Sorry for the OTT title, a little dramatic for what is quite a serious post. In a market that is completely saturated with sports nutrition supplements, I think it is prudent that we start to sieve out some of the ‘wishy washy’ products and start thinking about the supplement essentials that you can go to for results!
In such a competitive industry with so much selection, supplements should deliver on all counts, there should be no compromise on taste, mixing, and especially not on nutritional composition when making your selection. So here are my suggestions on what I consider some of the 5 best products in their respective categories…
1.) Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
Although there are various other products that deliver what you need, there is a reason why Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey has won whey protein of the year in excess of 5 years on the bounce! The taste, mixability, flavour range and (most importantly) the nutritional composition is tip top. Allow me to substantiate ‘tip top’…
This is an 80% protein blend that delivers whey protein isolate (the purest form of whey) and whey protein concentrate, from which you get 24g of protein per serving and 5.5g of naturally occurring Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). Not only do you get the BCAAs, which are your bodies preferred amino acids for muscle growth, but you also get just 1.1g of fat, 3g of carbs and a miniscule 1g of sugar!
All things considered, this is a dream for developing lean muscle as it provides more than enough high quality protein to support muscle growth and recovery, and next to no sugar to minimise fat depositing around your mid-section.
2.) Reflex Nutrition Creapure
When it comes to creatine, evidence comes out time and time again supporting the superior bioavailability of good ol’ fashioned creatine monohydrate, and that's just what you find in Reflex Nutrition Creapure. Sometimes the old ones are the best, and in the case of creatine, the founding father of all creatines (monohydrate) is numero uno!
The higher the bioavailability of a creatine product the better it is absorbed by the body. If we were to consider all forms of creatine that flood the market, then the level of absorption for each goes as follows:
Creatine citrate = 2g of creatine absorbed from 5g serving
Magnesium creatine chelate = 2.27g from a 5g serving
Creatine pyruvate = 3g from a 5g serving
Tricreatine citrate = 3.36g from a 5g serving
Creatine ethyl ester HCL = 3.4g from a 5g serving
Creatine monohydrate = 4.4g from a 5g serving
Pure Creatine = 5g from a 5g serving
By looking at this list you might think that pure creatine is the way forward, however this isn’t commercially sold and can often cause gastrointestinal distress in some due to the ultra- pure nature of the product.
So from this it is clear that creatine monohydrate is the best form to go with, as good as 100% of the creatine is absorbed from the digestive tract and stands a far better chance of reaching your muscles where it’s needed.
3.) Cellucor C4
Cellucor C4 is on the same level in the pre-workout world, as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is to the whey protein category. C4 has been voted pre-workout of the year several times, and for good reason, everything that you’d look for in a pre-workout it delivers.
Palatability and mixability are major factors in the pre-workout world. The effervescent nature of a pre-workout means it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea on the taste front. However, C4 is the exception, they manage to keep the ‘fizz’ that is synonymous to most pre-workouts to an absolute minimum, and are able to mask the bitter tastes associated with the likes of citrulline malate and beta-alanine.
From an ingredient perspective C4 is right up there too. The high dosing of integral vasodilator ingredients (responsible for the muscle pump you get) such as l-arginine AKG, and to an extent caffeine and creatine nitrate, make it a winner from a PUMPED-UP perspective. Add to this the 1.5g of beta-alanine which when intelligently dosed is one of the most effective ingredients around for prolonging physical activity and reducing muscle fatigue.
Next time you dip into that pocket to buy some supplements, consider the abovementioned options because their benefits are cumulative i.e. they work better when combined, and they are the absolute best value for the money.