T Nation

Evolving A Supplement Stack

I’ve tried a wide variety of supplements both since I started working out again last year, and the first time I was big into it in the mid 90’s.

My experience has been that alot of them were a total waste of time and money (DHEA), and others it was just too hard to tell if they were working or not (Animal Pak). My supplement strategy is four-fold:

  1. Stay legal (no roids for me, but if you like em, go for it) 2) Avoid anything that carries serious health risk (like thyroid compounds) 3) Only buy the things that have the biggest bang for the buck (quality products though) and 4) I don’t like supplementing all day, so peferably a strategy that has me taking things twice a day at most. I just don’t think popping pills and various substances all the time is a good thing.

My favorite for a long time was Hot Stuff, LOL I think everyone used it at one time or another. Just recently, now that I’ve found a taste I like (vanilla), I’ve switched to Metabolic Drive, which with 1% milk and ice is basically like a giant morning milkshake before/during my workout.

This ups my protein intake considerably, breaks my fast, and handles my workout nutrition all at the same time. (see articles on pre-workout nutrition vs. post) This I take religiously every day, even when not training. Considering I never even ate breakfast previously it’s a big improvement and I’ve definitely noticed the results so that’s here to stay.

Now that I’m not taking Hot Stuff with it’s built in Creatine, I decided to pick up Biotest’s brand and add it to my morning shake, and that’s working well both results-wise and taste-wise. (very important if I’m going to do this for the rest of my life)

I’ve been trying to add in fish oil capsules because it seems like everybody and their brother thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, but I’m having trouble scheduling it properly. I do get some fish burps from Flameout, and while they’re controllable, they don’t go well with my morning routine (vanilla/fish don’t mix). Maybe taking them to work and having them at lunch might be the way to go.

Okay, so that covers the holy trinity, now for the other stuff.

I don’t currently take a multi-vitamin. I’ve tried it in the past, and never noticed any difference one way or the other. From my research, it seems that most of them are pretty poorly designed anyways. I eat a variety of different foods including fruits and vegetables, and as best I can tell that seems to work fine. (anecdotal) I’m open to suggestions on this subject though.

I tried Maximum Strength HOT-ROX a few months back, and while I did notice some increased body temperature for a few days, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the results. On the one hand my diet and exercise stayed constant so that should have shown some effect, but on the other hand, my diet isn’t that strict so the results could have been within the margin of error.

In addition, I only went through about 70% of one bottle, and from what I read you need a longer trial period than that to see optimum results.

For the moment, fat burners just don’t seem to add enough kick to make them worth it, especially with my hyper energy efficient metabolism (read slow and good at making me fat). At this point I’d probably see more progress with better dietary control, but so far that has been a difficult control issue. For my brain, tuna fish, olive oil and some avocado is not a meal, it’s a list of ingredients, and a partial one at that.

I’ve been feeling sort of run down, with a low sex drive, and periodic mild depression. This doesn’t improve during off periods or with extra rest so I don’t think it’s overtraining, especially as I haven’t experienced any of the other symptoms.

As of last week I started taking the new Alpha Male formula, and although the effects are kind of subtle, it’s definitely doing something. Sex drive is up (both in ahem…performance, and desire to view pornographic material, etc.) Mood is somewhat improved, I feel a little more like I did say 5-8 years ago, and I’ve been more aggressive/irritable instead of depressed (both pretty mild, but noticeable).

I want to try it for a longer period to see if this lasts, but so far I have to give it a thumbs up.

I used to be really big on caffiene, both in coffe, soda, and pills, but I’ve been trying to cut down on the stimulants. Since I’ve been working out, I don’t feel as much need for them nowadays anyway.

I looked into greens+ since I’ve got the Precision Nutrition materials, but I don’t know, it just looks icky, and there is an aweful lot of ingredients in there with very little research behind them.

Biotest has their new BCAA product out, but I’m not sure I’m willing to spend another $30 a month, especially since I already supplement with protein and eat meat at nearly every meal.

I’m pretty much a recreational lifter, my main goal at the moment is improved body composition, though I do admit that I’ve been getting a bit of fun out of the whole increased strength deal, especially grip strength. (up to 2 reps several times a day on the #1 COC)

So I’d like comments, suggestions, tell us what you’re using, and what you liked/didn’t like. Everyone has different results from taking supplements, and there are so many variables sometimes it’s hard to identify exactly what’s going on, but just share what’s working or not working and what you’re thinking of trying.

Here’s my list - I gave higher ratings to those I know work, by their obvious effect. Hope it helps someone:

Creatine - Boosts ATP, volumizes cells. Go off it if you don’t believe… You’ll be back. A+

ZMA - Wicked dreams, morning wood. Must be testosterone. A+

FlameOut - I’d say it’s the best joint supp, after which I’d noticed a difference of less pain. It also seems to have helped my body composition. A

Organic By Nature “Best of Greens” - This is the real deal, greens only! Tastes like I’m doing the right thing. A

KAL Amino Max - Chelated minerals. Cheap enough insurance. A-

Protein Powders - Do they work? It’s so subtle an effect. Hence, lower rating. B+

Ester-C - Maybe Dorian Yates was right. I do feel like I heal quicker since beginning it. B+

Glucosamine+MSM - Seems to help some with the elbows and knees. B

BCAAs - Does this work? Would be such a subtle effect. But I still get DOMs. B-

Bromelain - Might be better for joints if I had enteric-coated. But it does help to digest food, this I know. C+

[quote]blue9steel wrote:
I don’t currently take a multi-vitamin. I’ve tried it in the past, and never noticed any difference one way or the other. From my research, it seems that most of them are pretty poorly designed anyways.

This is why I’m waiting for Biotest to come out with a multivitamin. At least, I hope they do.

[quote]Scott aka Rice wrote:
This is why I’m waiting for Biotest to come out with a multivitamin. At least, I hope they do.[/quote]

Tim mentioned something, a while back, about Biotest developing a vitamin/mineral/antioxidant formulation.