This is probably the most mind-boggling part when creating a nutrition plan. The supplement industry is huge and worth millions of pounds. There are literally thousands of different supplements to choose from and if you believed all the hype, you would never need to eat food again. So what are the best supplements for building muscle? Well let me tell you now, it’s nowhere near the 100s that are advertised and drip-fed to you in every single fitness and bodybuilding magazine that you can buy. In fact, you should only be looking to use 4 or 5 different supplements.
Don’t Believe All the Magazine Hype
There are so many different magazines out there all trying to promote their own brand and sell their own supplements.
If you have been subscribing to any of these magazines like Flex, Muscular Development and Muscle and Fitness then you would have probably noticed that at least 80% of the magazines pages are used for advertising their own products and others. Now don’t get me wrong obviously they are businesses and are there to make money, but surely if they actually aimed to help their subscribers with real advice and support, then they would naturally sell their products from this.
Also, they all sponsor and use massive stars in the bodybuilding and physique world to promote their brand, and these stars have a massive fan base and are idolised by thousands. It’s only natural for people to believe the marketing that’s in front of them.
Heck, I have been there myself when first starting out and maybe it’s just something everyone will have to go through at the beginning of their journeys. At the end of the day if your idol, the person you follow every step of the way tells you to look like them you have to take this pill, that pill, this powder that powder, then why would you not believe them.
However the harsh reality is your idol didn’t take any of the supplements they are trying to push onto you, or if they did it would probably have just been a basic whey protein shake.
All I ask of you is to not just run out a minute after reading something and wasting your hard earned cash. Do your own research first. Like myself, there are many people who specialise in this industry who yes need to earn a living from what they do, but are genuinely there to help as well and offer sound advice.
Are All Supplements Equal? – No, They Most Certainly Aren’t
Unfortunately, this is the sad truth. The supplement industry is extremely competitive, and there are 100s of different companies all competing for the same customers. So what is the natural thing to do? Well personally I wish it was for them to provide a quality product and let the results speak for themselves, but this approach would then rely on the consumer doing everything right their end like following a structured nutrition plan and training in the correct way. To most of these supplement companies, this is unreliable and a time-consuming way to beat the competition.
So what do they do? Its simple, they reduce their prices to outdo their rivals.
Now if you think about it logically all these companies like any other business have overheads to pay and profit margins to make. If they kept reducing their prices but paying the same overheads, then their profit margins would be squeezed so tight, it would hardly be worth selling their products.
So to get around this, they reduce the quality of the product they are selling, partly done by removing expensive ingredients (usually the key ones).
How can one companies product selling for £29.99 a tub claim exactly the same thing as a companies product selling for £49.99? Maybe in some instances its the company selling the more expensive product just being greedy and hoping the consumer will not make any comparisons and just click and buy. However more often then not its because they have not downgraded their product.
There was a brand of protein I absolutely loved. The reason I loved it was because it tasted like Nesquik milkshake. It was also extremely cheap as far as whey proteins went selling at just £30 for a 2.2kg tub. It was only a month down the line when I had a shake from a brand selling their protein at £55 a tub, and thought, hang on this is nice but tastes nowhere near as good as my cheaper brand. Why couldn’t the more expensive brand get their shake to taste as good as the cheaper one? The simple fact is because I found out shortly after that the cheaper brand only actually contained 8% protein.
To cut a long story short, it was mainly made up of sugar and sweeteners. Surprisingly this brand is no longer in business.
How Do You Know What Brands To Trust
Well, you don’t really. Unless you have access to a lab to test the product, you have to purely base your decisions on trust.
This is easier said than done. You have to do a lot of trial and error. There are some products which are so basic it wouldn’t be in the companies interest to cut corners, One of these would be L Glutamine. 95% of the time you can be assured if having this product, you are actually having the real deal.
The biggest product you will be miss led on is protein. With whey protein containing a vast amount of ingredients, it’s so easy for a company to cut corners.
My Personal Rules For Picking Supplements To Use
- Compare prices for different brands. If a certain brand is overly cheap compared to another one, then we now know the reason for this. In this industry to a certain degree, expensive is usually better
- Try supplements out through stages of dieting to reduce body fat. As long as you are strictly following all the other variables like training and nutrition then its much easier to see if you are getting the results. For example strength gains and whether you are losing weight but also losing muscle.
- Use a few of the different review sites like Amazon to see what others have said about the product, and their experiences.
Meal Replacements (smoothies) – A Vital Part To Success
I really feel it is important to be able to fit a solid nutrition plan around a busy lifestyle. Most of my custom plans include meal replacements (smoothies).
There is only one meal replacement I personally buy and use myself. This is Huel. Its fantastic and can actually replace food meal due to the nutrition it provides. Most of my own homemade smoothies will actually include a serving of Huel in them. To find out more about this fantastic product, go to my review page.
Making your own will not only give you peace of mind on what you are actually having but you will have a huge variety of smoothies you can make, keeping the plan really interesting. There are many people who can’t stand the thought of eating vegetables and this is a brilliant way to get them in.
Another really important part to this is when making your own smoothies, never uses shop bought juices. The main reason for this is due to the extremely low fibre content in them. Using a high-quality blender like the Vitamix 5200 to mix real whole fruit and veg up will be much more beneficial.
What Are The Best Supplements For Building Muscle
Here is a list of supplements that all good nutrition plans should contain.
- Whey protein
- Meal Replacement
- L Glutamine
- A form of quick release carbohydrate for after training
And here is a list of optional supplements
- protein bar
- cod liver oil
- High-quality super greens
And there you have it. You will notice there are no fat burners, other weird and wonderful types of protein sources or singular amino acid supplements. The list of un-needed supplements could go on and on.
If you head over to this review page here, you will find my reviews of the whey protein supplement I personally trust and have used for years. This is what I recommend to use in my custom made plans but as long as you do your own research then you can also use other brands I have not personally recommended.
Here is a short summary of what was just covered
- Do not believe in all the magazine hype
- You only actually need a small selection of supplements to help you
- In the supplement industry, cheaper isn’t better
- Do you own research, read reviews and trial different supplements out
I hope you found this article helpful and if you would like to make any comments or have any questions then please leave them below.