Supplements Archives

Here are 8 tips for selecting the best
muscle building supplements

In 2008 (which was many years ago!) the sports supplement industry revenue had exceeded $25 BILLION dollars. Today the estimate may be more than double that. Guess who the target market is?? Young adult males!  

These tips are summarized from Jose Antonio and Jeffrey Stout’s book entitled “Sports Supplements”. This is the only college level text book based on sports supplements that I am aware of.

1 ) Recognize that a “natural” supplement is not necessarily safer than a synthetic supplement. Manufacturers will often claim that a supplement is “natural” to give the impression that it is completely safe. There are tons of natural substances that can produce undesired or adverse side effects!

2 ) Sound the alarm when a product claims to produce miraculous results in a very short amount of time. Products may be able to increase fluid levels quickly but this is not the same as building lean muscle! Success is not achieved over night. Please repeat that 3 times right now!

3 ) Look for products that back their claims with solid research instead of relying exclusively on testimonials. This is a good line of defense but still not perfect as scientific studies can also have hidden agenda’s depending on who sponsored the study!

4 ) As a follow up to the previous tip, be on the look out for cited scientific studies that are inadequately referenced. For example: “Researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that our product maximizes muscle uptake by 2000%!”. Go to your local supplement store and you’ll find these kinds of claims!

5 ) If a product claims to produce “steroid like” results. Do yourself a favor and dismiss it IMMEDIATELY! Please don’t fall prey to this garbage! Best case scenario is you waste your money. Worst case scenario is that you completely screw up your endocrine system ( can you say bitch tits?! ). The best supplements to build muscle are safe and effective ones, not dangerous and quick gambles!

6 ) When supplement ads are endorsed by proclaimed “experts”, look for dubious credentials that aren’t recognized by mainstream science. Drop the supplement and back away slowly if it’s endorsed by a “Doctor of telekinetic ergogenics”. MD is an example of a “good” credential…. although that’s even debatable!

7 ) Supplements are exactly that. They “supplement” a solid nutritional foundation. BE wary of any company that claims you can pay little attention to your diet and make significant gains (or loses for a fat loss product) using their product! Your nutrition plan is paramount and your body knows the difference! If supplements could really make all the difference then everyone would be walking around huge and ripped!

8 ) Use common sense! This should have been the first tip. You know what they say about claims that seem to good to be true don’t ya? Yep, thought so. Just don’t forget it!

The best way to build lean muscle is slow and steady…. just like to fable of the rabit and the hare.

I have previously written about my top list of best supplements for building lean muscle. Trust me, it’s a very short list and it doesn’t have all the latest miracle supplements on it!

 

 

Here is my top 5 list of supplements
for building muscle

 

So  you want to know how to build muscle fast?! These supplements have stood the test of time and have helped produce superior results over and over. Before I list them, there is one point I need to make very clear.

Food, my friend, trumps any natural supplement on anyone’s list.
Eating REAL food (i.e. the list of ingredients is 1) and enough of it is essential for building lean muscle.

If you don’t believe me that’s fine… it’s your money. Hey, we all need to learn our lesson’s! Ok, I promise I’m done ranting.

Check out my quick start guide if you want to see an example meal plan that will help build lean muscle.

 

  • Protein Powder (whey protein based for post workout shakes and milk protein based for meal replacements)
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
    Learn about the benefits of BCAA’s at this post.
  • Glutamine
  • High quality multivitamin and/or super greens

 

So you’re either deep in thought wondering why Nitric Oxide Blast 2000 and Andro-Whatchama-dione aren’t on the list, or you’re thinking that I can’t count!

Indeed, I put 6 items on the list. The sixth one wouldn’t be necessary if you truly ate fruits and vegetable at every meal. Even If you do (in which case kudos to you!), the soil in which they where grown was most likely over farmed and not nutrient rich.

Think of this last entry as added insurance for your health and hard earned money you are spending on the other supplements.

Fish Oil?

Ok, maybe I have been reading too much from Charles Poliquin. I started using fish oil over 10 years ago when he talked all about it at an olympic weight training seminar I attended in Buffalo, NY (my home city… and yes, I am a Buffalo Bills fan…). Chad Waterbury, Dan John, Eric Cressey and countless other “celebrity” strength coaches all have Fish Oil
near the top of their supplement list for building lean muscle…. and you should too!

Creatine (of course!)

I’m sure you figured you would find this one on the list. Did you know that Creatine is naturally found in high amounts in red meat? If your diet is high in grass fed beef, then you will need to supplement less with creatine AND fish oil since grass fed beef is high in omega-3 fats.

Creatine is about the safest most researched supplement out there. Make sure you follow my link above to read more about creatine. I am a big fan of Beverly International Creatine Select.
.

 BCAA’s and Glutamine (the amino superstars!)

These essential amino acids provide a serious anabolic (lean muscle building) and anti-catabolic (muscle breakdown prevention) tour de force. Using these amino acids before, during and/or after training will produce phenomenal results… but only during intense training sessions where you are really pushing yourself hard.

