Supplements You Need to Be Taking

A long time ago, in a gym far, far away, someone made the statement, “Man, you don’t need supplements, just eat a good diet and you get everything you need to be jacked”.

Saying you don’t “need” supplements to get jacked is kind of like saying you don’t “need” to deadlift to get strong.

Sure, you might be able to do it. But if you ignore a tool that can help your training, then you are leaving a lot of gains on the table.

Now, the world of supplements can be a bit of a quagmire. It is hard to know exactly what supplements work, how they work, when to take them, etc.

When it comes to building muscle and getting more out of your training, there are 5 supplements that most people would benefit from.

 

1. CREATINE

Creatine supplementation appears to be the most effective legal nutritional supplement currently available for getting you jacked (i.e. enhancing your training and lean body mass). Long story short, creatine works by improving your body’s capacity to produce ATP during short, intense training.1

Related: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Bodybuilding Supplements

The research surrounding the ergogenic effect of creatine supplementation is pretty mind-blowing. There are easily over 500 peer-reviewed papers on the topic and approximately 70% of the research has reported an increase in exercise capacity.2,3,4

In both the short term and long-term, creatine supplementation appears to enhance the overall quality of training. This often leads to a 5 to 15% greater gains in strength and performance.

If you are trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger, but you’re not taking creatine, you are missing out on some serious gains.

 

2. BETA-ALANINE

Muscle fatigue kills your training.

Remember the last time you were doing weighted dips and you hit the wall and just couldn’t hammer out another rep even if your life depended on it? Beta-Alanine may help you get that extra rep in as it has been shown to reduce muscular fatigue and increase work capacity.

Several studies on beta-alanine have that supplementation can increase your work capacity by a few reps when training in moderate rep ranges (8-15).5,6,7 That means more dips for you!

As a result of being able train harder and longer, beta-alanine is effective for muscle hypertrophy, greater fat loss, and improved recovery between sets. Just think about it, if you can train harder and longer you accumulate more volume. More volume = more muscle. Training harder and longer also creates a larger calorie deficit, leading to greater fat loss.

There is also evidence that beta alanine can augment fat loss. However, the most likely reason for this is not due to beta-alanine directly, but the fact that it increases work capacity.8

Beta alanine is also often marketed as a pre-workout ingredient. It is likely marketed that way because the feeling that beta alanine can give you in high doses (the itchy face) makes it seem efficacious.  Don’t let the marketing itchy face and “I’m flying feeling” hype cloud your science. It isn’t really a pre-workout.