T Nation

Help Choosing Supplements


HELP, I'm drowning.

drowning in the chaos of what is the supplement market is... So many choices, so many decisions


I've been pretty lax the last couple of weeks, enjoying the first portion of my summer, but its time to get back into my routine. Timed it to where i can start with a whole new cupboard full of proteinz, creatinez, beta-alaninez, etc....

I'm looking for a:

pre-w/o with some stimulant (for my morning sessions, i've been taking MP's Assault)
creatine (mono, ethy ester, hcl, malate?!?!)
BCAA to sip on during off-days, etc.

the "MUST HAVE" supplements are what im looking for. What are the additional things, which have some research behind their claims of course, that im missing? what must i buy?

I'd appreciate any feedback, thanks guys


There's no "MUST HAVE"s.

But, I'd prioritize a good multivitamin/multimineral, fish oil (or some other EFA source), and vitamin D as the most important. An additional B-complex and vitamin C might be worth considering too, as are zinc and magnesium.

Those I'd say are far more important than having the "right" preworkout or the "right" creatine.


John Meadows recently addressed a question concerning his supplement use--might be a good starting point:



Real food, THEN supplements.

What did you eat yesterday?

Can't tell you anything, until the basic are there.


BCAA supplements are mostly similar, as are creatine mono. Mono's definitely the way to go. I prefer BCAA pills as opposed to powders, but that's largely inconsequential. As far as pre w/o, it sort of depends on what you want to get out of it. Spike is good. I've enjoyed supps with dmaa, such as jack3d. makes my face tingle, in a good way. Since it's in the morning, brain candy would be a good option as well.


Look at his avatar, does it look like he doesn't know how to eat? He's clearly not a beginner. And he asked specific questions about 3 types of supplements. You don't need to know anything about his diet to answer the questions he asked.


I've got the diet thing down.. Supplements are called supplements for a reason.
I've been lifting consistently for the past 6 years, utilizing a random array of "branded" supplements, assuming they work properly. I've done lots of research on the topic, but there are still soooo many damn options.

I suppose i'm interested in first-hand feedback, and/or real knowledge, I'm sick of reading

thanks for the quick and thoughtful replies, im definitely going to check out the john meadows article, LOVE his stuff.. by the way, Meadows Rows are EPIC.


I've got Opti-men, and Some greens formula of controlled labs (tastes god awful). definitely need to get some fatty acids, im interested in the z-12/zma type supplementation...


Here's a silly question I didn't see asked or addressed yet...

What is your current goal?

That's a pretty big deciding factor in what supplements are better suited for the job. The only "must-have", regardless of goal, is a workout shake. Other than that, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

Why would you go for BCAAs instead of a protein powder on a non-training day? Are you fasting those days? (Serious question)


Question# 1

Assuming i'm gonna get some more info/advice [pretty please :slightly_smiling: ], i'll lay it out for ya
I'm ~195lbs. sitting somewhere around maybe 12% BF?(avatar is sorta current)
i never do 1RMs, ever.
- squatting 365x5 ass to the grass multiple sets
- DL 385x5 multiple sets
- DB bench 120sx5 multiple sets
- ~20+/- pretty-strict-form pullups

maybe that information is irrelevant.

I really dont have "specific" goals, but to keep lifting, and keep improving.
I'm NOT trying to "get shredded or get huge" i.e. bulk/cut

I'm trying to be as shredded and as huge as a dedicated guy can be over a long period of time...i.e. the rest of my life

I'm fine with slow gains, if it means i get to keep my abs kinda thing. everything in MODERATION!
I've got a great routine (modified WSBB4SB) and am improving.
My problem is i've run out of supplements! and i don't want to continue blindly buying things that may or may not be working. I think they work, im just reevaluating.

GOALS (i guess)
I want to keep getting bigger (4 lbs. heavier, same BF% ver 9 months, not great but im happy)
without getting fatter. thats it.

Question #2
YES! i do practice a little intermittent fasting! i love it.
I would ask that we PLEEASE not discuss this.
I'm interested in supplement advice/recommendations, nothing further.


I'm not looking for the miracle supplement. I'm looking for the ones that actually work, when used intelligently. I'm attempting to avoid the "fillers", and find the REAL supplements; the ones with real purpose. i.e. the creatinez proteinz beta-alaninez BCAAz vitaminz

maybe what im asking is really about the integrity of supplement companies. I want the honest, and transparent nutrition labels.

