If you’re new to powerlifting, you’re probably wondering if there’s specific powerlifting supplements that you should take and if so, which ones actually work. The first thing you should know is that the supplement industry is complete bullshit. I think it’s safe to say that almost all “muscle building” supplements are completely worthless.
Most supplements probably do have some affect, but it’s so small and minuscule that you won’t even notice.
THE ONLY TWO POWERLIFTING SUPPLEMENTS THAT ARE WORTH USING
There are only two supplements that I can recommend honestly and in good faith. You can probably guess what those two are. Whey protein and creatine monohydrate. And I’ll explain why below.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many other supplements out there that can benefit you, but I personally don’t think they are worth the money for most people.If you’re at the highest level of powerlifting sure, taking supplements such as fish oil, multivitamins, L-Glutamine, ZMA, BCAA’s, and pre-workout can help. But for the rest of us, the amount that these supplements help is really not worth the cost, and many people would argue that you can achieve the same results without supplements. And I agree with that.
Almost every supplement out there can be found naturally in your diet. Meat contains protein, creatine, and small amounts of L-Glutamine, and you can get your pre-workout fix by drinking less expensive things like coffee, soda, or even just taking caffeine pills. Multivitamins really aren’t necessary if you are eating a healthy diet with good amounts of fruits and vegetables. Fish oil can be supplemented naturally through fish obviously, but you will have to eat a lot of fish to reap the benefits that taking fish oil capsules offers.
Some supplements such as ZMA and L-Glutamine are ones which you will probably have to buy in actual supplement form instead of trying to get them naturally from your diet.
ZMA is a zinc and magnesium mix which is taken just before bed to induce higher quality sleep. I have taken it personally and I didn’t notice any difference really, except for some funky dreams. Some people swear by the stuff though, so it may be worth checking out if you have trouble sleeping.
TWO OTHER SUPPLEMENTS THAT MIGHT BE WORTH IT DEPENDING ON YOUR GOALS
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is made naturally in the body. It is the most common amino acid found in the muscles making up over 60 percent of the skeletal tissue. It is used to shorten recovery time by increasing protein synthesis within the muscles, and can also balance out pH levels.
Fish oil is the other supplement that may actually be worthwhile. If you have joint pain, I would highly recommend it to you, if not, you can get by without it and be fine. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and has a number of benefits beyond just promoting overall health. Fish oil is excellent for promoting healthy bones and joints. It also does a lot more for your overall health. Check out all the benefits here. If you are considering a supplement besides protein and creatine, fish oil or l-glutamine are going to be your best choices.
If you’re curious about other supplements, this article from Powerlifting Watch does an excellent job at explaining them.
WHY WHEY PROTEIN AND CREATINE ARE WORTH IT
Earlier in this article I mentioned the only two supplements worth using are whey protein and creatine. Let me explain why.
I don’t think I really need to explain why whey protein is necessary. You can’t build muscle without it, protein that is. And most people cannot eat the optimal amount of protein necessary from whole foods, without adding in a couple of protein shakes.
Now, onto creatine monohydrate. Creatine is the most studied and tested supplement ever. It has been scientifically proven to increase strength. Real science. Not some sketchy test conducted by a supplement company. There is one possible downside though, it doesn’t work for everyone.
There is a small percentage of people that creatine will have absolutely no effect on. So you will have to try it out for yourself and see if it works. The good thing is, the percentage of people it doesn’t work on is very small.
Both whey protein and creatine can be bought extremely cheap. Creatine especially can be found dirt cheap.
It can be a bit challenging to find a good brand and flavor of whey protein. Generally, the cheaper it is, the less tasty it will be. Quality also goes down with price usually. Obviously there are exceptions out there but that’s generally the case.
The best and most trusted brand out there is probably Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey. It’s about mid-range when it comes to price (the more you buy, the cheaper it is), the overall quality is excellent, and the taste is by far one of the best out there. The chocolate and vanilla flavors are both excellent. You can pick this stuff up at Costco for something like .66 cents per serving.
Some cheaper options include Dymatize Elite Gourmet Protein, or Body Fortress whey protein (which you can buy at Walmart for around $20). Neither products have a good taste in my opinion, but they are both a solid protein powder generally speaking. The Body fortress brand also contains creatine which makes the deal even sweeter.
As for creatine, just get micronized creatine monohydrate. Not the other fancy forms that cost a lot more. Creatine monohydrate is cheap, tasteless, and will get you the best results.
And there you have it. Whey protein and creatine are, in my opinion, the ONLY supplements for powerlifting that are worth it.
CHEAPEST PLACES TO BUY POWERLIFTING SUPPLEMENTS
If you’re looking to buy your powerlifting supplements at a physical store, Costco usually has very cheap prices on good brands like MusclePharm and Optimum Nutrition. Health stores like GNC are generally a lot more expensive and probably aren’t your best option if you’re looking to save money.
For buying supplements online, check out the best selling protein powders on amazon. It’s hard to beat their prime shipping. If I’m not buying from Amazon I usually buy from bodybuilding.com.