Supplements are very effective, but before I give my recommendations, please note that your drive is the biggest tool in bettering your fitness and health. Fitness success requires personal goals, coupled with proper determination in achieving them. That determination means generally eating healthy and showing up at the gym. You can improve your TV settings by sitting on a couch, but a couch potato is still a couch potato. They do say, “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”
So now it’s time to seek supplements. Supplements steer you towards your goals, such as building muscle, leaning out, bulking up, losing body fat, making the insides of your body happier, and yada yada yada. Supplements neither workout for you nor feed you all of your nutrients, BUT when used right supplements will GUIDE and ENHANCE your fitness ability. They are called SUPPLEMENTS because they help feed your body the necessary nutrients that you can not find in your daily diet.
What supplements to buy is contingent on your goals. (Name your goal and Campus Protein sells a supplement for it). In simple terms, if you want to bulk up, mass gainers may help. If you want to lean out and get more shredded, a better supplement would be a leaner protein shake, such as whey.
Bear in mind here that while “J.D.” will follow my name in a year-ish (I hope), I’m not a Doctor nor Registered Dietician. I honestly cannot use great detail to discuss how every ingredient works, so research more if you’re concerned about something.
Here’s what I consider the core supplements, and then I’ll give one of my recent workouts at the end.
Whey protein is the best hire for building muscle, as it’s the fastest digesting protein on the market. After the workout breaks down the muscles, protein builds them back up. Whey protein is best taken immediately post-workout (I’ve brought it in the shower many times) and also serves as a healthier snack, lacking the bad fats and carbs from shitty alternatives.
Buying protein powder is more convenient and economically smarter than getting protein from just food. Personally, 300 grams of protein per day is ideal for me, because my training burns away calories like it’s the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (nearly 150 years since still too soon?). That would be dozens of dollars more spent on food, and life would suck carrying around several extra meals all day.
Cellucor Performance Whey is a stellar brand. It provides high protein, has barely any fat and carbs, and it’s extremely low in cholesterol and sodium, something that many cheaper brands are too high in. Two other brands worthwhile are Gold Standard Whey and Platinum Hydro Whey.
SIDE NOTE: Casein protein is a super slow digesting protein, so it’s a really good snack to fill you up between meals, or drink right before bed to feed your sleepy-self protein throughout the night. I buy Casein every other month or so, and it’s usually Gold Standard Casein.
ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: I don’t buy mass gainers because bulking up is not a priority. Cardio, endurance and stamina are my priorities. If you desire a mass gainer, check out Optimum Serious Mass.
Creatine gives muscles energy. It increases activity in muscle cells that I cannot name, providing for better lifts and more muscle growth. It’s insignificant with a strictly cardio regimen but is essential for muscle growth in weightlifting. Creatine has the most positive impact in a program that incorporates both lifting and cardio.
Creatine comes in many versions, so beware of what you buy. I dislike creatine monohydrate because of the bloatedness and puffy looks that come with it. Contrary, creatine HCL produces similar gains, while avoiding the adverse effects of monohydrate. Con-Crete is a great creatine HCL brand.
Pre-workouts are better than espresso shots and energy drinks when it comes to waking your ass up and getting you to the gym. In addition to the caffeine that several contain, the beta-alanine in most pre-workouts creates better pumps. Many pre-workouts contain creatine too but not enough to do shit.
Since I usually workout around 5AM, pre-workouts boost my energy at a time where I’m usually a bum. Reasonably priced and top quality, Campus Protein’s FUEL is a great deal. I’ve already gone through two tubs. Other brands well known to my warehouse are Cellucor C4 and USPlabs Jack3d.
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) take on the body maintenance role and are beneficial whether it’s before or after the workout, or any other time during the day. They improve how you take in protein, help you recover quicker and workout for longer periods, providing natural energy.
I often hear that BCAAs are the “building blocks of muscle” (something like that), and since taking them I believe it. I’ve noticed quicker recoveries and more gains in the lifting arena. Solid brands include USPlabs Modern BCAA and BSN Amino X.
SIDE NOTE: Glutamine is also great for muscle recovery.
So if you’re looking for the core supplements, consider whey protein, creatine HCL, a pre-workout, and BCAAs. These supplements perform various tasks that will help you achieve your fitness goals and make you healthier overall, but they will NOT complete your goal for you.
Get the right drive in you first, buy some supplements, and then it’s all fun from there – LeanBerg
Twitter/Instagram ~ @lean_berg
Email ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: I promised a routine, so here’s one completely different than my usual ones:
Legs, Shoulders & Cardio
- Bar ASS TO GRASS Back Squats
- 5 total sets – 25, 10, 6, 4, 25 reps
- Standing Dumbbell Arnold Press:
- 5 total sets – 25, 5-8, 5-8, 5-8, 25 reps
- 4 Round Superset
- Standing Dumbbell Lat Raise 20, 10, 10, 20 reps
- Dumbbell Upright Row (use two dumbbells together) 20, 10, 10, 20 reps
- 4 Round Circuit:
- Seated Calf Raise Plate Machine 12-20 reps (hold at least three seconds per rep)
- Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise 10-15 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs Overhand and In Front Of You 20, 15, 12, 8 reps
- Run 3-5 Miles (why the hell not?)