  • Multis
  • Fish Oil
  • BCAA's
  • Protein Powders
  • Creatine
    -Intraworkout or Postworkout drink w/ carbs and protein
  • Caffeine if you need an energy boost

That's it. I'm tired of wasting my money on anything else. I'm basically changing my philosophy to yours. Make it a long term life style instead of trying to chase that magic pill

EDIT: The following stuff is good, but I don't consider it a supplement:

  1. Love Z-12
  2. Greens powder for days I don't get enough veggies
  3. Probiotics


Yeah, the greens based stuff smells awful and tastes awful. My multi is all greens based so I know where you're coming from.

For the EFAs, I've found it's just easier to get used to taking a liquid fish oil than capsules, at least if you're taking it in the quantities recommended around here. Liquid fish oil wise, I've tried both Nordic Naturals and Carlson's, and I prefer Carlson's. It's thinner and easier to swallow. Right now, I'm taking a tablespoonful in the morning and night. You can mix it with shakes and it give a mild lemony flavor.

But if you want capsules, Flameout seems to be probably the best option as far as getting the most EFAs with the least amount of pills.

Personally, I sleep better with magnesium just before bed. It would probably be worth experimenting with a ZMA, but I'll wait until I'm out of my cheap Mg capsules.

And as far as vitamin D, the capsules are extremely concentrated these days, so you can get 5000 IU in a pill smaller than a pea.

EDIT: link to article about vitamin D http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/d_is_for_doping


So I should recommend Plazma (or any high carb pre workout) if he is on the Anabolic Diet?

You don't know where you are going, until you know where you are. Looking at an avatar and making a recommendation is called an assumption.

Knowing a little more (like he provided) gives people a better reference point to make a recommendation.

OP, you are not the only one to get that way. Damn supplements company promise you the moon.

I can honestly say that anything Biotest makes , is great. I have tried supplements since the '80 and can safely say that they are excellent quality. And very much value for the price.

You can always click on the store tab and choose your goal. It will make a recommendation for you.



The one thing I like to recomend with suplements, is one at a time. I train alot of young guys, and they get all wound up about sups. With my guys, I already know that their tracking their workouts, and progress. My recomendations are to add one sup at a time, and keep all other factors the same, wait atleast 45 days, to keep an eye on how it affects your strength, and in your case condition.

This isn't the fast answer guys are looking for, but over the coarse of a year you'll be able to put togeather a list that works for you. This will let you spend money on the right items, and not waste it on sups that don't work for you. For me after the staples (omega, multi ) I have found ZMA to be 1st on my list, from a strength stand point, and I spend good money for a good product.

I also use a pre workout, but I found a cheap version at Wallmart. I'm looking for Caffine, creatine, and beta-aline in my pre workout, not much else. So for me I found a cheap product from a known brand, that has what I want for 19$ lol, anyway just take the time OP to find what works for you, and whst doesn't. Goodluck


LoRez, I take a ton of fish oil as well. You might laugh but I buy Atlantic salmon oil from the pet store, lol. I bought a bottle one time from sup shop, than walked next door to pet store. The bottle in my hand was identical to a bottle on the shelf, just different label, and 1/4 the price. So ever since I buy it there, my girl makes fun, but whatever.


beta alanine pre workout, and try out a bunch of second generation creatines -CEE works great for me, but for many people does nothing. Krealkalyn vice versa.

Digestive enzymes for big/postworkout meals

Neptune krill oil

hydrolysed protein anywhere peri workout massively boosts recovery (if you have a decent budget)

Metabolic Drive is great as a regular protein


Welp, i did it. Didn't change anything. bought the same shit. I haven't taken any supps for 3-4 weeks, so I'm hoping that this go around, i'll be able to tell the difference.

nutrabolics isobolic
musclepharm assault

critique? I'd love some opinions

REALLLY wanted to go with Biotest, but i just can't afford it (found a 10% coupon at a discount supp store :confused: )
Gonna pick up ZMA and creatine malate from Biotest, cycle the con-cret and creatine malate, see what happens.

Plazma was intriguing, especially after John Meadows, but $$$. i'm not nearly enough prepared to get that serious!


I try not to take supplements with stupid names.


solid approach.. however, the ingredients, at least what they say is contained in their fancy packaging, seems relatively solid.