We all know supplements are big business and they usually come with big price tags. For most people who are serious about getting in shape, they’re willing to fork over the money. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could create a highly effective muscle building and recovery supplement stack for a fraction of the price most people are spending now? Is it really possible though? As someone who has tried many of the muscle building supplements on the market today, the answer is a resounding yes!
If you understand the ingredients that you’re paying for, you can separate the ones that matter from the ones that don’t and essentially create a NO-BS supplement stack. As an added bonus I am going to build this stack with supplements free of any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, hormones, aspartame, MSG, fillers like dextrose, or anything else questionable or unnatural. In addition, for those with food allergies, each supplement in the following stack is 100% gluten free. Unfortunately, if you’re not looking closely, you’re probably ingesting most of that stuff in the supplements your taking now. There are only a few supplements/ingredients that really matter when it comes to muscle building and recovery and they’re the basis of just about any and every workout supplement available. They are:
1) Whey Protein
Whey protein is the basis of any muscle building program simply because it supplies such a rich concentration of amino acids. MRM Makes an all natural, low temperature processed whey protein concentrate, free of anything artificial. I’ve somewhat recently learned it may be healthier to consume whey protein concentrate over whey isolate. Isolated whey contains more protein by weight, but may also have long term health consequences according to doctor Mercola. The verdict is still out on this subject, but to be safe you may want to stick with a protein comprised mainly of whey concentrate like MRM’s 100% All Natural Whey.
Unfortunately most whey protein powders sold today contain MSG, artificial flavors, aspartame, hormones, added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients – not MRM though. You can usually purchase this protein online for around $20 for a two pound supply, making it possibly the most economical all-natural protein powder available anywhere. That comes out to just .55 cents per serving. One serving includes a respectable 18 grams of protein. Oh – and it tastes awesome (from personal experience).
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid is the body’s muscle tissue and is has a HUGE impact on muscle recovery. Many overpriced workout supplements include a substantial amount glutamine because supplement companies know it works. You can purchase 1000 grams of Vitacost brand pure glutamine powder for about $27 dollars. What a deal!
This powder includes nothing artificial, just pure glutamine. It’s pretty much odorless, flavorless and mixes very easily with liquids. I also like Optimum brand glutamine (which is also a good deal) but I recently discovered Vitacost offers the same amount of glutamine for $13 dollars less – Amazing! That comes out to a mere 12 cents for a 4.5 gram serving, which may be the most impressive deal in this list.
Branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are the most important of all amino acids when it comes to protein synthesis (muscle building). One third of all the free from amino acids in muscle tissue are BCAAs. While protein powder does inherently include both BCAAs and glutamine, you can greatly increase your muscle gains and reduce recovery time by supplementing each of these separately as well. Since BCAAs have an awful flavor and don’t mix well at all with liquid I recommend buying capsules.
You can purchase flavored BCAA powders like Xtend and Modern BCAA, but these always include artificial ingredients and inflated prices, which is exactly what we want to avoid. You can purchase Vitacost brand BCAAs at $19 for 300 capsules. Ones serving is three capsules, containing 2400 mg of BCAAs. At 100 servings per bottle, that comes out to only 19 cents per serving.
4) Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine supplements are quite a racket. You can purchase “proprietary” creatine blends from pretty much every supplement company on the planet for insanely inflated prices, or you can buy pure pharmaceutical grade creatine monohydrate, free of any junk ingredients, for less than 7 cents per serving. It is tasteless, odorless and colorless and mixes easily.
Bodybuilding.com brand creatine (produced by Creapure) goes for $15 dollars for 1000 grams, making it by far the best deal I could find on creatine. Even with all of the new so called “developments” in creatine, the truth is that no form of creatine has the proven track record creatine monohydrate has. If you don’t already know, creatine can help you make huge gains very quickly by essentially pulling water into your muscle cells. Just be sure to drink lots or water and cycle off creatine regularly for safety.
Most pre-workout supplements cost upwards of $1 dollar per serving and are chock full of ingredients like artificial flavors, FD&C Red #40, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, FD&C Yellow #5 and others – which are all very bad for you, in case you were wondering. “What’s in those magical powders that allows you to workout for hours on end without getting tired or fatigued?” you ask – caffeine! Caffeine is the only ingredient in pre-workouts that really even matters.
Yes there are some (very few) that don’t use caffeine and use other herbal stimulants instead, but you’ll find that 99% of the pre-workout supplements, energy drinks and energy shots etc rely on this one very powerful and effective ingredient – even coffee! Wouldn’t it be great if you could just buy pure caffeine without the huge premiums supplement companies charge? You can!
Most online vitamin and supplements store carry pure caffeine pills at a fraction of what most of use are actually paying for this ingredient. You can purchase 100 servings of caffeine pills for about 5 bucks at most online retailers, with each serving supplying a full 200 mg dose. So what does that come out to? – how about 5 cents per serving! And this way you leave out all the junk ingredients. At 1/20 the price of traditional pre-workouts, and energy supplements for that matter, you owe it to yourself to give caffeine pills a try.
Approximate prices you should be paying for super clean, NO-BS muscle building supplements:
Whey protein = 55 cents/serving
Glutamine = 12 cents/serving
BCAAs = 19 cents/serving
Creatine = 07 cents/serving
Caffeine = 05 cents/serving
To sum things up, you can see how much you might spend in a typical day (for someone who is seriously trying to build muscle):
4 servings whey + 4 servings BCAAs + 2 servings glutamine + 1 serving creatine + 1 serving serving caffeine = $ 3.32
You will be amazed at the effectiveness of this ultra clean super inexpensive supplement stack if you use it regularly, along with regular workouts. Just over $3 a day for a complete stack is nothing compared to what most supplement junkies spend. Keep in mind if you’re only training moderately you might spend half that amount. Most importantly you won’t be ingesting any of the unsafe, artificial ingredients and fillers that most supplements today contain.
Anything above and beyond the supplements listed in this article I would consider extras, which are not necessary.
Just to be clear, I don’t work for Vitacost or Bodybuilding.com, nor are are there any affiliate links in this article. The reason I am recommending these brands is that they simply have the best prices (that I could find). The reason for this is that these supplement retailers sell their own brand of supplements, which allows them to effectively cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to you. If anyone has information regarding the supplements listed here that can be bought elsewhere cheaper, please share in the comments section.
What do you think?