Jack LaLanne (Sept. 26, 1914 – January 23, 2011): Tribute to a Pioneer
“Quick Weight Gain”: Things to consider for bodybuilding

“Does ‘Force Factor’ Work?”

As ridiculous as this topic might seem to some of you, I’ve decided to address it nonetheless. The inspiration to do so came just a few days ago when I bumped into a former colleague of mine who revealed to me that he spends a lot of time online. This being the case, it’s no surprise that he’d repeatedly run across outrageous advertising claims for a product called ‘Force Factor.’ This guy’s a non-bodybuilder type, so he asked me:

“Does Force Factor work?”

“Work for doing what?” I asked, temporarily feigning ignorance of the wild claims being made about the stuff.

“Well their ad says ‘muscle building miracle discovered’… so is that true; does Force Factor work for building muscle fast?” he asked only half earnestly.

“It’s a Nitric Oxide booster”, I told him. “And there’s no evidence anywhere that I’m aware of that an increase in nitric oxide is conducive to better muscle growth.”

I went on to tell him that his “does Force Factor work” question transports me back to my early days of bodybuilding. That’s when I’d allowed the outrageous claims made by dishonest bodybuilding supplement marketers of the late 1980s to regularly siphon hard-earned dollars right out of my wallet.

Nowadays they’ll siphon it right out of your bank account in the form of an automatic debit and monthly shipment if you’ll allow it. I told him to go to complaintsboard.com to check out how a company selling a product of questionable effectiveness stays in business. There he’ll see complaints of un-refunded returns and un-ended auto-shipments; something to which a company with a “muscle building miracle” on their hands shouldn’t have to resort.  

“Why is it that anabolic steroids have never needed to be sold through an auto-payment program? I asked him. “For one thing – they’re drugs. But the biggest reason is that they really increase protein synthesis; they actually work.”

“Does ‘Force Factor’ Work?” Start with whether your workouts “work.”

Let’s begin this analysis from a different angle.

There are thousands of bodybuilding supplements on the market that claim to help build muscle by improving workout performance and/or speeding recovery. Since quicker recovery without drugs is subtle and difficult to measure absent benchmarking data, many supplement companies resort to touting performance benefits that are “perceptually verifiable” during a workout. One perceptually verifiable sensation that’s often used is the “muscle pump”; the feeling of one’s muscles being temporarily expanded and filled with blood during a weight training workout. Force_factor

For any muscle building neophyte who’s asking “does Force Factor work”, allow me this blunt interjection:

I spent years making NO progress with natural bodybuilding – while getting a mind-blowing “pump” during every one of my workouts.

That’s right… I had “good workouts”, my muscles got “pumped” … and I still got nowhere.

Are you confused? You won’t be when I explain the logic. It seems that logic and critical thinking aren’t taught in many U.S. schools anymore… so here’s a dose of muscle building logic:

  • Muscle growth depends on a long series of successful workouts combined intermittently with successful recuperation.
  • A successful workout might be physically exhausting – but a physically exhausting workout isn’t necessarily successful.
  • A successful workout often generates a “muscle pump” – but a muscle pump isn’t necessary for a workout to be successful.
  • A successful workout often generates a muscle pump – but a muscle pump is no indication of a workout’s success.
  • One workout could provide less of a muscle pump while being more successful than a workout that provided more of a muscle pump.
  • Training “harder” might be something you personally need to do in order to start making progress – but training harder might necessitate more recuperation time for overall success.
  • Some bodybuilding supplements might help – but the difference they make is so subtle that negative effects of haphazard training methods easily override their benefits.

The last bullet point listed is of overall importance to anyone asking the “does Force Factor work” question. If a supplement company sells a product with wild claims and doesn’t provide an effective workout program to accompany the product, they have no qualms about ripping you off. That’s because muscle building can’t take place without first having a highly effective routine to follow. It also requires adherence to certain eating habits. If these two crucial factors are missing or miscalculated, there’s no way the subtle effects of even an effective supplement (like creatine) can compensate for them.

“Does Force Factor Work?” It’d have to speed protein synthesis

The marketers of nitric oxide products attempt to sell us on the notion that “increased blood flow” to the tissues will somehow speed up muscular recuperation. For those asking the “does Force Factor work” question, let me ask you this:

Assuming it does improve blood flow (and that’s a big assumption), what evidence is there that this would increase protein synthesis rates (which is what would be needed for faster muscle growth)?

Going for a brisk swim each day after weight training sessions would increase blood flow to the muscles. Does that mean a post bodybuilding workout swim will speed up muscle growth?

