T Nation

Top Supplements

I’ve read every article in T-Nation about supplements, but can’t come to a decision on what I need.

I want supplements that are not known to be carcinogenic (even though everything has the potential of being carcinogenic), and basically cheap (I’m a college student on a tight budget).

Just give me the top supplement I should take (other than whey protein) which you believe is essential to gaining muscle since I plan on using whey protein and this other supplement to help me. I can’t really afford more than one, so any help is appreciated.

Creatine. It’s dirt cheap and you can then spend the rest of your money on the best supp of all - food.

Vitamins and fish oil…make sure you are using those before you look into anything else

Food. Seriously.

I agree w/the above…

Creatine and a multi is your best bet. BCAA’s are also good (and fairly cheap) but if you are really limited i’d spend that money on food

For building muscle, I’d go with BCAAS over creatine, but you may be able to afford both (since creatine is so inexpensive).

[quote]Chewie wrote:
Food. Seriously. [/quote]

I absolutely agree. The older I get, the more I realize that only around 10% of people who “train” need to even worry about supplements. (I don’t include protein powder, something like Surge, and fish oil as supplements.)

No one will listen, though. People would rather spend hundreds of dollars on miracle pills rather than train hard and eat properly.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Chewie wrote:
Food. Seriously.

I absolutely agree. The older I get, the more I realize that only around 10% of people who “train” need to even worry about supplements. (I don’t include protein powder, something like Surge, and fish oil as supplements.)

No one will listen, though. People would rather spend hundreds of dollars on miracle pills rather than train hard and eat properly.[/quote]

I agree with you on this. the only supplements I use are whey, fish oils and aminos. The last two I just started using as of last year. Usually I just eat like there’s no tomorrow and at the same time keeping it clean meaning no fast food etc.

[quote]Mad Titan wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Chewie wrote:
Food. Seriously.

I absolutely agree. The older I get, the more I realize that only around 10% of people who “train” need to even worry about supplements. (I don’t include protein powder, something like Surge, and fish oil as supplements.)

No one will listen, though. People would rather spend hundreds of dollars on miracle pills rather than train hard and eat properly.

I agree with you on this. the only supplements I use are whey, fish oils and aminos. The last two I just started using as of last year. Usually I just eat like there’s no tomorrow and at the same time keeping it clean meaning no fast food etc.[/quote]

Mad Titan you’re a freak though!! Haha with all the supplements and food in the world most of us would be lucky to look like you!

I think a pre-workout energizer is highly under rated. You generally see lack of intensity as a key failing point for new and even some more advanced lifters. For me no supplement beats Spike or another energy supplement before hitting the weights.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Chewie wrote:
Food. Seriously.

I absolutely agree. The older I get, the more I realize that only around 10% of people who “train” need to even worry about supplements. (I don’t include protein powder, something like Surge, and fish oil as supplements.)

No one will listen, though. People would rather spend hundreds of dollars on miracle pills rather than train hard and eat properly.[/quote]

But then, way more than 10% of those who do train (and look good) use supplements, and it seems to help them.

I will say that, based on personal experience, arginine and creatine supps work. Had more energy and better pumps when I used them as compared to workouts lacking them, but if you’re on a tight budget, enough food is #1 priority.

Supplements are just that, they won’t make or break your training, just give it an edge. Eat right, sleep enough, and workout hard.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Chewie wrote:
Food. Seriously.

I absolutely agree. The older I get, the more I realize that only around 10% of people who “train” need to even worry about supplements. (I don’t include protein powder, something like Surge, and fish oil as supplements.)

No one will listen, though. People would rather spend hundreds of dollars on miracle pills rather than train hard and eat properly.[/quote]

Yep, and that is what companies are banking on.

[quote]dhuge67 wrote:
But then, way more than 10% of those who do train (and look good) use supplements, and it seems to help them.
[/quote]

Oh, 100% of people say supplements work - even when they don’t. So what “seems” to work for people really doesn’t matter to me.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
dhuge67 wrote:
But then, way more than 10% of those who do train (and look good) use supplements, and it seems to help them.

