Are you looking to get the most out of your workout? Of course, you are. You’re not going to the gym just to sit on an exercise bike and read a back issue of People Magazine. You want to see results, build muscle, slash fat and be the best version of you possible.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use a little bit of help along the way. Supplements will do just that.
With the aid of supplementation, you’ll net larger gains, increase strength potential and see the fat drop right off, as long as you put the work in at the gym. To get the best gains though you’re not taking one supplement at a time though.
You’re taking several, which is known as stacking (you’re literally taking one on top of another, or “stacking” your supplements).
But what supplements are the best to stack for gains at the gym?
We’ve got all the answers for you right here.
When looking for the right supplement stacks you’ll need to include amino acids.
There are a few different kinds to keep in mind, but if we go down the list alphabetically, Arginine is at the top (in more ways than one). It is one of the AAs that is converted to nitric oxide.
What this does is help increase blood flow throughout your muscles.
By increasing your blood flow you’ll deliver more protein and oxygen to muscles, which helps build stronger, larger muscles at a faster clip.
Of course, having more blood flowing in your veins also helps with that pump you get from a solid workout, so you’ll see the immediate improvements to your physical appearance as well.
You’ll want to start out with three grams of Arginine per serving, although you should slowly increase this amount to five over the course of your time in the gym.
For any workout plan, whether you’re stacking or not, you need to be taking creatine. Your body produces creatine naturally within the muscles.
This is the energy source used for explosive movements (such as exploding up on that bench press).
However, the energy source is quickly tapped out and takes some time to replenish.
By taking a creatine supplement you’ll improve the amount of explosive energy in your body.
This, in turn, allows you to pump out more reps during our workout, which causes more muscle damage, which allows you to grow larger muscles and become stronger, all thanks to the single supplement.
When buying creatine you have two options: flavored and non-flavored. The non-flavored kind is great because you can mix it into your protein powder and other pre (or post) workout drinks.
There’s nothing wrong with flavored, but you can’t really mix it with other powders (unless you want a chocolate and fruit punch drink), which means you’ll be left chugging several different supplements all at once. Just something to consider when buying your creatine powder.
With creatine powder, you’ll start out with three grams per serving and then build it up to five.
Creatine comes in all sorts of different serving sizes, so make sure to read what’s included when buying a particular supplement).
Another must, protein powder is the most important supplement if you want to build muscle because chances are, you’re not getting enough protein in your daily diet to build the kind of muscle you’d like.
Now, there are a few different kinds of protein powders out there.
If you have dietary restrictions make sure to go with what works for those restrictions. We prefer whey protein.
That’s because whey comes packed not only with protein but with BCAAs, such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine, each of which is key in helping your body metabolize the protein and use it for building muscle.
Other proteins, such as plant-based proteins (like soy and pea) are fine for net grams of protein, but these are not complete proteins. These plants lack critical amino acids that are only typically found in animals.
So if you’re trying to decide on one form of protein over the other, always go with whey.
You want to take in around 20 grams per serving, although post workout you can increase this to 40. It’s important to not go extremely high on the protein if you’re just starting out.
Your kidneys need to be able to process the protein, so don’t overdo it right out of the gate. Build yourself up to it.
Short for beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate (now you know why we just call it HMB), this is a branched-chain amino acid. It’s great for helping you burn more fat and improve muscle growth, especially if you’re just starting back out at the gym.
However, over time it does lose some of its effectiveness. So if you’re just getting back into the gym this is a great supplement to begin taking.
However, if you’ve been hitting the gym hard for a while now, HMB probably won’t be as beneficial to your diet and supplement stacks. It’s just something to keep in mind when picking up new supplements.
Here is another amino acid that is found within your body. This particular AA is used to help your muscles recover following a workout.
It also helps the muscles grow and repair, although after a heavy workout your muscles will be taxed and the glutamine will dry out (in this way, it is similar to creatine).
In order to help avoid this kind of a problem, you’ll want to introduce a glutamine supplement to your dietary supplement stacks.
This way, you’ll help prevent your body from fatiguing during a workout, thanks to the increase of glutamine in your body.
By reducing fatigue you’ll also be able to pump out more reps. So combined with creatine, you’ll have more energy and less bodily fatigue dragging your muscles down.
Take between two and three grams per serving.
