If your diet isn't balanced with sufficient calories to promote muscle growth and you are overtraining and not using proper lifting form, then no supplement in the world will help you. But if you have educated yourself and are already on the right track, now might be the time to start using some of the supplements. I will divide the supplements I like and recommend into three categories:
- Highly Recommended
Supplements I feel everyone should take which provide the best results for the value.
Supplements that can helpful in reaching your goals but are not quite as important as the above.
- Worth Trying
Supplements which have an application in reaching your goal, but should be used only if you are already taking the above listed supplements and are more experienced weight lifter.
Well let's get started!
Highly Recommended Supplements
Highly recommended supplements are supplements I would consider essential to health as well as physical fitness and reaching your bodybuilding goals.
Multi-Vitamin - Learn More
I think everyone regardless of age should be taking a good quality multi-Vitamin. Vitamins and Minerals contained in these supplements are essential to many functions of human body. From regulating hormones, metabolism, proper digestion, improving immune functions, proper multi-vitamin will keep you healthier and feeling better. Even slight deficiency in any of the minerals or vitamins can make you feel worn and have an impact on your health. Most good Multi-Vitamins also contain Anti-Oxidants, which neutralize free radicals and are extremely important to over all health.
Protein - Learn More
It is definitely a must for anyone trying to increase lean muscle mass and/or reduce body fat while maintaining muscle tissue. Protein consists of amino acids, which are building blocks of muscle. If you do not have sufficient amounts of amino acids available, the body will be unable to build muscle tissue. Whey Protein is the most popular choice as it is very affordable and there is virtually endless companies making this product in variety of flavors. With such a high supply you are sure to find a flavor you like and can drink on daily basis as well as great value and price. I recommend 2-3 servings per day, one imidiatly after training. The body acts like a sponge and will absorb all the nutrients it is fed. This is a perfect time to induce anabolism with a large size serving of protein. I usually consume 45-60gm of whey protein right after my training.
These are similar to protein powders, with one major difference; they are actual meals in bars or packages. They provide all the needed nutrients necessary for healthy living. Consisting of Protein, Carbohydrates, Vitamins & Minerals and EFA's (Essential Fatty Acid's) as well as other micronutrients. In today fast pace life's we live the need for a quick healthy meals is growing, they are great substitutes for meals providing good nutrient balance, and are much better then most fat food choices. I recommend 2-3 servings a day, I prefer real food but sometimes the shortage of time prohibits us from having a real meal making this a perfect substitute.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) - Learn More
These are health fats that can not be produced by the human body and need to be consumed. These fat can be obtained from ingestion of Flaxseed oil, Sunflower oil, Hemp Seed oil, Olive Oil also Udo's oil which has a balance of all essential fatty acids which can make it easy to consume and make sure to obtain all EFA's your body needs. These fats maintain healthy hormone levels, metabolism, maintain health skin, hair & nails among other important function. I recommend 30-45gm of fat consumption each day coming from EFA's. I usually just through in a tablespoon in each of my protein drinks.
Recommended supplements are supplements I feel are a good addition to any supplement program.
Creatine - Learn More
It is used in muscle to store energy for explosive movements such as weight lifting. It enhances recovery and ATP replenishment, which will allow for creation of an anabolic state in the body. The efficiency of Creatine delivery is greatly increased if it is consumed with simple carbohydrates, which spike the insulin. In turn insulin helps to deliver the creatine to your muscle where it can be used to hydrate and replenish ATP levels. I recommend 5-10gm post training with a generous serving of simple carbs.
I like rice cakes for my carbs and will consume around 80-100 gm of carbohydrates from Caramel Rice Cakes and apple. On non-training days I would consume the Creatine early morning to mid afternoon to allow myself to have some carbs with that meal as I try to avoid carbs as the nighttime nears. You can also purchase Creatine Transport system drinks, which already consist of Simple Sugars as well as Creatine in one easy to use drink.
Glutamine - Learn More
It is the most abundant amino acid in the muscle, but it isn't necessarily in the muscle where it works its wonders. It plays very important role in stomach and immune system function. It has been shown in research to support protein synthesis and immune function, enhances recovery, glycogen & glutamine replenishment and reduce catabolism. I recommend 2 servings per day, one 5-10mg serving immediately after training and another serving right before bedtime. I prefer the last dose to be taken on an empty stomach.