Interestingly, back in the mid-90s, a guy was advertising his workout program in Muscle Mag magazine and recommending exactly that. The routine he sold was a relatively abbreviated bodybuilding program – working muscles no more than three days per week – and following each session with a brisk swim.

What for?

Why… to give the muscles a “mind-blowing pump” that would surely “accelerate recovery.” Sound familiar?

Well, that program was bought and tried by Yours Truly. Did it work? Not by a long shot. It did nothing for my muscle building progress, despite the fact that it gave me the ubiquitously-sought-after, “incredible muscle pump”… on a daily basis. That’s because the foundational muscle building routine was ineffective.

For ‘Force Factor’ to be effective in helping build muscle, it would need to speed up the process of protein synthesis. That’s what anabolic steroids do; that’s why they “work.” Steroids do this because they are powerful drugs. The ingredients in Force Factor, or any other natural bodybuilding supplement, show no evidence of speeding this complex cellular process.

‘Does Force Factor Work?’ What about the Positive Reviews?

If someone says they worked out more intensely and gained more muscle using Force Factor, who am I to say they didn’t? I guess I have no more proof they didn’t than they have proof they did.

But one thing to keep in mind about the Internet is that it’s become a sort of “affiliate marketing haven.” Many of what disguise themselves as objective reviews of products are just plugs by those who are making a percentage selling the products. There’s nothing wrong with that – it just makes objective reviews difficult to find as they get buried among the covert marketing of biased, glowing reviews. Thus, those who do a “does Force Factor work” search are bound to find pages of claims that it does without much more evidence than the claimers ambiguous assertions that “it does”; no real before/aft pictures – no detailed breakdown of muscle gained/fat lost – not even a mention of using the most important conjunctive detail: a highly effective workout routine.

Here’s my heartfelt suggestion if you become pulled into this kind of hype-marketing and just have to find out first-hand: “Does Force Factor Work?”

Either buy the stuff retail or (even better) buy the ingredients separately in a retail store. That way, you can test it out without handing the company your credit card information. Even if you’re offered a “free sample”, companies like this ask for credit card info to charge for the shipping. They’ll often use that info to lock unsuspecting product “trial users” into subsequent full purchases/shipments.

That’s the least you should do to protect yourself from money loss at the hands of possible bodybuilding supplement scams.

As always… your REAL comments (non-spam) are welcome.

Comments

Scott Abbett

Hello Pe thecuban,

Let me get this straight. You say your "levels of strength had considerably declined in the last couple of years regardless the good diet and discipline."

Were you working out during that time? Had you quit? You're not clear about anything; only mention "good diet and discipline."

Then you say that you regained all your previous strength after a week of using Force Factor? Are you serious?

Of course, I could waste my money by buying Force Factor and using it. But my one-person feedback would be no more scientific than yours, sans some test subjects and a control group.

No thanks!

Pe thecuban

The person responding to the question : "Does Force Factor work?" has made a very insightful, scientific, and analytical comment about supplements, weightlifting training, and every possible issue related to the question... However, he apparently never tried the product himself. For me the Focus Factor clearly yielded some great result (particularly muscle power results). I'm a 46 year old guy, who has exercised most of his life. I've always tried to go as naturally as I can. I decided to take Focus Factor as my levels of strength had considerably declined in the last couple of years regardless the good diet and discipline. After the first week of taking Focus Factor and MAKING MY RIGOROUS HOME WORK IN THE GYM, I've noticed I've recovered a lot of my former levels of strength. It really worked, at least in my case.

World Wide Web

There’s nothing wrong with that – it just makes objective reviews difficult to find as they get buried among the covert marketing of biased

Scott Abbett

Hello Ex Gym Rat,

I agree that newbies need a lot of instruction to get on the right track with physique improvement. This is especially the case when it comes to weight training since there's a lot of room for error in exercise form and workout/recuperation performance.

Any criticism of P90X that I've expressed in this regard has to do with the fact that it's no more complex than what you learned in high school gym class. It's calisthenics done for an hour each morning.

Does it "work?"

Of course it does when one's goals are so simple and ambiguous as to only want more muscle tone and calorie-burning movement. To think that there's something intrinsic within the routine that makes it more effective than what you could design yourelf is just silly.

I will agree that P90X might be a great way to get otherwise sendintary people interested in and started with regular exercise. But you can't deny that the workouts are extremely limiting in both range-of-motion and in the muscle fiber type that can be stimulated. It's a default to high repetition body weight exercise for the sake of convenience - not because those are even close to being optimally effective for building metabolism-increasing tissue.

