suplement… have one protein supplement (shake or whatever) a day an hour after you workout. i always got the best results with real food. a can of tuna or chicken breast has about the same protein as a store bought shake at about half the cost.
the real way to get big, in my experience, is to haul your rear into the gym on a REGULAR schedule of lifting set up by a trainer. buying him, or havng him buy 5 sessions with a trainer will benefit him 1000000 times more than a can of protein powder. if he’s just a kid, his metabolism is on fire and more than likely a good lifting regime combined with a GREAT cardio regime will have him eating like a bull. so his best bet moneywise is to chip in to have mom buy some extra chicken and good quality protein foods… have a good, certified trainer give him 5 or 6 sessions to get started and become a regular in the gym.

getting in great shape takes much work. nutrition isn’t going to do ANYTHING to build muscle if he’s not doing the work in the gym.

it might start as vanity, but i don’t have a problem with that… looking good is not a bad thing. and if he learns and maintains healthy eating and exercise habits… he may be adding dozens of years onto his life.

muscle isn’t hard to get. give a chimpanzee a weight and a consistent schedule… he’ll get strong. thats the key. consistency. consistency in the gym overcomes many errors in a diet.

weightlifters and bodybuilders are some of the MOST disciplined people you will ever meet.

creatine is probably the most widely used supplement… it works to improve muscle output and is completely safe… tested by science and in the gyms for decades…

of course, as i got older… the only supplement i favor now is the one sitting next to me… Sam Adams Octoberfest.


If he’s set on doing it, help him research the products so that he doesn’t waste his money on junk. Don’t go by the ads with the most muscular or fit looking people.

One that I use to use was Met-RX. It was developed by a medical doctor for hospital patients who couldn’t consume solid foods and it was a completely balanced meal.

Don’t know if there are others that might be even better but that is one brand that I would recommend.


The Chrismyster is right on. I do need to ask a couple of questions though. Does he play sports?? Does he know what he is doing in the gym? This is where Chris is dead on. I assume he is probably about 16 or so and is fairly novice into wieght training. For someone who is now 33 and has been doing this consistently for 15 years now. A good 4or 5 training sessions would do MUCH more than buying protein. Also, is this supervised training?? If it is for football or something, I would contact a coach or someone. If it is an organized sport then he is probably doing much more structured training then if he goes to the local gym and does his own thing because chances are he really isn’t training the right way.

All this being said. If he is 1st starting out, I can tell you if he stays consistent with the weight training. He could eat slop for the 1st 6 months. NO protein, overtraining, lack of sleep and he would still probably have tremendous results. After 6 months he needs to worry about his nutrition, plenty of rest and have a rather structured training program. If he is weight training more than an hour a session he is doing too much. At his age. 3-4 days of weight training and 3 days of cardio, whether that’s running, using a machine etc. etc. of 20 minutes is plenty efficient. Like Chris said his metabolism should be in full force.

Now, personal training sessions can be expensive. To pay for 5 or 6 quality certified training sessions could cost $200-$250 bucks. Something to think about. Also, is this something your son is into for the moment?? Will he continue to do this as a daily habit. You can wipe all the advice that myself and everyone has given you out the window if he by the time spring break rolls around quits.

I use protein powder daily in a shake I blend for breakfast. I have for about seven years. And I am in my mid forties. I just started to work out at Curves, but that’s not why I eat the whey protein. I do because it is very nutritions (I throw in strawberries, cranberries, flax oil, olive oil, yogurt, milk and egg whites). I get mine (it’s unflavored) at The whey is made by Solgar. I think it’s 42 ounces for $24. Another inexpensive on-line source is I am not at all vain, but I care very much about what goes into my body. Our society is so addicted to foods that have next to no nutritional value that it is a challenge to eat foods that are beneficial.

Really, I’d be thrilled if my sons were as concerned about their food intake as your son appears to be, even if it’s rooted in vanity. As young men, the body that they build now will carry them into middle age. Thank God he isn’t wasting his money on beers and sitting in front of the TV all weekend. Thank God he is channeling his physical energy into something productive. You should be proud of your son. Praise him for taking good care of himself. Dont’ judge him. Don’t tell him to give the money to the poor. Egads! This will only show him that he can’t trust you with his deepest hopes for his life. He is earning the money and it is his right to spend it how he sees fit. You can’t control the way he spends money. Plus, why would you forbid him from doing something beneficial? I think you need to reevaluate your role as a parent. You sound somewhat controlling and narrow minded. You know, he’s not a nine year old anymore. If he appears vain, it’s most likely because he feels insecure. What are you doing to build your son’s self-esteem? Pray for him, listen to him, and hey – ask him to make you a shake out of the protein powder! They aren’t bad. Mine taste like strawberry milk shakes and I use the plain variety. They are delicious!

I glazed over overone’s responses and didn’t see this mentioned but whenever one is supplementing for training it becomes increasingly important to drink lots of water. Muscle is made primarily of two ingredients: protein, and water, and if you leave one of the two out muscle development won’t happen and in the case of leaving out the necessary water, bad things can happen. These bad things can be as little as unnecessary cramping and discomfort to kidney stones and serious dehydration.

I used some strength training supplements and they definitely got me what I wanted out of them. HOWEVER…some of them gave me nasty mood swings. Ever here of steroid rage?

Simple, don’t use hormonal supplements. I think the last thing her son wants is mood swings and breast tissue development. :wink:

any ‘rage’ is not from legal supplements. even the expensive ones won’t raise testosterone in a healthy male. despite all the ‘studies’ you read in the ads.
you’ll get more a GH spike from lying in bed for half an hour before getting up than you will from taking any supplement.

if your talking about anabolic steroids, then you are talking about a different ball of wax. forget the rage, i’ve watched guys inject into their own rear ends only to have a massive infection that needed draining a week later to a good friend of mine having a nasty bout of liver and colon cancer his doctor attributes to oral steroid use. he’s 35.

Too much testosterone I guess!:rolleyes:

or androstenedione rage too? was like that for me, and i carried a badge and gun.

one one hand, i liked the ability to go postal on a dime, and jack up some skell that went at me. going from 185 to 210, switching to circuit workouts and going down to rock solid 200 was very nice. add a kevlar vest, and skells think twice about fighting you.

on the other hand, flipping out when you lose at HALO and DOOM, not cool.

protein is THE way to go. do Russian/Bulgarian workouts that are very very explosive, with 1 day of 25 minute go-till-you-puke intense cardio, and you can pack on monstrous pounds.

you ABSOLUTELY need lots of protein after a workout, and hardly ANY glucose/sugar to keep your insulin levels at near ZERO. it forces your muscles to use adipose tissue stores, and not glucose\glycogen reserves in the liver and blood.

too much protein, and you will just pee the excess out. your body can only handle MAX 40g per sitting. which is part of the reason you eat 7 times a day.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit