With so many workout supplements on the market today, it’s essential for the bodybuilder to understand what these supplements are and how they work.
Let’s face it, our training sessions can always do with a little boost here and there.
You agree, right?
Hitting the weights hard does yield great results. But we always want more and we want it right now!
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Well, workout supplements are the way forward.
Guys taking these amazing products see their hard work rewarded tenfold. Muscle piles on like crazy, strength hits scary levels, stubborn fat is dropped easily and energy levels rise!
So here’s the deal:
In this Workout Supplements article I will give you the lowdown on the best workout supplements. Whether you are looking for mass, strength, energy or fat loss – there’s a supplement for you.
Off we go!
What Are Workout Supplements?
Workout supplements are simply a way to boost our bodybuilding results.
Too often, guys just consider that protein supplementation is the only way forward.
Protein is essential, but it’s not where supplementation ends.
What I am trying to say is this:
I’m sure you will agree that in the gym, us guys want one or more of these things:
- Build muscle fast
- Shed fat
- Boost energy levels
- Increase stamina
- Improve health
- Look damn awesome!
If you’re a seasoned gym junkie, you will know how quickly some guys appear at the gym for a few weeks and then they are never seen again! Often that’s because the results don’t come quick enough.
The best workout supplements can achieve all these goals, and fast!
Let’s get into the meat – I’ve included the top 10 bodybuilding supplements!
What Are the Best Supplements to Take to Build Muscle?
That’s the question I’m asked most often! So here are the best supplements for muscle growth:
Make no mistake, protein is essential for bodybuilding.
Without it muscle cannot build – and that’s not what you want! 1
It’s also required for daily function, but when bodybuilding you need more to ensure that you reap the rewards of all those reps!
Without training you need around 0.8 g of protein per kilo of bodyweight, but as soon as you start pushing the weights hard, that needs to double!
It’s possible to obtain it from your food intake, but if you’re training like a monster you will most likely need to supplement!
Protein supplements come in various forms – shakes, snack bars and powder. It’s the last option that is the most widely available.
Most frequently, these powders are soy, casein and whey. The usual choice for the beginner or intermediate bodybuilder is whey, as it’s cheaper and probably the best protein supplement for muscle gain.
But be careful:
There are three types of whey protein out there:
- Whey isolate – this is the leanest supplement as all the lactose and fat has been removed
- Hydrolyzed whey – this form has been broken down into smaller fragments so can be more easily metabolized
- Whey concentrate – maybe best avoided as it has a high sugar and carbohydrate content
Protein is both a pre workout and post workout supplement. As many of the best products are absorbed easily, taking them post workout enables the muscles to start rebuilding immediately.
Supplementing with protein doesn’t just build muscle. It improves strength, stamina and promotes fat loss.2
BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
Another great muscle building supplement!
These guys are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine – they are termed ‘essential’ as they are not created in the body itself and need to be sourced externally through food. Or, supplementation!
Listen to this guys:
BCAA have the effect of:
- Preventing breakdown of muscles
- Improving energy and increasing stamina
- Promoting fast muscle growth post resistance training (leucine especially) 3
Whey powder does contain BCAA, and it may be there are sufficient quantities to satisfy your muscle gain targets.
However, if you are seriously looking to make huge increases, you will require a separate supplement.
I know you’ve heard of testosterone, it’s that amazing hormone that gives you a deep voice, facial hair, an impressive package and the desire to get down to some serious bedroom action!
But for building impressive muscle this hormone should not be underestimated.
Let me explain:
For muscles to repair, grow and become stronger they undergo protein synthesis. And this process is fuelled and enhanced by testosterone.
Simply put, the more testosterone you have, the faster the muscles will build.4
Unfortunately, through genetics or age, a guy’s testosterone may not be sufficient to make impressive muscle gains.
Testosterone is the original steroid. In fact, it’s the basis on which all other steroids are built.
But steroids are damn dangerous, and illegal!
Testosterone boosters stimulate the body into naturally producing more of this awesome hormone. What’s more, they are 100% safe with no side effects.
T-boosters are in general workout supplements for men, not women.
But a quick word of warning:
There are some amazing T-boosters out there, but also a lot of garbage.
Ensure that the T-booster you choose contains ingredients which have been scientifically proven to increase natural testosterone levels. Then you will have one of the best supplements for muscle gain and strength.
Testogen has been voted the best testosterone booster in 2018.
This workout supplement has a bit of a chequered history.
It was originally marketed as being similar to the steroid Deca-Durabolin – in that it’s a really powerful muscle builder.
This comparison gave it a unfair name.
It’s not a steroid, nor does it have the same side effects – but it does work to build muscle!
It’s like this:
HMB is created when the body processes leucine. Studies have shown that using this supplement can improve strength and mass.5
But take note:
The best results are seen with serious intensive training. This workout supplement may not be suitable if you are not committed 100% to gaining real mass.
What Are the Best Supplements to Take for Stamina?
Occurring naturally in the human body, this acid can take stamina to the next level.
