Swole on Supplements
Nutritional supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. There are thousands of supplement brands and hundreds of thousands of products that are used to “fix” a wide variety of health problems.
Most of the supplements in the world of weight training are not FDA approved. This means we will never know if a new supplement is useful or useless, harmful or harmless. It is up to those of us that enjoy experimenting with various supplements, to review them and to tell the world what we think.
Project Swole welcomes free product samples, which I will always try and review on the site. I do have a list of my favorite supplements, which occasionally changes when I find better products, and of course sometimes the best supplements get banned or discontinued so we must always strive to find the best replacements.
The most common types of supplements we take are:
- Fat loss
- Muscle gain
- Protein supplements
- Exercise recovery
- Daily vitamins and minerals
- Antioxidants for health
- Sleep aids
- Meal replacements
- Bone and joint health
- I could keep going and going…
Some of the supplements are complete bunk, while others can mean the different between a 5 lb fat loss and a 10 lb fat loss. Other supplements can help add a solid 5-10 lbs of muscle on a lean frame. Some supplements can help us get to sleep, like Melatonin, while others can help us get on with our day when we are tuckered out, like Biotest Hot Rox Extreme.
Daily Health Supplements
Colon cleansing works great to clean out your digestive system and restore helpful bacteria in your intestines.
Melatonin is extremely useful at helping me get to sleep at night, but it doesn’t keep me asleep when I need to wake up and it never leaves me feeling groggy in the morning.
In my opinion, protein supplements make up the most useful category of supplements available to strength athletes. Protein builds muscle and we need nearly one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to most effectively build muscle. Protein shakes can help you do that.
Protein bars are like quick replacements for fast food. Instead of stopping at McGreasy or Burger Prince, just grab a Pure Protein bar out of your pocket or glove box, and woof that thing down. Have an emergency protein bar on you at all times. I prefer the Pure Protein bars for inexpensive quick protein, and Tri-O-Plex bars for a slightly more expensive but much tastier snack or meal replacement.
Protein powder can be used to make protein shakes, or it can be added to a million different recipes in order to get your protein intake higher than you ever thought possible. The best protein powder I’ve found, is Optimum Nutrition. Is it both high in quality and low in cost, especially when you buy in bulk.
Protein bars and shakes make quick, convenient breakfasts… or lunches, or dinners, or snacks for that matter. Post workout shakes are vital for replenishing blood glycogen levels and kick starting protein synthesis. Yes, the protein supplement is probably the most useful supplement in the world of weight training and conditioning.
Fat Loss and Energy Supplements
Nearly 52% of US adults drink coffee and Americans spend over $50 billion a year on fat loss supplements. These days, most fat loss supplements inherently give us an abundance of energy, either due to caffeine or to a “proprietary energy blend”.
Thus, it is our job (both yours and mine) to narrow down this field of supplements in order to determine which ones are safe, which are effective, which are cost effective, and which ones will straight up kill ya.
My absolute favorite energy supplement, hands down, is Biotest Hot Rox Extreme (HRX). HRX will give you energy and decrease your appetite, but it won’t slaughter your wallet. Since there are about 5000 other fat loss supplements, we are tasked with figuring out if there is indeed a better product.
Muscle Building Supplements
Steroids have been banned. Prohormones have been banned. HGH has been banned. Heaven forbid, M1T has been banned. About 95% of alleged muscle building supplements do not work at all ::cough cough DHEA cough::. So what does work?
The most vital muscle building supplement is a high quality post-workout shake. This is a substance that should contain about 40 grams of high GI carbs such as maltodextrin and a quickly digested protein such as whey protein isolates. Biotest’s Surge Recovery is the best one I know of, and must be consumed within 20 minutes of finishing your workout.
There are some natural Tribex based testosterone boosters that work a little bit, see Biotest’s Alpha Male or Tribex. There are some anti-estrogens that work a little bit. A couple years ago, we could get Superdrol and some stuff called eMax that were pretty powerful alternatives to the banned substances. But what is out there right now? Well we’ll just have to investigate.
The most popular and effective muscle building supplements that I currently know of include the amino acids supplement Xtend and nitric oxide supplements such as NO-Xplode and Xtreme NO.
What to Choose
If you have a budget for supplements and you are looking for something above and beyond regular food, you can’t go with:
- a good protein powder
- a daily multi vitamin
- antioxidants for health
- amino acids for muscle growth
- post-workout nutrition
- bone and joint rejuvenation
- thermogenics for fat loss
- Melatonin to help you get to sleep
- and maybe 5-HTP for mood
Other than that, I’ll have to really dig into the supplements market and see what is worth researching, testing, and reviewing. At that time, feel free to read up about supplements and browse the product reviews for more information.