Supplements can be a mystery. Add up all the different types of supplements, and possible supplement combinations, and it's enough to send rocket scientists to the medicine cabinet for some aspirin.
So what should you take? What supplements are essentials, and the best buy for your hard-earned cash? Muscle & Strength has the answers for you. This article is a meta-analysis of the favorite supplements recommended by over 30 top pro natural bodybuilders, and fitness and figure athletes. This article contains no fluff. It contains only the top, must have supplements used by the best natural lifters in the world.
Every supplement listed on this page is a top choice by at least one pro. Supplements are listed according to popularity. Six supplements received multiple votes. Several supplements received a single vote. These supplements are listed at the end of the article. For more information on popular supplement categories, please visit the Muscle & Strength Supplement Store.
And The Winner Is...Protein Powder!
This should come as no big surprise...a vast majority of pro natural athletes list protein powder as their top supplement. Proper protein intake is the cornerstone for maximizing muscle growth. Trying to build muscle without eating enough daily protein is like trying to run a marathon with your shoes on the wrong feet.
The top protein powder choice of pro natural bodybuilders and athletes was whey protein. Several athletes simply listed their top supplement choice as protein powder, and one female figure competitor listed soy protein powder as her favorite supplement. The following athletes list protein powder as their must have supplement:
A Strong Second Place: Creatine
Creatine supplements land in second place, and for many good reasons. Natural athletes use creatine monohydrate and creatine ethyl ester (the two most popular forms of creatine) to increase performance, delay fatigue and to boost strength. Creatine also saturates muscle cells, adding muscle mass. There is no better muscle building supplement then creatine.
Some athletes listed specific creatine products - such as BSN Cellmass - as their favorite supplement. It should also be noted that creatine monohydrate edged out creatine ethyl ester as the number one creatine choice of the pros. The following natural athletes list creatine as their must have supplement:
Glutamine Muscles Its Way Into The Third Spot
The third most popular supplement, as chosen by pro natural bodybuilders and fitness and figure athletes is...glutamine! Glutamine assists in protein metabolism, and bolsters the immune system. It is also the most prevalent amino acid in the human body. Weight training can deplete glutamine levels. Natural athletes supplement with glutamine to help replenish these levels, and to assist in the building of new muscle mass.
Glutamine is sold in two forms: glutamine capsules and glutamine powder. The best time to supplement with glutamine is post-workout. Glutamine powder is often added to post-workout drinks, or capsules are taken with post-workout waxy maize or whey protein drinks. The following natural athletes list glutamine as their must have supplement:
BCAAs and Amino Acids Come In At Number Four
Four professional natural athletes listed some form of amino acids or BCAAs as their go to supplement. The human body requires amino acids for muscle tissue repair, and new muscle tissue growth. Three amino acids make up BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are often taken as a stand alone supplement, and used in addition to amino acid supplementation.
BCAAs are generally taken before, during and after a workout. Amino acids should be taken before and after workouts and meals, and on an empty stomach. One of the most popular BCAAs/amino acid supplements listed by pro natural bodybuilders was Scivation Xtend. The following natural athletes list BCAAs and/or amino acids as their must have supplement:
Tie For The 5th Spot Between Multivitamins And Fish Oil
Both multivitamin supplements and fish oil received a fair amount of votes. Supplementing with a good multivitamin and mineral is a no brainer. Hardcore training depletes vitamins and minerals in the body. Vitamin and mineral supplementation improves overall health, gives you energy and aids in recovery.
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega 3's assist with proper brain and central nervous system function. Fish oil is also good for the heart and joints. It is one of the best supplements on the market for good overall health and wellness. The following natural athletes list either a multivitamin or fish oil as their must have supplement:
Other Supplements That Made The List
Three other supplements made it into the list of must haves, receiving only a single vote each:
- Antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which can impair the immune system and numerous other important physiological functions. Antioxidants improve overall health, and aid in recovery between workouts.
- Meal Replacements. Meal replacements come in the form of powders (drinks), or food products such as cereal or pancake mix. Meal replacements are a healthy, nutritionally-sound food source that provides a hard working athlete with everything they need from a muscle building meal.
- Protein Bars. Protein bars are a tasty and nutritionally dense protein powder alternative. They are often eaten in between major bodybuilding meals, or for convenience...when bringing along containers of food just doesn't work. Most natural bodybuilders and athletes keep protein bars around just in case.
Recap - What Have We Learned?
For seasoned muscle-building veterans, this list will come as no surprise. All the supplements listed in this article are staples, and appear over and over again in the supplement plans of some of the best natural athletes in the world. If you want to fortify your training and diet with supplements, everything listed on this page is worthy of your attention.
Pro bodybuilders, and fitness and figure athletes aren't gods. They are people just like you and me. They don't make much money from their respective sports, so these athletes must pick and choose wisely what they spend their money on. If your supplement plan is missing any of these essentials, I encourage you to read the following articles: