Saturday, January 9, 2010

Supplements You Might Actually Find Useful

Share
I get a lot of questions about supplements even though I'm not a big proponent of them.

That being said, there are some supplements that you may find useful depending on your goals.

The first four on this list are supplements most people could benefit from. I'm not a great cook and once I find a few meals I like, I'll go for long periods just eating the same foods in various combinations - a pattern that is quite common among my peers as well. Adding these supplements is an easy way to safeguard against any potential shortcomings of a monotonous diet.

The other ones are supplements that may help with fat loss, performance or just makes life easier some days. They are not essential by any means.

I've linked to some products. These are either ones I can vouch for personally or the cheapest ones in their category. For the sake of transparency, I should also note that these are affiliate links, which means I get a 5-10% commision if you buy anything from the links. If you think this makes my recommendations any less credible, do not buy anything from this list. And why would you? Supplements are certainly not critical to your success and you may in fact do just as well without them. A balanced whole foods diet goes a very long way.


Bodybuilding.com - Best Service, Lowest Prices, Fa


Swedish visitors should order from Svenskt Kosttillskott if they want the cheapest and fastest delivery.

European and UK visitors may also find Predator Nutrition a highly attractive and reliable alternative. They ship all across Europe, so that's great. Their rates are very competitive and it may interest some of you that they have some banned/discontinued supplements in stock. Enter code: "leangains" to get 5% off your order.

Multivitamin

Popping a multi with your first meal is a cheap and easy way to safeguard against any potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies in your diet. Is it needed? Probably not, but it's better to be safe than sorry.


Fish Oil

Unless you've been living under a rock the last decade, you don't need me to give you any long-winded explanation for this one. Maintaining a good omega-3:omega-6-ratio is important and we get too much of the latter. Take 2 g EPA and 1.5 g DHA per day.

Read: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Muscle Growth: Promising Potential."

Recommended brands: NutraSea Original Liquid (liquid) or Ultra Omega-3 (softgels).


Calcium

Calcium increases fat excretion and boosts testosterone.
That's great stuff and we obviously want our calcium intake in the optimal range. Adding a 500-750 mg tablet to your daily diet wíll usually do the trick. If you get enough calcium through your diet, there's no need to supplement it.


Vitamin D

Emerging scientific evidence suggests that people don't get enough vitamin D to function optimally. The newfound interest for this vitamin and it's potential benefits was actually featured in New York Time's Top Ten List of medical breakthroughs in 2007. Here's a good (and free) full-text paper on vitamin D's role in health and disease. Moreover, vitamin D may boost strength and athletic performance. 2000 IU/day is a conservative and safe dosage, but some people use considerably higher doses without any negative implications.


Branched-Chain Amino Acids

I use BCAA pre-workout whenever I train fasted. You can read more on why here and here. I prefer Purple Wraath by Controlled Labs. It contains beta-alanine as well, which gives me a nice little tingle and also seems to aid a bit with intra-set recovery and muscle endurance in the higher rep ranges. Take 10 g pre-workout if you train fasted.

Alternative BCAA: I've been using Xtend from Scivation for my fasted training sessions ever since stores around here ran out of Purple Wraath a few months ago. Taste and effects wise, it's pretty much a toss-up between Xtend and Wraath. Price wise, Xtend can't be beaten. Flavor wise, Xtend is very agreeable and I prefer "Refreshing Watermelon".


Creatine

Creatine is the only legal supplement with numerous scientific studies to support it's effectiveness. It's so far ahead of the competition that it's the only supplement I can place in this category with a straight face. Besides elevating muscle creatine contents for a direct performance boost, creatine may boost muscle growth through effects on satellite cell proliferation, myogenic transcription factors and insulin-like growth factor-1 signalling (if that sounds like greek to you, let's just say all of this is "good stuff").


Beta-Alanine


I get beta-alanine through my BCAA-supplement, but this amino acid is also availabe as a stand-alone supplement; and as such has shown to boost exercise performance. As I noted before, the effect is only noticeable in the higher rep ranges (12 reps and above). The study summarizes the effect as "beta-alanine...have demonstrated improvements in performance during multiple bouts of high-intensity exercise and in single bouts of exercise lasting more than 60 s." So it won't improve your maximal strength, but anaerobic threshold and time to exhaustion will be enhanced. This may be particularily useful for CrossFit-practitioners and those training with kettlebells.


Whey protein

Ideal use is pre-and post-workout. Optimum 100% Whey is the top selling product at bodybuilding.com. I would venture to guess that's due much to the innovative tastes available. I've tried Caramel Toffee Fudge and Extreme Milk Chocolate and both are very tasty.


Casein protein

Ideal use is pre-bedtime, but it could be used at any other time during the day as well. Casein protein is slow releasing and provides more satiety than whey protein in general.

For the best tasting casein protein, check out this post.


Glucosamine

While I've been lucky enough to never find any use for this supplement personally, clients claim to have used it successfully for relieving joint pain. Studies support such notions and state that glucosamine seems to be a safe and effective supplement for relieving pain and stiffness in joints.


For fat loss

Note that intermittent fasting potentiates the effect of stimulants. Any stimulant ingested during the fasted phase will have a greater effect compared to it's ingestion during the fed state. Some caution should therefore be exercised for those not familiar with the use of stimulants.


Caffeine

If you're not a regular coffee drinker, you're really missing out by not adding caffeine to your diet when the going gets tough. It's cheap, suppressses appetite and has thermogenic properties.


Clenbutrx

This stuff is nasty as hell. On the plus side, it has a quite potent stimulatory effect and works very well as an appetite suppressant.


VPX Meltdown

If you can't stand the horrid taste of Clenbutrx, VPX Meltdown is a great alternative. This one actually has legit scientific backing, which is a true rarity when it comes to fat loss products. You can read both (free full text) studies on Meltdown here and here. Note the effect on resting energy expenditure. Not bad.


Yohimbine HCL

This herb may be particularily useful for those trying to get rid of stubborn body fat - such as the fat covering lower abs and back in lean men and thighs and hips in lean women. Hokey as that may sound, there is a valid explanation for how this occurs. Lyle McDonald explains this in great detail in The Stubborn Body Fat Solution. In short, yohimbine inhibits alpha-2-receptors (and lower abs/back has a high density of a2-receptors) which aids with blood flow and fat mobilization from stubborn fat areas.

Yohimbine is another fat loss product that has been proven effective in clinical trials and this is perhaps the most widely cited study on the effects of yohimbine on bodycomposition.


AlphaBurn

Pure yohimbine may lead to feelings of anxiety and even panic attacks in predisposed individuals. A better alternative can be found in Alpha Burn, and other supplements containing rauwolscine, which is a stereoisomer of yohimbine. Reg from Predator Nutrition recently sent me a box of these and I can vouch for it's psychoactive effects not being as rough as pure yohimbine. While it won't make you as jumpy and jittery as yohimbine, it seems to have a pretty potent appetite suppressive effect.


L-Tyrosine

L-tyrosine is a precursor ("building block") to the catecholamines dopamine and norepinephrine. For this reason, it has been studied in the context of performance enhancement among other things. Although studies show mixed results, empirical evidence suggests that tyrosine has it's use as a pre-workout stimulant when combined with other substances such as caffeine. It seems to enhance the effect of other stimulatory substances, which has been my experience as well. Tyrosine has also shown promise in alleviating the decrements in cognitive performance associated with stress and fatigue. For this reason, it might be useful for keeping your mind sharp during intense stints of dieting.


Jack3d Review (Pre-workout/Fat loss)

I've been trying a wide range of pre-workout supplements but I've never found something worth recommending. Some like the extra pump from NO Xplode and similar nitric oxide based supps, I just don't any use for it.

I was pleasantly surprised by Jack3d. Besides the usual ingredients present in many pre-workout supplements, such as caffeine, creatine, arginine and beta-alanine, it contains 1,3-Dimethylamylamine also known as geranamine. This is a potent stimulant (as far as legal alternatives goes) and this is what provides the oomph in this product. Apparently Geranamine is used as recreational drug in some circles and banned in a few countries. I wouldn't be surprised if we'll see more countries banning it soon as everything that is mildly effective seems to get a ban sooner or later. Shortly after I wrote the supplements guide, Meltdown and Clenbutrx both got banned in Sweden.

Anyway, being somewhat resistant to stims, I started off with the maximum recommended dosage the first time (three scoops). After 5-10 minutes, I could tell that it was working as I got an intense urge to do the dishes. During training, I didn't notice anything out of the norm besides a somewhat uncomfortable back pump after squatting. After training, I had to wait two hours before my appetite returned. I never have problems eating after training, especially not after fasted training, but the thought of food made me queasy. I also noticed some slightly panicky feelings at that point, the kind where you want to crawl out of your own skin. Nothing serious, but for those sensitive to CNS stimulants or prone to anxiety attacks, I would not recommend starting off with the highest dose like I did. However, it seems tolerance develops and within a few days I could use the maximum recommended dosage without any side-effects. Unfortunately, the stimulant effect is also lessened.

In my experience, Jack3d is quite effective, but less so for the purpose it's advertised. I see it's use mainly as an appetite surpressant or stimulant, much like ephedrine. The mechanism by which Jack3d exerts its effect is also similar to ephedrine in that it increases epinephrine/adrenaline, which in turn boosts lipolysis and leads to that "focused" feeling. Or that urge to do something, anything.

Either way you want to use it, for a pre-workout or motivational boost, or appetite surpression, Jack3d works, which is why it ends up on my list of recommended, but certainly not essential, list of supplements.

By the way, I haven't found any studies to back the effectiveness of 1,3-dimethylamylamine for fat loss. If anyone knows of any human trials regarding its use for weight loss or improving cognition, alertness, or anything else for that matter, let me know. I always try to find some scientifical backing for the supplements I recommend but I'm at a loss for this one.


Adipoxil Review

Adipoxil is a strange beast. It's different from all other fat burners reviewed here in the sense that it has no stimulatory properties. At the same time, it's a very potent appetite suppressant - at least as far as legal alternatives goes. I suspect this might be explained by the synephrine and the "lipolytic oxidation protocol," which contains cayenne pepper and various other thermorgenic compounds. Synephrine and cayenne pepper are both known to suppress appetite.

There's also a peculiar side-effect that's noticeable shortly after ingesting the tabs; it alters taste, and specifically it made coffee undrinkable. I'm not sure how to describe it. I'm a coffee-fiend but that hot cup of goodness turned wretched after I downed the tabs. Also, be careful with the dosing and don't go for double dose the first time you try it. I experienced nausea with two tabs and it wasn't very pleasant.

Anyway, Adipoxil might be a good alternative for those looking for a supplement without pronounced stimulatory properties. I need to add a big disclaimer here however; Adipoxil does contain Yohimbine and caffeine, and should provide a stimulatory effect. I might just be a weird outlier to not have noticed anything. If you do try it, let me know in comments if you felt anything. I should also note that I only tried this three days in a row, so I'm not sure about tolerance issues. For the short time I ran it, it worked very well.

