The Top 5 Science Based Supplements for Bodybuilding | The Scoop | MassiveJoes (2023)

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Supplements are a large part of the health & fitnessculture, yet they prove to be a point of confusion formost athletes, and in particular, bodybuilders.

If you ask any bodybuilder what supplements they are taking, you will get answers that range from nothing to a laundry list that seems to include literally everything.

So should you take everything you can afford? Should you take nothing? Maybe somewhere in between the two? What is going to get you the best bang for your buck?

With the number of supplements on the market continually increasing, it is important to pin down the most effective supplements to take, especiallyif you don’t want to blow out your supplement budget!

We’ve got your back… so hereare the top 5 results based, science-backed supplements for bodybuilders.

Protein Bars and Protein Shakes

For maximum muscle growth, protein requirements of strength training athletes are higher than sedentary individuals [1] and may be higher yet in individuals who are lean, training hard, and in a caloric deficit (for example bodybuilders dieting for a competition) [2]. While you can consume a high protein diet through food alone, addition of protein barsand protein powdershakes can be an easy and convenient way to meet your increased protein needs.

Recommendation: Consume protein supplements and bars as needed to help reach your daily protein requirements. Not sure what your daily protein requirements are? Give our Free Nutrition Plana shot.Want to learn more about whey protein? Check out or articleSupplements Simplified:Whey Protein.

Creatine Monohydrate

The International Society of Sports Nutrition has called creatine monohydratethe most ergogenic and safe supplement legally available [3]. This is based upon numerous studies which have found increases in muscle size [4-6] and strength [7] when creatine monohydrateisadded to a resistance training program, without anyadverse health effects [8].

Recently, new forms of creatine have entered the market. However, these alternate forms of creatine (while typically more expensive than creatine monohydrate) are no more effective at increasing muscle creatine concentrations than creatine monohydrate[9-11].

(Video) The Top Science-Based Supplements Worth Using (WHAT I Take and WHY)

Creatine loading (taking a large amount of approximately10-20 grams per day for the first 5-10 days) is commonly recommended. However, this is not necessary because muscle creatine concentrations have been shown to be the same regardless of loading after 30 days [12].

Recommendation: Consume 3-5g creatine monohydratedaily to increase muscle size and strength. Want to learn more about creatine monohydrate? Check out or articleSupplements Simplified: Creatine Monohydrate.

Caffeine

Caffeine is commonly consumed as a pre-workout stimulant. Consumption of caffeine has been shown to increase muscular power [13, 14], endurance [15], and exercise performance in athletes in a tired or sleep-deprived state [16, 17] supporting the use of caffeine pre-workout to improve performance.

One thing that should be noted is that the studies observing beneficial effects of pre-workout caffeine utilise veryhigh dosages (3-5mg/kg) [13-16]. These dosages are near the higher end of what is considered safe to consume (6mg/kg/day) [18]. Moreover, individual responses to caffeine may also differ and some individuals may see benefits at lower dosages. In addition, tolerance to caffeine can increase rapidly so it may need to be cycled in order to remainbeneficial for increasing performance[19].

Recommendation: Consume caffeine as needed and tolerated pre-workout to increase alertness and workout performance. Consider cycling caffeine if you are no longer noticing a benefit from its consumption.Want to learn more about caffeine? Check out or articleSupplements Simplified: Caffeine.

Multivitamin

Historically, bodybuilders eliminated foods and/or entire food groups when dieting for a competition [20-22] resulting in deficiencies in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium [21-26]. More research is needed on bodybuilders using more modern methods of contest preparation where foods and food groups are not restricted (for examplethose described by Helms et al. 2014 [27]). However, even while using a more flexible approach to dieting during contest preparation it can still be difficult to consume a variety of foods from all food groups, increasing the risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Therefore, it may be beneficialto take a multivitamin during contest preparation to prevent potential deficiencies.

