I often get questions about which supplements I think are best to build muscle, lose fat & get stronger. Examples:
- “Would you write something about CLA?”
- “What do you think of Maximuscle Cyclone?”
- “Can you make an article about Creatine?”
The answer is generally “no” or “I don’t know”. I can’t tell you if “Cyclone” works, because I don’t know that product & it doesn’t interest me to know. I count on my training, nutrition & perseverance to do the job. Not supplements.
However I do use supplements. For the simple reason that some make your life easier. So I decided to make an article about which supplements you really need for strength training & why. Here it is.
Whey. Although whey is a very common supplement, some people don’t know what whey is good for. Here are three benefits of whey:
- Builds Muscle. You need at least 1g/lbs protein to build muscle. One scoop whey is about 25g of protein. If you struggle to get your 1g/lbs daily protein, 1 or 2 scoops daily will help.
- Easy. One scoop in your shaker, mix it with milk or water, drink. Nothing easier when you’re short on time.
- Cheap Protein. 75$ for a 10lbs tub that will last 5 months if you take one scoop daily. Whey is the cheapest protein.
I buy Optimum Nutrition whey. Whatever the brand you choose, buy whey only. No mass gainers with added sugars. If you need a mass gainer, make it yourself by adding oats & olive oil. Check this post workout shake for example.
Fish Oil. Omega 3 fats have been a hot supplements for several years now. Tons of food come with the label “contains omega 3″³. Benefits of omega 3 consumption include:
- Reduced Inflammation. Less acne, tendinitis, etc.
- Decreased Body Fat. Fish oil helps burning fat.
- Less Soreness. Reduced soreness from strength training.
- Lowers Cholesterol. Prevents heart disease, cancer, depression.
You should eat fatty fish several times a week to get your required amounts of omega 3. Time consuming & expensive.
Fish oil is easy. Caps or liquid form. I prefer liquid form with lemon flavor to avoid the fishy after-taste. Watch the EPA/DHA content. Some brands have low amounts of EPA/DHA. I use Pfo Pure Fish Oil. 1 tsp. contains:
- Fish Oil: 4360mg
- Omega-3 EPA: 715mg
- Omega-3 DHA: 470mg
How much fish oil do you need? The bottle says 1 tsp. a day. Charles Poliquin says 30-45g daily. Andrew Gaeddaert recommends 30g fish oil daily to heal skin disorders. Dr. Di Pasquale, author Anabolic Diet, says 2000mg EPA daily. Start with 1 tsp. a day & experiment from there.
Multivitamins. Eat a healthy varied diet to get your vitamins. Veggies and/or fruits with every meal. Meats, fish & eggs. Some benefits of multivitamins:
- Better Sleep. Zinc helps getting quality sleep.
- Less Illness. Vitamin C fortifies your immune system.
- Faster Recovery. Calcium & iron help recovery from strength training.
Some say high dosis of multivitamins & anti-oxidants cause cancer. Read these articles & draw your conclusions.
- High dosis of anti-oxidants can cause cancer. Study by JAMA.
- Multivitamin prostate warning. BBC News May 16th 2007.
- Do Anti-oxidants cause cancer or prevent it? From The Pump Handle.
- Nutritional crime of the Century. By TC on T-nation.
Creatine. I never used creatine. But many of you have or will in the future. Some say creatine doesn’t work. Other say it does. Mark Rippetoe writes in Practical Programming creatine works. I believe it works too. Benefits:
- Better Recovery between sets & workouts.
- More Strength & performance.
Buy Creatine Monohydrate in powder form. Don’t buy liquid creatine, you’ll waste money. Creatine is not stable for long periods in liquid form.
More Supplements? You can take the supplements you want, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t train hard & eat right in the first place. Supplements are supplements to your training, nutrition & most of all attitude.
Experiment with supplements if you want to. But don’t forget the placebo effect.