Will I get faster results from free weights or from machines?

If all things are equal will I get faster results from free weights or from machines?

Unless you have an injury free weights should always be your choice of exercise for several reasons.

Here are a few advantages of free weights:

– Using barbells & dumbbells are much more effective in strengthing/developing synergistic muscles, e.g. rotator cuff.
– Biomechanically free weights match the natural movements of the body.
– Overall you will develop greater strength & size using free weights.
– Overall power is achieved much more efficiently.

Here are a few disadvantages of machines:

– Machines force the body to maintain a pre-determined & often unnatural path.
– Machines are not very effective in strengthing/developing synergistic muscles.
– Machines are built to accomodate the “average” person’s body, so if you’re larger or smaller than average you may not fit very well.
– Difficult to achieve maximum velocity due to the inherent constraints of a machine.

Now do not get me wrong here, I am not stating that machines should never be used. Machines do have their uses, but the majority of your exercises should be done with free weights. Machines do have some advantages as well.

Advantages of machines:

– Some machines can be more efficient in muscle isolation.
– In some respects, especially for a beginner machines can be safer.
– A quicker work-out can be done utlizing machines, no plate changing, etc.

For the past 4+ months I’ve been using Creatine capsules 3 before and 3 after a work out. However I’ve recently started to take muscle & weight gainer powder. Is it ok to take both supplements, is it safe to do so, or could it have a negative effect?

You may want to consider switching to a powedered creatine, it’s much more cost effective. Yes, taking both supplements is fine, and no there will be no negative effects in doing so.

Remember that creatine is a naturally occuring substance (an amino acid) in our bodies, and is necessary for ATP.

In fact there was a study done on this a couple of years ago and the findings were greater gains in size & strength by the group of subjects that used protein and creatine supplementation together!

Here is the reference for the study:
Burke, D.G., et al. (2001). The effect of whey protein supplementation with and without creatine monohydrate combined with resistance training on lean muscle mass and muscle strength. Int J Sports Nutr Metab. 11:349-64.