The Quest For The Best… Supplements For Muscle Gain
Before I begin, I need to address something. The supplement industry is a $20 billion a year business with over 150,000 people taking part in it. The definition of a dietary supplement is “a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet.” So what’s up with the insane claims I that supplement companies throw out there?
I’m sure you have seen those ads with a bodybuilder sitting on a bench drinking something out of a shaker, acting like they’ve discovered a cure for cancer?
“Before Super Miracle Mega Fruit Drink I was jobless, homeless, and lifeless. I was 370 pounds overweight and was a complete mess. I smelled like garbage, I had no teeth, no hair, and liver spots all over my body. Thank god for BFMMFD! Now my life has completely changed! If you look at me today you would say I look a mix between Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Every single day I’m approached my heavenly blessed beauties. At 240 pounds shredded, I have a smile that lights up the room, and hair that flows like Rico Suave.”
Bull! Supplements don’t do that. Supplements MIGHT help you reach your goals, but it won’t be overnight. With persistence and consistency, you will start to see results with continuation of proper diet and exercise. Do they really work? Hell yea they work! But don’t come crying to me if you don’t see the results you want! We have been using supplements since… forever! Whether you want to live longer or be stronger, they can help you reach your goals.
What supplements should I take?
I’ve been asked this question many times. If you haven’t asked this question at least once in your life then you are either really stupid, or live under a rock. We all want to be the most amazing, superior humans we can be right? If you could take something that would help you reach your goals, why wouldn’t you? So the question persists… What supplements should I take? Venus Fly Trap extract? Green tea? Or Horny Goat Weed? Truth is, only you will know what supplements work for you. The human body is so freaking complex! A prime example would be pre-workouts. I remember one day my friend and I drank a pre-workout product before our training session. I was completely fine. I had energy and an added drive for my workout. My friend however, died. Ok, he didn’t die! But he definitely had some kind of reaction to one of the ingredients in the pre-workout products. He was dizzy, red all over, and felt like he was on literally on fire! We are all so different, and supplements do not react to our bodies the same way. So what I recommend to you that may work for me, may not work for you.
Here’s the thing. The supplements you take for your heart and skin health are more going to impact your muscle growth as well. Remember, your heart is the most important muscle in your body. I know plenty of bodybuilders that love taking muscle-building supplements, but when I ask about anti-oxidants, or omega-3s they have no clue what I’m talking about. On the flip side, some women are afraid to drink protein shakes because they think they will grow as large as a barn door. Guys, don’t take a supplement just because your friend took it for a week and got “swoled out of his mind”. Do the research before you know what you’re putting in your body. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN PACKAGING HYPE. The next time you’re buying a supplement don’t even look at the label. READ THE INGREDIENTS. If you know what each certain ingredient is supposed to do, then you will know what you are really spending your hard earned cash on.
Multi-Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins should be the base of every supplement regime. Our body uses water and vitamins as our main energy source. Period. If you’re deficient in a vitamin, your body will run like crap. Luckily, we get most of our vitamins from real food. Not the crap you buy in a drive through! Supplementing with a multivitamin will ensure that your body has vitamins readily available to use at all times. Vitamins may vary a bit depending on who you are. For instance, glucosamine helps with joints problems. If your joints are weak, then your muscles will be weak as well. How can you expect to squat 500 pounds if your muscles are up for it, and your joints aren’t! Don’t overdo it! When our body cannot store the vitamins our body needs they get excreted from the body. This means you are paying for stressed kidneys and expensive piss.
Most multivitamins are built the same. To find the right one, read the ingredients and nutritional values. Look to see if the ingredients meet your specific needs.
Multivitamins I Would Recommend
I personally buy the cheapest multi I can find. If it’s got what I want, I’ll take it. You can find multivitamins at any drugstore.
Optimum Nutrition: Opti-Men/Opti-Women
Universal: Animal Pak
Controlled Labs: Orange Triad
Essential Fatty Acids (oils)
Essential fatty acids are also known as your omegas. You know… omega 3, 6, and 9?
When people think of fat, they think of… fat. Fat doesn’t quite equal fat. Well, wait. It kinda does, but not the fat you are thinking of! Listen! We need dietary fat! Don’t make fat the bad guy! Not everything we eat is created equal. There is obviously a difference between eating 100 grams of rice and 100 grams of sugar, right? There are bad fats just like there are bad carbs, and fats can be good too! And EFAs are the best fat you can put into your body.
Hemp Seed Oil
Flax Seed Oil
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil (Great for cooking)
They help with;
- Energy Production
- Breathing better
- Cleaner blood
- Transporting nutrients
- Brain and muscle strengthening
- Control cell membrane fluids
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar
- Clears the skin
- Makes you happier!
Oils I Would Recommend
I have always bought generic oils from Wal-Mart or wherever I can find.
If you are concerned with quality of your fish oil, check out these products;
Nordic Naturals: Pro EFA
Nature’s Way, EFA Gold: Flax Oil
Vitacost: Mega EFA
Nature Made: Fish Oil
Now the Juicy Part
Yea, yea. That stuff above is good for you. It’s going to keep you healthier which will always have an effect on muscle growth. Blah blah blah. We want the REAL muscle building supplements! You know, the stuff that directly affects muscle growth?