Thermogenics - Learn More
They are supplements that increase the base metabolic rate and are used when a person wants to reduce body fat. Some Thermogenics consist of caffeine, ephedrine & aspirin combination, however the new products seem to shy away from that combination and are concentrating on products that do not include ephedrine. While I am in a pre-contest preparation time, I always used these supplements as I feel they allow me to reduce my body fat percentage at a much quicker rate and reduce the amount of muscle loss caused by calorie reduction. I recommend 2-3 servings per day and avoid taking the products after 3:00pm as they might make falling asleep more difficult. Always follow the instructions on the back of the bottle and recommendations of manufacturer as they very from product to product.
HMB - Learn More
This product has the ability to support the body's ability to minimize muscle damage and muscle protein breakdown, which often occurs after heavy training. It's importance increase as you are on a lower calorie diet, as it will allow higher muscle retention and less lean muscle loss and possible muscle growth. 3gm per day are the recommended dose for most athletes.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) - Learn More
It is a great non-essential fatty acid often used to help decrease body fat. It has ability to increase metabolism without the jitters of some fat burners that contain ephedrine and even stimulate lean muscle tissue growth. It is also know to improve lipid profiles. I would recommend 3-6gm per day.
Worth Trying Supplements
Worth Trying Supplements are supplements that can be a useful in achieving your individual goals but I feel are not as necessary as the above mentioned once.
Pro-Hormones - Learn More
These supplements are direct precursors of testosterone and other anabolic hormones. There are many on the market right now such as Androstenedione, 4-Androstenediol, 19-Nor-4-Androstenedione, 19-Nor-4-Androstenediol among some other newer derivatives of human anabolic hormones. All of these hormones boost Testosterone Levels to some degree and can be very powerful and can potentially alter your own hormonal balance. They are also on several banned substances lists including NCAA. So please, if you decide to use these product use caution and follow the directions on the back of the bottle as stated by the manufacturer.
20-Beta-Hydroxyecdysterone - Learn More
It is a compound extracted from a couple of herbs mainly Rhaponiicum/Leuzeae and Cyanotis Vega, which means they are photochemical and derive from plants. Many studies performed on healthy athletes in Soviet Union demonstrated gains in lean muscle tissue and enhanced performance but only when the compound was very pure & highly concentrated, so if you are planning to use this product please buy from reputable company and only buy high grade Ecdysterone. It can reduce muscle protein breakdown and I recommend doses ranging from 25-40gm 3 times per day, morning, post exercise & nighttime works best.
5-Methyl-7-Methoxyisoflavone - Learn More
Also known as Methoxyisoflavone, it is highly anabolic, yet free of any testosterone characteristics, which is good news as it will not have negative effects on your body's hormonal balance. It can increase protein utilization, nitrogen retention in turn allowing you to gain more lean muscle mass. I recommend 200-400mg of Methoxyisoflavone per day, one serving immediately after exercise.
There are many other supplements that I would like to mention, but I would have to write a book to address all of them. However there are a few more I would like to mention. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a great anti-oxidant as well as it can increase insulin sensitivity. Arginine is an integral amino acid necessary in wound healing and growth hormone production. ZMA is a combination of Zinc & magnesium aspartate, it can help increase levels of testosterone. Tribulus Terrestis has been used to treat infertility and lack of libido, many believe its' because it's ability to increase Testosterone Production.
Yohimbe HCL it has been show to improve sexual function as well as help reduce fat synthesis and increase fat fatty acid utilization. Milk Thistle (Silymarin) is an excellent liver detoxifier. D-Ribose enhances anaerobic peak power output. There are many more I am sure I am forgetting but the above mentioned once are once I believe can help you reach your goals.
As I said earlier, there are thousands of supplements on the market, do some research on the once that interest you the most and decide for yourself which once are for you. This article should get you started with the research and remember give each supplement a fair try, I would say a minimum of 6-8 weeks before discarding it as a bad investment. Muscle building takes time and absolutely nothing will make you big over night. So get educated and get big.
What Supplements Should You Take?