Remember, Supplements are Just That
The first thing to remember is that supplements are just what they sound like — they supplement everything else you do to gain size and strength and lose fat. Supplements will never make or break your training or progress, but they can help, and some, when used properly, can help a whole lot.
No matter what, though, before you start thinking about supplements, you need to make sure that your diet and training are on point. For example, your first step, even when bulking, should be to cut back on the processed foods. Too often they’re prepared with added fats and sugars that can detract from a physique. There’s no need to go overboard; hitting McDonald’s once a month or something won’t kill you but try to limit those kinds of foods.
Then you need to make sure your training is dialed in. If you haven’t already, this is the time to start Unf*cking Your Program, and you can do that by heading over to phdeadlift.com. You can check out the brutal Mountain Dog training programs, too, at mountaindogdiet.com.
Once you’ve got your diet and training lined up, you can start taking a hard look at some good supplements.
The Best Supplements for Bulking
When it comes to bulking, there are very few aspects of your diet that offer more “bang for your buck” than your peri-workout plan. (“Peri” means “around,” and includes before, during, and after your training.) You’ve probably heard about the post-workout “anabolic window” after your training is the most important time to get good nutrition, because that’s when your muscles are primed to soak up those nutrients and grow. And that’s true! But in order to keep adding weight to the bar and keep the scale climbing, even with excellent programming, you also need to make sure that your body is primed for a productive training session before and during your workout, too.
That’s where supplements can help.
When you’re eating a lot, you typically have a lot of extra energy. The secret to maximizing muscle gain and minimizing the amount of fat you add during a bulk involves your ability to channel that energy into your training – not just burning it off but using it productively.
A good preworkout product can really help with that, but it needs to have two major components. First, a stimulant. Typically, your go-to is going to be caffeine, but the problem with caffeine alone is that it could cause a significant amount of jitteriness and anxiety. These are well-known side effects of caffeine, and they can quickly derail an otherwise productive training session. To some degree, other nootropics like TeaCrine and L-Theanine can offset these side effects, but even with those, you don’t want to overdo the stimulants on a regular basis. Otherwise you risk derailing your training.
A good preworkout product also needs to help with your pump – an important driver of muscle growth. A pump drives blood into the muscles you’re training, delivering nutrients to them. Some have even suggested that a huge pump can stretch your muscle fascia, setting the stage for those muscles to expand. Bottom line: a pump might just “feel good” in the short term, but in the long term, huge pumps lead to huge growth.
Your best bet for a good pump? 4-6 grams of citrulline, one of the most scientifically-supported products that can increase blood flow. Your best bet for a preworkout product is Pre-Mium from Granite. Like Recovery, it’s got everything you need, tastes great, and one scoop will power you through even the most intense training sessions.
In my opinon, this kind of preworkout boost is the most important thing you can do to maximize your bulking success (again, once your diet and training methods are on point), because it will do the most to help you make the most out of your training. But it’s not the only thing. Later this month, we’ll take a look at some other important bulking tools – including intra-workout and joint support, and debating the merits of mass gainers.
Until then, what are you waiting for? Get in the gym, and starting Thinking Strong and Training Hard!