One of the most common questions I get is which supplements are best for building muscle, losing fat, or gaining strength.
Every single time, my answer is none.
It’s not to say that all supplements are useless, but in most cases you won’t be getting any noticeable difference in performance or body composition.
Here’s a list of the most useful supplements:
- Whey Protein Powder – Allows you to get cheap, easy, high quality protein in your system quickly for recovery and rebuilding muscle tissue.
- Caffeine Anhydrous – This convenient pill (or powder) form of dehydrated caffeine is an easy way to boost energy output and alertness.
- EPA + DHA (Fish Oil) – Can help improve long term heart and blood health.
- Vitamin D3 – Can improve bone health and mood
And you can get all of this from natural sources without having to buy a $200 per month stack.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to supplements, because there’s a whole list of very popular supplements that people love to buy.
- Creatine – Boosts energy output of cells, resulting in increased strength and increased rate of muscle gain.
- Pre-Workout – Blend of stimulants and other compounds to improve workout performance, such as caffeine, beta alanine, citruline malate, and creatine.
- BCAAs – The Branched Chain Amino Acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine in powder form.
- Nitric Oxide – Helps regulate blood pressure and improves vascularity.
- Mass Gainers – A powdered blend of protein and carbohydrates to make getting extra calories easy.
(If you need a more scientific explanation as to what this stuff does, go to Examine.com and look up each one)
This doesn’t even cover it all as there are honestly too many to count.
They all have slight effects that are just enough to be addicting, but are all totally unnecessary.
Instead of taking creatine, I just train hard and eat well to get consistent results without water retention, stomach issues, or potentially raised liver enzymes.
Instead of taking pre-workout, I’ll drink black coffee if I train before 2pm or a sports drink if I train after that (caffeine later in the day can be bad for sleep quality).
Instead of taking BCAAs, I eat chicken, eggs, yogurt, oats, and rice which all have them.
Instead of taking Nitric Oxide, I just live my life as it has no real health benefits.
Instead of taking mass gainers, I just eat tons of protein and carbohydrates like chicken and rice, eggs and oats, yogurt and pineapple, pancakes and syrup (yes, you read that right), and save a ton of money in the process.
And trust me, I used to think all those supplements were required to get results until I stopped taking everything due to budget and still made the same progress.
The biggest keys to making progress in the gym isn’t how big your supplement stack is.
It’s how well you stick to a good workout program, staying on track with the right diet, getting enough quality sleep, and enjoying life to keep stress low.
If you take zero supplements (aside from any deficiencies noted by your doctor) and focus on those key aspects you WILL get amazing results.
So with all that said, all I take now is this:
- 5000iu Vitamin D3
- 3000mg Fish Oil
And only because I don’t get enough omega 3s through diet and sunlight in the case of vitamin d3.
Do they improve workout performance?
Maybe as a side effect of marginally improved mood and heart, bone and blood health, but chances are it’s not making any noticeable difference in the gym.
I realized I didn’t need any supplements for building muscle, losing fat, or gaining strength and only take this stuff daily for general health.
That’s all for today.
Hopefully you found this helpful and if you have questions, hit reply and let me know!
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