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

 

6 thoughts on “The Best Workout Supplements”

  1. Thanks for the information- I didn’t realize pre-workouts supplements existed, and that sounds like a great fit for me. I think it would help me feel more motivated and energetic before working out, which unfortunately I often approach with reluctance, or while tired.

  2. Hi, thank you for sharing this supplements.

    I have tried whey protein before, but most of the time it makes me bloating, I never felt such way before. I also noticed that there were pimples that startes to appear on my face.

    Is this normal? What is your advice? Is my whey protein already expired?

    Thanks

    1. Thanks for stopping by.

      I have a full guide to whey protein here which should answer any questions you may have

      http://scienceguysupplements.com/a-guide-to-whey-p

      Some people do report ‘mild gastrointestinal distress’ which could present as bloating. Usually this is temporary and resolves itself after continued use. If you don’t consume a good amount of protein through you standard diet then this could be a bit of a shock to the system.As for the pimples, that could be anyone’s guess. This isn’t something I have ever come across with whey protein use so may be down to another environmental/diet effect.

      Whey protein should always come in a secure re-seal-able bag or a large plastic tub with tight lid. It should also have a clear use by date. Whey protein lasts for quite a long time especially if stored correctly.

      My advice is to check the use by date. To be safe, bin it if it has gone past that date. If it hasn’t been stored correctly but is still in date then I would still suggest getting a new batch.

      Finally, make sure you are buying from a well established brand. The supplement industry is poorly regulated. Cheap, poorly made whey protein may excerbate any side effects you are experiencing,

      I have lots of links throughout my website that take you to the absolute best brands for each supplement category that have worked well for me over the years. That’s a good place to start if you want some new supplements.

      Hope this helped, Cheers

  3. I actually found your article while looking at supplements to help with my digestive issues. There is actually a lot of connection between building muscle and repairing a leaky gut. That is according to the things I read. I notice you did not mention L-glutamine in this list. This is one that is quite popular for leaky gut issues. Do you have any information about it?

    1. Hi Ruby,

      Thanks for stopping by. I tend to stay away from recommending specific amino acids in articles. The best bet is to take a healthy amount of all rather than focusing on one in particular. You can achieve this either through all-inclusive amino acid supplements or a varied diet. However in some health situations specific supplementation can have positive outcomes. L-glutamine isn’t necessarily more important than other amino acids in muscle building. However it plays a role in the normal maintainence of the intestinal mucosa. We usually synthesise plenty of L Glutamine but during times of stress demands for L-glutamine increase for a number of reasons. It’s possible that your demand for L-glutamine is out stripping your supply. I’d recommend trying it out for intestinal issue but the research supporting supplementation with one specific amino acid for muscle building is weak at best.

      Hopefully that answered your question 🙂

      -ScienceGuy

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