What supplements in the Exchange are worth your money? Part 3
This is it, part 3. There's some weird stuff on this list, but don't make the mistake of overlooking something or you may miss out on that "1 weird trick" to more gains than you ever thought possible. I'm only partially joking, I give a very clear recommendation to help boost your own endogenously produced free testosterone...check it out below.
If your workout is typically less than an hour you literally don't need this supplement.
(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan Wright)
Intra-workout (AKA something you need to take while training)
I'll sum it up for you one more time just to really beat this horse harder (I hate horses after all).
If your workout is less than 90 minutes, it's probably completely unnecessary.
If your workout is 90 minutes or longer a simple beverage of ~40 grams of fast carbs, like Gatorade, ~15 grams of protein, and electrolytes (AKA salt and potassium) like those provided in a Gatorade every hour at and after the 90-minute mark should satisfy your need.
Maybe there's an intra-workout that satisfies that need more simply than some fruity flavored protein powder and a Gatorade. I'm not sure, I haven't looked that deeply into it recently. If you have one that you like, tell me in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll include it in a future article on the best intra-workout supplements.
The one that seems to be purchased the most on bodybuilding.com contains no carbs and costs nearly dollars. That's a bullshit product that completely misses the point/purpose of an intra-workout.
This is a good time to talk about blends, proprietary recipes, and trademarked ingredients. If the supplement you are considering has any of these in them, DO NOT buy that supplement. These terms are just clever marketing and, more often than not are an excuse to hide the fact that the supplement is completely ineffective.
The specific testosterone support supplement I looked at in my bodybuilding.com search didn't contain half of the vitamins/minerals that have been shown to have the most efficacy in boosting testosterone. It did have a bunch of unverified nonsense and herbal remedies in it like fenugreek, maca, and boron. I wouldn't spend any money on this or any similar product for testosterone support.
If you truly have a testosterone deficiency, talk to your doctor about getting a no kidding testosterone cycle to help your medically recognized deficiency.
If you are simply trying to increase your testosterone because you think that's good then try taking these with a dietary fat containing meal for at least a month to see if things change for you:
- zinc (10–30 mg)
- magnesium (200–350 mg)
- vitamin D3 (50–75 mcg / 2,000–3,000 IU).
Buying those three should be much cheaper per serving than any nonsense that is 15 ingredients mixed together.
Of course you could just get this one from your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Before I even get into Omega-3s ask yourself why you're taking it. If it's for joint health, then continue on. If it's for heart health, stop and have a more in-depth conversation with your doctor. It seems that even though Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on triglycerides and blood pressure they don't actually seem to prevent cardiac events.
As far as joint health goes, the rule is simple. You want to be supplementing with 3 grams of combined EPA and DHA to get the effect you're searching for. If the supplement you're looking at has that serving size and no other nonsense in it, go for it.
Alternatively, you probably don't need to supplement if you are eating fatty fish like salmon a few times a week. Make the decision for yourself. If you have access to salmon regularly, I don't know why you'd waste your time taking more pills than you need.
Pssst... Tryin' to get a pump?
(Photo by Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky)
WTF is this/why do you need it? Seriously, I want to know. If you take something that is specifically designed to give you a pump, email me at email@example.com and tell me why.
The pump stimulator I looked at had two ingredients that seem to be intended to do something:
- Glycerol: It's supposed to help your muscle cells to hold on to more water and therefore increase output. I found one weak paper on the topic. I'm not convinced. It will probably make you feel like you have a bigger pump since it's allowing more water to be stored in your muscle...the only group I can see caring about this is bodybuilders. But even then, it may inhibit vascularity due to the increased water retention. TLDR: Meh.
- A proprietary blend of something containing nitrate and who-knows-what-else. Stay away from trademarked or patented combinations like the plague. They lack evidence and efficacy (translation: it's someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes.)
Sure. If you're trying to put on weight and everything else fails, then maybe try a mass gainer.
Actually, hold on a second there. There is a very clearly defined way to bulk:
Eat a calorie surplus.
I lay out a very clear set-by-step guide for how to do this in the smartest/simplest way possible in The Ultimate Composure Nutrition Guide (Which is free in my Free Resources Vault here).
If you choose to achieve said calorie surplus using a mass gainer, then go ahead. All a mass gainer typically is just a butt-ton (or is it an ass-load? I always get them confused) of carbohydrates… Guess where else you can get carbohydrates. In just about every delicious food!
If you prefer the mass gainer over all other foods, I guess go ahead, weirdo. In my own personal experience of anyone, I've ever seen purchase mass gainer is that it sits on top of the fridge 80% full until it expires. Pretty sure that's the definition of a waste of money.
Those are the 12 most commonly purchased categories of sports nutrition supplements purchased on bodybuilding.com. Chances are you've seen them in your local supplement store/megastore and considered purchasing one or all of them. Hopefully, this guide has shown you where to spend your money and where to save it.
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 that you are the most disappointed by.