There are a number of top supplements that you can combine to create a synergetic stack that aids with bodybuilding, strength, weight loss and whatever other goal you have. These are our favorite supplement stacks for all kinds of exercise goals and in all cases we’ll try to focus on individual ingredients as opposed to brand-name combinations.
Best Supplement Stack for Muscle Mass (Bodybuilding)
- Creatine: A basic powder for all bodybuilding supplement stacks, creatine has been the supplement of choice of many weight lifters and bodybuilders over the years. It draws water into the muscles, making them look bigger. It also helps you to push harder in the gym and to get bigger gains.
- Protein Powder: An obvious choice. But it’s not just a case of having a quick drink of whey powder after a workout. For optimum gains drink fast-acting whey after a workout and in the morning, and slow-acting casein at night.
- NO Booster: Nitric Oxide boosters can help to boost your muscle mass in just a couple weeks of use, much like creatine. It might not help much with actual strength, but it will certainly make your muscles look bigger.
- Fish Oils: Packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, fish oils can help with cardio and they could help to improve cognitive function, but they can also speed up recovery and aid your muscle growth overall.
- HMB: An often overlooked supplement, this can help with recovery. And the quicker you recover, the sooner you can get back in the gym and hit those weights again.
Best Supplement Stack for Energy
In out guide to the Best Supplement for Energy, we discussed the most popular products on the market and offered our opinions on each of them. Those were brand name products though and this supplement stack is all about focusing on the individual ingredients and creating something effective from low-cost bulk powders.
As well as the supplements mentioned below, you should also make sure that you consume some fast-acting sugars along with a post-workout drink (see ON Gold Standard and Elite Whey). You should also get some slow-release energy throughout the day from foods like oats. You should never underestimate the value of good nutrition when it comes to reducing fatigue and improving energy. Multivitamins are also essential if you think you are deficient, as symptoms of some vitamin deficiencies can include fatigue.
- Caffeine (Omit for Non-Stimulant Stack): This is the ultimate foundation for any energy stack. It is a powerful stimulant. It’s widely available, it’s cheap, it’s effective and it works quickly. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and that you buy a good quality powder.
- BCAAs: We have discussed these elsewhere on this supplement stacks article as they are beneficial across the board. It is worth noting, however, that many of the popular BCAA supplements that are listed as “energy” supplements contain a lot of caffeine. So, it’s not advisable to stack those with additional caffeine.
- Matcha Tea: Matcha contains caffeine as well, but when taken in small doses it won’t add up to much and the additional benefits can greatly improve your energy and well being.
- CoQ10: This has been labelled as the king of vitamins. It is abundant in the body, but supplementation with CoQ10 has been shown to reduce fatigue by a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
- Resveratrol: Another miraculous ingredient, this one is found in grape stems and stalks and has been linked to increased endurance, reduced fatigue and even an extended life. There is is a lot of promise here and it’s becoming a very popular supplement.
Best Supplement Stack for Strength
When it comes to improving strength, you can use many of the same supplements we discussed under the Muscle Mass Supplement Stack, including creatine, HMB and protein powders. However, you can also look to include these strength builders:
- Colostrum: We have covered colostrum before and this is one of our favorite supplements. The proof is out there that this supplement works to improve strength and performance, what more do you need?
- L-citrulline and Citrulline Malate: Like colostrum, these are often overlooked. They can be added to protein powders and other combo supplements and you should also consider adding them to your own strength supplement stack. They work wonderfully well together and can reduce muscle soreness and recovery, while also improving strength and performance.
- BCAAs: These should be taken by all bodybuilders and strength athletes. They are often added to protein powders but many strength athletes choose to use additional BCAA supplements.
Best Supplement Stack for Weight Loss
For weight loss you can use a similar supplement tack to the one mentioned for energy above. However, it’s important to separate the two. On supplement sites “energy” and “weight loss” supplements go hand-in-hand, but that isn’t always the case. Stimulants like caffeine can certainly aid with weight loss, but products like resveratrol and CoQ10 are unlikely to have any noticeable effects.
It’s also important to stay away from big brand weight loss pills with suspicious ingredients, as these are unregulated and there is no telling what you are consuming. Wait for a product to settle in the market and to get plenty of reviews before you use it yourself. It’s also worth noting that laxatives are not helpful for weight loss, as mentioned in our Weight Loss Tea article. They will help you shift waste, but that’s it and they should definitely not be used for an extended period of time.
Instead, try the following along with a little caffeine:
- Green Tea: There is caffeine in green tea extract, but not much. As discussed in our extensive guide to green tea extract, there are many other benefits as well, even though it’s not the miracle supplement that many people seem to think it is.
- Psyllium Husk: This is a fibre that absorbs water and sits in your gut, essentially filling you up without any calories. If you consume this with plenty of water (and that part is essential) then you will feel like you need to eat less. It’ll also likely kill any fast food cravings you have, while keeping you regular at the same time.
- CLA: This has been used as a fat loss supplement and overall well being supplement for many years. It is a fat, and a trans fat at that, but it’s a healthy one and can reduce appetite and boost metabolism.
Best Supplement Stack for Weight Gain
There are some super-high calorie weight gainers on the market and if you have read our previous articles on these then you’ll know we’re not big fans. They contain vast amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats, and there is also much more protein than you can absorb in a single serving. Still, if weight gain is your goal:
- Creatine: The added water weight and strength will ensure you bulk up quick.
- BCAAs: As always.
- Weight Gainers: Instead of the 1200+ calorie per serving products, try something with moderate protein and around 500 calories. If you need more, add oats but avoid simple sugars.
- Healthy Fats: Don’t overdo it with these as you don’t want too much fat in your diet, but the addition of healthy fats like CLA, Flax Seed and even Olive Oil can help with overall wellbeing, joint health and weight gain.