We all want to push our bodies to achieve the absolute most it can. We work hard in the gym, and our healthy diet is on point, but what else can we do to reach our potential? The answer lies in supplements.
First off, if you aren’t pushing yourself in the gym there is no need to take any supplements, just enjoy your lack of gains. Also, if your diet would make Michael Moore blush you need to clean that up before the supplements will help you. Basically, make sure you are doing everything else right (training, diet, recovery/sleep) before you add in supplements.
1. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine Monohydrate supplementation is used to increase the amount of creatine (as creatine phosphate) in the muscle tissue. The more CP in the muscle the more your muscle can lift and perform short-term maximum strength bouts. This means you will get bigger and stronger! Numerous studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase maximum power and performance in high intensity anaerobic work.
There are lots of different protocols for creatine dosage. Some like to load with 20-25g a day for a week and then continue with a maintenance dose of around 5g a day. I have found (and so have various studies) that there is no need for a loading phase. I recommend taking 2g of creatine upon waking and 5g immediately post workout.
2. Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
The branch chained amino acids are valine, leucine, and iso-leucine. Your body cannot manufacture BCAA’s on its own so they must be supplied through diet and supplementation. BCAA supplementation has been shown to help athletes gain strength and muscularity. BCAA’s are crucial for energy production during workouts, which is why they are such a popular intra-workout supplement. They also have been shown to decrease post-exercise muscle soreness.
I recommend taking 5g BCAA with breakfast, 10-15g mix in water during your workout (sip throughout workout), and 5g with dinner.
Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles (making up over 61% of skeletal muscle). Glutamine has been shown to improve immune function, something that is extremely important for athletes who train at high intensity. It may also prevent muscle catabolism. Research has also shown that glutamine supplementation can increase growth hormone levels.
You should take 10-15g of glutamine a day broken down into three doses. The first dose being when you wake up, the next after workout, and the last one right before bedtime.