Recommendation: Taking a multivitamin daily during bodybuilding contest preparation may help prevent micronutrient deficiencies when caloric intake is low, making it difficult to eat a variety of foods from all food groups.Want to learn more about multivitamins? Check out or articleSupplements Simplified:Multivitamin.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanineis becoming an increasingly popular supplement amongst bodybuilders. Although there is some evidence that beta-alanine supplementation may increase lean muscle mass [28] the primary benefit of supplementation with beta-alanineis increased muscular endurance and resistance to fatigue [29, 30]. However, this occurs primarily in activities greater than 60 seconds in duration so itsbenefit may be restrictedto higher rep training protocols including dropsets, supersets, rest pause sets or periods of time when greater amounts of high intensity cardio is being performed (for example duringcontest preparation) [31].

It should be noted that some people may experience a tingling sensation when taking beta-alanine. Spreading out supplementation into multiple smaller dosages throughout the day should reduce this feeling [32].

Recommendation: Consume 3-4 grams ofbeta-alaninedaily to improve performance on higher rep sets and high-intensity cardio.Want to learn more about beta-alanine? Check out or articleSupplements Simplified:Beta-Alanine.

Although these supplements can help progress, they will not make up for a lack of solid nutrition and training. For maximum benefit, make sure your diet and training are on point prior to adding in these supplements. Need help? Check out of Free Nutrition PlanandFree Workout Plan.

(Video) Legit, Science-Based Supplements That Work

References:

1. Phillips, S.M. and L.J. Van Loon, Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci, 2011. 29 Suppl 1: p. S29-38.

2. Helms, E.R., et al., A systematic review of dietary protein during caloric restriction in resistance trained lean athletes: a case for higher intakes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2014. 24(2): p. 127-38.

3. Buford, T.W., et al., International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2007. 4: p. 6.

4. Becque, M.D., J.D. Lochmann, and D.R. Melrose, Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2000. 32(3): p. 654-8.

5. Volek, J.S., et al., Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1999. 31(8): p. 1147-56.

6. Stone, M.H., et al., Effects of in-season (5 weeks) creatine and pyruvate supplementation on anaerobic performance and body composition in American football players. Int J Sport Nutr, 1999. 9(2): p. 146-65.

7. Branch, J.D., Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2003. 13(2): p. 198-226.

8. Kim, H.J., et al., Studies on the safety of creatine supplementation. Amino Acids, 2011. 40(5): p. 1409-18.

9. Greenwood, M., et al., Differences in creatine retention among three nutritional formulations of oral creatine supplements. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 2003. 6(2): p. 37-43.

10. Spillane, M., et al., The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2009. 6: p. 6.

11. Jagim, A.R., et al., A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2012. 9(1): p. 43.

(Video) The BEST Way To Use Creatine For Muscle Growth (4 STEPS)

12. Hultman, E., et al., Muscle creatine loading in men. J Appl Physiol, 1996. 81(1): p. 232-7.

13. Astorino, T.A., et al., Effect of two doses of caffeine on muscular function during isokinetic exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2010. 42(12): p. 2205-10.

14. Del Coso, J., et al., Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: a repeated measures design. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2012. 9(1): p. 21.

15. Duncan, M.J. and S.W. Oxford, The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure. J Strength Cond Res, 2011. 25(1): p. 178-85.

16. Mora-Rodriguez, R., et al., Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PLoS One, 2012. 7(4): p. e33807.

17. Cook, C., et al., Acute caffeine ingestion’s increase of voluntarily chosen resistance-training load after limited sleep. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2012. 22(3): p. 157-64.

18. Nawrot, P., et al., Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Addit Contam, 2003. 20(1): p. 1-30.

19. Tarnopolsky, M.A., et al., Effects of rapid weight loss and wrestling on muscle glycogen concentration. Clin J Sport Med, 1996. 6(2): p. 78-84.

20. Steen, S.N., Precontest strategies of a male bodybuilder. Int J Sport Nutr, 1991. 1(1): p. 69-78.

21. Hickson, J.F., Jr., et al., Nutrition and the precontest preparations of a male bodybuilder. J Am Diet Assoc, 1990. 90(2): p. 264-7.