I also tried another supplement from iForce Nutrition, the makers of Adipoxil: a pre-workout supplement called "Maximize V2". This was nothing special - pretty much the same as Jack3d, but less potent.

Remember that you can enter "leangains" as code when ordering from Predator Nutrition and get 5% off your order. I receive no commissions; instead you get cheaper supplements.

233 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 233   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

lmfao @ clenbutrx rec. yeah it's nasty alright but pretty effective. had me running around like a crack addict

Daniel said...

What is your thoughts on the study that showed increased DHT-levels in male rugby players when supplemented with creatine? - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19741313
Do you think creatine is safe for long-term usage? Using a supplement that affects androgen hormones doesn't sound too good to me, from a healt point of view. And it's been reported by some users on various forums that they've lost hair when taking creatine. This study gives a possible endocrine explanation, don't you think? Would appriciate your thoughts on this. Keep up the good work!

Martin Berkhan said...

Sure, if you have a genetic propensity towards male pattern baldness, I could see creatine possibly escalating it through the increased DHT:T-ratio found in that study. I've personally never heard about anyone reporting hair loss after creatine though.

The critical consensus on creatine is that it's a very safe supplement. That's why it's legal.

Anonymous said...

Martin -

Two quick questions:

1) Are there any non-stimulant appetite suppressants you might recommend? This might be useful when making the transition from a traditional eating pattern to IF.

2) Would you recommend taking the VPX stimulants while not actively cutting? Does yohimbine HCL present any risks with chronic use (e.g. - high blood pressure)?

Thanks,
Jon

Anonymous said...

One more thing -

What are your thoughts on guggulsterones? Used to take em, then read that they can lead to screwy thryoid function...

-Jon

Anonymous said...

What about green tea? Thermogenic and all?

Mike said...

How's the two mentioned "fat burners" compared to an EC-stack (30mg E/200 mg C) three times a day? Thanks

Anonymous said...

What if one DOES have a propensity for male baldness.
Is there any food or supplement you could take to manage the effects of creating and continue to use it?

Sarah said...

Gotta agree on optimum milk chocolate whey...dee-licious!

Half Navajo said...

i would probably add some kind of magnesium supplement to the list... over at mike mahlers site, he seems to have found a good one that i will likely purchase.

troy

Anonymous said...

How safe/legal are clen and VPX?

Anonymous said...

any comments on this please. you seem to have good performance with low bf. thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Martin,

As far as vitamin D goes, are you at all familiar with the potential efficacy and safety of using brief sessions with a tanning bed during the Winter time (unless living in a tropical location) to keep vitamin D levels optimized?

Supplementing with added cholecalciferol is cheap and easy, but I am asking this question because a neighbor of mine recently bought a stand-up tanning lamp from a company called Sunsplash and offered me access to it during the Winter.

I have always been a proponent of getting sensible sun exposure as much as possible, so this got me wondering if very reasonable usage of one of these (as opposed to baking for long periods of time) might be a safe and easy way of keeping D levels up given that I would be able to have regular access to it.

If you haven't done much study in that particularly niche area, I understand, but you seemed like a solid guy to ask.

Hope all is well!

~Ron

Anonymous said...

Hi. Martin. I hope this question doesn't arouse your ire, as that is not at all my intention.

You clearly are a guy who does his due diligence when it comes to reviewing research and distilling the practical applications, as well as separating fact from fiction.

Regarding supplementation, what are your thoughts about the placebo effect in situations where the substance in question (regardless of actual efficacy or lack thereof) will not be harmful and the person purchasing it is not busting his own budget to purchase a particular item?

I ask this, because in athletics, you always here guys saying that often times perception is reality and that any edge they can get, even if purely mental, is a benefit to them.

As a simple example, I notice one particular company (which doesn't market its products to the bodybuilding crowd) that sells a whey powder that is supposedly derived from grass-fed/pastured cows.

Now research may say that there is nothing inherently special about this particular whey product and that you'd likely be just as well off purchasing a cheaper product, but by the same token, there's no reason to think this product would cause you any problems. So if someone were more than willing and able to pay for said product and, for whatever reason derived greater peace of mind out of it, would there be anything wrong with this?

I don't tend to purchase supplements, but I was reading something on another website recently where this type of question was posed, so it got me curious what you think about it.

This isn't so much trying to say that a product is somehow better simply because of what a person thinks (vs. actual evidence), merely wondering if it is worth it in that person's case if they are happy with that choice and willing and able to pay, as opposed to said person simply being labeled a "sucker".

My example probably wasn't the best one, but hopefully you can see what I was driving at here.

Niklas

Lamar said...

Pretty solid list dude. Keep up the good job, you got an awesome blog.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

'1) Are there any non-stimulant appetite suppressants you might recommend?'

No, because people rarely find them effective. Some think Hoodia helps, but the feedback is mixed.

'2) Would you recommend taking the VPX stimulants while not actively cutting?'

Recommend would be too strong of a word, but I wouldn't see the harm in it either. I used it for increased focus when working and I was not actively cutting. But as with all stimulants, tolerance develops. You might not want to be on it when transitioning into cutting, but rather start it then (when tolerance is low).

'Does yohimbine HCL present any risks with chronic use (e.g. - high blood pressure)?'

These problems arise with excessive amounts and are not specific to chronic users.

Martin Berkhan said...

'What are your thoughts on guggulsterones? Used to take em, then read that they can lead to screwy thryoid function...'

