No on the Superpump, no on the Glutamin (unless cutting), no with the Creatine formula, and possibly on the BCAA and Beta Alanine. Save the last two for when you are more advanced in training. And by more advanced, I mean pushing serious weights. No need for those supplements if you're not able to take full advantage of your own internal focus and direct your efforts on increasing weights (both in the gym and on the scale).
Don't get me wrong, they do have their place. I just don't think you're at that place yet and I'd rather see you spending your money on more practical things.
The NO-products are not going to help you build any muscle/strength, but if you are using them for the caffeine and stimulants (pre-workout energy) then that is fine. I would not invest much money on these and save the money for purchasing a quality protein.
Creatine Monohydrate is the best way to go (safe, effective, inexpensive) and beta-alanine is great to stack with it for muscular endurance (lactic acid buffer). There are some products on the market that combine creapure creatine monohydrate with beta-alanine, and work very well for strength gains.
Definitely do not waste money on the glutamine or BCAA's. Recently information has shown the glutamine is not very effective, and if you area already eating a high protein diet and drinking quality protein shakes then you should have sufficient glutamine/amino acids from those sources.
What are your overall goals?
For most beginner/intermediate trainees I recommend the following: - Protein Blend (Whey/Egg/Casein), MRP Shake is optional if being used for PWO or meal replacement. - Fish Oil, for overall cardiovascular health. - Creatine, go with a high quality creatine monohydrate such as 'creapure'. If money is not a factor or you are looking for advanced gains then you can use a product that contains beta-alanine and perhaps a transport system such as dextrose. Creapure creatine can be purchased for less than $15 for a three month supply so it is pretty cost effective. - Energy Support, If you are dieting and need energy support for daily activities or for training I would recommend caffeine. If you can get the caffeine from natural sources (green tea,etc.) that is preferred.
If you could pick only one product it would be protein, that is the most important thing. A lot of guys could make better gains by drinking an extra protein shake everyday rather then spending a ton of money on hyped up 'test boosters', 'creatine forumulas' or 'no-products'.
Definitely do not look to a store employee at a GNC or to a general Personal Trainer for advice as many of them will try to market uncecessary products to you.
I can start out by telling you what i usally eat/drink pre, post, post right now
Pre workout: 100g oatmeal 30g whey 1 scoop superpump
Post workout shake: 80g Carbs (105 GI index) 50g Whey protein (80% - Not blend) 5g Creatine
Post workout meal (30-60 minut post training): Oatmeal/Rice - Doesn't really care, just something with low GI index and then i'm aiming for 80-90g carbs Chicken/Tuna/egg whites - Aiming for around 50g protein.
I've been thinking alot of buying Protein blends (Advanced is the one i've been looking at(Whey/Egg/Casein)) - Is it worth it, for post workout?
Btw if anybody of you is wondering why you dont see any fat in my meals, it's because i'm eating by the John Beradi's mass eating principples, so Pre, post is Carbs and prot only. All other meals Prot + Healthy fat.
So there's no reason to use Glutamin, i'll get that through my protein powder. What about BCAA and beta alaine. It's really not expensive. Really nobody that recommend it?
Don't make your purchases simply because a company has nice advertisements in magazines or promises 15 lbs of muscle in two weeks. Those companies spend more money on their marketing than they do on providing you (the consumer) with a quality product.
Many of the best products will not be sitting on the shelves at your local GNC. The nutritional supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar business and a lot of companies have tried to take advantage of that.
Look for companies who have a good reputation but not the ones who are plastering their name all over the place with 300 lbs walking-pharmacy bodybuilders saying that they take their products.
Here are some realistic expectations for your supplements:
Protein Powders - When used consistently they can increase recovery and help you to improve body composition. The gains are gradual and you should expect maybe 1/2 lbs of muscle per week on average. The most important thing here is to use a quality product that has a good amino acid profile and contains a high amount of isolates. Protein blends are great if you can afford them. If you want a benchmark then you can go with Men's Health top picks - they chose Biotest's Metabolic Drive Protein and AtLarge Nutrition's Nitrean Protein as their top 2 protein powders (both are blends).
Creatine - With a good quality creatine product you can expect to gain about 3-5 lbs of water weight initially. You should see strength increases at about the three week mark and a slight boost in your lifts. Do not expect to automatically put 50 lbs on your bench press, but it is possible to gain 15-20 lbs on that lift over the course of a few weeks. Again, consistency is key - no loading period and just 5 grams per day, everyday. **With products like cell tech you may have a slightly higher weight gain due to the high sugar content.
Beta-Alanine - Works well with creatine, this product is a lactic acid buffer that helps allow you to stay under tension for longer. If you are doing a high intensity program such as 20-rep squats then something like beta-alanine can make a big difference for you. Overall the gains will be moderate but it is a worthwhile supplement when looking at cost:value.
Glutamine - If you are on a high protein diet and drinking shakes this is not necessary. Recent information has shown that powdered glutamine is not utilized very efficiently by your body.
Superpump - You are mostly just paying for the advertising and the caffeine. You can replace this with any stimulant, HOT-ROX is a great product if you are looking for a pre-workout boost.
Hope this helps, there is a lot of information floating around out there about supplements. Some of the resources that you would hope have the best information (magazines) are sometimes the worst sources because they are fueled by advertising.
Shakes, I really like that someone knowledgeable like you is willing to put in thought and time to a post to help guide people like the OP. Definitely a nice addition to the forum.
I will say one thing though in regards to your post: I don't necessarily agree that BCAAs are a waste. I made some pretty sweet gains when I was at my best level of physique by adding in megadoses of BCAAs. I was taking in about 90g/day on training days, and about 50g/day on non-training days. If you use capsules, this is very pricey but using a powdered version makes this a solid cost-effective addition. Obviously OP should make sure to cover his bases first though.