This combination is also very effective in maintaining or even building lean muscle mass during periods of significant calorie deficits like extreme fat loss phases (oh no, summer is around the corner!) or the final 3-6 weeks leading up to a bodybuilding show.

My wife and I use Beverly International Glutamine Select Plus BCAA’s and have done so for many years now. It’s one of the few great tasting powdered formulas that has the highest grade ingredients.

 

 

 

 

High quality fish oil can have a significant effect on weight loss and body transformation when incorporated into a weight loss routine. Today I will summarize some dosage recommendations for fish oil and weight loss.

The two essential fats contained in fish oil are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaeonic acid). They are both very important for optimal health but if you had to pick one, it would be DHA.

DHA is the super hero. I wouldn’t exactly say that DHA is to Batman as EPA is to Robin but maybe DHA could be Superman and EPA could be Batman. Both kick some serious ass but there simply is no comparison between the two heros.

As I mentioned in my previous post on fish oil weight loss and other benefits ,Carlson’s liquid fish oil is my favorite. If you look on the back of the bottle (or equivalent fish oil supplement), you will see the amount of DHA and EPA listed in milligrams (mg). We will focus on the amount of DHA per serving.

Here is a simple table to determine you optimal fish oil dosage for weight loss and strength gains:
(Note: this must be accompanied by a solid nutrition plan and exercise routine!)

Fish Oil Weight Loss Dosage Table
________________________________
Body Weight                  DHA Per Day
(Pounds)                          (milligrams)
________________________________
100 – 150                              2000
150 – 200                              3000
200 – +                                  4000

Now you know why the liquid form of fish oil is recommended. This would require 30+ capsules per day in some instances!
A 175 pound person would simply need to take 2 Tablespoons of Carlson’s fish oil per day. I promise, the lemon flavor really helps out. It’s not as bad as you think!

It’s best to split your dosages into two per day. Take half of your daily total with breakfast and the remaining half with dinner.

 

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends by using the links below!

BCAA Benefits

There are many BCAA benefits
when used to build a lean muscular body

The amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are 3 essential amino acids that together form the branched chain amino acid group. They are named as such because they each have a carbon chain which branches off from the main carbon backbone. Ok, I promise I won’t mention the words carbon or backbone in another sentence!

BCAA’s prevent muscle breakdown
and feed your muscles

Of the 3 BCAA’s, Leucine has demonstrated the most potential BCAA benefits. Several studies have concluded that leucine can act as a regulator of protein metabolism by increasing protein synthesis and decreasing protein metabolism. These 2 properties are often called Anabolic and Anti-Catabolic accordingly.

The BCAA’s in general and especially Leucine can be used as energy by muscle cells and are a source of cellular energy in the form of ATP (Note: Creatine supplementation also assists in the generation of ATP).

There are several studies that support the fact that hormone response to endurance and weight training was positively influenced by the consumption of BCAA’s. Specifically, the anabolic hormones insulin and testosterone.

BCAA’s can save muscle and burn fat during calorie restriction and exercise

In one popular study, 25 competitive wrestlers restricted their caloric intake for a total of 19 days. On the 19th day, they vaporized and have yet to be found…. ok, just making sure you are paying attention! What actually happened is that the group supplementing with BCAA’s during the calorie restriction lost the most visceral fat while maintaining strength and performance. Sounds good to me!

I will tell you right now that I have competed in bodybuilding shows and proved this study several times over.

I attended a Charles Poliquin Seminar many years ago where I learned how to use BCAA’s to build lean muscle fast

Charles Poliquin used the following technique with his professional NHL Hockey and NFL football players to put on as much lean muscle mass as possible during the off season.

  • Take 10 BCAA tablets before your training
  • Then roughly every 10 minutes during training, take an additional 4
  • Total of about 20
  • Complete your workout with a tablespoon of L-Glutamine

One theory for how this works is that you are actually “tricking” your body into thinking it has broken down a large amount of lean muscle tissue so it switches to burning fat stores and releasing growth hormone.

Who really knows…. all I know for sure is that I have used this trick in the past and it works!

The harder you train and the lower your caloric intake, the more BCAA benefits there are. The downside is that they are expensive and you must take enough of them to have a positive effect.

Here is a link to the brand I have had the best results with:
Click Here-> Muscle Mass BCAA’s, 150 tabs

 

 

What is the best creatine supplement? 

Creatine is perhaps the most time tested and effective body building supplement available. There are various forms of creatine available on the market; many of which hide behind marketing hype such as “Advanced delivery system” or “Liquid form for fast absorption”. The most common form is creatine monohydrate.

I will let you in on a little secret…

One of the largest supplement companies out there sells a creatine product with an advanced delivery system. This company has sponsored many physique transformation challenges in the past 2 decades. The primary ingredient of their famous creatine product is dextrose. Do you know what dextrose is? It’s a simple SUGAR! If you go to your local beer and wine making store, you can buy a 5-10 pound bag of dextrose for less than $10! Talk about making a killing! Their product is clearly NOT the best creatine supplement for your money.

After reading this post, I hope you no longer fall for these claims.

But is Creatine Safe?

