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     Words by Hilton Preen - Muscle Science

     “What supplements should I be using?”
     Supplement claims are loosely              you from wasting money by using the         choice of product for each level was
     controlled by government agencies          incorrect combinations, or using the        based on the impact that a product will
     and most supplement manufacturers          wrong product. We understand that           have on results, for example, if you
     tend to overstate the benefits of their    economics is a real concern when            had a supplement budget, you
     supplements. With the solution simply      choosing your supplement plan, so I         wouldn’t buy a workout booster before
     being to ignore the name of the
                                                placed them in order of importance          you bought a multi-vitamin. Even
     supplement and look at the ingredients
     listed on the back of the label in order   with the products at the lower level of     though it may seem more appealing,
     to understand what it is, I hope that      the pyramid being your first choice.        lacking in any essential nutrient will
     this article provides the information      With that said, these products will         severely affect your results. The same
     that you need to figure out the known      have the greatest impact on results.        applies to purchasing testosterone
     benefits of these supplements and              I’m not sure if you are familiar with   boosters when your protein intake is
     categorise them according to the level     the government’s food pyramid, but          insufficient. If you don’t have enough
     of performance at which you are at.        basically it places all the foods you       protein, additional nutrients will not
         Coming up with a chart that            should eat the most, at the bottom.         help. In most cases the most
     describes all the supplements on the       These are listed as breads and cereals      glamorous products such as pre-
     market was a daunting task as there        whilst foods you should eat the least of    workout amplifiers receive the most
     are so many products and different         - like fat, oils and sweets are listed at   advertising space and will have more
     reasons for using them. After much         the top. My supplement pyramid is           appeal, but something as boring as a
     research I put together this product       based on a similar concept. The             multi-vitamin may offer far more
     guide and supplement pyramid to help       products or foods at the lower level        benefit, and this is why it is important
     you make a sensible choice on your         should be consumed primarily before         to understand the difference between
     supplement purchases, and to prevent       the products on the upper levels. The       fact and marketing hype.

34   Muscle Evolution
“What supplements should I be using?”
                                             quality proteins like soy, rice and
                                                                                         PRODUCTS THAT

