Thursday, May 2, 2013

Supplementation for Weightlifters

Face it. The truth is that 99% of the supplements that come out of the bodybuilding world are bull-shit. They’re costly and never live up to the hype in the ads. Don’t be the guy that goes into GNC and blows his whole paycheck, buying up whatever their ‘supplement expert’ employees tell him to buy.

Be smart. Educate yourself on what supplements are worth-while and use your money wisely.

I’m going help you out by listing the supplements that are actually worth your money. Fair warning though, this list will not be pretty, with flashy product names and claims of massive results. This is the tried and true shit. The stuff that pays dividends over time.

Let’s get right into it.

Multi-Vitamin – Nothing surprising or complicated about this one. Get yourself a quality multi-V from a reputable company so you can assure you have your micronutrient needs covered, even if your diet sucks.

I use and recommend NOW Foods - ADAM Mens Multi.

Omega-3/Fish Oil – From a health standpoint, Omega-3 fatty acids are the shit. They will aid in fat burning, improve your insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation. Be sure to get a product that contains a high concentration of Omega-3 (check the nutrition label for EPA/DHA content per serving), so you don’t have to ingest a ton of arbitrary fat in order to hit your target Omega-3 intake.

Daily Intake Recommendation: 2g EPA + 1.5g DHA

I use and recommend NOW Foods - Ultra Omega-3, which will require 4 capsules per day to hit the target intake.

If you’re interested in learning more about Omega-3 Fatty Acids, check out this LeanGains article.

Calcium – It’s essential to bone health and has been suggested to assist in fat-loss.

I use and recommend NOW Foods - Calcium Citrate, which also contains some extra minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium & Copper. Two tablets per day (combined, 600mg Calcium) per day is sufficient.  

Vitamin D – If you work an office job (like me) and don’t get a decent amount of sun exposure daily, you should definitely pick up some Vitamin-D. The health benefits are immense. It’s been studied heavily and the info is all over the net, so google it.  

Daily Intake Recommendation: 2000 – 4000 IU

I use and recommend NOW Foods - Vitamin D3 (2000 IU), which will require 1-2 capsules per day to hit the target intake.

Creatine Monohydrate – The most proven supplement ever (short of steroids). In short, creatine increases strength, power and cellular hydration by keeping phosphate stores topped off and pulling water into the cell.

Daily Intake Recommendation: 5-25g, (I personally stay on the high end of that range)

For a great series with everything you need to know about creatine, check out John Kiefers Guide to Creatine Supplementation; Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Liver Tablets – This is an old-school supplement that nobody really talks about anymore, which is sad, because this stuff is a cornucopia for weightlifters. It supplies high quality protein, heme iron, the entire family of B-vitamins, Vitamins A/C/D/E/K as well as a host of micronutrients. On top of that, these are super portable, being in tablet form. As if that wasn’t enough reasons to buy this stuff… When was the last time you actually ATE liver?

I use and recommend UNIVERSAL - Uni-Liver. Typically, 2-4 tablets with each meal.

Whey Isolate Protein – It’s always good idea to have a protein supplement around to ensure that you hit your protein target every day. Although it’s much more expensive than standard whey, I prefer the Isolate variety (which has all of the Fat & Carbohydrate removed) both for the flexibility within my diet and for the cleaner taste on the palette.

I use and recommend SPECIES Nutrition - Isolyze.

So there you have it. A comprehensive list of supplements that will keep all of your nutritional bases covered. Combine this with a high quality nutrition plan such as the BioRhythm Diet and you’re as good as you could possibly get, from a nutrition standpoint.

Now get in the gym and bust your ass because that’s how gains are made.


  1. Beta Alanine is shown to do some pretty amazing things, is cheap, and can be readily used as a pre-workout. Cap it off with some Caffeine and the supplements you have suggested. Then power through a workout relatively cheaply and have awesome results.

    1. I've tried it. Noticed a little boost in the higher rep ranges, but I don't consider it a 'must-have' supplement.

  2. What about zinc and magnesium?

  3. Taken care of by the Multi, Cal-Citrate & Food.

  4. Makes sense.

    Nice blog by the way, keep it up.

  5. I just got some NOW omega3s from amazon, and found out they include vitE from soy. It's the only fish oil supplement with high concentration in EPA/DHA that I could find, but do you not think soy is unhealthy? Is it worth the risk?