I don't think there is much scientific support for them other than some small (positive) effect on cholesterol in overweight subjects.

Martin Berkhan said...

'What about green tea? Thermogenic and all?'

Last time I checked, researchers weren't clear on whether it was the catechins, the caffeine or the combination of the two that caused the weight loss seen in some studies.

On the whole, green tea may have some small effect on thermogenesis but if you're already drinking coffee on a regular basis I wouldn't bother much with green tea. Unless you enjoy the taste - which I do, think it's great. Just don't go buy it thinking that you're gonna get ripped in the process.

Martin Berkhan said...

'How's the two mentioned "fat burners" compared to an EC-stack (30mg E/200 mg C) three times a day? '

If you have legit EC, there ain't much that measures up to it. Was years ago I tried it, so my frame of reference may be a bit skewed - but in all honesty, the first few days on Clenbutrx and Meltdown came very close to EC. I'm comparing to one single dosing of 30 mg and the feeling 1-3 hrs after.

Martin Berkhan said...

'As far as vitamin D goes, are you at all familiar with the potential efficacy and safety of using brief sessions with a tanning bed during the Winter time (unless living in a tropical location) to keep vitamin D levels optimized?'

I'm familiar with it, but it's not my forte so I'll refrain from giving any specific advice re: tanning/tanning beds. Btw check out the paper on Vitamin D and athletic performance - german gymnasts and other indoor athletes back in the 60-70's (or was it the russians) used tanning beds regularily to improve recovery and boost performance.

Martin Berkhan said...

Niklas,

'So if someone were more than willing and able to pay for said product and, for whatever reason derived greater peace of mind out of it, would there be anything wrong with this?

I may think you're a damn fool for it, but in the end it's your money and up to you how to spend it.

Martin Berkhan said...

I shoudl note that I answered all these questions while moderately intoxicated. It's now 3.45 AM over here and time to sleep. Don't troll the comments too hard while I'm gone.

Manveet said...

Why are BCAAs so popular?

What's so beneficial about them over just regular whey which contains BCAAs anyway (I think).

Manveet said...

Oops.

Forgot my reference:

http://monkeyisland.lylemcdonald.com/showthread.php?t=20045&highlight=BCAAs

Anonymous said...

Regarding casein - I've heard through the years that casein can possibly be a carcinogen. Is there any truth to that, or is it based on poor research on rats or something?

Raidho said...

"Martin Berkhan said...
I shoudl note that I answered all these questions while moderately intoxicated. It's now 3.45 AM over here and time to sleep. Don't troll the comments too hard while I'm gone."
Ha ha, honest, sincere and taking advantage of alcohol-induced creativity, love you man!

By the way, finally! Have been waiting for this list, so long that I already ordered some things earlier this week. Lucky for me, according to you, I ordered the good stuff, VPX Meltdown, Purple Wraath BCAA and Double Pro Casein! Maybe I should check myself for psychic abilities...

Raidho said...

Oh, forgot a quick question, I'm supplementing with L-tyrosine. Is it possible to build up a tolerance against it? Can it screw with the body´s own thyroid/tyroxin-production?
Thanks for a great post, as usual!//Johannes

Jon Fernandes said...

Sweet Article Martin. Very good information.

Martin Berkhan said...

Manveet, I suggest you read the posts linked after which it should be clear for what purpose they are useful i.e fasted training.

Re: casein being a carcinogen, no. If anything, it may actually protect against cancer. See:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cpd/2007/00000013/00000008/art00005

Martin Berkhan said...

Raidho,

re: tyrosine and tolerance/screwing with thyroid, no, there is nothing to suggest it could. Tyrosine actually relieves symptoms of hypothyroidism afaik.

BB.Wolf said...

Martin,
What are your thought on ALA/r-ALA? Since many of us are taking down a large amount of carbs during a short space of time, could there be any benefit in controlling blood glucose by supplementing with ALA?

Martin Berkhan said...

I would not advise anyone to take ALA for the following reasons

1) it improves glucose control simply by pushing glucose into muscle cells and fat cells at a faster rate. Why is faster absorption ever desirable? Do you mean to train the same muscle group 12 hrs later..? This is a moot issue for someone doing recreational weight training 3-6x/week. Faster muscle glycogen resynthesis does not lead to more muscle hypertrophy.

2) it's a potent antioxidant. And exogenous/dietary antioxidants in large doses may exert a largely negative effect on your training results by inhibiting adaptations to both endurance and resistance training. See:

Ristow et al. Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 11.

Anonymous said...

just asking again your thoughts on,
http://theorytopractice.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/peak-performance-and-extremely-low-body-fat-levels/

thanks

nondual said...

Great list, Martin! I just picked up some Meltdown - it's supposed to be non-jittery, which beats the HotRox Extreme I have left over from at least a year ago.

So far with IF, I've lost 14.6 lbs and 6-7% body fat in about 7 weeks. I'm just now adding a thermogenic product to try to get down to 10% a little bit faster.

Also, thanks for the advice re: fasted workouts. I'd have expected my energy and strength to tank with fasted workouts, but in contrast, my strength has actually increased a little - on a cut, no less.

One question, though - should thermogenics be limited to the fasting period, or should they be used during the eating window as well?

Thanks.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

he might be confusing dieting athletes with non-dieting athletes. There's a difference between a glycogen-depleted run down athlete cutting to 5-6% bf vs someone in energy balance. Mike Young raised that possibility (i.e the energy deficit required to get than lean being the culprit, not bf% per se). I perform quite well at a low bodyfat%, but the last two weeks on my way to 5% bf were hard (I felt weaker and lost a rep here and there). Once I transitioned into maintenance, the feelings of weakness subsided and I regained strength.

