T Nation

Will All These Supps Actually Help?


I don't mean to make any enemies here, what I ask is in earnest and I hope no one here is offended because I think T-Nation is an amazing website.

Will the "stacks" regularly pushed in articles around here actually do anything to benefit my work out? I was looking at some of them and they all look pretty expensive, and I know T-Nation has margins to meet, therefore I was wondering if they're actually useful and what do they do?


Well, you can start by letting us know what your diet looks like now because if it's beyond repair then no amount of supplements can really do you any good.


Hi buddy.
It all depends on your goals, your diet, your training schedule and where you are at.
Tell us more about your training, diet and goals, and I can reccomend which supplements would be best for you.

A good fish oil and protein powder is pretty much staple.

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In my experience, all of the Biotest products do what they claim to do.

That said, they're supplements mean to supplement your diet. Many people take supplement after supplement thinking it's what's going to make them get lean/huge/both/etc, when they're a very small piece of the puzzle.

Pretty much everyone with fitness goals in mind should be taking a quality protein powder and fish oil, though, and Biotest just happens to make those.


useful; yes. expensive;most definitely. there are some staples as mentioned {quality isolate&casein powders, efa's, arginine, beta alanine, creatine IMO are very useful} but your first priority should be quality food sources and proper nutrition. nutrition/diet is the be all end all.

if you want to try some different supps around workout times i would advise trying one at a time before starting a big stack to see what works for you and what makes you nauseous (ex too much beta alanine...sucks).


Like everyone's said so far, the right supplements can help if your training and nutrition are also properly targeted. Quality-wise, Biotest is top of the list.

Um... there are 33 different products in the store here. Any particular ones you were thinking about?

In another recent thread, you said you're 6'0" and 165 pounds. That's skinny. (No offense meant. I was 6'2" and 170 in high school, and was called 'lanky' so often I probably could've had it put on my license.)

Without knowing any more about you, I'd suggest prioritizing a protein like Metabolic Drive Muscle Growth to make high-calorie shakes during the day (to be had in between several other solid meals) and Surge Recovery to get your peri-workout nutrition sorted out.




IMO, the priority of supplements is (in descending order):

1.) vitamins, minerals, and omega 3

2.) creatine (5 g per day)

3.) bcaa (10 - 20 g per day)

4.) beta alanine (2 g per day)

5.) protein powder

6.) all other BB and performance supplements

Note: 2 - 6 will not "do anything" if you don't do enough exercise or get enough rest. As others have said, this assumes diet is good.



Seriously bud, you're going to have to be more specific.


First you may need to cover any mineral/vitamin/omega-3 deficiencies with supps.

Other than that,
protein powders can be very practical,
BCAAs can be useful peri-WO.


Not sure how much training experience you have or how much you know about nutrition and how much money you have to spend. However here's my suggestion for cost effective supplementation:

1) Multivitamin and Fish-oil (~2 g EHA 1.5g DHA per day)

2) Focus on protein intake after that. Shoot for 1 gram protein per pound body weight. A bit higher if cutting fat. Use whey, casein or a mix (like Metabolic Drive) to supplement here.

3) Don't worry about eating all the time unless you want to grow and can't gain weight. Definitely eat big after training (50-60% of your daily intake). Focus on real food. If you want to supplement pre workout, use something simple like Metabolic Drive or whey and a simple carb source. It's just as good, if not better, than MAG-10. In fact, research shows that casein hydrolysate may be fastest digesting, but also isn't as effective as whey or casein at getting aminos into the bloodstream. I believe Lyle McDonald reviewed this research, but you'll have to google as any links I post will be removed. Also search out Martin Berkhan (Lean Gains) and Alan Aragon for nutritional information.

4) This site is an excellent resource for training information and learning from others who've been training much longer than you, but you should get your nutritional education from experimenting with your own diet and reading.


'Supplements' aren't necessary, but they can make things easier, more convenient, and at higher levels of training (or competing), can make differences to people who have already squared away their diet and training. I like to think that I made a great deal of progress without any fancy products. Still, I don't think I would have been able to achieve my competitive success without the supplements I have come to rely on. Of course I'm probably at a much different level progress wise than the OP, but if the 'basics' can help you start laying a solid foundation, then the products you'll find on this site are without peer.



focus on real food. i take that to mean, protein shakes aren't real food. is milk real food. just cause its liquid, doesn't make it a food. if you eat a bananna, thats food, but when you put it in a blender, its no longer food? how is eating a steak and sweetpotato better than a protein shake with a bananna added or some other carb source? Anything that has calories is food. it doesn't have to be solid for it to be considered food. but many people here seem to think of protein powders as supplements. i don't get why.


^^so protein powder isnt a supplement?


There's only certain Biotest supplements that I really can't go without... as if I feel 'off' when I'm not taking them. Those are:

Flameout - I take 6-7 of these a day. You can just do regular fish oil, but I like Flameout because it has more DHA than EPA. I get much leaner from upping the dosage to this, even up to 8 Flameouts a day.

SWF/Anaconda/MAG-10... Mix this with 1L, and the way my muscles feel during a good session is indescribable. They just feel 'pumped' and hydrated as hell. If there was every a feeling for 'anabolism', this is it. BUT, you don't need to spend this much money. Focus on: electrolytes, lots of water (at least 1L!!!), BCAA, creatine, beta alanine. Beta alanine is one of the best supps in the world. Biotest just makes it damn convenient with the liquid flavoring and Nalgene bottle.

Power Drive (or brain neurotransmitters in general, there is a LOT of science behind these) - simply put, when I don't take it, something is 'missing' in my workouts. However, I've started taking 2 pills of Fast Brain 2.0 by Poliquin, which I have to say, is my all time favorite supplement. The focus I get is out of this world.

It has 100mg of phosphatidylserine, a great neurotransmitter (which is in Power Drive as well, in the same amount), as well as huperzine A (it's main ingredient), bacopa, vinpocetine, and ginkgo. What I did today is: 1 shot Alpha-GPC/2 Java Stim (caffeine)/2 Fast Brain pre-workout, and Power Drive post-workout. Shit is amazing, best drive in the gym I've ever had.

Receptormax - my workouts are always better when I take it. It might be placebo, but I doubt it, I have been taking it for awhile. I attribute it to the ALCAR and R-ALA.

The rest of the Biotest stuff, I don't really notice or could do without (but I don't, hehe).


no, protein powder is a food. if a person uses protein powder as their main source of protein as i do, its food, not a supplement. a peice of steak is all protein, is that a supplement? how is that different than protein powder. only difference is, the protein in a good protein powder is far superiour to any natural food source.


Picky picky picky. Perhaps I should have stated it this way:

Focus on meeting your protein intake using a combination of food and protein powders. After that, you don't really need anything else besides food.


Oh and get some sleep. At least 8 hours a night.


are you really asking how a man made powder is different than a piece of meat off of an animal?

^^What? How do you figure?

If that was even remotely true then why would any actual eat real food? Why would the top pros (Cutler, Phil, Kai, ect.) EVER eat real meat if protein powder was better protein?


first, they have done many studies on the efficiency of many different proteins. You can't compare a peice of steak to whey protein isolate or protein hydrolosate(spelling). those proteins are many times more potent than meat. not to mention far healthier. as far as some pros eating meat, well, perhaps they like the taste of it. perhaps they have the inner need to chew, who knows. but ask any real expert, whats better for muscle building, a peice of steak or a protein shake of whey isolate. no comparison son.