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Supplements That You Would Never Go Without

So where do you draw the line with this? There is so many supplements on the market that I just don’t know anymore not to mention I would need a 2nd job to pay for them all. Other than Protein powder, BCAA’s, glutamine, creatine and a good multi am I missing anything for optimal performance? Thanks

Fish oil…

I’ve heard that BCAA’s and glutamine don’t work. I don’t know a ton about supplements, but no supplement will help so much that its worth buying if your on a low budget as far as I know

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I draw the line at what is proven vs. what is postulated.

Creatine has been proven to work through x mechanism to y extent etc.

Miracle substance X may be correlated with blahblahblah <------ is bullshit.

Narrows the field significantly.

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I feel like this drastically changes with age, but at 26… nothing? I mean, I like to get a bottle of preworkout once in a while just for fun… I typically always have a 5lb tub of whey, just for busy days where I cant really get in a meal… if I think about it I’ll get on a creatine kick for a few months… otherwise I just try to eat my bodyweight in food every day.

Unless you’re noticeably deficient in an important category, or fighting for that last 1% of bodyfat, or strength, I’d say eating is infinitely more important to be concerned about.

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I’m with Skyzyk on this one. If you do some research on a supplement (creatine, magnesium citrate, citrulline malate 2:1, etc) and all you find is subjective/non peer-reviewed findings, it’s probably not worth buying.

If you’re going to be spending money on supplements, micronized creatine should be very high on the list. Arguably the first thing on the list. Creatine has been researched and studied for years, and the proof that it works for a large majority of people is concrete.

My opinions:
Protein powder is a big yes, but remember it is a supplement. Continue eating 200g protein (or whatever your goal is) and add a shake or two each day. supplement with it.

BCAA’s is a tough one, but it’s a no from me. Same with glutamine. I’ve read mixed opinions on both. Some people swear by glutamine and BCAA’s, and other people (like me) don’t have $15-30/month to be throwing away on cheap supplements that may or may not work.

Multis are tricky, because it seems like a total no-brainer. However, and I can’t find the source right now (shit), I’ve read that certain micronutrients block other micronutrients from being absorbed. That, and your body can only absorb so much of a certain nutrient at a certain time. So when you see a supplement that gives you 800% RDA for X micronutrient, there’s an infinitely slim chance that you’re actually going to be able to absorb it all.

If you’re going to supplement, I recommend picking a few critical micros that sound good to you and buying those instead. Right now I take vitamin D, B12, and iodine. Works pretty well for me. Good luck mate

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Thanks, awesome info guys. I don’t have the cash to spend on bs supps that don’t work, you guys just saved me a few hundred a month. Almost forgot fish oil. That’s one that i dont mind spending $ for a higher quality. I think whey is the only thing I’ll continue to purchase, good food is the only thing one needs. Some guys live on these supps, its a psychological addiction i think and who knows if they are even safe

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They’re a no-brainer because they’ve been etched into our minds for years, but there’s beginning to be more and more evidence that if your diet is solid, multivitamins are useless, except for pregnant women getting the folic acid they need. I stopped taking multi’s years ago and never saw any adverse effects. Iodized salt, meat, veggies, grains, fruit, and you’re good.

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I would rank them like this:

  1. Fish oil
  2. Vitamin D
  3. Creatine
  4. Protein powder
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Most of the Time
-magnesium
-fish oil
-creatine
-zinc

Some of the Time
-ashwagandha
-rhodiola
-curcumin
-theanine
-aspirin

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Agreed. People like to take shortcuts, and people are overwhelmingly infatuated in finding themselves a panacea. Unfortunately, no such thing exists. The average uneducated gym bro will spend gobs of money on useless shit if he thinks it’ll give him an edge. I’ve been there, and I think a lot of people have. You feel like an idiot if you aren’t buying every supplement on the market when you first start exercising.

