No, You Don't Need That.
As every experienced lifter knows, every new lifter thinks they need everything under the sun as far as supplements and supportive gear to be successful. Very few of us are lucky enough to be brought into a relationship with the bar through personal acquaintances like Bill Kazmaier or Andrey Malanichev. Most of the people from my generation got the idea by seeing Hulk Hogan, Schwarzenegger, or Lou Ferrigno. Today's youth it might more likely be the Rock or John Cena. Either way, most of us start out with goofy gloves and the Valeo belt from Dick's Sporting goods.
Every experienced lifter who reads this is either laughing or giving an audible groan.
Newbies read every article in every muscle magazine and imagine themselves being both jacked and tan in just a matter of weeks. The die off rate of enthusiasts is huge once they realize it takes years and years of consistent training and absurd amounts of food. Then there are the rest of us.
We've probably tried all the supplements in the shops twice over until we saw the next article saying that if you take this Ripped Fudge 50 dollar bottle of rice flour, you'll gain mass in no time. Here's what really happens, you pooped a lot and lost a lot of money. Your gains, they never came to the party.
What about these shoes and those neoprene knee sleeves that Magnus wore? There must be a reason. I gotta get me some of those for some gains man. Keep in mind, we've only been training for six months now. We've barely started to grow, certainly not enough time under the bar to warrant supportive equipment...but, our idols wear them so we need them too.
Here's what happened. Your knees smell like a skunk, rolling in garbage and humping a burning tire in the middle of July and you lost more money.
Well, what about that belt? All you powerlifters use that huge 4mm belt that looks like a tire wrapped around your waist and takes two people to put on.
Yeah you don't need that either. Unless you're a guy squatting over 400, why do you need a belt? And unless you're a girl squatting over 200, same applies. Save your money and build a base first. Get strong before you get gear. I bet if you spend any time around any of us long time athletes, you'll notice many of us do long periods of time gear free. No belt, no sleeves, just building our base again, reinforcing our structure. We gear up when it gets dangerously heavy and we only get around those numbers because we've been doing this for 15 or 20 years.
What about all those bright colored clothes and mandex (male spandex). Well, I'm gonna leave that one alone. I guess you can wear whatever you wanna wear, just make sure you put as much effort into your training as you do trying to look cute, I mean butch, I mean...just get under the bar.
Well, what about this ALPHA AF shirt? That's pretty hard core bro! No, no it's not. The only thing that's hard core is how dumb you look. No one wearing an ALPHA shirt, is alpha. The kid wearing the gloves and Valeo belt is more alpha than you. Beta is more alpha than you. Put that crap in the garbage and wear normal clothes please.
I hope that you are getting the idea here. Ripped Fuel and ALPHA shirts don't do anything beside empty your wallet and make your pee smell funny. They are, say it with me, USELESS. Go buy a steak a Gatorade and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt from Target instead. These are far more useful and shows you have some taste.
Well, dude, I need those neon Oly shoes at least. Why, in case you get lost in the forest? Why are you training at FitWorks then? No, you don't need those either. They may feel better down the road when you are squatting over 500 but we're not quite there yet. Put your wallet back. And if you really do need them, you probably aren't reading this and you probably have an Oly coach and hopefully you're getting the training you need and not the rambling of an aging lifter.
So what is it that you do need to get started? Well, nothing. You need a willingness to train hard, check your ego at the door and to listen to the people who have been doing this for years. That's pretty much it. Maybe go get yourself a pair of Converse One Star or Chuck Taylor's, which will literally last you for a decade and spend your money eating real food and sucking down lots of water.
Unless you wanna buy my t-shirts, then do that. They are guaranteed mass builders!