of the single most frequent questions
I hear is "what supplements
should I take to build muscle/burn
fat?" To that question I
always answer with a question:
"what does your training
and nutrition look like?"
blank looks I often receive in
response tell me all I need to
know. Many people view supplementation
as the sole key to results...the
golden ticket, magically unlocking
the door to the body they want.
They feel without supplements,
that door just won't open!
view is different...
use training and nutrition to
rip open the door and supplements
to help me step through it AFTER
it's open. Because the bottom
line is, without proper training
and nutrition to start with, the
door to results WON'T be open
and using supplements to try and
get through it is going to be
like pushing on a door marked
"Pull." Not going to
not writing this to bash supplements,
believe me. I use supplements
every single day and always will.
I just want to be sure that YOU
are getting only the supplements
you need and NOT getting stuck
with the supplements that you
That being said, I want to be
clear that I am NOT a doctor or
nutritionist - this is NOT medical
advice and DO NOT go against what
your doctor or nutritionist has
recommended to you! ***
here's my common-sense, totally
unglamorous approach to effective
1. Start with
the basics, no matter what your
want to build muscle and you weigh
147 lbs soaking wet, you don't
need some ground-up reindeer toenail
fungus from Siberia or some chemical
that was discovered 15 minutes
ago and has 7 consonants in a
row in its name. You need to get
yourself under the squat bar and
pile some weight on it. Then you
need to feed your body NUTRIENTS.
if you want to lose fat, let me
put it this way...if the soundtrack
of your life sounds like "Flight
of the Bumblebee" because
you're so hopped up on herbal
stimulants, you're NOT going to
get the results you want. But
a completely shot nervous system,
let's boil it right down. You
need to start with a good multivitamin.
Cripes, even take a Flintstone
multivitamin if that's all you
can get your hands on! If you're
not taking a multi, you are NOT
giving your body what it needs
for health, muscle growth OR fat
something to chew on...most obese
people are actually very malnourished!
Sounds strange but it's true.
They're not lacking in calories...what
they're lacking in is nutrients
(like vitamins and minerals).
But the foods they eat don't contain
the nutrients that they need so
their bodies tell them they need
more food. And they eat more food.
And they get fat.
you want muscle, your body NEEDS
those nutrients to even build
muscle in the first place! Set
the protein aside for a minute.
Your body needs vitamins and minerals
to actually USE that protein to
your body a decent amount of nutrients
in the form of a multivitamin
and it'll pay off. And don't give
me that garbage about having "expensive
urine." I think my urine
is worth it. I'd rather have "expensive
urine" now than have "astronomically
expensive urine" later caused
by the drugs needed to make up
for the textbooks full of disorders
caused by chronic malnutrition.
ask you, what's more expensive...a
$10 bottle of Flintstone vitamins
now or a $90 pill to make up for
bone loss later.
this category, I would also include
a "greens" supplement.
These are available at all health
food and supplement stores. Basically,
they take healthy foods (like
barley and wheat grass) and turn
them into a powder so you get
all the nutrients without having
to eat the food itself. This is
concentrated nutrition and VERY
good to take.
2. Protein is
key but don't get nuts about it
need protein to build muscle.
It's just that simple. Protein
is the basic building block of
muscle tissue. I supplement with
protein every day. But what I
DON'T do is buy protein that's
full of isolated fractions of
this and "enhanced"
with micrograms of that.
those fancy protein powders are
backed by research and all that,
but in the real world, it comes
back to training and nutrition.
The people I see buying those
expensive proteins are often the
ones stopping off at McDonald's
on the way to supplement store
or repping out on the pec deck
machine for countless sets!
order for your body to really
make use of the extra protein
you're giving it, you have to
give it a reason. And that reason
is hard, effective training. Next,
you give your body quality nutrition
to fuel those workouts and help
recovery. THEN you give it the
can promise, if you're not training
hard, it won't matter a bit if
you give your body $40 a pound
whey protein isolate or a bag
of powdered skim milk. You won't
3. Take your
a newsflash...there is no such
thing as a Nitric Oxide deficiency.
But calcium, magnesium, zinc,
etc.? You bet. By sheer weight
alone, minerals account for a
fair percentage of your bodyweight
(your bones are made of minerals).