Here’s the science:
The muscles contain adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This element allows the muscles to contract. It’s the powerhouse behind resistance training.6
But there’s an issue:
The body does not have unlimited resources of ATP. Once the reserves are depleted, you simply cannot lift anymore.
I know that you have been there!
Creatine speeds up the regeneration of ATP. Therefore supplementing with this acid means that you can push longer and harder through those rep sessions without suffering fatigue.7
Of course this comes with benefits!
More reps and longer sessions means more work on the muscles. Which in turn will return larger and stronger than without supplementation.
Nitric Oxide Boosters
These supplements do not contain nitric oxide.
Instead, they stimulate the body into creating more of this important gas.
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, that is, it opens up the blood vessels within the body. 8
This results in allowing the blood to flow more freely, which is absolutely essential for the serious bodybuilder.
The blood transports oxygen around the body on the hemoglobin molecule of red blood cells. Improved blood flow means that more oxygen can reach the heart and the muscles being worked.
This improves the function of both these organs resulting in stamina which is off the scale! 9
What’s more, the blood transports essential nutrients to feed the muscle, and a well-fed muscle is one that returns larger and stronger!
Wondering which nitric oxide supplement is the best?
We’ve made an article on the top nitric oxide supplements on the market.
This amino acid is a superb way to alleviate the fatigue and pain during a real monster session.
Working the muscles hard can causes lactic acid to build up. When this occurs it promotes acidosis which leads to complete fatigue and the end of your sets.
Using pre workout supplements like beta-alanine can delay this overwhelming exhaustion – allowing you to power through yet more reps! 10
And more reps means more muscle!
What Are the Best Supplements to Take for Weight Gain?
It’s unusual that I would knock an entire supplement group, but I am really not convinced with weight gainers.
In general these workout supplements contain whey protein and maltodextrin.
You have already seen in this article the value of whey protein, but the formulation contained in many of these gainers is cheap and usually in concentrate form with high sugar content.
Maltodextrin is a starch made typically from potatoes, wheat or corn. It acts much like glucose creating large peaks and troughs in blood sugar.
Here’s the issue:
To build muscle you do need a calorie surplus, but the simple carbohydrates included these weight gainers can too easily be stored as fat! Soon you will want to shift it to see the muscle beneath! 11
Take in your calories through complex carbs in foods such as whole grains, spinach and beans. These take much longer to break down and will boost muscle growth! 12
That’s the best supplement you can take for weight gain!
What Are the Best Supplements to Take for Weight Loss?
Let’s face it:
There’s no point working hard to pile on muscle if it’s going to be hidden underneath fat!
You want the perfectly formed lean muscle on display! That’s why we workout.
So let me start with the good news:
There are some real players in the fat burner market that deliver incredible results. The guys behind these workout supplements have used natural ingredients to help the fat to drop off.
The best ones on the market can:
- Boost the metabolism – literally burning the fat
- Suppress the appetite – ensuring unrequired calories are not stored on the belly and chest
- Inhibit fat creation
- Promote lipolysis (fat breakdown)
These supplements are essential when going through a cutting phase.
But now the bad news:
For every amazing fat burner, there are many more that are no better than placebos, so be careful.
As with testosterone boosters, always check that the ingredients are scientifically proven to promote fat loss, otherwise you’re just going to lose hard earned bucks!
What Is the Best All Round Supplement?
Personally, I would choose a testosterone booster. Not only does testosterone build muscle, it also boosts energy, increases libido, improves strength and assists in fat loss.
But if you are looking for an alternative, I would suggest:
These workout supplements combine the power of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6.
It’s benefits include:
- Zinc – essential for muscle protein synthesis and can also boost testosterone production 13
- Magnesium – improves stamina, recovery and exercise performance 14
- Vitamin B6 – enhances sleep and energy levels
It’s a nice worthwhile all-rounder, but will not supply such impressive effects as other supplements in this article.
Sometimes we are putting all the hard work in, but just not seeing the results that we deserve.
The best workout supplements can take our training to the next level, whether it’s muscle gain and strength, boosting energy, dropping the fat or increasing stamina.
So, be selective in choosing your supplements and you will reach your targets faster than you believed possible!
Workout Supplements FAQ
“What Is the Best Supplement to Take After a Workout?”
For fast acting power to replenish and build the muscles, always follow a workout with proteins such as whey powder.
“What Is the Best Supplement to Get Ripped?
For a lean tight muscular physique, take a simple combination of protein powder and a fat burner.
“How Does a Skinny Guy Gain Muscle?”
Through hard gym work and supplementation! You will also need to raise your calorie intake, but do this through complex carbohydrate foods – not weight gainers.
“What Supplements Are Good for Muscle Recovery?”
Take BCAA to allow the muscle to both build and recover post session. You will be able to hit the heavy iron again much faster!
“Are There Any Bodybuilding Supplements Side Effects?”
All the above products have been tested for safety; they do not have the dangerous health issues associated with steroids. Naturally if you see any adverse reactions, cease use immediately.