22. Lamar-Hildebrand, N., L. Saldanha, and J. Endres, Dietary and exercise practices of college-aged female bodybuilders. J Am Diet Assoc, 1989. 89(9): p. 1308-10.

(Video) The Smartest Way To Use Protein To Build Muscle (Science Explained)

23. Sandoval, W.M., V.H. Heyward, and T.M. Lyons, Comparison of body composition, exercise and nutritional profiles of female and male body builders at competition. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 1989. 29(1): p. 63-70.

24. Kleiner, S.M., T.L. Bazzarre, and M.D. Litchford, Metabolic profiles, diet, and health practices of championship male and female bodybuilders. J Am Diet Assoc, 1990. 90(7): p. 962-7.

25. Heyward, V.H., W.M. Sandoval, and B.C. Colville, Anthropometric, body composition and nutritional profiles of bodybuilders during training Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, 1989. 3(2): p. 22-29.

26. Walberg-Rankin, J., C.E. Edmonds, and F.C. Gwazdauskas, Diet and weight changes of female bodybuilders before and after competition. Int J Sport Nutr, 1993. 3(1): p. 87-102.

27. Helms, E.R., A.A. Aragon, and P.J. Fitschen, Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2014. 11: p. 20.

28. Smith, A.E., et al., Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2009. 6: p. 5.

29. Hoffman, J., et al., Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med, 2008. 29(12): p. 952-8.

30. Hoffman, J.R., et al., Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutr Res, 2008. 28(1): p. 31-5.

31. Hobson, R.M., et al., Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids, 2012.

32. Harris, R.C., et al., The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids, 2006. 30(3): p. 279-89.

FAQs

What is the No 1 supplement for bodybuilding? ›

Creatine

It provides energy for your muscles and other tissues. However, taking it as a dietary supplement can increase muscle creatine content by up to 40% beyond its normal levels ( 3 ). This affects your muscle cells and exercise performance, promoting muscle gain.

What is the most researched bodybuilding supplement? ›

Creatine. Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular and well-researched bodybuilding supplements. It's an amino acid that your body uses to create energy. Creatine ethyl ester can increase your muscles' energy production, increasing strength and power output [7].

Do any bodybuilding supplements actually work? ›

Studies have looked at a variety of supplements used for bodybuilding or to improve physical performance, including glutamine, choline, methoxyisoflavone, quercetin, zinc/magnesium aspartate, nitric oxide, and L-arginine. There's no clear evidence these supplements improve athletic performance.

What helps build muscle fast? ›

Eight diet tips to help you build muscle mass
  1. Breakfast will help build Muscle Mass. ...
  2. Eat every three hours. ...
  3. Protein with Each Meal Helps Boost Muscle Mass. ...
  4. Eat fruit and vegetables with each meal. ...
  5. Eat carbs only after your workout. ...
  6. Eat healthy fats to help build Muscle mass. ...
  7. Drinking water helps you build Muscle Mass.

Which is the best supplement in the world? ›

Top 5 Supplements for Optimal Health
  • Multivitamin. A good quality multivitamin is one of the most important supplements for optimal health. ...
  • Fish Oil. Fish oil supplements provide the body with essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for regulating inflammation. ...
  • Magnesium. ...
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Probiotics.

What powder makes your muscles bigger? ›

Whey is the consensus-MVP protein for building muscle, so if you can swing it, make sure you're taking the good stuff. Ascent's powder is made using native whey, which the company calls the "least-processed" form.

Which supplement is best for power and strength? ›

Here are 11 natural vitamins and supplements that may boost your energy.
  1. Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is one of the most important medicinal herbs in Indian Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest medicinal systems ( 1 ). ...
  2. Rhodiola Rosea. ...
  3. Vitamin B12. ...
  4. Iron. ...
  5. Melatonin. ...
  6. CoQ10. ...
  7. Creatine. ...
  8. Citrulline.
28 May 2018

What is the most well researched supplement? ›

Creatine is one of the few powdered supplements that have been thoroughly researched and proven to work. It's been known to help improve strength, power, and muscle mass in health and exercise performance.

