I took the top 50 products for sale on bodybuilding.com, broke them down into their parent categories, and am now telling you which you should buy and which you shouldn't even take if it's free. In part 1, I covered Protein powder, pre-workout, and creatine. You can read that one here.
Now it's time for the most controversial of all sports supplements, BCAAs, and a potentially novel look at multivitamins. Plus, the final word on fat burners.
I'm going to be 100% blunt here. BCAAs are 100% useless and redundant if you are eating an adequate amount of dietary protein and/or supplementing with protein powder.
They do little more than supply you with enough amino acids to have a muscle protein synthesis response.
They don't give you energy. That's typically the caffeine added to many BCAAs.
They don't burn fat. That also is typically caffeine or another stimulant that raises your metabolism/body temperature in a small way. That being said, whatever the "fat burner" is in your BCAA blend, it is not a true fat burner. There is no such thing as a supplement or substance on the market that directly targets body fat and only body fat. That's not how the human body works.
If you like to train, 'fasted' BCAAs may have some efficacy. Recognize though that BCAAs DO break your fast, and you are no longer technically in a fasted state. Anyone that tells you otherwise probably endorses fasted training somewhat exclusively and sells BCAAs.
I'm happy to address any issue you have with my opinion on BCAAs in a future article. Send me an email at email@example.com, and I will include a direct response to you.
There is no evidence that I'm aware of that suggests that there is any post-workout supplement that is better at replenishing the body than a regular meal of whole foods that includes an adequate portion of protein (see the protein powder section above), vegetables, carbohydrates, fats, and salt.
That's all I'll say about post-workout supplements. They are solidly the biggest lie that supplement companies are trying to sell currently. Just have a meal instead. Check out the above video to understand how the anabolic window is more like a barn door.
Any weight loss/fat burner supplement
See the BCAA section above.
The majority of fat burners that have any form of measurable effect like Yohimbine have much more noticeable side effects that, in my opinion, completely negate any benefit. If you actually are ready to lose fat, then consult the Ultimate Composure Nutrition Guide. I give a very simple step-by-step process for you to start losing your unwanted fat for good. Oh yeah, and it's much cheaper than any fat burner...IT'S FREE. Get it in my Free Resources Vault here.
If you're a skeleton you should probably be taking a multi.
(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)
I prefer to adopt the stance that Examine.com has taken on the multivitamin. Basically, you should only consider taking a multivitamin if:
- You're at risk for a nutritional deficiency and can't adjust your diet.
- You can find a multivitamin that will address the previously mentioned deficiency.
- And buying the multivitamin is smarter financially/ logistically than buying individual micronutrients.
I like to add one more caveat to the above criteria though.
- You've talked to your doctor/medical professional about what you may be deficient in and, if appropriate, have been tested to see if you are in fact deficient.
That may seem like a lot. I know, but it's a far cry better than blindly taking a multivitamin to solve some unknown issues that may not even be a concern in the first place. You're basically just throwing money away if you're taking one and don't know why, you're also missing out on an opportunity to get to know your body a little bit better.
What's more, is that many multivitamins are so "multi" that they don't contain enough of any one vitamin or mineral to be effective at combating a real deficiency.
With access to Google and most doctors wanting to constantly prove how smart they are, it's pure laziness on your part to not look a little deeper into your actual mineral and vitamin needs. Here's a great place to start.
In part 3 I'll finish off with Intra-workout supplements, Testosterone boosters, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Pump Stimulators, and Mass Gainers. I'll then finish off with some overall guidance on how to look at supplementation in general.
As I mentioned multiple times throughout this article, if you have any questions or alternative opinions on my take on these types of supplements, do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, when it comes to nutrition your number one solution to any dietary need or hack should be to alter your diet of real foods to get adequate quantities and proportions of macro and micronutrients. Only after you have that dialed-in like I very explicitly outline in The Ultimate Composure Nutrition Guide should you bother walking down the supplement aisle.If you made it this far in the article, you clearly care about your health and fitness. Why then have you not joined the Mighty Fit FB group? If you are in the group post in there, which category of sports supplements that I covered in this article are you most disappointed by.