Btw, I certainly don't agree with the notion that eating a paleo diet will automatically lead to 10% bf for men and 15% for women.

Martin Berkhan said...

Nondual,

first and foremost you should take it during the fasted phase. When taking multiple doses, it's fine to take during the fed phase as well (and then preferably in between meal 1 and 2).

Good to hear that IF is working so well for you.

nondual said...

'Working well' is a complete understatement, Martin. This is the fastest, most painless, and most strength and LBM retaining cut I've ever attempted. I say 'attempted' because all other attempts have been so positively painful (six meals a day just keeps me starving) and slow that they've stayed at 'attempts' - I usually bail out at about the 1-2 month mark. I'm not at 2 months with IF yet, but it is practically painless so far and I don't expect that to change in the next week and a half.

Keep in mind, I'm eating awfully 'dirty' in my eating window - a double cheeseburger is not unusual as a PWO meal (calorie counting though, and fitting it into my count) - and it's STILL cut me down from 22% to 15% body fat in seven weeks. I realize that as I approach 10%, I'm going to have to alter my food choices a bit - but tacking on that sort of lifestyle change at the end of a painless cut will be short and relatively easy, I suspect.

Jon Fernandes said...

"tyrosine and tolerance/screwing with thyroid, no, there is nothing to suggest it could. Tyrosine actually relieves symptoms of hypothyroidism afaik."


yes i agree, i've been taking 500 mg of tyrosine in a fasted state on a daily basis (1 gram on training days pre-workout) and do notice an increase via motivation and energy. I know a lot of it has to with the fact tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine & noradrenaline, but i do notice a slight increase in body temperature and maintenance calories.

Jon Fernandes said...

also forgot to mention it is a precursor to T3 & T4...but i bet you already knew that lol.

Anonymous said...

Martin

I use Glucosamine. Does it have any negative sides? I have used Intermittent Fasting for a couple of years now and I love it.

Martin Berkhan said...

Glucosamine is a pretty useful supplement. Thanks for the reminder, might add it to the list. It's a very safe supplement overall, just some mild sides at high dosages. This site sums it up -

http://www.arthritis-glucosamine.net/article-detail.php?ID=26

But ignore the part about insulin resistance. That's old research based on rat experiments. In humans, glucosamine doesn't affect glucose metabolism or insulin sensitivity -

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/6/1941.full

Jared said...

Great list. Nothing too exotic there, just useful stuff. Appreciate the references so thanks for that.

Raidho said...

"...i've been taking 500 mg of tyrosine in a fasted state on a daily basis (1 gram on training days pre-workout) and do notice an increase via motivation and energy."..."also forgot to mention it is a precursor to T3 & T4...but i bet you already knew that lol."
Good to hear, and I too notice increased motivation, energy an sheer joy in life lol. Although I'm taking in 1-3 grams/day, since I read Lyle's Ultimate Diet 2.0, and I don't know if it's all in my head, but when I don't take it, I tend to feel unmotivated and tired. I almost always combine it with a cup of coffe, which amplifies the effect (according to Lyle) by the way, but just coffee and no tyrosine doesn't in it self create the good feelings like tyrosine+coffee does. The thyroid doesn't get screwed up by supplementing tyrosine okay check. But does that mean that I don't have to worry about getting less sensitive to tyrosine and therefore hav to increase the dose taken in per day?

mark said...

Hi Martin,

I'm just wondering about the coffee through out the day. How much would you say you drink during your fast? I usually just drink mine black but wondering how much do you personally think is acceptable?

Thank You

Martin Berkhan said...

Raidho,

you don't have to worry about developing tolerance to tyrosine. The mechanism through which it exerts it's effect are unlike that of other stimulants (to which tolerance develops).

Mark,

I don't keep count, but it's probably 4-5 cups throughout the day. No need to put a limit on coffee. Drink as much as you want.

Aled said...

Nice post Martin.

Do any of the above figure into your own workout of nutrition strategy? For instance do you have whey PWO or do you just rely on whole foods? Caesin before bed? Or a big tub of cottgae cheese?

I found 200mg of caffeine on an empty stomach pretty potent on the appetite supression front.

Also, have you come accross Phosphate supplemntation at all? Di-potassium Phosphate is cheap here in the UK, and some interesting data to show it impacts favourably on phosphate stores and thus power output.

Martin Berkhan said...

I take BCAA for fasted training sessions, but my post-workout nutrient intake is almost always compromised of whole foods. Pre-bedtime I eat cottage cheese or a pudding made of casein-powder among other things.

Dipotassium phosphate is a lactic acid buffering agent and has shown to improve endurance in some studies - not power output afaik (max power output after pre-exhaustion perhaps?). I could imagine it being useful for higher rep ranges or super-sets, but not your average set of 6-8 reps.

mike said...

Martin, so we shoudnt take any Antiox pills but isnt eating a lot of antiox foods like berries, wine, etc.. the same?

Martin Berkhan said...

Certainly not the same. It's hard/impossible to reach such significant amounts through natural foods.

Rickard said...

Meltdown is a favourite. Besides the nice appetite killing, it has an extreme drying-out effect on me.

Went from fully bloated (after a stupid binge) to dry in under 24 hours. Took 3 capsules morning after binge day, lean before evening. Otherwise it usually take maany days recover.

/Rickard

ST said...

Meltdown is legit. It's the best stim I've come across since the old Ergopharm AMP.

Good list, Martin.

Ariel said...

