Creatine is a supplement (typically comes in powder form to be mixed with liquid) that increases your body’s ability to produce energy rapidly. With this extra energy, you can train harder and longer, which leads to faster results. This makes creatine a perfect supplement for high-intensity training like weight lifting, or explosive activities that require short bursts of energy like football or sprinting. The increased workload that you can handle when taking creatine comes from the fact that creatine improves your body’s protein synthesis by pulling water into your muscle cells. However, like with practically any supplement, this only works if you hit the gym, and eat a healthy diet. If you just sit around and eat junk, taking creatine will just add water weight.
Additionally, there’s little to no risk in taking creatine. Creatine is constantly being studied by researchers, both for effectiveness and safety, and the general consensus is that creatine is doing good on both counts. To put it simply, if there are any adverse side effects to taking creatine, researchers would have most likely found it by now. It’s still recommended that you use creatine only if you’re healthy and have no problems with your liver, just to be safe. It’s also recommended that you hold off on taking creatine until you’re 18, as few studies have been done on children, and the effects of creatin on muscle and bone growth in children are unknown. With years of research to back it up, it’s entirely up to you whether or not creatine is right for you
*Pro Tip: Try mixing 100% pure creatine powder with fruit juice. The sugar in the juice increases your insulin levels, which in turn increases creatine uptake into the muscles.
For more info on Creatine, check out Men's Health's article HERE
Our Pick: ALLMAX Creatine
Lab tested and ultra-pure, ALLMAX Creatine is designed to improve your performance in short-burst, high-intensity training, to help you better build lean muscle mass. ALLMAX Creatine is also designed to be ultra-fine, making it easy to mix into virtually any liquid. With its 5-Stage Quality Guarantee, ALLMAX Creatine is sure to provide you with a top-quality, effective boost to your next workout.
First and foremost, test boosters are NOT steroids. Taking steroids involves essentially injecting testosterone and human growth hormones(HGH) into your body. Test boosters, meanwhile, as their name suggests, use natural ingredients to boost your body’s ability to naturally produce its own testosterone and HGH. So while steroids are artificial, test boosters are natural. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk a bit more about what test boosters are, and what they do.
First, some background on testosterone. Testosterone is the main hormone associated with things like muscle growth, strength gains, and sex drive. Unfortunately, at around the age of 30, men start seeing a gradual decline in testosterone, leading to not-so -favorable changes in their muscle mass and strength. That’s where test boosters come in. Thanks to its ability to, well, increase testosterone, test boosters can be very effective in helping to increase your muscle size and strength, especially when combined with a solid resistance-training program. Four of the most common ingredients found in test boosters include:
- Fenugreek: Helps to increase strength, and contributes to increasing lean muscle mass.
- D-Aspartic Acid: An amino Acid that tells your brain to convert cholesterol into testosterone.
- Tribulus Terrestris: Elevates the luteinizing hormone, which in turn stimulates testosterone production.
- ZMA: A combination of zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B-6, ZMA can help you achieve deeper levels of REM sleep (useful for muscle recovery), and increase muscle strength.
For health reasons, it’s recommended that you don’t start using test boosters until around your mid-twenties.
For more info on test boosters, check out bodybuilding.com's blog Here
Our Pick: Cellucor P6 Black
Designed with cutting-edge Nooptropic Testosterone Technology, Cellucor P6 Black is sure to give you a hardcore supplement with an unmatched ‘feel’. Alongside boosting testosterone levels, P6 Black also improves focus and clarity, strength, and metabolic function. Thanks to its potent ingredients, P6 Black connects muscle and mind unlike any other product on the market.
Out of all the supplements that exist for muscle building and recovery, there may be none more well-known than protein. Everyone from fitness enthusiasts to gym novices use protein to help with their muscle recovery. In fact, there are three kinds of protein to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for; whey, isolate, and casein.
When people talk about protein, they’re more often than not talking about whey protein. Whey is the most basic form of protein on the market, as well as the most cost effective, which makes it a perfect supplement for those that are either new to using supplements or who just want to save a few bucks. If you’re on a diet and you want to control your hunger, you can even take whey protein throughout the day as a meal replacement.
Casein is a unique variant of protein, in that while most protein variants act moderately quickly, casein is designed to release its protein content over an extended period of time. Generally taking about 5-7 hours to fully digest, casein is best taken before bed to keep your muscles fed throughout the night. Like whey protein, it can also be taken as a meal supplement.
And finally, we have isolate, a lactose free absorbable protein. While not the fastest acting, isolate is more readily absorbed into the body, to give your muscles the vital nutrients they need to grow and recover. And for those of you currently on, or planning to go on, a low carb diet, no worries, isolate contains very little carbs and sugars. It is a bit pricier than other most other proteins, though it’s not the priciest.
Our Pick: MusclePharm 100% Combat Whey
Sourced from whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, MusclePharm 100% Combat Whey is designed to help you build and maintain lean muscle mass. In addition, it’s low in sodium, reducing the risk of water retention. With no artificial dyes or flavors, and no banned substances, you can be sure you’re getting a high quality protein with MusclePharm.
Have you ever had a long day that’s left you too exhausted to go to the gym, or maybe you haven’t felt motivated enough to go to the gym even when you need to? Thankfully, there’s a supplement to help you with that; pre-workouts. These supplements are designed to be taken before your workout, in order to give you the energy boost you need to get back in ‘the zone’. While all pre-workouts have different formulas that make them unique, they do share three particular ingredients; creatine (which we’ve already covered earlier), beta-alanine (which dilates your blood vessels, to allow more oxygen rich blood and nutrients to reach your muscles), and caffeine (to give you the energy boost you need).
Not only does taking a pre-workout wake you up for your workout, but it also improves your athletic performance. Since creatine is a primary component in most pre-workouts (unless you’re buying a creatine-free pre-workout), you’ll be getting a boost to your physical output alongside being more alert. This effect won’t be as strong as taking creatine by itself, due to there being less of it in pre-workouts, but it is useful for short bursts of strength for resistance training. Pre-workouts will also help you fight off fatigue in your muscles and the rest of your body, which in turn will allow you to train for longer without tiring, which would lead to you losing more weight and building more muscle.
For more info on pre-workouts, check out Brandon Carter's blog HERE
Our Pick: Beyond Yourself PRESET
Get ready to rock those weights like never before with Beyond Yourself PRESET. Designed with clinically proven, effective doses of everything you need to enhance your workout, PRESET is unlike any other super concentrate on the market. Providing increased energy, blood flow, and endurance, PRESET gives you everything you need to go beyond yourself.