Supplements are the hottest topic in the gym locker room. Remarkable, because supplements are pretty much the last – and therefore least important – link in the craft called natural bodybuilding. Which doesn’t mean they’re completely useless. It’s a matter of choosing the right supplements and using them in the right way. Five experts who shed their light on this.
1. GREG NUCKOLS
Greg Nuckols is a well known powerlifter, coach and author. He owns Stronger By Science, a website filled with scientifically documented articles on bodybuilding and powerlifting.
Nuckols uses and recommends the following supplements for anyone bigger and become stronger, creatine, whey protein, caffeine, citrulline malate, magnesium (for when you have a deficiency, especially among bodybuilders in the cut may occur), garlic (for overall health), rhodiola (which is said to help with fatigue) and ashwagandha (which is said to help with anxiety and anxiety and may also boost testosterone and strength performance). According to Nuckols, the placebo effect may play a role in the latter two, but he feels better when he takes them.
2. JEFF NIPPARD
Jeff Nippard is a professional bodybuilder and powerlifter, who can also chat and edit videos in a flash. He runs an extremely popular YouTube channel, which is soon to hit its millionth subscriber.
In 2017, Nippard put together the following video, a scientifically argued top 5 bodybuilding supplements. According to Nippard, your money is best spent on protein powders (whey and casein), caffeine, citrulline malate, multivitamin (especially in the cut) and creatine. With each supplement, he explains how you can use it optimally.
3. MIKE MATTHEWS
Coach and author Mike Matthews is best known for his Muscle For Life and Legion Athletics websites. In addition, he wrote a number of well-selling fitness books.
In this brand new video, he first discusses three supplements that he believes are unjustly popular among bodybuilders: natural testosterone boosters (such as ZMA), BCAAs and HMB. At most, T-boosters are of little use in (older) men with exceptionally low testosterone levels.
The three best muscle growth supplements in Matthews’ view are: protein powders, creatine, and beta-alanine.
4. BEN ESGRO
Okay, it is now clear that you must have protein powder and creatine in your kitchen cupboard. But what are other, less conventional supplements that can benefit you as a strength athlete? Supplements that may not be well known yet, but that do have a lot of potential?
That question was posed to Ben Esgro, founder of the innovative American sports nutrition brand De Novo, during a philosophical podcast about the science behind sports supplements.
Esgro’s main interest is in stimulant supplements, such as caffeine, and in supplements that affect neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in our body that transmit nerve impulses from one part of the body to another. For example, from the brain to the muscles. Important and well-known neurotransmitters are dopamine and serotonin, also known as ‘happy hormones’. There are herbs that positively influence these neurotransmitters and can thus contribute to the training performance or the general well-being of the strength athlete. Esgro specifically mentions: berberine, ashwagandha and bacopa.
The De Novo CEO sees the future of supplements mainly in finding the right combinations and dosages of substances that are already known.
5. ERIC HELMS
Eric Helms, who doesn’t know him? A welcome and heard guest in the evidence-based bodybuilding community, a walking (and hitchhiking) encyclopedia in the field of strength sports and science.
Not a top-tier supplement from him, but an interesting talk about supplement science and industry in general. The vast majority of supplements are a waste of money simply because there is no scientific foundation for the claimed effects.
Helms discusses, among other things, the phenomenon of publication bias, the distortion that arises when positive results are published in scientific research, but negative or unclear results are not published. This is also called the file-drawer effect, because the files with negative results ‘disappear’ in the (lower) desk drawer. Just like all too often happens with studies on supplements that show no significant effect.
BONUS: BRAD SCHOENFELD
At best, sports supplements will account for only 5% of your training-related results: most are of little to no value. #factsnothype
— Brad Schoenfeld, PhD (@BradSchoenfeld) April 1, 2021