This is a really good summary on the stuff worth spending money on. Well done.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this, just what i needed

Aled said...

Any chance of the recipe for your caesin based pudding?

Or is that one of the "Sekretz" to getting shredded? ;o)

Martin Berkhan said...

Sure. I mix casein powder with water in a 1:1.5 ratio (i.e 1 dl powder, 1.5 dl water), put it in the freezer for 30-40 mins, done. You can also eat it straight if that's your thing, but I find putting it in the freezer for a bit makes it taste more like ice cream. Results may vary depending on brand; I'm currently using a local brand (Fairing Sloow Protein, Vanilla Ice Cream).

mike said...

i do something different with casein,
when i want to eat a lot with low calories, i make 1Liter of a"DIET-CASEIN-FLAN" i dont know its name in english
but the thing its that its suposse to have milk and the powder of the FLAN.
The DIET FLAN has only 50 calories and its for 1 LT of milk but i put water and 50 grams of casein so in the end it has aprox 250 kcals in 1LT of the thing.
The only problem its that obviously it will make you pee a lot but at least for me i always wake up 1 or 2 times when im sleeping to pee so its just the same with more pee.

Albert said...

Martin,

you mentioned the pre-working dosage of BCAA of 10g. I live in Brazil and all BCAA products that i've found have recomended dosages of between 2g and 5g, I bought one recently of 3,4g per dosage.

Do you recomend taking multiple dosages of the product to complete the full 10g, even if nothing in the packaging suggests to take that ammount?

each capsule has about 800mg so I'd take 12 capsules pre-workout?

Martin Berkhan said...

Yes, 10 g. Capsules can be a hassle. Get powder next time.

Lara said...

Martin, I ordered Meltdown per your suggestion and after having read other peoples feedback. I'm very pleased so far. I took my first dose this morning and I can still feel it working. Very timely that I got ahold of this since I'm embarking on a two week RFL phase today. Thanks for writing this guide and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Great list. I'm writing a paper about supplements for school right now so this comes in very handy.

Zachary said...

Hi Martin,

Does taking vitamin/mineral supplements count as a fast-breaker?

Martin Berkhan said...

You should take your vitamin supps with meals. Better absorption that way.

Zachary said...

Thanks. Would this apply equally with Lyle's PSMF? Ex: he advises to take calcium twice daily, so if that were adapted to IF it would be taken during the first and last meal?

Martin Berkhan said...

Yes and yes.

IPBrian said...

I have to agree, these days I take a multi, vitamin D, C and magnesium, creatine and optimum nutrition's whey. Anything else has been a waste of money in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I hear Dr. Pasquale recomends using only slow protein and fats post workout. He compares using carbs post orkout to premature ejaculation, it's over to fast.

I think he is right, I don't use whey at all. Xtend before and during workout and whole milk protein "Double Pro" togeather with macadamia nuts post workout.

I'm on a low carb diet with high fat and protein since 10 months have lost about 40 kilos, mostly fat. I notice my body seem to be beter on using fats for energy, feel energetic and fresh on low carbs I don't use carbs before or after workouts either.

Rodney said...

I am curious as to the effect weight lifting has on acute levels of insulin. I currently work out in a fasted state, taking 10 grams of BCAAs pre-workout. After my lifting session (about 50 minutes in length) I engage in 45 minutes of cardio. I know that BCAAs will increase insulin, and that the desired effects of yohimbine will be cancelled out in the presence of insulin. I am wondering if 10 to 15 minutes of weight lifting will lower insulin enough that I could then take the yohimbine. This would give enough time for the yohimbine to enter my system and "do it's stuff."

Thanks!

Martin Berkhan said...

Yes. The insulinemic response to 10 g BCAA is minimal.

ProSkiller said...

Hi Martin, how do you feel about L-glutamine?

Martin Berkhan said...

L-Glutamin show no benefit for anyone outside a hospital setting. And certainly not for anyone on a high-protein diet.

martin said...

I want to do fasted training (with 10g of BCAA) when would you take clenbutrx, about 30 minutes prior to training?

Kristine said...

How do you use Yohimbine?

What do yoy think about this tablet:
http://www.trueprotein.com/Product_Details.aspx?cid=35&pid=6935
It contains Yohimbine, does it work or do you have to juse the Yohimbine HCL Powder miksed with water?

Martin Berkhan said...

Preferably take it on a fasted stomach. Dosages vary depending on tolerance. Powder or tabs, doesn't matter much. Yes, I assume the linked product works since True Protein is a trustworthy company.

Robert said...

Hi Martin

How do you feel about EAA, Creatin Citrate and Kre-Alkalyn?

Martin Berkhan said...

Same as I feel about BCAA* and regular creatine. Price may vary significantly, but the effects do not.

* EAA = BCAA + five other essential aminos.

Anonymous said...

Martin,

What do you think about mixing whey protein with fat?. Will the protein be slowly like casein for eating during the rest days? or is it just a bad idea?. I just want to get rid of my whey I have left, I normally just "eat" my food. But I just want to know if it's a good or a bad idea.

Thanks.

Martin Berkhan said...

Whey will be more slowly absorbed if you consume it with food or fat or in between meals. How much exactly is hard to say, but I doubt enough to make it resemble the absorption rate of casein.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin!

Very inspiring blog you have.
What do you think of hydrolyzate, isolates and Concentrate protein?

Is this something we should think about when buying protein powder?

With best regards
MAX

Martin Berkhan said...

A complete waste of money.

Iiro said...

Hello there, Martin!

