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.
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.
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.