*DISCLAIMER: Supplements are not a sole source of nutrition, they simply assist with the process. Some supplements work better for some people than others, this is why understanding them for yourself is vital so that you can see where supplementation may benefit your own training and diet.
I created a very similar post to this one 3-years ago and my top 5 choices remain the same. Read on...
Ahh, supplements, what an industry! An unregulated, 28-billion dollar industry where basically anyone can create, promote and sell their own 'extreme muscle building protein' or their 'fat blasting pre workout' simply by designing a fancy label and heavily marketing the product. Don't buy into bullshit guys, don't get sucked in and pay top dollar for something that is typically under-dosed and poorly formulated just because you have some oversized, jacked up bodybuilder telling you the product works. If in doubt, don't impulse buy, research and resort to science for the facts. Remember, knowledge is power!
Personally, I'm not much of a user of supplements as opposed to some people I know who will re-stock their 15 product stack every 2-months. I believe you can get most of what you need through a nutritionally dense diet. However over my years of experience, these are the supplements with adequate scientific research behind them and those that have proven to work for me so I continue to use interchangably.
➡1) WPC/WPI: Protein is essential for muscular repair and growth so sometimes a protein shake is on hand faster than cooking up a chicken breast, especially right after a session. For that reason I've included WPC/WPI supps in my list. One thing you want to look out for when buying is the amount of sugar, fat and the ingredients within. You want something with 75%+ protein content per 100g. Difference between WPC & WPI? Very minimal, both are rapidly absorbed proteins, generally WPI is better for those sensitive to lactose and will generally taste better and have slightly less fat content.
FIRST CHOICE BRAND: MyProtein UK / VPA Aus
WHY: Well priced, easily mixable, tastes fine.
➡2) CREATINE: Probably the most efficient supplement and my personal favourite. Creatine is found in meat and it's primary use is as a backup phosphate donor for the replenishment of ATP. ATP is the source of energy for all muscular contractions therefor the more creatine stored in the muscles the faster we can replenish ATP and the faster we will have energy stores available for working muscles again, this means supplementing with creatine leads to an increase in muscular strength and endurance at the cost of added water weight. This is one of the only supplements with PROVEN science behind it backing that it works!
FIRST CHOICE BRAND: Any! Just ensure it is 100% pure creatine monohydrate.
➡3) BCAA's: Branched chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are many benefits from consuming BCAA's; reducing the rate of protein (muscle tissue) breakdown, enhancing the rate of protein synthesis (muscle building), assisting with fat loss and can increase energy levels. I will generally use BCAA's as an intra-workout and i'll even just sip on them throughout the day because it makes water taste better.
FIRST CHOICE BRAND: EHP Labs 'Beyond BCAA'
WHY: Best tasting flavours but a bit more pricey!
➡4) MALTODEXTRIN: Whenever I want to gain some lean muscle I throw in some Maltodextrin to my post workout shake (dextrose works too), the addition of maltodextrin as part of my post workout meal/shake plays a critical role in the muscle building process. Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate with a high glycemic index meaning it raises blood sugar levels and therefor insulin levels. Now after a heavy workout your muscle's glycogen stores are depleted and need restoring ASAP so a post workout protein shake with a scoop of maltodextrin will cause a spike in blood glucose and therefor a surge in insulin. (Insulin is an anabolic hormone required for muscle building). The result? Muscles are fed and your body's environment is at it's most anabolic. #growth
FIRST CHOICE BRAND: Bulk Nutrients / VPA / MyProtein (Any wholesaler or online store)
WHY: Cheap (pay no more than $20 per 1KG)
➡5) FLAXSEEDS: And lucky last I've included flaxseeds. I generally add this to my oats in the morning. Flaxseeds are bloody great! High in dietry fibre, high in protein, a great source of essential fatty acids, low in carbohydrates and low in cost. What a magical seed! For those reasons above, flaxseeds are last but definitely not least on my list.
FIRST CHOICE BRAND: n/a, purchased from supermarket or any health food store.
I hope this helps someone out there save some money and understand supplement use a little better. Save your money and buy healthy whole foods instead of 10+ different supps. Keep it simple.
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