First of all, I really need to thank you for compiling such a comprehensible and inclusive guide to intermittent fasting.

Just a question of your personal preference: Do you use calcium supplements? I've tried to hound out some good ones, but all seem to contain vitamin D and magnesium, both of which I supplement with oil-based (Hopefully to cause a slow absorption) capsules during my first meal of the day. Do you have any brand suggestions, and, more importantly, strength suggestions for calcium supplements? From what I've gathered, 1200mg seems to be the average recommendation for daily intake among powerlifters and athletes.

Thanks and best regards,
Iiro / Finland

Martin Berkhan said...

Any generic calcium supplement is fine. I take about 500-1000 mg daily depending on if I have dairy on that day or not. Probably a bit on the high side. Adding a 500 mg tab will do the trick for most people and put them in the right range.

Anonymous said...

You said vitamins and minerals should be taken during eating hours, not during fasting hours to aid in absorption. What about fish oil and/or CLA capsules? I take 8-12 g fish oil per day + 4 g CLA (divided into 2 doses). Can I take one does during fasting hours and one dose during eating hours or does 6-8 g (per dose) of fat break the fast?

Martin Berkhan said...

Take them with meals, not during the fast.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin!

Do you think it is worth to use HMB.
during weight loss? Is HMB a useful product?

Martin Berkhan said...

Nope. HMB is a worthless good-for-nothing product.

joe said...

are you supplementing with Clenbutrx or yohimbine?

/thanks

Martin Berkhan said...

No, but I have tried them both in the past.

Hans said...

Clenbutrx brings back memories , i used in 1999 or 2000 on my first no carb cutting cycle, literally melted the fat off. Back then it had ephedrine in it and yohimbine (they used to call the stack YACES or something). I'm not sure anything outside of a pharmacy has ephedrine in it in the US anymore.

Anonymous said...

Martin

I have learned more and acomplished more in the past six months from reading articles on yours and Rusty's site than I have in many years. Eating right and making it fit my schedule and lifestyle is a no-brainer anymore. I will keep my question short and simple. I have reached what I would consider a plateau in my lifting. I can't seem to make any gains. I am also triyng to cut. I have dropped my calories considerably. Would creatine help or hurt in my efforts to loose fat? Thanks for all your help.

Anonymous said...

How do you use yohimbe when you eat after IF?
I’ve bought 3 g powder and I mixed it with 300 ml water. Then I have 10 mg/ml.
Is it right to take 0,5 ml (5 mg) three times a day?
Your suppose to take yohimbe 2-3 hours after a meal and 1-2 hours before one meal. But when you eat after IF it’s not that many hours between one meal. How do you prefer and recommend to take youhimbe?

Thanks.
Margrethe

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon nr 1,

'Would creatine help or hurt in my efforts to loose fat? '

It won't hurt, but it won't help either.

Anon nr 2,

'Is it right to take 0,5 ml (5 mg) three times a day? '

I would suggest taking 0.2 mg/kg during the fast and more specifically before fasted cardio. I would not recommend taking it after eating, since an increase in insulin will blunt/negate the effect considerably.

Raidho said...

Hi Martin, a question regarding Meltdown and regular yohimbine.
"I would suggest taking 0.2 mg/kg during the fast and more specifically before fasted cardio."
I weigh 77 kg. According to your suggestion, that would result in approx 15,4 mg of yohimbine.

Is the VPX Meltdown´s9 mg mixture of 11-hydroxy Yohimbine, Yohimbine HCI and alpha-Yohimbine equivalent to 15,4 mg of regular yohimbine?

Could Meltdown be used in the same way as yohimbine+caffeine, as prescribed by Lyle in his Stubborn fat protocol (the fasted low-intensity+yohimbine version) to target stubborn fat?

Martin Berkhan said...

'Is the VPX Meltdown´s9 mg mixture of 11-hydroxy Yohimbine, Yohimbine HCI and alpha-Yohimbine equivalent to 15,4 mg of regular yohimbine?'

No. Each serving of Meltdown is supposed to be equivalent to 9 mg Yohimbine HCL.

If I recall correctly, one serving is 3 capsules. 3 mg yohimbine/capsule means that you'd have to take 5 capsules to get 15 mg.

On the other hand...

"Never exceed more than three total capsules daily or in a single dose."

So proceed with caution. Personally, I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary with such dosing (>3 capsules), but I need to throw in a disclaimer here lest someone screw themself over.

It would be best to start lower to assess tolerance. Meltdown contains quite a few other ingredients that might make the effects stronger and more unpredictable vs straight yohimbine hcl (i.e 5 capsules of Meltdown > 15 mg YHCL in terms of stimulatory effect and perhaps side effects).

'Could Meltdown be used in the same way as yohimbine+caffeine, as prescribed by Lyle in his Stubborn fat protocol (the fasted low-intensity+yohimbine version) to target stubborn fat?'

Yes, of course.

Raidho said...

Just to really clarify...

" 'Could Meltdown be used in the same way as yohimbine+caffeine, as prescribed by Lyle in his Stubborn fat protocol (the fasted low-intensity+yohimbine version) to target stubborn fat?'

Yes, of course."
Do you mean the regular 3 capsule dose, or is a higher dose needed to attain the same alpha(or was it beta?) receptor blocking effect of 15 g of regular yohimbine?

Otherwise there's always the regular Stubborn fat protocol of HIT to upregulate catecolamines, but that protocol screws with my recovery... By the way, would 10 g of BCAA during the session decrease the lipolysis in any of the protocols (LISS+yohimbine or regular HIT-protocol)?

Martin Berkhan said...

