If you’re like most bodybuilders, you probably have at least one shelf in your kitchen devoted solely to your treasured collection of bodybuilding supplements in all shapes, sizes and colors. Supplementation is a major part of almost every bodybuilders daily routine, and usually for pretty good reason: Bodybuilders do need mega quantities of a host of different nutrients, and with all the hard work they do in the gym they are simply not willing to take the risk of not getting most from their efforts by being nutritionally deficient. And most bodybuilders today are – like most regular people – eating a nutritionally deficient diet. Rice and chicken breasts several times a day is not a way to ensure that your body gets what it needs, no matter how much protein you get from all that chicken meat.
But is there a better way? I think there is. And that way is fruits and vegetables. Since incorporating more fruits and vegetable into my diet, I have not only gotten much better results from my training, but I save money every month by not having to spend a fortune on supplements. With a diet that mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, fish, sprouts, whole grains and nuts and seeds with some dairy foods thrown in for good measure, I get most of the nutrients I need from my food (what a concept, eh?). Not only do I get ample amounts of all the micro-nutrients I need, but I also get decent amounts of protein, and enough calories to support my training and growth (the calorie dense nuts and seeds help me with that). The essential fatty acids I get from fish and ground flax seeds are plentiful so no need for any EFA supplements or other oils around here. And that’s why I now only use a grand total of three supplements: Universal Nutrition’s Animal Stak, a whey protein powder, and good, old fashioned creatine. And let me tell you exactly why these three are the supplements of choice for me:
- Universal Nutrition Animal Stak: This product pretty much does stuff I could not expect from diet alone, no matter how well I eat. Not only does it supply enough vitamins and minerals to make absolutely sure I’m not deficient in any of them (not that I probably would be anyway), but more importantly it also contains terrific stuff like DHT blockers and aromatase inhibitors, tribulus terrestris, Longjack extract, a vasodilator complex and milk thistle extract. To put it simply, Animal Stak is an awesome supplement. It really does seem to help me get gains I otherwise would have been left without, and there’s no diet that could make up for it.
- Creatine. Creatine is one of the most scientifically validated sports supplements out there. It does not seem to work for absolutely everyone (according to some studies, roughly 70% of users get significant results), but for me it works very well indeed, and has done so for a decade and a half now. Since I quit eating so much meat it makes even more sense to use creatine, as I’m getting less of it from my diet than I used to. I take about 5 grams a day, and usually take a 2-4 week break from it every quarter or so.
- Whey Protein. Whey protein is a remarkable substance that not only sits squarely as the champion of all bodybuilding supplements, but that also has a number of purported health benefits. I use whey protein to get a fast acting protein into my system immediately after a workout, usually with some creatine and fast carbs. Sometimes I get tired of the taste of the stuff, so in order to get some variation I use three or four different products at a time. One perennial favorite of mine is Prostar Whey from Ultimate Nutrition (a fairly inexpensive yet high quality supplement), but I use a bunch of other products too, like stuff from EAS, ON, Jay Robb and so on. If I want a protein drink at home and have a blender ready (meaning, it’s not waiting to be cleaned…) I will mix some fruits with it as well. A protein drink made from milk, vanilla whey protein, banana and papaya is fabulous!
If you pick your supplements wisely and eat a nutritionally superb diet (which will not only help you get bigger, stronger, faster, leaner, sexier etc, but also healthier), there’s probably no need to spend a fortune every month on bodybuilding supplements. Pick a few products that fill in the blanks, so to speak, and you’re good!