                                             beans may require a higher protein
                                             intake. The highest quality protein is
                                                                                         FALL IN TO THIS
                                             whey.                                       CATEGORY:
                                                                                         WEIGHT GAINERS/MEAL
                                             CARBOHYDRATES,                              REPLACEMENTS
                                             FRUITS AND                                  Weight Gainers/Meal Replacements
                                             VEGETABLES                                  has been added to this lower level
                                             Carbs have received so much bad             because it supplies all the essential
                                             press over the years. Nevertheless,         nutrients needed to build muscle,
                                             carbs are still your principle source of    including additional calories. It
                                             energy and are vital to boosting            includes high quality protein, carbs and
                                             performance. A recent (Bergman, J           calories. Weight Gainers/Meal
                                             Hermansen, L Hultman, E Saltin, B           Replacements can be used as a pre or
                                             188) shows a 225% increase in               post workout drink or anytime during
                                             performance over subjects on a low          the day as a meal supplement.
                                             carb diet. Workout intensity and            MULTI-VITAMIN/ESSENTIAL
                                                                                         FATTY ACIDS
                                             volume is directly related to the
                                                                                         Multi-Vitamin/Essential Fatty Acids
                                             amount of available glycogen you’ve
                                                                                         supplies all the essential nutrients and
                                             stored. Sluggish workouts result in
                                                                                         fats the body needs to stave off
                                             insufficient stimulus for muscle growth.
                                                                                         disease and function optimally.
                                             Research shows at least 3g per kg of
                                             bodyweight is needed for optimal
                                             Types of carbs                              LEVEL 2
  BEGINNER                                   It is important to choose carb sources
                                             of good quality keeping sugars and
  LESS THAN 6 MONTHS                         sweets to an absolute minimum.
      EXPERIENCE                             ESSENTIAL
                                             NUTRIENTS AND
As a beginner, you need to get the           FATS
basics right before you can progress         It is virtually impossible to get all the
through the pyramid. Included in this        essential nutrients like vitamins,
level are foods, specific products and       minerals and essential fats from food
activities that are vital to your success    alone, this is a medical fact. The AMA
and will have a major impact on              (American Medical Association) has
results. Included in this level are foods    recommended that each adult should
and products that include food               take one multi vitamin a day. People
(protein, carbs and fats) and essential      supplement to overcome dietary
nutrients, as well as basics like attitude   shortcomings.
and exercise.                                Diets can be deficient due to
                                             numerous conditions:
PROTEIN                                        Insufficient food intake
Although the importance of protein is
                                               Increased nutritional needs that are
often overstated, not having enough of
                                             not met by food alone
it will severely affect results. In fact
                                               Lack of essential food grouping
you will lose muscle. Based on
scientific research, you need at least
                                               Low body fat maintenance
                                               Inability to define the perfect diet by
2g of protein per kilogram of
                                             professional and the general                   6 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR
bodyweight. You may hear of some
                                             population                                        EXPERIENCE
bodybuilders eating more, but that is
                                               Unknown variable of actual nutrient
based on personal preference and not                                                     Level 2 goes beyond just food and
                                             content of food.
science. Once the body’s protein needs                                                   supplies well researched products that
are met, the additional protein will be                                                  will have a major impact on your
                                             Vitamins, minerals and essential fats
stored as fat or used as energy.                                                         results. Although food will supply the
                                             are involved in 1000’s of reactions in
Choice of protein                            the body and being deficient in any         bulk of your nutrition, during times of
Your choice of protein also affects your     single nutrient will severely affect your   intense training, restricted food intake,
protein requirements. Using lower            health.                                     and the idea of supplying quick
                                            LEVEL 3
                                                                                       trained athletes. Unfortunately some
  6 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR                                                                   people resort to the use of illegal
     EXPERIENCE                                                                        anabolic steroids to boost
  CONTINUED                                                                            testosterone. The products mentioned
                                                                                       above, although not as effective as
                                                                                       anabolic steroids, will definitely
nutrients at critical times as in                                                      increase testosterone levels to a point
immediately after your workout, food                                                   on increased muscle growth.
is sub-optimal. After training you have
a 45 minute window to replenish

                                                                                       LEVEL 4
nutrients used. Studies show a 600%
increase in protein synthesis (muscle
growth) with a post workout drink
including carbs, protein, vitamins and
certain amino acids. Food takes 3-4
hours before its available as nutrition
and cannot supply the nutrition in ideal
ratios as supplements can. This is
probably supplements' greatest
benefit. Nutrients without calories at
ideal times and in ideal rations.

