Supplements can be very effective, or they can be a complete waste of money. Many people can build a great physique without the use of any supplements at all. If you’re going to buy supplements, make sure you make wise choices and buy the right ones. In our last article, we went over the top cost effective supplements. While most of the most cost effective are also the overall most effective, there are some other great supplements that are worth every penny, and this list concentrates on the overall best supplements.
#1 – Whey Protein
Whey protein should be with you no matter what. If you have a priority, make sure you have this and buying it in bulk will save you a lot of money. Whey protein is a very important supplement for building lean muscle mass and keeping lean. Of course, calories are the most important when building muscle and you will need to have a consistent workout plan to make gains. Make sure you’re getting a low fat, low carbohydrate protein source that you can take after each workout. It may be wise to take it when you wake up and before you sleep, but make sure you get it after your workout because that’s when protein synthesis is at it’s best. Being that whey is the fastest digesting protein, this makes it the best choice post workout.
#2 – Creatine (Monohydrate/Ethyl Ester/etc)
Creatine is one of the top products in bodybuilding/strength training today. Why isn’t it rated at number 2? It may even be more popular to some people, but we feel whey protein is often overlooked and is the basis of a good supplement collection. Creatine, however, is a very effective mass and strength builder that has many other great effects. Some studies have shown that creatine is directly linked to a longer life span, burning fat, and more. Aside from the other benefits, the use of creatine with a great diet and high water intake can help you gain muscle and strength very quickly.
#3 – BCAA’s (branch chained amino acids)
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are what describe BCAA’s. These are the most valuable amino acids for building lean muscle mass. You can buy capsules and soft gels that provide you with ample amounts of these BCAA’s. Research has shown that leucine seems to be the more important of the three. These, along with other amino acids, are great not only for building muscle, but for retaining muscle when bodybuilders and other athletes are trying to cut down fat.
#4 – Glutamine
Glutamine is an amino acid that is depleted very quickly after your workout. Glutamine aids in building muscle and decreasing the breakdown of muscle. There are other great effects on the immune system, increasing leucine in muscle fibers, and increasing growth hormone levels. Glutamine also comes usually in the form of softgels that can be purchased at any vitamin/supplement store. You can take glutamine in the morning, before your workout and after your workout, and at nighttime before you go to sleep.
#5 – N.O Boosters (Nictric Oxide)
N.O is a great pre-workout supplement that increases blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the muscles, enabling you to pump out more reps and feel a greater pump. N.O boosters provide Arginine, an amino acid that is converted to N.O inside the body. Along with the increased muscle mass and strength, bodyfat reduction has also occured in many test subjects using this supplement. N.O boosters are usually taken pre workout, but it’s also a great idea to take it before breakfast, after training, and up to an hour before you go to bed.
#6 – Multivitamin
Seems crazy that you didn’t think about this, huh? A multi vitamin is often overlooked. Sometimes, you simply don’t get all the vitamins that your body needs to grow and stay healthy with your daily diet. Taking a multivitamin ensures that you won’t be missing out on anything. You could buy high quality multivitamins with higher absorption rates, but a cheaper once-a-day vitamin might be more economical and serve virtually the purpose you’re taking it for. Multivitamins usually come in the form of pills or chewables and can be found at vitamin/supplement stores and retail stores everywhere. You could take this supplement once a day with breakfast, but be sure not to take more than the recommended amount as this could be toxic.
#7 – ZMA
What is ZMA? ZMA is zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6 all in one. Like glutamine, this is efficient because bodybuilders and athletes alike are usually deficient of these. Having these minerals maintain your hormone levels and help you get a good nights rest. Tests have shown that using this supplement increased some subjects testosterone levels. Taking this supplement with an empty stomach helps for its absorption into the body and aid the quality of your sleep.
#8 – Carnitine
Carnitine has been said to be a very effective fat burning supplement, but is now recognized for its muscle building qualities. Carnitine, like N.O, increases blood flow to the muscles. Your post workout testosterone levels will be elevated as well as levels of IGF-i. Taking 1-4 grams of carnitine for breakfast, pre workout, post workout, and before bed is great to optimize the results from this supplement.
#9 – EFA’s
EFA stands for essential fatty acid. Most of these consist of polyunsaturated fats, which are the good fats that you should have in your diet. This supplement is useful because these fats aid in the digestion of protein. It only makes sense to have this supplement if you’re taking in large amounts of protein. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, despite being fats and containing more than twice the amount of calories that other nutrients give, stimulate more fat use when you burn calories. A good dosage is taking two to three tablespoons a day.
#10 – Weight Gainers
Although I personally don’t have problems putting on weight, there are many many people that just can’t take in the right amount of calories to put on size. Weight gainers come with many calories, sometimes even up to 1000 calories or more in just one shake. These are not only an effective way to put on some size, but can be very convenient when you’re away from home or just don’t have any food worth eating. Use it as a post workout shake, before you sleep, and for anytime that you may have forgotten a meal and need an emergency source of calories.