Category Archives: The Supplement Shop

The very best workout and health supplements on the market today

Must Have Gym Gear

Some gym gear is a cut above the rest. Here you will find basic gym gear that can make a real difference to your workouts. These are products that I have personally used and feel give the best value for money.

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Liquid Chalk

 

Liquid chalk has completely changed my lifting experience for the better, especially with the dead lift. I used to find myself dropping the bar far before I was fatigued. In other words, my hands were my limiting factor in the dead lift which should never be the case. I resorted to using lifting straps even on relatively light weights which you should avoid if at all possible.

Many gyms do not allow powdered chalk because it gets all over the place but liquid chalk is applied as a liquid and dries as a powder on the hand – it is much less messy but works just as well.

Liquid chalk has completely fixed my grip problem which was more due to grip slip than an actual weak grip. Liquid chalk can be used on all barbell based lifts such as the bench press and the military press for extra grip security. I don’t go to the gym without it. Liquid chalk is cheap and goes a long way. Try it today and let me know what you think!

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Good for:

-Improving all round grip

-Especially useful for dead lift

-Can be used in all barbell based exercises

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The Top of the Pile:

 

                                       

 

Both of these are great products which I use interchangeably depending on availability.

At under 6 pounds for a 250 ml bottle, these go a long way. They can also be put to good use in sports outside of weight lifting such as climbing or any other activity that relies greatly on a solid grip.

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Lifting Straps

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Sometimes lifting chalk just isn’t enough. At some point our grip strength will fail and for most of us this is before our legs or back give up. For heavy dead lifts that take you to the limit of your physical strength, straps can be a useful addition to your gym bag and may allow you to lift beyond your grip limits.

Lifting straps don’t need to be fancy and aren’t expensive so it’s always useful to have a set available.

Lifting straps should not be used as a substitute for poor grip strength. Always aim to develop your grip first and rely on straps second.

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Great for:

-Heavy dead lifts in general

-Maximum weight single rep dead lifts

-Can be applied to any pulling exercise where grip fails

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The Top of the Pile:

 

                                                 

 

 

I’ve had this pair of RDX straps for over two years and they have never let down. They are relatively cheap but made extremely well and retain fantastic durability despite a good level of use over the years.

I’ve also included another brand of straps from elite body quad. Someone else at my gym has them and they are a great product. When my RDX straps eventually fail I will be getting hold of the elite body squad straps.  They have thick wrist segments for added comfort and also have adjustable strap lengths. Additionally this is a one size fits all system so your wrist size doesn’t matter.

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Lifting Belts

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Following a back injury I made extensive use of lifting belts to get me back on my feet and support my spine during my re-introduction to light squats and deadlifts. During my time in the gym now I am fully healed I no longer use a lifting belt for any exercise. I prefer to lift raw for additional core development. However for very heavy one rep max lifts or for heavy repped lifts in general, lifting belts can be a useful component of your training.

The idea behind lifting belts is that they increase intra-thoracic/abdominal pressure which helps to stabilise the spine during heavy lifts. You are less likely to damage yourself if your trunk is tight and well aligned – and that’s what a lifting belt helps you to do.

Some people swear by lifting belts and seem to wear them all the time. I’m of the opinion that they should be used for heavy strength training only or if you are coming back from injury and want additional support.

Using a lifting belt constantly can take away from important core development. A strong core is vital if you want to be an all round strong person and excel in the big lifts. However, using a belt occasionally can give you much needed support when going for the big lifts.

My advice: Have a belt available but only use during heavy lifting.

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Great for:

-Extra support when coming back from injury

-Lumbar support during big lifts

-Potentially lift more with a lifting belt

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The Top of the Pile:

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Both of these options are developed and sold by RDX, a reputable equipment manufacturer that makes varied products for a range of athletes and lifters.

The RDX belt on the right is a fantastic basic/intermediate lifting belt. It is cheap and light weight and gives decent lumbar support. It can be used for support in any back intensive exercise such as the squat and dead lift. I have owned one of these belts for a number of years and I used it extensively when recovering from a back injury.

For even greater support, the ‘big boy’ belt on the right is ideal for the biggest lifts if you have decent size and a good level of experience. Due to it’s all round thickness, this belt provides all round thoracic support which smaller belts cannot match. This belt is considered more advanced and is made with thick genuine leather (stay classy). It is ridiculously durable and will last for years. Expect to shell out around 30-40 pounds for a belt like this – a worthwhile investment.

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Don’t forget, these lists are frequently updated so check back for more approved products that actually work. If you have any specific questions, head to the comments section or alternatively feel free to reach me at ed@scienceguysupplements.com

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Up next I will be including my top picks for KNEE STRAPS and WRIST SUPPORTS.

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-ScienceGuy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Workout Supplements

A collection of the very best workout supplements that can take your training to the next level. Supplements can be great for an extra edge in the gym whether your focus is weightlifting and muscle building or functional training and cardio.

