Top 10 Workout Supplements for best results
updated January 1, 2019
It doesn’t matter how hard you work in the gym, if your diet is off you aren’t going to get results that your efforts deserve. Supplementation is a vital part of the nutritional equation. Knowing the supplements that actually work for your pre and post workout, fat loss and muscle building are key to maximum performance and results. This mega article brings together the best supplements to get you jacked in 2019.
A Quick Look at our Favorite Supplements
The best supplements for working out that gives you the greatest training bang for your buck is creatine. Creatine will produce more immediate energy, so you can lift heavier for longer. Our favorite creatine brand is Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine powder.
The best post workout supplement for men, and our second overall favorite, is whey protein powder. Whey powder delivers essential amino acids to your muscle cells, creating the anabolic environment needed for growth to occur. Our preferred whey protein brand is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey.
Our third best supplement for working out is beta alanine. Beta alanine boosts the body’s natural production of carnosine, which, in turn, increase the body’s training energy and offsets fatigue. Our preferred brand of beta alanine is Now Foods 750mg beta-alanine capsules.
Top 10 Supplements
In order to take the confusion out of the supplement market, we have scoured the marketplace to sort out the best from the rest. Here are the overall top 10 workout supplements, including pre workouts and post workouts, fat loss boosters and mass builders.
To make it easy for you to compare them, we’ve rated the Top 10 on the basis of price, and effectiveness and then given an overall rating out of 5.
The Top 10 Supplements In Depth
Creatine is the most heavily studied workout supplement on the planet. Time and again, studies have shown the effectiveness of creatine in restoring ATP, the body’s main energy source, to the muscle cell. This allows for more strength, explosive endurance and less workout fatigue. Optimum Nutrition’s pure creatine powder provides 5 grams of 99.9% pure micronized creatine. The micronization process means that the creatine will mix more readily and more quickly absorb into the bloodstream.
Optimum Nutrition creatine is unflavored, making ot ideal for stacking with such other supplements as beta alanine and glutamine. It mixes very well with water or juice and can also be added to your post workout protein shake. This product is completely additive and artificial flavoring free.
- Pure creatine
- Mixes well
- Additive free
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey has been rated as the top whey powder on the market for many years, attesting to its effectiveness as an anabolic booster. It contains three different types of whey – whey isolate (whey with lactose and fat removed), why concentrate (whey with the fat and lactose left in) and whey peptides (amino acids that have broken into tiny chains). This blend also contains 5 grams of BCAAs and 4 grams of glutamine.
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey use the natural sweeteners Ace-K and Sucralose to deliver their impressive array of delicious flavors. Also included is Amino Gen, Optimum’s own enzyme brand designed to break down amino acids. This lean protein powder is easily digestible. Gold Standard mixes very well and tastes great.
- 3 types of whey
- Includes BCAAs and Glutamine
- 21 great flavors
- Formula changed from original
NOW Foods Beta Alanine contains 75 grams of pure beta alanine in every capsule. Beta alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that increases the body’s production of carnosine. Carnosine, in turn, helps to delay the onset of fatigue. It also works alongside creatine to restore ATP levels and allow the trainer to push through to get that extra one or two reps.
The NOW Foods Beta Alanine 75 g contains no sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg or preservatives. It is also a vegan friendly supplement.
NOW Foods beta alanine supplementation may cause a slight tingling sensation to the outer extremities when you first take. This is a normal reaction and is not harmful.
- Pure beta alanine
- Vegan friendly
- Cost effective
- Unpleasant taste
Legion Pulse is a pre workout supplement that has been designed to cover all of your training bases. It provides increased energy and blood flow, reduces fatigue, improves muscular endurance and even sharpens mental focus. Each of the ingredients in Legion Pulse has been selected on the basis of peer reviewed research studies to demonstrate its ability.
Rather than packing their pre-workout with cheap stimulants, Legion have only added caffeine as a stimulant in order to provide a smooth energy rush effect. Key ingredients in this formula are citrulline malate, ornithine, beta-alanine, betaine, caffeine, and theanine. Legion Pulse is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored. It is made in the USA and comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
NOW Foods beta alanine supplementation may cause a slight tingling sensation to the outer extremities when you first take. This is a normal reaction and is not harmful.
- All ingredients scientifically proven
- Natural sweeteners
- Made in the USA
Branch chain amino acids are vital for muscle building. These three essential amino acids are leucine, valine and iso-leucine. Together they provide a muscle sparing effect during your workout, preventing you from going into a catabolic state. When taken after your workout, they will kick start protein synthesis, shunting your body into an anabolic, muscle building state. Optimum Nutrition 1000 BCAA capsules deliver 1000 mg of branch chain amino acids directly to your muscles.
Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules deliver the three amino acids in the ideal ratio for absorption by the body of 2:1:1: where you get twice as much leucine as you do valine and iso-leucine. The capsule format makes the formulation easy to swallow and is quick and easy.
- 1000 mg per capsule
- 2:1:1 ratio
- Easy to swallow capsules
Legion Athletics Recharge is a post workout supplement that is designed to allow you to build more muscle and strength, while also reducing post workout muscle soreness and speeding up recovery. To achieve this, Legion have included in this product a handful of ingredients that have been scientifically proven to be effective. All of the ingredients are 100% natural, with no artificial ingredients added. Each ingredient is used at the clinically effective dose.
The Legion Athletics Recharge formulation includes creatine monohydrate, L-Carnitine, L-Tartrate, and Corosolic Acid. This last ingredient improves blood glucose control and boosts insulin signaling to enhance post workout carb consumption. This product is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored. It is made in the USA and comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
- Natural, scientifically proven ingredients
- Includes corosolic acid to regulate blood glucose
- Naturally sweetened and flavored
- May cause a bloated reaction
BSN NO Explode is the original pre workout formula from BSN that first came out in 2004, reformulated and more potent than ever. The new NO Explode formulation includes 275 mg of caffeine to deliver the right amount of energy and focus without bringing on the dreaded post exercise crash. 1.8 grams of beta alanine provides extra training endurance, off setting fatigue. This is combined with 3 grams of creatine for even more power.
BSN NO Explode features a unique myogenic Matrix that consists of an advanced creatine blend. It boosts the effects of creatine to the max, allowing you to train with more intensity. You’ll also get enhanced endurance from the Endura Shot blend.
- Includes Creatine and Beta alanine
- Great taste
- Good caffeine dosage
- Nasty taste
Cellucor C4 Pre Workout Energy Drink is a ready to drink version of Cellucor’s popular powdered pre workout formula. It is designed to provide you with explosive training energy, intense and workout focus. It comes in ultra handy 10z bottles. The product contains scientifically proven ingredients that promote energy, pumps and performance. These include beta alanine for muscular endurance. Creatine is blended with nitrate for strength and a pump effect.
All of the flavors of Cellucor C4 provide a great tasting pre workout drink. Unlike may pre-workouts, it isn’t overly sweet. The Pink Lemonade version is naturally colored with beet root. This product includes caffeine and beta alanine. People who are sensitive to these ingredients may experience some tingling when they take the product.
- Ready to drink
- Great tasting
- May produce a tingling sensation
Naturo Nitro Creatine is an advanced patented form of creatine designed to maximize the already amazing effects of this essential pre workout ingredient. Magnesium creatine has been shown to be absorbed more readily by the human body. This allows the creatine to take effect much sooner, flooding your cells with ATP energy and allowing you to push harder for longer. Unlike many creatine formulations, there is no loading phase required when you use this product.
Naturo Nitro Creatine comes in capsule form. You get 90 capsules in each bottle, giving you a full month’s supply of the product. There are no fillers or artificial ingredients in this product – just pure magnesium creatine to power your workouts to new heights.
- Faster absorbing
- No loading phase required
- No fillers or sweeteners
- Many cause bloating
Alpha GX7 is a pre workout supplement that comes in powder form. It is designed to make you stronger in the gym, while training harder and more efficiently. It contains a whopping 1500 mg of citrulline coupled with beta alanine. This combination provides a huge energy boost, which will also give you a strength surge. They will also deliver increased mental focus and drive.
Along with citrulline and beta alanine, the ingredients consist of Niacin, Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate, L-Carnitine, Mucuna L-Dopa 20%, Taurine, Caffeine, Theobromine,and Yohimbe HCL. Each of these ingredients have been scientifically proven to boost your training efficiency. Many users believe that this is the best tasting pre workout on the market.
- Large dosage of citrulline
- Beta alanine
- Yohimbine for blood flow
- Limited flavors
Supplement Buyer’s Guide
Caffeine is, by far, the world’s most popular stimulant. There are gazillions of studies that show that dropping some caffeine pre workout can help to . . .
- Boost energy
- Increase focus and alertness
- Burn fat
- Prolong your workout
Caffeine has a powerful effect on the central nervous system. It excites the spin Caffeine has a powerful effect on the central nervous system. It excites the spinal cord while improving muscle fiber recruitment.
During Your Workout
Water + Dextrose
During your workout your priorities are to stay hydrated and to replenish your glycogen levels. Water is a great way to do both. Adding dextrose to the mix (literally mixing it into your water bottle) will make your H20 even more potent. Dextrose, also known as glucose, is a corn based energy source that is readily absorbed by the body. It stimulates an immediate insulin response, which will drive nutrients to the cells, allowing you to perform longer and be stronger.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. It is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that your body can produce it by itself. 61% of your skeletal muscle is composed of glutamine.