What are the top 3 supplements sold? ›

According to recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, which the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)—part of the CDC—regularly collects from people across the country, multivitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 supplements are the most popular of all the options out there, among ...

What is the safest bodybuilding supplement? ›

The number one most popular and safe supplement is hands down, whey protein. Protein is used to build muscle and since most people agree that you must consume between one and two grams per pound of your body weight in order to grow, it definitely pays to add whey protein to your diet.

What are the dangers to taking muscle building supplements? ›

You wonder, are they all safe to use? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found some bodybuilding products may illegally contain steroids or steroid-like substances associated with potentially serious health risks, including liver injury, which can be life-threatening.

What do bodybuilders take? ›

Bodybuilders take anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) in the hope of gaining weight, muscle size, strength, power, speed, endurance, and aggressiveness. Several studies have examined use patterns among athletes and the general population (2).

What drink helps build muscle? ›

Bodybuilders rely on milk to gain weight and pack on muscle, typically drinking a gallon a day. Nowadays, chocolate milk is an ideal post-workout beverage, with a high carbohydrate and moderate protein ratio to replenish glycogen used during intense weight training.

How can I get big muscles in 2 weeks? ›

5 Effective Tricks to Build Muscle in 2 Weeks
  1. First off, DETOX! Time to flush out toxins! ...
  2. Increase you protein intake. According to ACSM , in order to increase muscle mass, it is recommended that a person eat a range of 1.2 to1. ...
  3. Stay Hydrated. ...
  4. Get 7 or more hours of sleep each night. ...
  5. Tone it up!
15 Jul 2021

What foods build muscle fastest? ›

WHAT TO EAT TO GAIN MUSCLE MASS EFFECTIVELY
  • Lean meat. Animal products are usually a great source of protein, especially lean meats like chicken and turkey [2]. ...
  • Eggs. ...
  • Dairy products.
  • Fish. ...
  • Whole grains. ...
  • Beans and lentils. ...
  • Whey protein.

What is the top 5 supplement brands? ›

Flavour
  • HOME.
  • Brands. Brands (A – D) ABSN. Adreno Nutraceuticals. AP Sports. AS-IT-IS. Blackmores. Bold Care. Bolt. Calibar. Dexter Jackson. Dr. Morepen. Brand (D – I) Dr. Vaidya's. Dragon Pharma. Dynami Nutrition. Elite Labs. Evogen Nutrition. Evlution Nutrition. FA Core. Gaspari. ...
  • Collagen. Biotin.
  • Protein Powders.
  • Magazine. Authenticate.

What is the best supplement for male? ›

9 Best Supplements For Men
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Protein powder. ...
  • Omega 3 fatty acid supplement. ...
  • A well-rounded multivitamin. ...
  • ZMA. ...
  • Ashwagandha. ...
  • Creatine. ...
  • A digestive aid.
12 Nov 2021

What is best supplement for men? ›

Best Vitamins & Supplements for Men to Take
  • Multivitamins. The mighty multivitamin can be a solid pillar in your foundational nutrition. ...
  • Vitamin D. If you're looking to build lean muscle mass, Vitamin D deficiency can hinder your progress. ...
  • Selenium. ...
  • Protein. ...
  • Saw Palmetto. ...
  • B Vitamins. ...
  • Omega-3s. ...
  • Zinc.
2 Jun 2022

How can I build muscle after age 60? ›

Strength training is the secret to muscle growth for older adults. It's best to do this with light weights and to work slowly. Slow movements with lighter weights force your muscles to work harder. If you don't have a set of weights, you can use your body weight with resistance exercises like push-ups and squats.