Supplementation can also be fantastic for the seasoned athlete trying to break through a a plateau. Whether you need an energy boost or extra protein and calorie this is the ultimate list for you. Keep checking this page for future supplement additions with real scientific evidence supporting their use.

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Whey Protein

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Whey protein comes in multiple forms and is perhaps the single most widely sold fitness supplement today. Protein is essential for building muscle so if your goal is to hit the weights and get bigger and stronger, frequent use of whey protein can give you a much needed protein injection. I have written and extensive guide on whey protein so don’t forget to check it out! 

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Great for:

-Muscle building

-Workout recovery

-General weight gain

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The Top of the Pile:

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MyProtein Impact Whey is a firm favourite of mine and has been for years. This is a ‘whey isolate’ and has very high protein per serving with comparatively low fat and carbs

When I can afford it (!), I’ll treat myself to a tub of Optimum Nutrition Whey. This is ‘whey hydrosylate’ and the pinnacle of protein supplements. The idea with hydrosylates is that they have been pre-digested to help protein absorption. Go on, treat yourself.

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Mass-Gainers

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Mass gainers are all about high calorie intake. If you are serious about putting on general size then mass gainer shakes pack an absolute ton of calories. If you are already big and want to get bigger than you calorie demands will already be high. For some, eating 6,000 calories a day is difficult and requires careful meal preperation. If calories are missed for whatever reason, a mass gainer shake can pick up the slack. Using mass gainers can easily add over 1000 calories to you daily diet.

Evidence suggests that once our protein needs are met, increasing calories from non-protein sources is the best way to maximise muscle growth. Simply taking on more protein doesn’t seem to work. Mass gainers can therefore give you the edge.

Unlike whey isolates, mass gainers are full of carbs and fats as well as protein. If you are looking to stay lean and gain weight slowly then mass gainers probably aren’t for you. For anyone competing or training in strong men events or wanting to pack on general size, mass gainers are ideal.

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Great for:

-Fast weight gain

-Strongman or strength training

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The Top of the Pile:

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Both are great products. MyProtein Hard Gainer has more calories per serving than Serious Gainz but is noticeably more expensive. Both products contain high levels of protein, with a good level of carbohydrates and fats as well. Perfect for gaining weight which ever brand you choose.

 


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Creatine

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Essentially acting as an extra store of skeletal muscle energy, (phospho) creatine is especially useful for weight lifters. Creatine has been shown to increase maximal lifts as well as total rep number before muscle fatigue so is great for breaking through plateaus. Couple creatine with whey protein for a powerful weight and power building supplements. Check out my extensive creatine article for everything you could possibly want to know about this super popular supplement. 

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Great for:

-Muscle building

-Breaking training plateaus

-Strength training

-Increasing maximum lifts

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The Top of the Pile:

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MyProtein creatine monohydrate is a great all round creatine product. It’s cheap and does exactly what it says on the tin. One 500g bag only sets you back 7 pounds but can last you for months depending on usage. Especially during your first few uses, creatine has a very clear positive impact on your training and the strength increases are noticeable if used correctly with good training technique.

Optimum Nutrition Creatine is more expensive than other brands but for some this is completely worth it. As this creatine is ‘micro-ionsied’ it dissolves much better in any liquid so is much more pleasant to drink. Some brands don’t really dissolve at all so it can feel like you are drinking sand. If that sounds like an issue then grab a tub of Optimum Nutrition Creatine. Remember, aside from these small dissolving difference, the core supplement, and it’s benefits, are identical.

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Pre-Workouts

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Pre-workout supplements provide their major benefit through caffeine . Caffeine is a well known stimulant, boosting mental clarity as well as physical endurance. If you are feeling sluggish after a long days work and struggle to bring energy to the gym, pre workout supplements can remedy this and provide a powerful boost to all sorts of workouts from cardio to weight lifting. I’ve written an article telling you everything you need to know about caffeine, how it effects your physiology and how it can benefit you in training and exercise.

Of all supplements, ‘pre workouts’ are in theory the most dangerous due to their high caffeine content. Always avoid these supplements if you are highly sensitive to caffeine. Never exceed the recommended dose stated by the manufacture.  As with creatine, I’d recommend cycling pre-workout use to give yourself a break every now and then. Be warned, that these supplements are POWERFUL. My own advice is to try half the recommended dose the first time you try it and adjust accordingly there after.

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Great for:

-Smashing the weights: setting a new personal best lift

-Temporary endurance increase: good for cardio

-Fighting tiredness if training in the evening

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The Top of the Pile:

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Both of these pre-workout supplements are great products from reputable brands. Of all the supplements on this page, pre-workouts will give you the most obvious boost in the gym due to the acute effects of caffeine stimulation.  Caffeine improves focus, endurance, co-ordination and performance in both anaerobic and aerobic exercises. A supplement for use in all fitness situations.

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Don’t forget, these lists are frequently updated so check back for more approved products that actually work. If you have any specific questions, head to the comments section or alternatively feel free to reach me at ed@scienceguysupplements.com

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-ScienceGuy