Well, yes and no. Allow me to elaborate on this. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Creatine monohydrate is the most common form AND the form used in all the research studies. Pure Creatine monohydrate is safe. Do not be tempted by other forms of creatine and the mega money marteting campaigns surrounding them.

Perhaps the most shameful and poorly reserached media around Creatine was the sudden death of three wrestlers. The media latched on to false claims that creatine was responsible for their deaths and it spread like wild fire! The FDA launched investigations and proved that creatine was not involved, rather hyperthermia, heart failure and heat exaustion/dehydration. This was due to the extreme heat training they were performing while wearing rubber suits!

 Enough already!
What is the best creatine supplement?

German manufactured Creapure brand Creatine is one of (if not THE) best Creatine Monohydrate brands on the market. There are several popular Creatine products on the market that use the Creapure brand. Look for it on the label. You get what you pay for and if you buy cheap, you may be buying an inferior Chinese brand. Read the statement below.

In a statement issued from the makers of Creapure…

“In the recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of contamination issues involving Chinese suppliers. We therefore, would like to take this opportunity to offer reassurance that Creapure Creatine Monohydrate is manufactured at our plant in Germany to meet the highest standards of quality, safety and effectiveness. Inferior production practices and raw materials can lead to possible harmful impurities such as creatinine, dicyandiamide, and dihydrotriazine.”

 Finally, if you are on a budget, then eat your red meat! Creatine naturally occurs in red meat. Bet you didn’t know that!

On a related note, individuals that consume higher amounts of red meat will see less benefits from creatine supplementation than those who consume a diet lower in red meat.

Click here -> Find out the best dosages in this special creatine report

Fish oil for weight loss?
Discover this truth and many more!

Let me guess, you tried it once but couldn’t stand the fish burps… I’ve been talking about fish oil for over 12 years and it’s kinda ironic to finally see fish oil actually being advertised on TV by big Pharma!

Click here to read my post on Fish Oil dosage recommendations

If your goals include weight loss, building lean muscle and improving overall health,
fish oil has many potential benefits

DHA and EPA are the primary beneficial elements in fish oil.

1.  For starters, they help keep your cell membranes healthy. This means that the membranes are flexible and contain a larger number of insulin receptors. This increases your insulin sensitivity and results in decreased fat storage in the fat cells. In other words, you will tolerate carbs better!

 

2. Fish oil weight loss – fish oil turns on  the fat burning (lipolytic) genes! (note: this doesn’t mean you can chase your twinkie binge with a couple fish oil tablets.)

 

3. Fish oil can turn off fat storage genes (lipogenic).

4. They reduce C-reactive proteins. This protein is a risk factor contributing to various inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke,  congestive heart failure, angina, coronary , heart attack , and diabetes. DHA is one of the elements of the fish oil that seems to be the most responsible for that protective effect.

5. The DHA component of fish oil also has the best ability to reduce blood pressure.

6. Fish oil has demonstrated strong anti-inflamatory effects which helps with pain management.

7. Once the omega-3 fats of fish oil are incorporated into your fat cells, your body will prefer to burn fat for energy… Yet another fish oil weight loss benefit!

8. Related to #6, fish oil can reduce inflammation from physical stress and training.

9. Fish oils are superb for fighting stress but I’m sure you have none of that. For equal amounts of stress, a person will produce fewer stress hormones if consuming fish oils on a regular basis.

10. Fish oils increase serotonin levels (the happy neurotransmitter). In other words, fish oils may reduce depression, anxiety, panic attack, and reduce carbohydrate cravings.

 

11. Fish oils will improve your cardiovascular risk profile. I have experienced this personally. They can lower VLDL, triglycerides, fibrinogen, homocysteine, and increase HDL levels. Combining fish oils with plant sterols will improve blood lipid levels in a synergistic fashion (2+2=8).

12. But wait, there’s more, and it’s called Lipoprotein (a). This protein is a CVD predictor and guess what? It can be lowered by consuming fish oils. Fish oils can also decrease blood pressure many ways:

  • increases in the vasodilatory compound
  • nitric oxide,
  •  reducing vascular inflammation,
  • blocking the constrictive elements in the vascular wall
  • reducing blood viscosity
  • inhibiting a blood vessel constrictor.

13. EPA regulates the blood supply to your brain which is essential in maintaining focus during your workouts and when your husband or wife is talking to you after a long day! DHA is important in brain membranes, memory, and cognitive function.

Assuming that a nutrient dense nutrition plan is followed, using fish oil for weight loss is just one of many benefits I hope you have learned.

The capitalize on the benefits, enough fish oil must be consumed and it must be very high quality.

The primary brand I use and trust is Carlson’s liquid fish oil. Don’t use the capsules. They are more likely to cause the dreaded fish burp and you will need to consume many capsules (10-30 per day!). In liquid form, it’s as simple as taking 1 to 3 teaspoons once or twice daily depending on body weight and goals.

In short, fish oil is my number one supplement recommendation! I’m sure you are surprised to see so many benefits of fish oil…. but I’m sure your doctor already told you about them (blatant sarcasm).

Click here to read my post on Fish Oil
dosage recommendations

Note:
If you found this article helpful you can easily share it with your friends by using the buttons below!