T Nation

Supplements on a Budget; Change program?

I understand the importance of supplements in training in general and specifically in certain programs. I understand the ‘if you’re doing the V-Diet without the supplements, you’re not really doing the V-Diet’ mentality. That makes perfect sense to me.

Question is, how essential are they to a program like CT’s 6 weeks to superhero? I understand they are fantastic complements to the lifting component of the program. As a full time college student struggling to pay for food, gas, and rent, I don’t frequently have the spare cash to drop money on supplements these days. (I work 30 paid hours a week and don’t spend much on alcohol or other stupid shit.)

Leucine (because I can stretch it out for a long time and the gains are fantastic) and the occasional ZMA (because I’m an insomniac and love the shit) are all I can really get on a consistent basis. Are the Anaconda, Workout Fuel, MAG-10 etc recommendations absolutely essential to the training system, or should I be able to make decent gains without them? I hear the constant advice of ‘Don’t Frankenstein programs,’ and ‘No you can’t sub X with Y, either do the program or don’t do the damn program!’ which is what has me curious. And, of course, V-Diet just isn’t V-Diet without the supplements.

I am 6’1, 215, 20% body fat, 23 years old, 3 years serious training experience, plenty of that time spent fucking up and learning things the hard way.
Dead 425
Bench 250
Squat 345

My current training goal is to drop down to 12-14% body fat because lately I find my gut disgusting. Hopefully I will do this in 12 weeks or less. I will probably end up trying the 6 weeks to superhero without supplements anyways because I (love learning things the hard way) am curious. Secondary goal is to retain as much muscle as possible while becoming leaner. Third goal is to prime myself for a clean mass building phase coming off this leaning phase. Oh, and fourth goal would be to save up enough money to buy a bottle of MAG-10 some time in that time period.

I am following a carb cycling diet as described by this site.

I don’t know if all that shit is essential to the question, but people seem to get railed for not putting it in so hey what the hell.

Would I be better off grabbing a more basic program that doesn’t emphasize the supplement component quite so strongly? My assumption is that as a still relatively young (in training age) lifter I should probably be fine.

Any advice on absolute essentials for someone who can maybe scrape together an extra 30-50 bucks a month to spend on sups? If not I’ll plan on sticking to the Leucine ZMA combo.

Thanks to anyone who took the time to actually read all this.

In my very small amount of experience, supplements are never NEEDED in order to do a strength program and follow a diet. Spend your money on gym fees and real food IMO

In my opinion, the only (legal) supplements that have worked are creatine and BCAAs, and I dont even know if creatine works all that well for me anymore. Ethanwest is right though, money spent on good food is better.

protein powder , fish oil , caffeine!

whey protein, creatine and fish oil for me. I haven’t fot the spare cash to be splashing out hundreds every month either so i make do with these.

Gatorade, whey isolate, fish oil, caffeine is my “stack”. Oh yeah, food. Lots of it.

That’s a ridiculous idea (doing a different program because of lack of supplements). I’m afraid to say that you’ve been brainwashed by supplement propaganda.

Heavy weights, food and consistency build muscle, not supplements

In all my years of training, I’ve NEVER consistently taken a supplement other than protein (which is simply for convenience not because it magically gives me an edge)…haven’t even taken creatine for more than a couple of weeks at a time

I’m not against them, I just feel that people use them as a crutch/make or break thing.

As for fat loss, do it gradually (e.g. a drop of 1lb/week). Don’t needlessly add more cardio/drop calories if you are seeing results. Give an amount of exercise per week/calories per day a chance to work before hastily changing it (like at least 2-3 weeks). That’s how you’ll maintain strength/muscle while losing fat. Simple, sensible and un-sexy - but it works :slight_smile:

Just buy any regular cheap whey protein and some gatorade powder or cheap carb like maltodextrin and take it pre and post training