No matter how great your diet is, chances are you’re not getting the kind of vitamins and minerals your body needs.
There are just so many to keep track of you’ll never be able to count what you’re eating and not eating over the course of any given day. With a multivitamin, you won’t need to.
With the multivitamin, you’ll have all the necessary vitamins and minerals you likely are not getting enough of over the course of your other meals.
Of course, with so many multivitamins out there, which one is right for you?
For starters, if you’re in a specific age group, there are likely supplements you should consider. Some are made for seniors while other others are made for men or women.
When looking for vitamins, you want one that gives you 100 percent of all the daily value of Vitamin C, E and B. You might need to stack a few different vitamins in order to do this (such as with a traditional multivitamin and then an additional Vitamin C and B12 supplement on top of it).
Read the label of your multivitamins to see what is a recommended dosage. It’s alright if you need to break it up.
Fish or Krill Oil
Krill oil is kind of the new fish oil. It comes with more of the omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil, as well as a number of other helpful antioxidants and beneficial elements that your body will crave.
The only downside is krill oil is far more expensive. So there’s nothing wrong with sticking with fish oil. Just make sure you’re taking one of these.
There are a number of health benefits connected with taking fish or krill oil.
For starters, it comes with both DHA and EPA, which will reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease.
When focusing in on how it helps improve your workout routine it will reduce inflammation in your muscles. This cuts down on muscle breakdown, allowing your body to start at a higher threshold as it rebuilds your muscles following a workout.
This way, you won’t need to use as much protein to build your muscles back up.
Instead, the protein goes toward increasing the size and not maintaining it. You’ll also see faster results while taking the fish or krill oils.
It is a good idea to take the oils with food though, otherwise, you might end up with a funky feeling stomach (or less than desirable smelling breath).
When to Take Your Supplements
Naturally, you’re not just going to toss everything into a blender and chug. You’ll want to take certain supplements at different points of the day to ensure the highest benefit associated with each of the supplements.
In the morning, either along with breakfast or when you wake up, take a serving of Arginine, of fish oil and of your multivitamins.
Prior to your workout, you’ll want to consume around 20 grams of protein. This gives you the protein and carbs your body needs for energy.
You need to add in up to five grams of creatine in your pre-workout routine as well (this is where reading the label for the amount of creatine in a serving, as this varies widely from one product to the next).
You’ll also want to take a serving of Arginine and of Glutamine before your workout.
Following your workout, you’ll want to take another 20 to 40 grams of protein. You’ll also want to take another three to five grams of creatine.
Your body has burned through most, if not all of what is currently stored up within the muscles.
It takes time to replenish the creatine, and you don’t want to only rely on taking it immediately before a workout. You need your body to metabolize the creatine and store it within your body so it’s ready for use.
Next, you’ll want to also include another serving of Arginine and Glutamine following the workout.
At the end of the day, take the other half of your multivitamin and of fish oil (you can take the fish oil at lunch if that works better for your schedule).
It’s important to follow the dosage recommendation on the product labels.
Every product brand is just a little bit different, so just because you’re taking a certain amount with one brand doesn’t always mean it will equate over to another.
You also have two options when it comes to stacking.
First, you can begin taking a supplement one at a time, take it for a week or so, then begin adding on the next one. The option is to start taking everything at once. There are advantages to each.
If you start taking everything at once you’ll naturally experience the desired improvements and help the supplements offer.
However, if you suffer some kind of issue, such as cramping or another side effect, you won’t know what it’s coming from and will need to start taking supplements out one by one until you determine which is causing the issue.
Now, you likely won’t have any side effects at all, but from time to time there is the occasional individual who’s body is more sensitive to certain supplements.
You know your own body, so do what you think is right for not only your gains but your body’s wellbeing.
There’s no shortage to the number of supplements out there. Each supplement is designed to provide you with a boost in one way or another.
With this list of supplements, you’ll increase your energy, burn more calories, increase your muscle gain and pump out more reps at the gym. All of this equals a better built you.
So whether you’ve been going to the gym for years and want that added boost you’ve been missing, or you’re just getting back into the swing of things and want to take advantage of every piece of assistance possible, start taking these awesome supplement stacks for the gym and soon you’ll be seeing the kind of gains and body changes you’ve been wanting.