Pointers & Precautions
Before I delve into the matter at hand, let me take a minute to give you some pointers and precautions. First off, I think that there is really no need for prepubescent individuals to take supplements of any kind, unless told to do so by a physician first. If you do decide to buy any supplements, I recommend doing some research about the product-of-interest prior to any purchasing.
Try looking through some research journals; you can access many journals online, and if you're in college, you probably have an extended amount of resources in your library. Also, supplements can get pretty expensive, often way overpriced.
As a result, you need to be cautious in what you buy, and don't get sucked into the advice of the present salesperson that works for $5 an hour plus commission (Hint: Three letter company that sells supplements!). Having said all of that, here is what you came for?
I think when most people think of supplements, they are instantly drawn to
creatine. The reason for using creatine is to increase phosphocreatine levels in the body, and decrease the time in phosphocreatine reformation. Phosphocreatine is the main energy source used in short duration, high intensity movements, such as weight training.
The idea is that increased creatine intake raises phosphocreatine levels, which in turn, increase strength during a workout. The increased strength is thought to promote muscle growth. Also, when taking creatine, individuals gain a lot of water weight, but also "dehydrate".
This dehydration effect is really a decreased amount of water in the gastrointestinal tract that causes cramping and diarrhea. The water is redistributed into the muscles, and that is why you look bigger while on creatine. Keep in mind, that you can gain muscle mass wit muscle, but with every pound of muscle gained, comes an extra three pounds of water.
If you take creatine, you need to take a little more than the recommended dosage. Try taking about 20-25 grams per day for 5-7 days.
Take creatine 4 times a day: once when you wake, before and after a workout, and before you go to bed. After the first week, lower the dosage to about 10-20 grams per day for the next 20-25 days. Also, you will need to increase water intake dramatically in order to avoid cramping and diarrhea. After taking about 1-2 weeks off of creatine, start up again and follow the same protocol as before.
This is another supplement that is a must in any program. Glutamine increases recovery time between training sessions, is thought to increase muscle cell volume, acts as an antioxidant, and is a source of energy source for the gastrointestinal tract. I'm not so sure about the cell volume benefit, but I do know that it does everything else. However, there is a pharmacological effect, so you need to take a large amount for the full effect.
I aim for 30 grams per day of glutamine. I spread out my intake throughout the day, from the time that I wake up to the time that I go to sleep. It is best to take it in 5 gram increments, and be sure to take it before and after a workout.
Glutamine and creatine taken together have a synergistic effect (you will get a greater effect if you take both during the same cycle), however, I recommend taking glutamine continuously, not in 4 week cycles. Since glutamine decreases recovery time, you can train even harder at a higher frequency, but not too frequent!!
I think that all bodybuilders take some kind of
protein powder, so you should not be an exception. Unfortunately, there are more brands of protein than you can shake a stick at. So what is best for your needs?
I definitely believe that you should not shop for the cheapest protein powders. This is because many of the cheap powders can really clog you up and give you constipation. Also, many powders are garbage, and contain non-pure amino acids and filler ingredients that do nothing for you.
You need to look for protein that can combine taste and quality because if a protein powder tastes like putrid-muck-water, you probably will not last long in taking it. Stick with quality name brands such as Nature's best, Labrada, Muscletech, AST, etc. Brands such as these have other quality products and are very commonly used. Protein powders with more than one source of protein (not just whey) and a diverse serving of amino acids is crucial.
The following are essential amino acids that your body cannot synthesize: threonine, methionine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine, and histidine. Valine, leucine, and isoleucine are branched chain amino acids and are used for muscle energy. Cysteine is also an amino acid that can be converted into glutathione, a sulfur containing antioxidant. Also, protein powders with a considerable amount (about 5 grams) of glutamine are worth looking in to.
Taking about 40 grams of protein per shake is plenty. If you can afford it, I would recommend drinking 2-3 shakes per day. The most important time is immediately after a workout. Consuming protein at this point is crucial to building muscle.