I've seen Tony Horton doing multi-sets of pushups within an hour in a P90X workout. Is there something intrinsically effective about the number of sets he's chosen? Do you know that it's the right number of sets given the number of recovery days that follow? If it's something more than just a randomly selected number of calisthenics sets, shoudn't he explain the reasoning in order to enlighten his audience?

It doesn't really matter how "hard" a person perceives a workout to be. That's subjective and only partially related to its effectiveness for physique improvement. Whatever its difficulty, I guarantee it's not a fraction of how difficult our workouts were in military special warfare training. But I wouldn't recommend those workouts for physique enhancement at all.

Ex-gym rat


"mindless following of someone's instruction in your own living room"? this from Scott above. EVERY workout we do is instruction in the beginning AND continues to come from instructions whether from a book, video or fellow gym rat. For the record, I've been working out for over 30yrs. and I tried P90x and guess what, it not only works but it's hard, IF you've never done that type of workout before.
All that aside. If these "mindless instructional" videos work then who give's a damn. People need to exercise and not everybody has the money for monthly gym dues or home exercise equipment. You can improve your life from the comforts of your home just as well as you can in a gym, it all depends on your goals. Nuff said?

Scott

Hello Franc,

Although I'll admit to a bias toward muscle building workouts, I try to judge programs like P90X and Insanity from the standpoint of different people's body improvement goals. If someone just wants to burn calories in their living room with mindless following of someone's instruction, then these workouts will "work" for that.

However, there's nothing intrinsically special about the workouts that would make them more effective than what you could come up with yourself. If you increase your daily movement to the point that you're burning more calories than you're taking in, you'll lose fat... plain and simple.

When the marketers of those products claim their programs will put enough muscle on you to boost your metabolism, however, they're stretching the truth. To build any decent degree of 'balanced' muscle, bodyweight workouts fall woefully short.

What's misleading in the marketing of these products is that weight trained models are often used in their commercials in order to subconsciously influence viewers into believing a living room workout can create miraculous transformations.

I'll tell you from vast experience: It's difficult to maintain long-term motivation until you start seeing some impressive muscle-morphing improvements on your body. That kind of change can only come through increased resistance from weights (my opinion).

Scott

franc

what do you think of actual workout programs opposed to using supplements... im talking about p90x or insanity. Do you thinj they are good workouts and do they actually work

Anthony

Great lesson, you remind me of my bodybuilding mentor Mark McManus. He also explains the same thing you do. Great way to set it straight.

Vin

Hello dear,
I also fell in that trap.
I was automatically billed and shiped from my credit card.
I used force factor for a month and need to say that there is still no big changes.
These people are just some sets of money suckkers.

Scott Abbett

Hi Glen,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sorry to hear about your loss of time and money. But I'm sure your shared experience will be of great value for many readers.

These guy's marketing gimmick is so transparent that it could only be 'emotional override' that would allow someone to fall for it. Athlete endorsements don't mean anything; they're paid for either by contract or affiliate marketing plans. The "doctor's endorsement" is merely a statement that it is not a 'nervous system stimulant.' Great! So what? Where is there any statement by a doctor saying that it actually helps build muscle? Where's the study showing evidence that it speeds recuperation after bodybuilding workouts?

It seems they're targeting people who've had little or no exposure to bodybuilding.

Don't feel bad, Glen; when I was a twenty-something newby, I'd have fallen for it too.

Scott

Glen

I am one of those people who gave it a try, and yes they put me on automatic shipments and gladly withdrew money from my account. I called the company at the number provided during my order, only to hit a voice mail account. I left a message explaining I didn't want to be automatically shipped or billed. Surprise, never heard back and they continued to ship and bill. I contacted my bank, explained the situation and needed help. They looked on my card and saw no charges, so I figured it was a mistake on forcefactors side and ignored it.

Sadly when my bank checked my card, they checked the wrong one (and I wasn't smart enough to realize what was going on). A couple of months later I noticed less money in my checking account as I should have, and found out forcefactor was drawing directly from that account, not credit.

I contacted my bank again and they contacted forcefactor and had them stop shipping and automatically billing. Sadly the money I had spent by them taking it directly from my checking was already gone, and having not been stolen was all on me.

These people are simply selling you a story and a picture, nothing more. And like the excellent article above explains, if they had something real they wouldn't need to resort to down right fraud to get your money.

scott

Hello Jen,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for posting a comment.

