Last Updated: August 20, 2023
The Best Bodybuilding Supplements – How To Choose Correctly
So you’ve finally decided on the perfect workout routine or fitness program, and now you’re ready to maximize your gains by taking the best bodybuilding supplements. But where do you start?
There are so many bodybuilding supplements available today that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know what to choose. However, if you keep in mind that all of these products can be divided into just a few groups, you’ll eliminate a lot of potential confusion.
To keep things simple, I’ve sorted these supplements into six categories, along with information and recommendations for each:
Amino Acid Supplements
Amino acids are often referred to as the “building blocks of life” because of the important role they play in the body’s function.
Among other things, aminos help the body to grow, heal and repair itself, as well as moving and delivering nutrients throughout the body and supporting healthy muscles, skin, arteries, organs, endocrine system, tendons and more. BCAA’s and Glutamine are especially important for athletes and bodybuilders because of their imtegral role in building muscle.
Glutamine, carnitine, arginine and methionine all play a key role in weight loss and fat-burning. Arginine and ornithine are excellent nitric oxide boosters and libido enhancers.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or stuck in the office all day, everyone can benefit from taking amino acid supplements.
New studies are constantly showing the seemingly never-ending benefits derived from adding these nutrients to your diet. You will definitely feel and look better, and if you’re active in sports or the gym, the results will speak for themselves.
Recommended: Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine
Out of all the different types of fitness and workout supplements that have been used over the years, none has been more tested and studied than creatine. Creatine is produced by the body naturally from the amino acids L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine, 95% of which is found in skeletal muscle.
The benefits of creatine usage are well documented, and the list of positive health effects includes an increase in muscle mass, greater muscle volume or “pump”, enhanced strength, speedier recovery and improved cognitive ability.
While creatine is mostly available in powder or capsules, deciding which to use mainly comes down to personal preference since both forms are equally effective.
Creatine is typically available in three forms:
- Creatine Monohydrate – Is naturally occurring and is what’s used to supply energy to the muscles.
- Creatine Ethyl Ester – Is simply creatine with an ester added for more efficient absorption compared to monohydrate.
- Creatine Kre-Alkalyn – Also called buffered creatine, it’s better pH balanced for quicker absorption and requires no loading phase.
Monohydrate is also available in a superior form called micronized creatine, which has much smaller micro-particles than regular creatine powder. While micronized creatine usually costs a little more, it’s increased effectiveness is definitely worth the extra expense.
Recommended: CrazyBulk Ultimate CRN-5
There’s no doubt about it, this is one supplement that is as effective as it is useful.
Not only is it great for bodybuilders and strength athletes, it’s also extremely beneficial for the aging population, people with neurodegenerative diseases, vegetarians and anyone with otherwise low levels of creatine.
The world of pre-workout products can be quite confusing, since virtually any combination of sports fitness supplements can be used prior to working out for enhanced results.
Generally speaking, a good pre-workout supplement should help to maximize your workouts by either providing a boost of energy at the gym or increased blood flow to the muscles – or both.
Stimulants and nitric oxide are two of the most commonly used types of pre-workout ingredients:
Stimulants like caffeine and ephedra have long been employed by bodybuilders for the surge of strength and stamina they provide, allowing for a harder, more intense session.
Nitric oxide is another popular staple among fitness enthusiasts that’s commonly used prior to hitting the bench.
It’s a vasodilator which increases the amount of oxygen and blood that gets delivered to the muscles, providing better results with a fuller, more pumped-up appearance and faster recovery.
Choosing the best pre-workout booster can seem like a daunting task, but keeping in mind the two key areas of energy and blood flow will help you to sift through the noise and make a more informed decision based upon your particular needs.
Recommended: 4 Gauge
Protein supplements come in a wide array of various types and flavors, from powders and pills to drinks and shakes. They can be made from any number of ingredients, such as whey, casein, egg, milk, soy, rice or hemp, and they’re also available in all-natural and organic formulations.
They’re probably best known for their frequent use by bodybuilders, but you’ll find that these products are also helpful for athletes, those seeking weight loss, the elderly, vegans and vegetarians, and anyone needing extra protein in their diet.
The benefits of consuming protein post workout are well known, as it helps to re-build and repair muscle tissue that’s stressed from exercise. For this same reason it’s often recommended to hospital patients following surgery to help with the recovery process.
Whether you’re looking for a post-workout supplement to aid in recovery and help build lean muscle mass, or you’re simply not getting enough protein into your diet, investing in a high-quality protein product is a wise move to make.
Recommended: CrazyBulk Tri-Protein
The Art of Stacking Supplements
If you’re serious about your workout results, you’ll probably invest in a number of supplements to help reach your goals. The problem is knowing which supplements to take and in what combination they’ll be most effective.
One answer is to acquire a good pre-packaged supplement stack that’s specifically tailored for the results you’re looking for.
These stacks will usually consist of several different but complimentary supplements, usually by the same manufacturer to produce a desired outcome over a specified period of time. For example, there are stacks for cutting or fat-burning, bulking, and strength and endurance, among others.
One of the main benefits to buying a supplement stack package is the cost effectiveness of it. Since you’re buying several products together it’s almost always cheaper than what you would pay for the individual units.
Also, these supplements are usually carefully placed together for a synergistic effect that may provide far greater results than simply taking any one of the products separately.
Recommended: Anabolic Research Mass Stack
Mark McIntyre is the founder of MaleHealthReview.com and acts as it’s chief contributor. He is a fitness trainer and avid mountain biker who also enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Besides managing Male Health Review, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health. More about this author…