CATEGORY:                                   ADVANCED
Creatine is by far the most popular         TRAINING EXPERIENCE
sports supplement in the world and
                                           Level 3 is considered an advanced
the results from using it are quiet
                                           level. Level 3 includes products that
spectacular. Studies show increases in
                                           boost workout intensity, volume and
muscle and strength up to 100% over
                                           testosterone, creating the ideal training
a placebo. Creatine is definitely a must
                                           and hormonal environment for growth.
for anyone serious about muscle
growth.                                                                                COMPETITION
BRANCH CHAIN AMINO                         PRODUCTS THAT
ACIDS/GLUTAMINE                                                                        Maximum potential during high level
The speed of muscle growth is directly
                                           FALL INTO THIS
                                                                                       competition involves exploiting all
related to your ability to recover from
                                           CATEGORY ARE:                               available resources within healthful
workouts. BCAA (branch chain amino         Workout and testosterone Boosters           guidelines. Competitive athletes’
acids) and glutamine have shown to         NITRIC OXIDE FORMULAS ETC.                  nutritional needs are very different to
dramatically speed up recovery and         These products will definitely boost        the average off season athlete. The
reduce exercise induced muscle             workout intensity and volume.               body is placed under severe mental
damage. It’s a must for any intense        Supplying Creatine, Caffeine, Arginine,     and physical stress. This requires
training athlete.                          Taurine, Glucoronolactone and others        additional products to support the
HARDCORE MASS GAINERS                      in combination - all performance            competitive athlete.
WITH CREATINE ETC.                         boosters in their own right, will
Hardcore Mass Gainers have been            definitely raise your workout intensity
placed in level 2 because of the           to a new level. If you require a ‘pick      PRODUCTS THAT
addition of creatine and other hardcore    me up’ or need to train at high             FALL INTO THIS
ingredients to the formula. Hardcore       intensity, workout boosters will            CATEGORY ARE:
Mass Builders are good all rounders,       definitely get the job done.                WHEY AND CASEIN
supplying high quality protein and         TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS                       During competition athletes are forced
carbs with added creatine, glutamine,      (TRIBULUS, ZMA, METHOXY
                                           STERONE, LONGIFOLIA JACK,                   to reduce calories and protein in an
vitamins, essential fats and branched      BETA-ECDYSTERONE ETC):                      effort to lose body fat. In order to
chain amino acids. An intense athlete      The physiological environment               keep protein intake as high as possible
may need to take additional creatine,      conducive to optimal muscle gain is a       with the least amount of calories,
glutamine and branch chain amino           high testosterone (anabolic hormone)        athletes use whey protein; it has the
acids, supplied separately. Hardcore       to cortisol (catabolic hormone) ratio.      highest biological value of all proteins.
Mass Gainers can be used as a pre or       The above testosterone boosters have        This means you get more protein for
post workout drink or as a meal            shown to boost testosterone levels          fewer calories, an obvious choice for
supplement during the day.                 which are usually suppressed in             competitive athletes.
VITAMIN C                                  HARDCORE FAT BURNERS
Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis,     During competition, caloric intake
enhances carnitine biosynthesis and        needs to be lower than expenditure.
works to minimise free radical             Since an athlete needs to keep calories
damage, especially under high stress       as high as possible, but still allowing
conditions, something high level           for fat loss to occur, athletes look to
athletes have a lot of. At higher doses,   other means of increasing energy
500-2000mg per day, Vitamin C may          expenditure without adding additional
reduce exercise induced oxidation          exercise. Specific ingredients in
changes, muscle soreness and               hardcore fat burners have the ability to
damage. Additionally, in high physically   increase energy expenditure alone.
stressed subjects Vitamin C                Hardcore fat burners would be an
supplementation significantly              obvious choice for any competitive
decreased the incidence and duration       athlete.
of colds. Vitamin C is therefore
commonly used by competitive

This article should help you choose the    Creatine, Glutamine and Branch Chain
correct supplements based on your          amino's have been around for over a
fitness level as well as economics.        decade and have proven themselves in
With so many products on the market,       the lab as well as the gym. You can’t
it is difficult to decide what to take.    go wrong with these products.
Level One includes good nutrition,         At Level Three we start pushing the
exercise and a positive attitude. Most     envelope a little and try to maximise
good meal replacement                      all mechanisms for growth. Boosting
products/protein powders fall into this    testosterone and workout intensity is
category as they are food in a powder      something an advanced athlete would
form. It is very easy to make a case       be trying to achieve.
for meal replacements, protein bars        Level Four is competition time. As
and shakes because they are food.          mentioned, the nutritional needs of a
Vitamins, minerals and essential fats      competitive athlete are far different to
also fall into this category because       an off-season athlete. The body is
they come from food. As I mentioned,       placed under severe mental and
taking a multi-vitamin and essential fat   physical stress. Maximum potential
supplement is good insurance against       during high level competition involves
deficiencies.                              exploiting all available resources within
Level Two starts with the addition of      healthful guidelines. This requires
some well researched products that         additional products to support the
will have a major impact on results.       competitive athlete.

The next time you purchase a supplement, decide on your fitness level, look at the
products potential benefit and see if it fits in your supplement stack.         M.E

BEGINNER                       Multi Vitamin Mineral
                               Essential Fatty Acid
                               Mass Buider/Meal Replacement
                               Hardcore Mass Builder
INTERMEDIATE                   Creatine based products
                               Branch Chain Amino’s & Glutamine
                               Workout Boosters
                               Testosterone boosting products Tribulus,
ADVANCED                       ZMA, Methoxy Sterone
                               Whey Protein or Casein
COMPETITION                    Vitamin C
                               Hardcore Fat Burners