T Nation

Staple Supplements for Size


Hi All,

I'm just wondering what supplements you consider a must when increased size is the goal?

Thanks in advance.


as an absolute requirement, quality whey, dextrose/maltodextrin/waxy maize, BCAA's, with fish oil and ZMA as assumed dietary suppliments. creatine is nice, if it works for you, but i wouldnt say it was by any means a requirement.


I was under the impression BCAA's were better used for cutting? Not saying that they wouldn't have there place in a size-gaining-plan, but I just feel if you're gonna want to get better bang for your buck, perhaps spend it somewehre else? I could be wrong though


bcaas stimulate protein synthesis, = more repair, = more growth. personally i find them a must. without them my recovery suffers significantly


Yes, but if you're bulking and getting adequate protein shouldn't you be getting enough BCAA's from your protein sources? Check out this article:



I've followed that line of reasoning for the majority of my training career. I might however, try BCAA's on my next supplement order just for the sake of curiosity.


I don't know that I would consider any of those as "absolute requirements". Whey is pretty close to a requirement, but only because it's difficult to get all the necessary protein without it. If you can get all your protein through real food, it would be just as good or better to do it that way. The rest are just kinda nice to have. Some of them nicer than others.


Why are you arguing this when you've clearly never tried it before. More BCAA's peri-workout will clearly reduce soreness.


and lots of it.


How have I clearly not tried BCAA's before? I actually have tried them and own some BCAA supps... How is it clear that it will reduce soreness though? I'm not trying to start a personal arguement with you, I'm just curious.


Again, I'm not trying to argue that BCAA = no use. I'm just saying they might be more effective cutting, that's all.


Lots of food, whey protein only qualifies as food, it's not really a supplement in my book.

Creatine is mildly helpful.


BCAA's can help a little, but they are nowhere near a requirement. If you are on a budget, I probably wouldn't reccomend them. Ghost22 pretty much summed it up. Some things are mildy helpful, but eating and lifting are going to almost completely determine your gains (unless you used drugs).


To be honest, milk has been a good friend of mine for gaining size(broke college student here). I would call it a lower quality supp, but it's dirt cheap and fills the void if there is one or simply makes sure you are in caloric excess. I think this has helped more than anything else. Outside of milk, assuming you can't have it, a blend of whey and dextrose (and oil if you like) is surely the runner up. Dextrose is pretty cheap, too, and goes straight to work spiking insulin and filling up the muscles before/during/after a working.


Size is often cyclical in nature, in the traditional bulk then cut system, meaning that under traditional senses having a goal of size would not dictate the only supplements to take until goals changed.

Rather supplements should be suited to meta-phases. Cissus Quad. and water soluble cinnamon extract would be excellent supplements for mass when properly combined with diet. Turmeric could also help. Those supps help with nutrient partitioning and carbs can be eaten in optimal amounts while on these supplements while minimizing detrimental fat gain.

Conditioning is also a determinant of ultimate work capacity (and size) and doesn't really diminish mass gains if performed regularly and intelligently. Supplements can also help aid this process, such as EGCG and other thermogenics. Also from personal experience, I like the condition I am able to get into while taking a combo of various ginsengs and a seperate ashwaghanda supplement (I believe approx 1 gram, 1/2 gram respectively).


Perhaps I went a little too analytical in my previous suggestion. Default to VTTrainer's suggestion.


Steak and potatoes, I always feel filled out after a big portion of each.


BPT- I was just trying to keep it simple, as I use to be a supplement whore in the past. I did manage to get very lean using some of those things. BCAAs surely helped me stay lean and keep strength. From my experience in bulking, which I have to say is limited as I'm only 5'9" at 185-190, calorie surplus and protein intake has been the most important part. I surely went above 10%bf, with a bod pod measurement of 19%, but the weight barrier was my goal of beating.

OP- This may not be try at all, but outside of things like healthier gainer shakes and calories (plus health supps like Vit. C, fish oil, herbs, etc), I tend to think of supplements helping th most when trying to lean out. If you dont have a lot of cash to blow, just eat good food, and if you don't have any issues with money I personally would get some really great food, all depends on your goals though. My biggest piece of advise is keep your appetite up, because if you lose it the bulking will suck, more. good luck


...and it's the damn tastiest thing ever=P with some fried eggs? hell yeah!

Again, I'm no pro or anything, but i guess here's my final .02:

-If you can afford BCAAs on top of having a SOLID bulking diet, go for it.


Seems like you only read the first word of the article. Quote J. Harris: Iâ??m more of a fan of BCAAs in the off-season. BCAAs, specifically the BCAA, L-leucine, are very anabolic compounds. They are somewhat insulinogenic in their actions, and L-leucine is shown to essentially be the specific amino acid trigger for protein synthesis. Because of this, I feel they can provide benefits above and beyond the typical amino acid profile found in most foods. ' from your own article dude. Im sticking with my reccomendation of BCAAs or leucine specifically as a 'supplement' which is after all what this guy was wasking for' i was assuming he was already sorted for diet.