Here are some basic supplements that I use, and that I think are crucial in muscle building and sculpting. First you need to find a good multivitamin. You are probably wondering what classifies a multivitamin as being a good one. Well this is easy, in my opinion, the most natural multivitamin is best. While some people will disagree, I think synthesized multivitamins are junk. A good indicator of a quality multivitamin is if it turns your pee dark yellow even when you drink a lot of water. Typically, you want to get around 500-1,000 mg of Vitamin C, 400-800 IU of Vitamin E, and about 15,000-25,000 IU of Vitamin A from your multivitamin. Usually if these three vitamins are at this level, all other vitamins and minerals will be up to par. Some may argue that these levels are toxic, and may cause side effects. I disagree because I have been taking a multivitamin with these figures for quite a while, yet I have seen no effects of toxicity. If you are concerned about this, drink a little extra water. This will flush out any excess water-soluble vitamins. Multivitamins should be taken in the morning with the first meal.
Next, Glutamine is crucial for any type of goal. I have found that it both speeds recovery, aids in strength, and helps increase endurance. Glutamine is an amino acid that is supposed to increase muscle cell volumization. What brand you should buy depends on how it mixes in water. The purest forms of glutamine usually do not taste at all, and when mixed with water, the solution should be clear. If there are impurities, the mixed solution will be cloudy.
Creatine is very important for strength and endurance. In the muscle, creatine is supposed to help in the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which is the cellular energy, in its purest form, used to carry out bodily functions. Simply put, without ATP, you could not do anything at all, including transmitting information in your brain. Since the burning up of ATP in the muscles during a workout occurs, it is obvious that the more ATP available, the heavier and longer you can go. Since creatine increases ATP production, taking creatine indirectly increases muscle strength and endurance. Choosing brands is confusing simply because there are many different brands. Creatine Monohydrate of any brand is good if you're loading on creatine or taking creatine for the first time. However, I feel that brands like Muscle-Tech's Cell-Tech or EAS's Phosphagen HP are both very good products because there is a transport system built in so that creatine gets to the muscle more efficiently.
I recommend 20 grams of creatine for 4 days for the loading process, and 5-10 grams a day for 4 weeks after loading. Caution must be taken however because creatine transports water from the stomach and other organs into muscle cells. This is why many people say that creatine is dangerous because it dehydrates the body. This is not completely true because your body is not losing water. Water is simply being transported elsewhere. While supplementing with creatine, I advise you to increase water intake significantly in order to prevent cramping and an upset stomach. If taken with glutamine, I think the results will be greater, since creatine transports water to muscle cells and glutamine increases muscle cell volumization.
I am kind of skeptical of protein supplements. I feel that if you have a good diet, then you should not need extra protein. Many people make the mistake of thinking that you can never eat too much protein or that eating low carbohydrates and high protein is healthy. This is bullshit because excessive amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat ALL get stored as fat. Stored fat is simply excess energy storage. However, studies have shown that 10-20 grams of protein immediately after a workout can increase muscle mass and influence your body to resume anabolic activities. I think that EAS, Labrada, and Nature's Best make the best (quality and taste) protein powders. I strongly advise you to never replace a meal with a protein shake. However, if you think that you are going to be in a situation in which you won't get to eat for a while, packing a protein shake to drink later may not be a bad idea.
Thermogenics are very good for an energy boost. I usually take a dose in the morning and before a workout. I take Xenadrine, but Thermadrene and Hydroxycut are also very good products. A word to the wise, if you rely on thermogenics to burn fat, and don't modify or diet or do cardio, you will be as fat as when you started. I take thermogenics solely for an energy boost. Don't make the mistake of taking one of these before bedtime, even 5 hours before bedtime because I can assure you, you will not go to sleep for a while! If you have any type of heart condition, you should not take any type of thermogenics because it does cause your heart to go a little bit harder than usual.
Having given you advice on some supplements to take, I think you should consider your goals, and then decide what you should buy. Don't be scared to experiment and record your progress so you can see what works for you. These that I have listed are the basics; there are many more things you can take.