That being said, I do feel bad for people who get stuck in that cycle of buying new supplements all the time. It’s so easy to fall into that trap. The fitness industry is just another industry that preys on peoples’ insecurities (to get big you need X, to get shredded you need Y). Sad. Even something as common as pre workout is overused in my opinion. I’ve set a few PRs this summer without using pre workout a single time… although sometimes I miss it. lol

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I don’t know, but I’ll say this:

-Creatine never did anything for me, for some reason. I tried everything, even drinking it with chocolate milk, up to 20 grams a day to load. With maybe exception of ethyl ester that I was taking for shorter time, but I was total begginer back then so maybe it really did nothing. Ethy ester was first creatine I ever took, it tasted like crap tho.

-Whey protein is staple, for obvious reasons…

-Magnesium, Zinc and vitamin C improve my sleep and general well being.

-Eating fruits in general and spending time outside will most likley take care of rest of your body’s needs. With exception of taking multi for few days every once in a while.

To sum it up:

  1. Whey
  2. Magnesium
  3. Zinc and vitamin C
  4. Sometimes multi
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I’m definitely guilty of having spent too much money on fringe supplements that probably don’t have too much — if any — benefit to me. I’d say @lava2007 's research rule is worth adhering to. However, at least I can refer back to my own experience moving forward so it’s not all negative having tried different products.

What I consider essential depends on if I’m leaning out or if I’m trying to gain mass since when I’m leaning out there will inevitably be a few gaps that are normally filled in dietarily that I like to fill with supplements. So, on a diet, I’d be more inclined to buy powdered greens/fruits/berries than off-diet when I’m having fruits on my own.

Here’s what I’d always spend make sure to have in stock though regardless of phase (it will be short):

  • Whey

Yup, one entry. If money is coming in steadily, the list changes,

  • Whey
  • Creatine (it’s dirt-cheap)
  • Fish-oil
  • D-vitamin (where I live is weird, in the summer the sun never sets and in the winter we have about 1-2 hours of sunshine per day in December and those hours fall during work hours)
  • Some carbohydrate source, maltodextrin if I’m being cheap.

Right now I’m working through my stores of things that I’ve bought over time but eventually, I’ll revisit the design. Still experimenting, trying to find out what makes the biggest impact which is difficult. For instance, I have a tough time falling asleep, I haven’t found anything that helps with that for more than the first time I try it, and once asleep I still tend to wake up multiple times a night (nothing has really helped with that either). On the other hand, the quality of sleep I get has been noticeably better when running Z12 (Biotest), Gelatine, and Glycine. Right now I’m trying a ZMA product which doesn’t quite help as much as Z12 but it’s not unnoticeable.

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Protein powder, can be from plants (if one is lactose intolerant) or whey. Just because it is hard to get enough protein from real food if your caloric/protein intake is high. Everything else can come from a good diet. Maybe fish oil if your diet lacks seafood. But where I live, we eat a lot of seafood so it is unnecessary.

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So in other words: good food is the most important.

I totaly agree on this but I would not call protein powder a supplement, it is just dried food that is convenient if one don’t get enough protein for other food.

Regarding “bodybuilding supplements”, creatine is the only thing that is not bullshit.

Sure eat vitamins, minerals and fish oil too if you don’t think that you get enough from your food. But everything else is just bullshit with no real scientific support.

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Vitamin C
Fish Oil
Zinc
Creatine
Protein powder
And of course the very underrated gem, Beta-Alanine

Where do you live? What’s a diet high in seafood like? Do you worry at all about mercury?

My impression is that it only have support for performance on very long lasting sets with lactic acid, e.g. 400-1600 meters sprints, intervals, sports and Crossfit. Why do you take it?

Protein powder and BCAAs dont actually make it onto my list of ‘must have’ supplements, because I can get enough of both without supplementing.

Using that logic my year-round staples are:
Must haves
Vitamin D3
ZMA

Nice to haves
Creatine
Omega 3
5-htp
Vit b5

Optional
Protein powder
BCAAs

I’ve been a supplement junkie for 10 years and spent so much on supplements that, in hindsight, did little if anything. Quite nice to have boiled it down to the things I know are impactful and necessary.

Also nice to see a general consensus, or atleast significant overlap, on most people’s must have lists