If you have ever gone into a Vitamin Shoppe or a GNC, you know that the different types and brands of supplements seem to be in an endless supply. So the first question is what supplements should you consider taking? The next question is what brand should I use? This is generally a highly opinionated debate, but if you read the ingredient lists there are some supplements that stand out as the best bang for your buck.
Then the question arises, “Which are the bodybuilding supplements that work?” The problem with figuring this out is that in order to understand which supplement gets you the best bang for your buck, you truly have to understand how each supplement works. So in this article I will explain how some of the most important supplements work and therefore help narrow down the choices to a couple brands.
So without further ado, here are some of the most important bodybuilding supplements that work.
So if you’ve taken biology, you know that your body expends energy in two types. (If not, it’s super easy to understand.) So your body is actually more efficient when it uses oxygen to contract muscles. This is called aerobic. So it tries to use this more often when it can. When you go on a long slow run, you are using aerobic training, which is often why running is considered cardio, since it works your heart muscles to pump blood for better oxygen flow.
The problem is that super intense exercise such as lifting weights and high intensity exercise requires your body to supply a consistent amount of oxygen to your cells. It can’t keep up and anaerobic processes kick in quickly. This is where creatine kicks in.
When your body is in anaerobic condition, it uses an energy source called ATP. The TP stands for tri-phosphate (3 phosphates) When your body uses ATP it takes away one of the phosphate groups, and is left with ADP (Di-phosphate, or two). It’s essentially useless. Now creatine is a combination of three amino acids easily found in high quality meats. This is hopefully converted into phosphocreatine. This is just fancy smancy for saying it becomes usable to the body.
Imagine this scenario. You’re pumping out your last couple of reps for your heavy bench press. You are running out of ATP, and you can feel the lactic acid building up in your chest. Creatine is flowing around in your muscles and they bind to the ADP, creating ATP again. This means that you can work out in the anaerobic condition for a bit longer since you have more ATP to use.
Science Of Creatine
So now lets use science to find which brand of creatine works the best. We know that the creatine has to reach the muscles after digestion, and how would we do that? Well, the liquid forms of creatine have been shown to be ineffective, so we can eliminate all of those.
So of the powder forms you will find some many different names and creatine that have things added to it. The truth is, Although people will tell you that the glucose added creatine or blah blah works best, it’s just simply not true. Glucose will be prioritized by your system before creatine and therefore actually decrease absorption rates.
So I say stick to creatine monohydrate. It’s the cheapest and most effective form of creatine. Even if it’s not the best creatine source, I can guarantee it is the most effective serving/price ratio creatine there is. Creatine is a bodybuilding supplement that works!
So even when you narrow it down to creatine monohydrate, there are about 3000000 brands out there. Which one? Well I would say you can go to your local supplement store or Amazon and pick out any brand and you will have decent results. But if you want quality, I would suggest Creapure products, or any brand that uses purely Creapure, since they are known for their high quality product produced in Germany, not some lab in China.
Don’t forget, creatine won’t do anything for you if you don’t workout hard everyday and eat well! Health is the #1 goal.
#2 Vitamin D Supplements
So vitamin D is an interesting vitamin when talked about nutritionally. The thing is Vitamin D can actually be made in the body when you get sunlight. But the light has to be strong enough for you to absorb Vitamin D. Even on a sunny day, your body will only get Vitamin D from around. 11:00-2:00p.m. This means that for your average American working a 9:00 to 5:00 job, this will be almost impossible. This fact has led to over 90%(depends on the study used) of all Americans to not get enough Vitamin D.
So let’s learn a little more about what type of Vitamin D is the best in the business and how it works. Vitamin D is actually the only vitamin that your body can make. The other vitamins must come exclusively through the food we eat. Vitamin D helps the body absorb Calcium, and also helps makes many other processes of the human body more efficient. Think of it as a catalyst where it just makes life easier for your body to hit peak performance.
After taking Vitamin D3 (more on this later), your body eventually turns it into 25(OH)D, which are the levels doctors use to determine if you are getting enough daily.
So at this point you might be asking well what the hell is the point of taking vitamin D in terms of getting stronger? The thing is that Vitamin D is actually a hormone, and this “catalyst” can affect many of the processes that happens when synthesizing muscles, and some evidence exists that Vitamin D may be helpful in managing cholesterol, which in turn is used to make testosterone.
The reason I recommend this so highly is that it can help maintain peak testosterone levels and keep you healthy-…. at an amazing price.
The brand doesn’t matter since all Vitamin D3 is Vitamin D3.
HUGE WARNING: Don’t buy Vitamin D2. It’s the same price, and largely ineffective at boosting vitamin D levels.
So when you go to your local Costco or Walmart, buy a huge bottle for like 6 bucks.
#4. Multivitamin Supplements
Now this one is pretty self explanatory, but a multivitamin is great for getting in those vitamins that you might miss if you consistently eat similar foods in order to hit certain macros. One thing you should consider is how each vitamin affects each other, and how having a whole slew of vitamins thrown at your body at once isn’t always going to be the most effective way to take in nutrients. I recommend buying a simple multivitamin at Costco or Amazon, just make sure they have zinc and magnesium, since a lot of these don’t have them. Take it in the morning with your breakfast for the best absorption!
Get a good Multi and make sure to take it everyday to enjoy those gains for a long life!
#3. Protein Supplement
So Brotein… I meant protein, is a very useful supplement. Unlike Vitamin D, it is very easy to get a good dose of it eating the right foods. The problem is that tasty protein has lots of fat, and sometimes cooking isn’t the most convenient way for you to eat! It is at these times that a protein powder can come into play.
There are lots of protein powders available and they come along with a variety of costs. To find out more about the different proteins and how they work, Click Here on my article about protein.