Oh, 100% of people say supplements work - even when they don’t. So what “seems” to work for people really doesn’t matter to me. [/quote]

Well, I’m not going to be the one to refute the research proving the efficacy of some of the products out there.

[quote]dhuge67 wrote:
Well, I’m not going to be the one to refute the research proving the efficacy of some of the products out there.
[/quote]

Fact scenario 1: Subject eats 1,000 calories below maintenance. He also doesn’t lift weights with any regularity or intensity. Identify OTC supplement that will allow subject to gain appreciable amounts of muscle mass.

Fact scenario 2: Subject eats 1,000 calories above maintenance. He is mostly sedentary. Most of the excess calories come form Hershey’s chocolate bars. Identify OTC supplement that will allow subject to lose appreciable amounts of bodyfat. Alternatively, identify OTC supplement that will allow subject to lose any amount of bodyfat.

You don’t even need to provide research. Just toss some supplement names out there.

If 1,000 is too much… Change the values to 500. Or 300.

In scenario 1, creatine might be a suitable answer. Though, technically, creatine does give you muscle gains.

In scenario 2, Carbolin 19 might be the right answer, if we lowered the value to zero - or maybe even as low as 100 calories.

Everyone wants to either gain muscle, or lose fat. (Or do both, which is another issue altogether.) So everyone would loosely fall into one of the first two scenarios.

So let’s hear about what supplements will work when a person is not eating or training “properly.”

The most important time for supplementation revolves around the workout, and for that reason I would recommend BCAA’s. You will notice significant improvement in recuparation with aminos. If your budget is really tight just focus on using BCAA peri-workout.

The fish oil and multivitamins are excellent too, but you can find these in food. The effect of bcaas during workout cannot be found in food, and therefore must be supplemented.

[quote]Scotacus wrote:
The fish oil and multivitamins are excellent too, but you can find these in food. [/quote]

Unless you want mercury poisoning, there is no way you can get enough fish oil from food.

Great responses, I appreciate it.

You’re definitely right about food, and I get plenty of it, but I’m one of those types that it’s hard to gain weight, so knowing that, would it be better to get Creatine or BCAA’s (as it seems to be the two more frequent responses)?

Also, are they safe?

I take a multi-vitamin everyday and take fish oil about 3 times a day since both are very cheap and last awhile.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Scotacus wrote:
The fish oil and multivitamins are excellent too, but you can find these in food.

Unless you want mercury poisoning, there is no way you can get enough fish oil from food.[/quote]

The scenario presented by the OP is clear: if I can only buy one supplement, what should it be.

Fish oil can be gotten from fish, sans mercury. Breaking that down, when we talk about fish oil, we’re talking about healthy fat – nothing magical. So, to get healthy fats, you can get it from lots of available foods, including, but not limited to, fish. Therefore no need to throw your only supp $$$ after fish oil.

He ought to throw his lonely (no offense) supp $$$ into where it is needed most: peri-workout, where food is not an option. And bcaa, or a bcaa periworkout cocktail, is more essential in this regard than say creatine. Based on experience it is where he will experience most difference.

[quote]blackmalice wrote:
Great responses, I appreciate it.

You’re definitely right about food, and I get plenty of it, but I’m one of those types that it’s hard to gain weight, so knowing that, would it be better to get Creatine or BCAA’s (as it seems to be the two more frequent responses)?

[/quote]

Creatine will likely help your performance, but is not essential, and my understanding is that you want to know basically what is essential. BCAA’s, or BCAA cocktail, will enable you to recover quicker. It is the most important supplement for the reason you already know – a supplement ideally augments natural food, not replace it. And food cannot do what periworkout BCAA’s do. It is also flexible, in that you can use it to feed your muscles outside the gym. You can use it to build muscle, to lose fat.

Is it safe? Well, if you mix it with heroin, inject it, then go joyriding in your dad’s ferrari then, yea, its kinda edgy. Otherwise, no worries.