Glutamine is a key transporter of nitrogen throughout the body. It is, in fact, the main way that nitrogen gets into your muscle cells. Nitrogen is the driver of muscle growth. Being in a state of positive nitrogen balance will determine whether your body is in an anabolic (muscle building) or a catabolic (muscle depleting) state.
When you work out, you lose a lot of glutamine. Heavy, frequent, intense training will actually remove the majority of this amino acid
from your system. After your workout, your body is in a glutamine depleted state. It will take up to 6 days for your glutamine levels to return to normal after just one heavy workout. Therefore, if you are training intensely several times a week, you will be in a constant state of glutamine depletion. Yet this amino acid is the most important substance that you need for recovery. That is why you need to take a quality glutamine supplement.
Supplementing with B12 with help ward off fatigue and exhaustion. In addition, it keeps your nerves and red blood cells working optimally, helps maintain a healthy digestive system and promotes healthy skin, hair and nails. To top it off, Vitamin B12 helps battle breast, colon and lung cancer. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day.
Taking whey protein in shake form within twenty minutes of working out is the most effective way to fast track amino acids to your muscle tissue. This will provide the building material that the cells need to repair and regrow.
Whey protein does more than build muscle. It also helps to regulate the storage of carbs and fats. In this way it acts to assist in the loss of body fat. The amino acids from whey are converted into blood sugar in the liver, acting as an appetite suppressant.
What Supplements Should I Take to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle?
To say that the fitness supplement market is saturated is a bit of an understatement. With so many brands in your face, all promising to get you leaner and more massive that the competition, it’s no wonder that people are confused when trying to figure out which supplements to take to lose weight and gain lean muscle.
Let’s break it down to the absolute essentials that you need to be taking in order to get big while getting lean:
Protein is the cement from which your cells build muscle. When you work out, you break down the muscle cell. It is the amino acids that are contained in the protein that you take into your body that rebuilds the cell. You need to be having a constant supply of protein coming into your body. On a daily basis you need to be consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
It is especially important that you take in quality protein after your workout. That is when your muscles are depleted the most. The best way to get the protein to the cell is to consume a fast acting whey protein powder based shake within 20 minutes of finishing your workout.
ATP is the fuel that powers your muscles. When you are working out, ATP gets used up by being converted to ADP. When this happens, you lose strength and can no longer perform. Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that has the ability to reconvert ADP back to ATP. This allows you to extend your set, enabling you to push out more reps with heavier weight – and that makes al the difference in your muscle building endeavors.
The Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are the amino acids L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. They are used more readily by the muscle tissue of your body than other amino acids. Branch Chain Amino Acids are necessary post workout to get your body out of a catabolic state. The branch chain amino acids are used by the body for energy when your glycogen stores are depleted instead of muscle tissue. BCAAs also play a key role in the action of insulin.
Protein powders are not all created equal. Many of them are packed with fillers and additives that will make you fat. Some also contain too many carbs in the way of maltodextrin and other sugars.
There are two most common categories of protein: whey and casein. Of the two, whey is the fastest to be absorbed by the body, making it the better choice during the day. However, the slow release of casein makes it the best option as a pre bedtime source of protein, allowing for a slow release of amino acids as you are sleeping.
Whey protein can be further divided into isolate, hydrolysate and concentrate. They each have their benefits. Isolate will provide the highest level of bioavailability, while hydrolysate is the fastest to be absorbed, and concentrate is the cheapest.
What About Fat Burners?
The manufacturers of fat burning supplements make all sorts of outrageous claims about their ability to strip off body fat. The truth is that they can help to boost fat loss so long as you’re training hard and eating clean. Look out for fat burners that contain stimulants, such as caffeine and green tea, designed to give you a training boost. Other ingredients are designed to speed up the metabolism and suppress appetite.
Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss for Women
Taking a meal replacement shake one or two times per day is a great way to reduce your daily caloric consumption, while ensuring that you’re stilling getting the macro and micro nutrients that you need. The key things you need to look for when trying to decide what’s the best meal replacement shake for weight loss are a decent amount of protein, fiber and under 300 calories per serving. Make sure, too, that it is low in sugar and additives.
The supplement market is saturated with all manner of products promising to give you the best workout possible, while building max muscle. In this article, we’ve waded through the market to bring you the best supplements on the market. Our single favorite product is Optimum Nutrition’s pure creatine powder, which provides 99.9% pure creatine, mixes well and is additive free.
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey is our second favorite overall. This top rated protein powder is a mix of three types of whey, includes glutamine and BCAA’s and comes in 21 great flavors. Our third ranked supplement overall is NOW Foods Beta Alanine 75 grams, which is a cost effective pure beta alanine product.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.