This is a pretty common question that people ask after hitting the gym for a while. Perhaps your results have plateaued a little, or you are looking for some kind of edge and you’re wondering if there is something more out there. Or maybe you're a seasoned supplement user looking for something a more specific.
In either case, our supplement guide should offer you some assistance in what to take and in what order supplements should be implemented.
Believe it or not, at Bulk Nutrients we are somewhat supplement skeptics (well to an extent anyway as we still manufacture and sell supplements!) - so before you take any supplements, consider these points.
Is your diet adequate?
There is no point adding a whole lot of supplements until you have a decent eating plan. Whether your goal is to gain or lose weight getting your food intake right is essential.
While having very little protein from meals and using shakes for your sole protein source will work, it is rarely advisable.
Before you add protein (or any supplements) we recommend you ensure your diet is balanced, protein is high from nutritious sources of food and you are actually getting your necessary vitamins/minerals and macros.
Don’t add too many supplements at once.
The reason you should always add supplements individually or no more than two at a time is all about gauging effectiveness.
At the end of the day no one wants to pay for something they don’t need, and in the case of supplements you should expect positive results from anything you are paying for.
Given that, we recommend when adding a new supplement you try to properly evaluate what benefits you are getting from it before adding anything else.
So - if your diet is on the right track and you're okay with taking the time when adding supplements to make sure they're effective, let us recommend you some supplements based on where you’re at in your journey:
- I’m a novice that wants to get stronger and add muscle.
- I know about the basics, I’ve been using supplements for years but I want more.
- I train in the evenings or early mornings and want to make the most of my sessions.
- I find it very hard to put on weight, what should I use?
- I want to increase my testosterone levels for better results and/or increase my sex drive.
- I want to lose weight and get nice and ripped.
- I want the benefits from supplements but am sensitive to lactose and/or gluten?
If you are new to supplements, there is one clear standout.
A supplement which has been proven in hundreds (if not thousands of studies), is more validated than anything else available and best of all it is extremely good value for money.
You don’t hear much about it these days as companies are too busy pushing others products, but Creatine Monohydrate is still the king.
In terms of results and bang for your buck, nothing comes close to Creatine Monohydrate. When using Creatine some find it beneficial to take a loading dose of 10-20 grams a day for the first 2 weeks then settle on a maintenance dose of 3-5 grams a day. Results in strength, muscle size and training capacity should result.
What about other types of Creatine? Well, despite popular talk, Creatine Monohydrate is more scientifically verified than any other form of Creatine. Sure, other types may be 30 times more soluble, that has little to do with effectiveness, in head to head tests Creatine Monohydrate wins.
We would recommend other forms of Creatine if you have issues with bloating or cramps from Creatine Monohydrate, if you don’t suffer such effects, Creatine Monohydrate is the best choice.
Whey protein has long been a favourite for those wanting to assist muscle growth, recovery and training performance.
Being an animal based protein, whey has a fantastic spread of amino acids and as its bioavailability is very high, it’s about the best choice possible for gaining and maintaining muscle.
To help you decide which one is best for you, we’ve created this dedicated page.
Mass Gainer/MuscleFood 101
While pure proteins such as WPC and WPI will generally offer the best value for money (in terms of actual protein per dollar), bulking proteins such as Muscle Food 101 have been designed to provide the perfect carbohydrate to protein blend ideal for muscle gain.
Muscle Food 101 combines proteins and carbohydrates with healthy fats (medium chain triglycerides). If you are looking for a convenient all in one product, Muscle Food 101 is a very convenient post training meal and general weight gainer.
This is where things get interesting as everyone is different. For this profile we’ll make some assumptions though, you train often, so quick recovery is very important and you don’t mind spending a bit more if it means greater benefits.
You’re already using Creatine and Protein and you are looking for something else.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are an interesting subject.
What many people don’t realise is that whey proteins and most proteins for that matter actually contain large quantities of BCAAs. The difference (and the reported benefits) of BCAAs over proteins are the fact that in free form, BCAAs are supposed to be extremely bioavailable.
Research has shown that ingesting BCAAs does have a marked impact on both ability to train sooner (better retention of maximal force) as well as reduced muscle soreness, so this is a supp we highly recommend for those really pushing the boundaries towards over training.
Glutamine, like Branched Chain Amino Acids is found in very large quantities in whey and most protein sources.
Another little known fact is that L Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid and the body can make it very easily. Given this, it is very unlikely to be deficient (especially in those that take large amounts of protein), but that doesn’t stop many bodybuilders and endurance athletes taking it for repair, growth and strengthened immune function.
Should you take it? That’s up to you, however this is one supp that we recommend you evaluate the effects of carefully as it may not be money well spent.
Hydrolysed whey protein isolates (HWPIs) are often poorly understood.
HWPIs are pre digested, which means they are absorbed much faster than normal proteins.
While fast absorption is not necessarily a good thing most times of the day, after training (when protein synthesis can peak) the theory is that a faster absorbing protein will have a greater effect due to the body being able to utilise its protein more quickly, with minimal wastage.
Hyper Hydrolyse is a different to many HWPIs, it tastes great for a start and due to the added enzyme is broken down very rapidly.
If you are looking for protein that is very rapidly absorbed, but dislike the bitterness of the HWPIs generally available we suggest you try Hyper Hydrolyse.
Many people work long arduous days and by the time they hit the gym, they are lower in energy (and motivation) than they were earlier. This unfortunate fact of life means that the actual effort in the gym can be a little less than we had hoped, the end result being a sub par workout.