Freaking Creatine! Yep, we get some creatine from the food we eat. Every time you eat steak, chicken, or fish, you’re getting creatine. Let’s not take this supplement lightly? I have seen some serious gains in endurance, power and size come from creatine. So what’s the simplest explanation for creatine? It allows our muscles to contract longer, harder, and more often. Creatine also has the ability to saturate your muscle cells with water, which is a good thing! I would recommend creatine to anyone, but if you are serious about putting on muscle and strength in any kind of fashion creatine IS for you.
I’m going to be honest with you. I stopped taking creatine. Why? I was beginning to fear my own strength. (And the bloat. *hehe*)
Most creatine products on the market are crap. Pure crap. I’ve broken out when taking different kinds of creatine products. I don’t blame the creatine itself. I blame whoever processed their crap to subpar standards, and then added some cheap-o ingredients! Supplement companies put filler ingredients into their creatine blends, which have no place being there! Like sugar. Seriously? Can we find something else other than straight high fructose corn syrup to put in our creatine? When choosing the best creatine, you want the purest, cheapest kind you can get. I’ve heard good things about Creapure, which is in a lot of creatine blends. Also those dang Germans also seem to have gotten something right!
Creatine I would Recommend
Creatine (Yep, that’s it. Any Brand, as long as it’s pure)
Good ole’ protein powder. The godfather of muscle building supplements. Protein will always have a special place in my heart. God forbid, if my house were to catch fire, the first thing I would grab would be; my phone, laptop, cats, and protein powder. I’ve been supplementing with protein powder since I have started working out. It’s good for everyone. Athletes, couch potatoes, vegans, or even blind people! Our bodies need protein to build every single cell in our body! Humans need protein. It is our life force.
The most effective use of protein I have seen is its effect on the post workout nutrition. Drinking a protein shake after a workout will help our torn muscle fibers back into recovery. I can attest to the fact that protein WILL help with post-workout soreness.
What’s the best protein to buy? Preference my dears. 80% of protein powders are some form of whey. And that’s fine! Whey protein is usually going to be the cheapest. It is also quite effective. I prefer to buy my protein cheap. Why? Quantity over quality. I would much rather have 5 low quality protein shakes a day, then one really good one for the same price. Unlike carbs and fats I will always say, protein is protein.
Body Fortress: Whey Protein
Optimum Nutrition: HydroWhey
Gaspari Nutrition: Myofusion
UniPro: Perfect Protein
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids, and each one has a specific purpose. Got it? Good, it’s going to be on the test. Most amino acid products come in pill or powder form. What do I think about amino acids.. Well, they are good. But guess what? Most protein shakes you drink, or chicken breasts you eat, will have the same amino acids. So it depends if you want to spend your money on that extra amino acid supplement or not. If you see good results, I would say go for it!
Don’t get too hung up on which amino acids to take. On top of the 20, there are subversions of each amino acid. What I would recommend would be to buy an all inclusive amino acid supplement that has many different kinds.
Recommended Amino Acid Supplements:
Optimum Nutrition: Amino Energy
Controlled Labs: Purple Wrath
How about a little lesson on musclebuilding, Tyler style! Imagine your body is a house. Now let’s say we want to add an extra room to our house.(add muscle) The first thing we will need to build our house will be bricks.(Protein) The next thing we will need is workers.(testosterone) Let’s take women for example. Females have far less testosterone than males. It’s like having one person building their house. Yea, you can still build a house with one person. Is it less efficient? Yes. It’s also doubtful that you’re going to be building anything big. It doesn’t mean you’re house won’t look pretty! The more testosterone you have, the more able you are to build muscle. It’s as simple as that.
There are supplements that support testosterone. Do they work? Yes. Many people would disagree with me, but I believe anybody can take a testosterone booster. Young or old. As we grow older, certain processes begin to slow down. Especially our hormone production. It can start as early as our late 20’s. Many men will get on testosterone replacement, which can be expensive. Now I’m not saying testosterone boosters are as strong as the real thing, but they definitely help. I’ve seen great gains from testosterone boosters, and I’m young!
When looking at the ingredients of a testosterone booster, most everything you will see will be an herb of some kind. Herbs like Tribulus Terrestris are extremely effective at supporting testosterone levels.
Test Boosters I would recommend:
Primordial Performance: TCF-1
YOU ARE THE DECIDER!
There is no one “best supplement.” Sorry!
If there was then we would all know it. What we do know is that we can take to allow our bodies to go farther than they normally would, if we supplement with what works for us!
There are people on both sides of the supplement war. Many will tell you that all supplement are garbage. Expensive poop and pee. Others will say that supplements are what got them to what they stand here to be. Balance is key. Supplements do help, but they aren’t magic pills and powder. We use supplements to “supplement” what we currently have. Hard work in the gym, and in the kitchen.