In this article we’ll take a beginner’s look at how to get started with supplements, which kinds of supplements to purchase and how to ensure you’re choosing a quality supplement. Let’s face it, nutritional supplements are big business and some companies will do whatever it takes to get your hard-earned money – even sell you a low quality supplement! So, if you’re a newbie to the supplement world and find youself asking “which supplements to take” or “which supplements work” or even “which supplements to take to build muscle” this article should shed some light on that subject.
First Things First. Which Supplements Should I Take to Build Muscle and Burn Fat?
If you are new to supplements, the core supplements you should have in your arsenal are:
- Whey Protein
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to purchase three separate products as many supplements out there will have different blends and combinations of each of the above three nutrients. However, you want to ensure you are getting an adequate supply of the three supplements (whey protein, creatine and glutamine) listed above. Click here to read about when to take your core supplements.
Now that you know which supplements to take, you may be wondering how to ensure you choose quality supplements.
I follow a few guidelines when choosing supplements to ensure quality. Now from time to time I will dabble and try new products that I don’t know much about or are hyped up, but I usually tend to fall back to companies and names I trust and know work.
Rule #1: Read The Labels
Simply turning the container around and reading the label can be an indication on whether or not the supplement is a winner. You can quickly compare the price with the number of grams of protein, whether or not your protein contains BCAAs, how many grams of creatine or caffeine or glutamine etc. Weigh that information with cost and you can quickly pick through the rubble and find a winner.
Rule #2: You CAN Judge a Supplement By Its Cover
Now this rule is not always 100% accurate, but you can often times judge a supplement by its packaging. If something looks too flashy, cheap or strange, odds are it’s a steaming pile of crap. Choose supplements in sturdy containers, double sealed and from brands you recognize.
Rule #3: Be wary of purchasing store brands.
If you frequent a GNC, Nutrition City, Complete Nutrition or other supplement store, odds are they have their own supplement lines and will do their best to promote their own products. Now often times they are good products, but sometimes they’re just cheap imitations that get the best shelf space and have high margins. Be sure to ask questions and compare labels. don’t just take the sales person’s word for it because they’re paid to sell those products.
Rule #4: Serving Size Matters
Many inferior products will only give you a 15 day supply because their serving sizes are very large and contain a lot of filler. It’s my opinion that unless you are getting at least a 28 day supply, the product simply isn’t worth buying. This is a general rule of thumb and some products like Mass Gainers will have a lower day supply (even in the high quality brands).
Rule #5: Ask Around
If you’re just getting started, visit some online forums or ask people you know what they use and which brands they trust. For us here at SixPackSmackdown, we like the following brands and can pretty much get everything we need from them.
- MusclePharm (Assault, Combat Powder)
- BSN (NO Xplode, Hyper FX)
- Optimum Nutrition (100% Gold Standard Whey, Glutamine)
- MuscleTech (Neurocore)
Now, just remember that these are just supplements and they should not replace a healthy diet and hard work in the gym. Also, unless you are a pro, this is meant to be fun and better yourself. So try a protein, creatine and glutamine supplement from one of the companies above and see what works for you. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, try new products and see what works best for you and your body.