T Nation

Supps for Newbies


Hey guys,

I was just wondering which are the staple supplements worth investing in if you are a beginner?

Apart from protein powders such as Grow! and Low Carb Grow! what other supplements could help a newcomer progress faster in the iron game?

Creatine, Glutamine, ZMA, HMB, BCAAs, Biotest M, Carbolin 19, etc, etc, etc...?? There is soooooooooo much stuff in the market, one doesn't really know what is suitable for their goals.

My goal (as a beginner) is to try and increase strength and size as efficiently and as quickly as posibble. That is, pack on the pounds and the maximum LBM possible in the shortest period of time (I already know that this also requires rigorous and disciplined dieting and training regimes).

Thanx for your input and feedback !



Food, then worry about supplements. Until the diet is fixed, I wouldn't waste time or money with other things.


What if the diet issue (until now) is already addressed??


Give yourself another 6 months before worrying about supplements other than those for health purposes such as ZMA.


More food. Don't worry about supplements until you've been consistent with eating to gain for six months. Until then, you're essentially throwing money away.


After nailing a diet and learning how to add mass ALONE. I would say creatine is a great addition at anytime. Glutamine is a waste of time and money if you eat enough protien.

After that add them as they fit your goals. One at a time to see how they effect and work for you.

Just my 2 cc,


What age range? Newbie doesn't always mean 16-18. If you are that young though, you really don't NEED aything more than adequate nutrition.

That said--you can reap the benefits of creatine, fish oil, multi-vit.,and even some of the others you have mentioned. If money is no object and you do your research as to what helps what and what counteracts what you can supplement accordingly.


With your past history, 6 months.

I just have an eerie feeling if someone says "go for it" you might start abusing supplements.

Call me a dick, but your previous threads do not indicate that you are in the mindset to respect proper usage/dosage.



I have to respect them man, my wallet cannot afford them otherwise !

How about just getting Surge? I haven't yet addressed my post workout meal and I think that could be the key to continue gaining..

I was leaning towards Surge & ZMA for the time being.

Btw, I'm 21 (in case anybody wants to suggest which supplemment I shouldn't even think of taking)


Optimizing post workout nutrition is important, and Surge is a great way to support this, but its not the end game like everyone seems to think.

My post workout nutrition is 1lb of ground beef and some spinach and I gain just fine. If you can't gain without Surge you won't gain with it.

Would Surge help? Yes. Necessary? No.


I'm sure Surge is a great product. I haven't tried it yet. You do need to address this window if you really haven't given it any thought.

What you really need here is a combo of simple carbs and fast digesting protein. Nothing more nothing less. Ingest this in a short time after your workout. Then come back an hour or 2 later with a more solid meal of more complex carbs and proteins.

If work or other parameters don't allow for perfect timing--don't worry about it. Get your post workout shake down and go from there. If you have to make it the night before do so and add the protein before you drink it. Or simply add 20g or so of protein in a gatorade and slam it.

Supps are great--for convenience sake. Real food is better for you and usually much cheaper in the long run.

Take in enough overall cals.
Get 1-1.5 g protein per lb/bw
use simple carbs right after your workout.
Get plenty of good fats in your diet.
The rest is just for convenience.


I'd say stick with the food for now. But if you must take something, creatine monohydrate and Carbolin-19 are probably the only things worth spending any cash on right now.


It depends how you define supplements, but I consider anything with vitamins, minerals, or calories to be optimum for a beginner. I repeat - optimum.

There are so many changes going on in the beginning that it's a waste to use non-food performance enhancers. You need to learn how to get the most out of just food, training, and recovery before using supplements or you'll be shortchanging yourself. If you are not improving fast enough it's your diet, training, or recovery.

If you are not improving fast enough it's your diet, training, or recovery.

Yes, I wrote that twice. Read it a few times more. Once you feel that you don't need supplements to improve is probably when it's okay to use them. It's kind of a paradox. If you think you need them, you're not doing things right. They will help when you get to a more experienced state, but right now the basics are what you need to improve, anything else is money down the drain.


I think, at this point, Surge would be an excellent addition to your diet. Just because you CAN gain without it, doesn't mean that you can't gain more effeciently with it. Post workout nutrition is extremely important--don't neglect it. Furthermore, call it what you will, I consider Surge (and protein powders for that matter) to be "enginered food"--not a "supplement".



i would try trac after you got the diet down. that is aome good stuff. take it for a about 4 months and then stop taking it 2 week off break, then get back on it after. damn will you see a dramatic change in your lifting. or if you want something with energy to help you through your workouts i would take no xplode. you will have so much energy you will have to make your workouts longer.


So then, is Carbolin 19 a good idea to ensure more LBM gains as opposed to fat during bulking (ie. what I'm currently doing)??

Its pretty pricey, but I wouldn't mind it if I could earn some rock solid muscle. I think Surge and Carbolin 19 should do the trick IMO. Is ZMA a necessity as well??


If its called a supplement, I don't think it's a "necessity".


Just. Fucking. Eat.

You don't need ANYTHING but food until you've got the eating thing down. Protein powder, Surge, and essential fatty acids are all food, and these are fine. But trying to take anything else before you stick with a quality eating plan for six months is kind of like buying posters for your house before you've built walls.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Besides food, the only additional supplements you should consider are Grow!, Surge, a multivitamin and ZMA. And two of those are food supplements, and the fourth is a nice thing to include, especially for the sleep.


Craig, it seems as if some people believe that supplements such as Carbolin 19 are only beneficial to those who have been training for years. This is, of course, nonsense. If you end up ditching your training because you loose motivation (as many newbies do), then you waste some money--it's not the end of the world! If, however, the Carbolin 19 can increase your results this will be very powerful motivation to continue.

So, I still think the Surge is your number one priority right now. I believe the addition of Surge to your program will be very beneficial. However, if you can afford it, adding Carbolin 19 would increase your LBM gains.

  • Protein powders
  • Surge
  • EFA's: Fish oil caps; flax oil
  • ZMA

As money permits:

*Carbolin 19 or
* Methoxy-7 (in that order)