What supplements give you instant energy? ›

‌‌‌‌Supplements to Support Healthy Energy Levels

Many supplements can help to support an energy boost including CoQ10, ashwagandha, B vitamins, tyrosine, Rhodiola, vitamin D, citrulline, melatonin, magnesium, and greens blends.

What is the number one supplement for energy? ›

1. Vitamin B12. You'll rarely find a list of vitamins for energy without reading about vitamin B12. It is the answer to the question, “What vitamin helps with fatigue?” This B vitamin is found predominantly in animal foods like red meat, eggs, fish, and milk products.

What is the most potent supplement? ›

1. Berberine. Berberine is a bioactive substance extracted from certain plants. It isn't well known but may be one of the most powerful supplements on Earth.

What supplements are scientifically proven to work? ›

Zinc, lavender and the omega-3 in walnuts are just a few supplements that have scientifically proven benefits. Supplements and herbs are all part of complementary medicine, which are therapies that fall beyond the scope of evidence-based medicine.

What kind of supplements actually work? ›

5 supplements that work (according to research)
  • Creatine.
  • Garlic.
  • Melatonin.
  • Turmeric (curcumin)
  • Zinc.

What supplements do most people need? ›

These five supplements are essential to our health and we may be lacking them through diet alone.
  • Vitamin D. Ideally you'd get all your vitamin D from the sun. ...
  • Fish oil. ...
  • B vitamins. ...
  • Probiotics. ...
  • Magnesium.

What supplement can I take everyday? ›

According to Nutritionists, These Are the 7 Ingredients Your Multivitamin Should Have
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, which is important for bone health. ...
  • Magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient, which means that we must get it from food or supplements. ...
  • Calcium. ...
  • Zinc. ...
  • Iron. ...
  • Folate. ...
  • Vitamin B-12.

What is the closest supplement to steroids? ›

What Are the Closest Legal Supplements to Steroids?
  • D-Bal Max.
  • HGH X2.
  • Clenbutrol.
  • GenF20Plus.
  • Brutal Force HBULK.
11 May 2022

What's the best steroid to get big quick? ›

With the perfect combination of nitrogen retention, protein synthesis, and glycogen storage, D-Bal is the best steroid to get big quick. You can expect to see some serious gains in a short period of time when you use this product.

Which is the best steroid? ›

Best Legal Steroids Available
  • Crazybulk Ultimate Stack - Best legal steroids overall.
  • D-Bal Max - Best legal steroid for bodybuilding.
  • HGH X2 - Best legal steroids for HGH release.
  • Clenbutrol - Best thermogenic legal steroids.
  • Genf20plus - Best legal steroid for fat loss.
  • Brutal Force Hbulk - Best somatropin alternative.
31 Oct 2022

How can I build muscle after 50? ›

Movements like squats, hip hinges, lunges, and pushups work larger groups of muscles while engaging your joints. They are particularly useful for people over the age of 50. Are you using weights or resistance bands? Try increasing the length of time that you perform an exercise or stretch the bands.

What should I avoid for muscle gain? ›

5 foods to avoid when building muscle
  • 1) Alcohol. ...
  • 2) Sugary drinks and foods. ...
  • 3) Refined carbohydrates. ...
  • 4) Fried foods. ...
  • 5) Branched-chain amino acid supplements. ...
  • 1) Dairy products. ...
  • 2) Lean protein. ...
  • 3) Vegetables of all kinds.
13 Sept 2022

Can bodybuilding cause blood clots? ›

But high-impact workouts like bodybuilding can put a strain on veins especially if you have an underlying vein problem putting you at risk for developing varicose veins and blood clots.

Can bodybuilding supplements cause heart problems? ›

“Most pre-workout mixes are known to contain more than 200 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of two cups of coffee, which can improve energy levels but also increase the risk of high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and potentially a heart attack in patients with severe coronary disease.”

Which form of supplements is best? ›

In general, the stability and shelf-life of tablets are also superior to liquids or gummy vitamins. Tablets and capsules are best used for vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant supplements that do not need large (> 2 grams) doses.

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