Unfortunately, while there are a whole bunch of products that promise to provide tons of miraculous results, there are only a few which provide benefits, that while not miraculous, will make a measurable difference as long as they are used in conjunction with the right bodybuilding program.
Basic Bodybuilding Supplements Stack
As I mention in my Bodybuilding Supplementation Basics article, the basic bodybuilding supplements stack that everyone should take before considering any other types of supplements are:
- MultiVitamin/Mineral Complex taken with breakfast in order to prevent any sort of nutritional deficiencies and thus ensure good health and optimal muscle gain and/or fat loss.
- Essential Oils, such as flax seed oil (at least 14 grams per every 100lbs of bodyweight), in order to prevent an essential fatty acid deficiency which would impair optimal body functions as well as muscle gain and/or fat loss.
- Vitamin C, as 1 gram taken with breakfast, lunch and dinner may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which destroys muscle and stores fat. In addition, it helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Chromium Picolinate, 200 mcg at breakfast and post workout, in order to ensure healthy insulin sensitivity (the body's ability to absorb insulin).
- Weight Gain, Whey Protein Powder or Meal Replacement Powder for mixing with skim milk, or water, in order to make protein shakes. (Note: Needs vary depending on whether following a fat burning bodybuilding diet or a weight gain diet. Also, if you are able to eat 5-6 real meals a day, then there is no need for these supplements).
All of the products that I just mentioned as my basic bodybuilding stack are backed by science. As far as performance enhancing products, as I like to call them, I have to go with creatine and glutamine. I know they are nothing fancy, but they work, they are safe and backed by science.
Performance Bodybuilding Enhancing Supplements That Work
- Creatine Monohydrate, unlike some uninformed critics claim, is one of the most researched, effective and safest supplements around, with benefits not only limited to increases in lean muscle mass, strength, and recuperation capabilities, but also an array of health enhancing benefits ranging from improved brain function to helping with various dystrophies and even Parkinson’s disease. (For more information on creatine, take a look at my Creatine Basics article).
- Glutamine is another supplement that is heavily backed by science. Though glutamine is not an essential amino acid, studies indicate that taking it helps against muscle loss, helps in preventing overtraining for athletes that train too hard and too long, helps in increasing glycogen (stored carbohydrates) stores in the muscle and liver after the workout, and helps in boosting immunity. I could not see myself training without glutamine. (For more information on glutamine, take a look at my Glutamine Basics article).
I cannot recommend these two supplements mentioned above enough as they do everything that they claim, and if you notice, some of the benefits that they provide are the same benefits provided by anabolic steroids, except that in the case of the two supplements above, the benefits are provided through non-hormonal pathways, so as a result, they do not cause the side effects that steroids do.
Always keep in mind that none of the bodybuilding supplements above can help your bodybuilding endeavors without the consistent execution of a properly designed bodybuilding routine and diet.