For many, the answer to this fatigue and unmotivated state is a pre workout product.
While pre workouts are a fantastic aid, we do recommend caution with people who tend to rely on these every session. With time, you will desensitize to the stimulants and require a larger dose.
In some cases, people can burn out by taking pre workouts too often, so they really should be cycled on and off (giving the body a good rest every so often) and generally used on those hard heavy days (legs anyone?), not for times you are just playing in the gym.
We would recommend our Pre Workout 101. It has been specifically designed to include all the Amino Acids in the actual doses utilised in studies while utilising a very powerful stimulant combination.
If you want your stimulant hit with proven ingredients that’ll bring longer term benefits, then this product is a fantastic choice.
If you want the real secret here, you should eat more. I know you think you eat a huge amount of food but if you are not gaining weight then it isn’t enough. Eat more, it is that simple.
But… supplements can help and here’s what we recommend.
If you want to add carbohydrates to your whey we’d recommend a combination of Dextrose and Maltodextrin. If you buy 5kg of whey, get 2kg each of these and then throw half a scoop of each in with a scoop of whey whenever you have it.
If you want a more sustained release carbohydrate, then something like Fine Powdered Oats would be better, not only is it absorbed more slowly it has all kinds of nutritional benefits thanks to the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
You can view our our entire carbohydrates range here.
If this sounds like a lot of effort then MuscleFood 101 is a great choice. It is an engineered blend which contains carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats in what research suggests are ideal ratios for muscle growth.
Muscle Food 101 is a great value bulking protein, which contains up to twice as much protein as many other gainers. However, mixing and matching your own protein and carbohydrates from us is a more cost effective option.
This is a common goal for many men, whether younger men wanting to add muscle naturally rather than synthetic and illegal alternatives or older guys wanting to restore some of that lost vigour, there are definitely some products which can assist.
Test Boosters are a very contentious subject though, with a massive amount of empirical evidence but often not a lot of science to actually back them up.
In terms of the most verified, that would have to go to D Aspartic Acid.
Unlike many test boosters, D Aspartic Acid has actually been shown to increase Testosterone levels in all test subjects, whether young old, sick or healthy, there is some solid research here.
While there is some evidence for Fenugreek, the data on Tribulus is quite weak. That said, Tribulus seems to give large benefits (again this is largely empirical) on sex drive, so if that is the desired goal then it shouldn’t be dismissed.
While these products are effective individually to a degree, Bulk Nutrients new Test Max has been specifically formulated to offer all the advantages of all of the compounds here, using doses that have been verified in studies.
If you were looking to have maximal benefits and don’t feel like blending your own cocktail then Text Max would be a great choice.
Probably the most common goal and an industry worth billions annually in Australia alone.
Whether you are overweight and trying to lose weight or are already very lean and wanting to get that extra few percent of body fat off for a competition, losing weight starts with your diet.
If you don’t know about reducing calories, increasing protein and cutting out some carbs (particularly high GI carbs), then we would suggest it is important to learn about basic weight loss methods before you take a supplement to assist.
Any step like this will be more effective than any supplement, so unless you do these, then taking supplements for weight loss is largely a waste of time and money.
Assuming you have your diet in check and your weight loss has started, here are some steps you can take.
A good quality protein supplement can work well, whether you use a whey or one of our vegetable proteins. Protein supps work well as they provide a convenient and nutritious meal or snack replacement.
If you have been previously using a specific weight loss shake, we’d recommend you take a look at our proteins and our weight loss specific protein ThermoWhey.
While weight loss shakes often contain very high levels of carbohydrates, our proteins are much more pure and will make an ideal low carb meal/snack.
We have specifically formulated ThermoWhey to support weight loss. ThermoWhey includes pure whey protein isolate and micellar casein (to assist with feeling full) and 10 fat burning ingredients. In addition it has only 1g of carbs and fats per serve.
In addition to proteins, we have a selection of powders and capsules that can assist your goals.
Acetyl L Carnitine is a very popular product as it assists the body to metabolise fat more effectively, where ingredients such as Green Tea, Hydroxy Citric Acid and Sesamin work by multi mechanisms.
Perhaps our most popular weight loss product is our Burner Combination which combines four different ingredients, Green Tea, Sesamin, Caffeine and Citrus Auarantium for weight loss. Most users have found substantial benefits from having this twice a day.
Finally, our new AM and PM Burners are recent additions which have resulted from our extensive research. These products were carefully formulated and combine 13 ingredients, which are all effective for weight loss. If you have previously taken a fat burning powder we would seriously recommend you look at both our AM and PM Burners as a comparison.
Food allergies appear to be more and more common these days, and at times finding supplements which are lactose and gluten free is difficult.
Almost all the products at Bulk Nutrients (including proteins, amino acids, carbs, capsules etc) are gluten free. The only exception here is Oat-based products and Muscle Food 101.
Lactose is a little harder, with the main culprit here being the most popular product – whey protein. Luckily, if you are lactose intolerant there are all kinds of alternatives, with all vegetable proteins ( Pea, Rice, Soy and Earth Protein) and Egg Protein being completely lactose free, Calcium Caseinate and Whey Protein Isolate are also virtually lactose free, and Hyper Hydrolyse can also be suitable for some consumers with lactose sensitivity.
Protein Matrix+ is also ideal for lactose sensitive consumers. It is a delicious, creamy blend that has an added lactase enzyme helping support those with lactose issues. Boosted with Glutamine and Leucine it is a great tasting protein perfect for muscle growth and recovery.
All our amino acids, capsules, vitamins and carbohydrates are completely lactose free.