Vitamin C & E:
Personally, I believe that you should take these two vitamins together. This is a really good antioxidant formula, and you should take them throughout the day. Also, vitamin C aids in collagen synthesis, which can be helpful in maintaining the strength of all connective tissue.
Many nutritionists will disagree with me, but I think that you should consume about 3,000-3,500 mg of C and 2,400-2,800 iu of E per day. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can be toxic at these levels.
To combat the toxic levels, you need to make sure that you are taking in plenty of water. This will flush out any excess vitamin C. Also, there are no known effects of high levels of vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin (it can make your skin a little oily, but that's it). Take these two vitamins with every meal, when you wake, before bed, and before and after your workout. Skip on C and E at breakfast if you are taking a multivitamin, which brings me to the next topic?
These little gems can make a pretty big difference if you are taking the right ones. I urge you to go looking for natural
multivitamins instead of vitamins like centrum, which are synthetic. It's kind of like buying processed foods instead of whole and natural foods; there is a difference.
In a nutshell, you want your multivitamin to be dense with vitamins and minerals. The main components to look for are about 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 iu of vitamin E, and about 10,000-20,000 iu of vitamin A. If all three of these vitamins are at this level, chances are that you are dealing with a good multivitamin. One other thing to look for is a multivitamin that turns your urine a dark yellow or if it makes your urine have a greenish tint. This is a pretty good indicator of a dense multivitamin.
If you can stand to keep this stuff in your mouth all night long, it will be very beneficial. Cyclo Z-Mass is great for boosting your strength, increasing body weight, and increasing your libido (I think my girlfriend likes this stuff as much as I do!). This leads to an increase in testosterone levels. We all know the advantages to higher testosterone. You want to chew up three pills, but don't chew them up into dust.
Try to keep them as close to halves as you can. Once you've done that, put the chewed up pieces under your tongue and hold it there for the rest of the night. By the time you wake up the next morning, all of the chunks should have absorbed and you should be left with a pleasant taste in your mouth! I highly recommend doing a month of Cyclo Z-Mass with a month of creatine.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid:
CLA is a great thing to take all of the time. Although it is helpful in reducing fat, it will not prevent you from gaining muscle mass. It is so good because it benefits your cardiovascular system and overall vitality. Keep the intake levels to 3-5 grams per day. Another reason to continue using
CLA, even during a sizing up period, is because the effects of CLA take a while to be evident. Therefore, staying on CLA will keep you reaping the benefits without any setbacks.
|Prohormones Banned Jan. 20th, 2005|
|On January 20th, 2005 the US Federal Gorvenment's ban on prohormones took effect.|
1-AD is really an unbelievable supplement. However, it is a pharmacological agent; you have to take a large dose in order to obtain the maximum benefits. If you take the recommended dosage, you will not make many gains at all. It is helpful to take small amounts for about a week and gradually increase intake levels in the beginning and gradually decrease intake levels toward the end. 1-AD should be taken for about an 8-10 week period. At first, take 100 mg three times per day with food for about 3-4 days. Next, take 200 mg three times per day with food for the next 3-4 days.
This period of increased dosage should last 1 week exactly. Finally, take 300 mg three times per day with food for about 6-8 weeks and then decrease the dosage by reversing the sequence from the beginning of the cycle for exactly one week. The bad thing is that it can cause a bad case of acne, but that will perish about 2-3 weeks after a cycle. The other bad thing is that 1-AD can get pricey, so pack you wallet to its maximum capacity before purchase. However, if you take this as I have instructed, you will see an awesome increase in muscle mass, strength, and a decrease in fat stores.
My Personal Recommendations
Here is a list of the supplements that I am taking and have taken:
Creatine Monohydrate by Prolab
Cell-Tech Hardcore by MuscleTech
Trac by MHP
Glutamine by Prolab
Nitro-Tech by MuscleTech
Ny-Tro Pro-40 by AST
One-A-Day by Twinlab
Cyclo Z-Mass by Cytodyne
CLA by Prolab
1-AD by ErgoPharm
Secretagogue-One by MHP