They're also absolutely CRITICAL
for so many bodily functions and
processes (including muscle building
and fat loss), I can't even begin
to name them all.
minerals, you would die. And without
adequate mineral intake, you won't
maximize your muscle gain OR your
that multivitamin I mentioned
above is a great place to start.
But even multivitamins don't have
enough of the "big"
minerals to maximize your results.
Calcium, for example, is a mineral
you should get 1200 mg of per
day. That makes for a BIG pill
and it's just not practical to
put that much in a multivitamin.
The same goes for magnesium.
recommendation...take at least
1200 mg of calcium per day in
supplemental form (citrate is
well absorbed - don't go higher
than 2000 mg per day) and 600
mg per day of magnesium (again,
citrate is good as is glycinate
For zinc, the amount in a multivitamin
may be enough for you but you
can supplement with 15 to 50 mg
per day (don't go over 150 mg
per day and be sure to take a
day or two off of extra zinc at
least once a week to avoid taking
adding these three minerals to
your supplement regimen will pay
off with increased results and
better overall health.
4. Protect your
to build huge muscles and maximum
strength? You need to lift heavy
weights. Makes sense, right? But
what parts of your body take the
brunt of all that pounding? Your
if you went to a gym and asked,
by show of hands, how many people
take joint-protective nutrients,
I have a feeling there wouldn't
be many people reaching for the
nutrients include glucosamine,
chondroitin, MSM, collagen, and
Vitamin C. They are EXTREMELY
important if you're lifting heavy
and want to keep your knees and
shoulders for later in life.
example I use for this category
is myself. When I first started
training, I didn't have any idea
that joint-protection was even
necessary. As the years went by,
I noticed whenever I lifted heavy
for long stretches, my shoulders,
knees and elbows would start to
hurt and wouldn't ease up until
I stopped lifting heavy for awhile.
a little research, I began using
a lot of joint-protective nutrients
like glucosamine and Vitamin C.
Now I can do extremely heavy partial
training (often with 2 to 4 times
the amount of weight I could use
for a full range of motion) and
never have joint pain.
it doesn't sound glamorous, but
if joint pain stops you from lifting
heavy, you're not going to build
maximum muscle and strength. And
all the pickled jellyfish tentacle
extract in the world isn't going
5. Take your
talking about Essential Fatty
Acids here (Omega 3 and Omega
6). Our food is notoriously low
in essential fats yet they are
critical for good health, muscle-building
hormone production, and immune
system function (among many other
oil, fish oil, krill oil, borage
oil, olive oil...these are all
good sources of Essential Fatty
Acids. Taking these regularly
can yield great benefits in your
training - even 5 grams a day
of any of those I mentioned will
6. Go with the
has a TON of research proving
its effectiveness. Glutamine also
has plenty of research backing
its use. But you can't show me
a scientific, peer-reviewed study
published in a major journal that
demonstrates the muscle-building
properties of NO2 supplementation.
The research just isn't there,
even though all the glossy pictures
and fancy graphics plastered in
the all the magazines claim otherwise.
once you've got your training,
nutrition and your basic supplementation
in order (multivitamins, protein,
minerals and joint protection),
THEN you can start adding in the
"fun" stuff. Creatine
and glutamine are the best places
if you've still got money left
over, definitely give some new
stuff a try! I do the same thing
myself on a regular basis. Do
some research before buying and
give some new supplements a try
from time to time.
here's the key...don't try everything
at once. Rotate a new "treat"
supplement in every month or so.
See how your body responds. If
you get greater results, you'll
know it's a good one for you.
supplements (using a number of
supplements in combination with
each other) is often recommended
and this can be a good way to
go, especially because some supplements
can be more effective when combined
with others. But with all new
supplements and with stacking,
be absolutely sure you're not
compromising on your basic supplements
and make sure you are careful
about researching how different
supplements interact with each
Bottom Line on Supplements
are a tool in your toolbox. If
you can't get results WITHOUT
supplements, i.e. your training
and nutrition aren't effective,
adding exotic supplements is NOT
going to fix a broken program.
before you ask "what supplements
should I take to build muscle
or burn fat," pick up the
basics and get your training and
eating sorted out.
THEN should you worry about what
supplements will give you that
extra 5% of results!
here to visit my preferred online