You raise some excellent points and questions. There does seem to be a dizzying number of people online selling workout programs and supplements. The reason is simple economics; there are low barriers to entry in starting this type of (or a similar) business.

If you look closely, however, you will see distinctions. I will boldly tell you this: If anyone attempts to sell a muscle building supplement without an accompanying effective workout - it will likely cause a loss of money for the buyer. I know of no supplement on earth that can override ineffective workout techniques/routines.

That narrows things down quite a bit; gets the 'Force Factor' garbage out of the way.

When analyzing online "experts" who are selling their routines/books, it's a good idea to look at the expert's age. If they're not even into their fourth decade of life, you've got to wonder how they have enough experience to be an expert.

You also need to analyze their claims to ensure they're not full of hype. Unlike other online merchants, I've repeatedly mentioned that muscle gains of 'umpteen pounds' in 'XX weeks' are nonsense. The human body is incapable of gaining muscle that quickly. If it weren't, we'd all have tendons and ligaments cracking and breaking under the stress. If you run across these kinds of claims, I'd recommend holding onto your credit card tightly.

Also, analyze their physiques with two criteria in mind:

1. Do they actually have a nice physique that they show evidence of improving all the time?

2. Are they likely to have used steroids to build that physique?

That second one is difficult to judge for the uneducated eye. But it's important. I have nothing against someone using steroids, but I would NEVER allow such a person to train me. They've educated themselves on how to build their bodies with drugs. I've educated myself on how to build bodies without drugs. There's a world of difference. That's why I provide a polygraph test result on my website showing my readers and clients that I've never used bodybuilding drugs.

Also, look at the guarantee provided for any and all products. Most merchants will provide a 30 to 60 day money back guarantee on products. By contrast, I provide a full year. Thirty to sixty days doesn't show much confidence on the part of these people that they're offering something different and effective. I actually have that confidence and, thus, I put the risk on myself.

Bottom line: When you look at the workout information online, you realize there are endless ways in which a person can appear "unique" and "new." They can show videos of themselves jumping through tractor tires with a kettlebell held overhead. They can do sommersaults up the hill in their backyard. They can dance around doing a sort of combination between bad break dancing and sloppy calisthenics.

But what will all this do for you? It'll make you tired. I'll likely make you sore. You're supposed to conclude from there that you're "getting a good workout."

But will you build a better looking body?

Highly unlikely! And I say that from a LOT of experience. I can say that for any natural physique enhancement method that's effective... there must be a couple thousand that are totally ineffective... except for making you tired.

BTW, Jen... I'm not 'pooh-poohing' every supplement on the market. I think a small handful actually help. But just keep this in mind: They will ONLY help if you first have an effective workout/recovery routine.

That's the most valuable bit of information I've learned over the years; saves tons of time and money.

Come by again,

Scott

Jen Smith

See the funny thing is you talk alot about these companies trying to sell you supplements and all these "boot camp" workouts and everything else that doesn't work that they seem to give you objective marketing testimonies but I feel like you are doing the exact same thing. there are so many website's out there with guys such as yourself saying that all these other things are lies and I can make you get that perfect body. Don't trust giving credit card information online to buy products but you do exactly that for your book. How are you any more credible than the rest of these people/companies

scott

Hi Rob,

Thank you for reading and posting your comment.

I can't imagine how those photo-shopped pics are influencing some people. It's getting pretty bad on the covers of mags like Flex and Iron Man as well. The supplement marketers who are selling by means of outrageous claims appear to be getting desparate.

Hope your training's going well.

Scott

scott

Hello John,

Yeah... the only value in getting a pump that I recognize is a psychological one. Physiologically, it means almost nothing. It might help with feedback in exercise form given that it'll tell you you're effectively targeting the muscle you're working. But I sure don't need Nitric Oxide to do THAT.

When I was younger, I had years pass by in which I worked out hard and consistently while not making muscle size gains. But at the same time - I was achieving a heluva pump during my workouts. The pump was like a teaser; giving me a feel for how bigger muscles might appear on my body... before it deflated within a couple hours.

I'd much rather focus on what matters... and NOT waste money on Nitric Oxide.

Thank you for your comment.

Scott

rob

great article . besides the outrageous claims i also love the Photoshopped pics of ex ufc fighter james irvin ( guy with shaved head ) .showing his arms blown up twice their original size . the guy looks like a living cartoon character lol.

john

very well written. of course it doesn’t work. Most nitric oxide enhancers do help give a good pump. but so what...

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