Which Supplements?

I use Creatine for 6 weeks at a time and then stay off for 2 weeks before reloading. I have never noticed any bad side effects and it gives my muscles a massive pump even the day after the gym and after working out I recover really quickly!
Nutritional Supplements are an important part of any bodybuilder's diet. In this article, I will go over some of the main supplements that are available from any good health store. I have avoided illegal supplements in this article for the reason that I have never tried them myself and I do not think that they would be illegal if they were at all safe.

Protein
I do not consider protein to be a supplement because it is found in such large quantities in everyday foods. Because of this and its high price, I also think that protein powders are unnecessary. As an alternative, I drink loads and loads of milk. Milk contains a lot of protein (I forget the figures) but drinking a pint of milk every day before bed will certainly help you get big! The only form of protein I would consider spending money on is protein bars because of their convenience at school and on the go.

Creatine
Creatine is great stuff! I believe it to be a supplement because, although it is found in red meat, it is not found in minute quantities compared to the amounts bodybuilders take. For example, there is the same amount of Creatine in one serving as there is in 66lbs of beef! It is also a relatively cheap supplement. I would recommend the powder version of Creatine as people have raised doubts about the stability of the liquid versions and Creatine pills will not be absorbed as efficiently because the coating has to be digested first. I use Creatine for 6 weeks at a time and then stay off for 2 weeks before reloading. I have never noticed any bad side effects and it gives my muscles a massive pump even the day after the gym and after working out I recover really quickly! The only side effects I have heard of with the recommended dosage of Creatine have been minor ones so I definitely recommend this supplement, but as with all supplements, be sure to do your research first!

The Infamous E/C/A Stack
The Ephedrine/Caffeine/Aspirin stack. In my opinion, stay away from this stuff! I bought a bottle of AST Dymetradine Xtreme and it worked just as it was meant to. What's wrong with it then? Well the pack recommends taking 2 tablets per day just to test your resistance to it before going onto the full dose of 5 tablets per day. Maybe I'm just hypersensitive to the stuff, but I felt jittery all day on 2 tablets. Also, the ephedrine in it destroys your appetite and you just don't feel like eating. I even remember reading about a woman who died taking a similar product but I believe that was a one off - she was taking an awful lot of the stuff and not eating. AST do say that the product should only be used by over 18's but I can't see that being 2 years older would make all that much difference. If you're trying to lose fat, 30 mins moderate cardio in the morning before breakfast does the trick a lot better. As for energy, I've found that caffeine on it sown will give you a good pre-workout boost!

Multivitamin tablets
Because you cannot see the benefits of a multivitamin right away, many people do not use them. However, if you were to take a photo of two identical people, give one a lifetimes supply of multivitamin tablets and send the other off to a parallel universe to live exactly the same life without the tablets, I think that after 20 years, the one that took a multivitamin would be a lot better off than the one that didn't. They give your body all the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly, they're dirt cheap and they can't do any harm so in my opinion you need these!

Prohormones
It's up to you if you decide to use these products, but it's my opinion that you should stay well away from them until you are at least 21 and even then only take them if you're really clued up on them. Most of them are basically anabolic steroids with more side effects and less gains. They can have side effects such as gyno (breasts on men) and your balls can shrink (you probably don't want that!). Other side effects include acne. You don't need them anyway because testosterone levels are so high during the teenage years. Many teenagers report steroid like gains just from lifting heavy and eating right.

Basically, you should not even consider taking any supplement until you have read up on it! The Bodybuilding.com Message Boards are great for this. If you've any other questions about supplements, feel free to e-mail me at mat@toughguy.net.

Good luck!