'Do you mean the regular 3 capsule dose, or is a higher dose needed to attain the same alpha(or was it beta?) receptor blocking effect of 15 g of regular yohimbine? '

Regular works fine IME, but you can bump the dose as tolerance sets in (i.e 5 caps to equal 15 g YHCL).

'By the way, would 10 g of BCAA during the session decrease the lipolysis in any of the protocols (LISS+yohimbine or regular HIT-protocol)?'

Yes, it would.

Anonymous said...

"I would suggest taking 0.2 mg/kg during the fast and more specifically before fasted cardio"

How often can you take yohimbine in the fast?
Is there som kind of "rule" that f eks 4 times daily or every 3th houer?

Margrethe

Christopher said...

Hello!

I have always used creatine (5g monohydrate ED), I have a question regarding water retention. Every time I for some reason stop taking it and start up again I cant feel any difference in strength, I am starting to think that I maybe do not respond as well as other. I am very aware of the positive effects, and really do not like stop taking it. But I hate the water retention. What should I do, taking smaller doses to times a day? I am using monohydreate (pure german). Please help out... Thanks.

Martin Berkhan said...

Margrethe,

'How often can you take yohimbine in the fast?
Is there som kind of "rule" that f eks 4 times daily or every 3th houer?'

I would suggest taking it once, before fasted cardio, to start with. If you're using the early fasted training-protocol for cardio (see the guide), you can then take another dose >2 hrs after the first. Do not take it shorly before, or during, the feeding window.

Martin Berkhan said...

Christopher,

Unfortunately, how and if you split the creatine does not affect whether or not you'll hold water.

n/a said...

It's hard to get hold of VPX Meltdown nowadays, do you think it would be safe buying via ebay? e.g. this seller here http://cgi.ebay.com/VPX-Meltdown-melt-down-120-Caps-/370345305906?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item563a4ce732 I mean can I be sure it's the right product?

Then I wonder if you would recommend Nutrex Lipo 6 black http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/nutrex/lipo6black.html The directions seem pretty scary.

And finally I wonder what you think about Muscle Max Ultra Stack II http://www.hardcore-shop.co.uk/fatburner/ultra_stack_2_muscle_max.html

Martin Berkhan said...

I have no clue whether it's safe to buy from that particular e-bay seller.

Heard mixed things about Lipo-6. Haven't tried it or investigated it. Don't know about Muscle Max either.

Anonymous said...

I read that Purple Wrath is incomplete because it's missing tryptophan. Does that matter?

Tim B. said...

You mentioned glutamine isn't helpful to anyone outside of a hospital setting, let alone on a high protein diet.

While I agree with you for recovery or body composition purposes, I will note that 2-3 grams with 500 mg of vitamin c a few times a day at the first sign of a cold absolutely kills the cold.

I think I got this tip from Lyle. Over this Winter I tried it when I got sick and it really worked. This assumes you don't normally take large amounts of vitamin c (vitamin c absorption decreases greatly when more than needed is taken regularly, so adding this supplement to a normal high intake doesn't raise blood levels of vitamin c much).

It's worth noting since colds can mess with training for a week or so. It's nice to get it over with in two days or so, so you can get back to intense training.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

No, it doesn't matter.

It's a good thing actually. BCAAs and tryptophan compete for the same receptor carriers that enable their transport through the blood-brain barrier. High tryptophan makes them win the race, cross through to them brain and form 5-HT = can make you tired.

Martin Berkhan said...

Tim B,

Yeah that's Lyle's idea.

İP Man said...

i understood all about your Stubborn Fat Protocol..just a question...i m looking a supplement for my last 10 pounds of stubborn fat....and what do you think about instead of vpx meltdown, what about "Leviathan Reloaded "
Super Energy Complex 421mg †
Caffine Anhydrous, Beta Methyl-PEA, Mucuna Pruiens Seed (20% L-Dopa), Hordine, Yohimbine, HCI, Hordenine, N-Methyl-Tyramine

Anabolic Complex 418mg †
Tribulus Terrestris Extract (80% Saponins)(Stem & Dried Fruit), DIM, Phyllanthus Niruri Fruit Extract 5:1, Ficus Bengalensis Whole Plant Extract, Coleus Forskohili Root Extract (20% Forskohilin)


Other Ingredients
Maltodextrin, Capsule (Gelatin, Titanium Dioxide, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Red #3), Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate, And Silica.

and MAN SCORCH

Amount Per Serving

Lean Green™ Green Tea SE 250mg †
(90% Catechins, 60% EGCG)

Total EGCG Per Serving 150mg †
P2™ Oolong Tea SE 250mg †
(30% Polymerized Polyphenols, 10% EGCG)

Total Polymerized Polyphenols Per Serving 75mg †
Total EGCG Per Serving 25mg †
Caffeine USP 200mg †
PEA (Phenylethylamine) 150mg †
Isobutyryl Thiamine Disulfide 150mg †
RK™ Raspberry Ketones 125mg †
Evodiamine 99% 50mg †
Ginger Root SE (5% Gingerols & Shogaols) 50mg †
Synephrine 99% 20mg †
Bioperine® 5mg †

† Daily Value not established

Other Ingredients
Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Red #40, Titanium Dioxide, Gelatin

honestly i want to decide a supplement for my aim, one of these 3 supplements....i read a lot of about stubborn fat since 6 months , and finally i decide to follow your cite and time to finish this job..than you very much from now on...

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin, I've come upon your website and read through many of your posts and research. I am very interested in starting an IF diet for myself, but I just need to make sure I have a few things straight.
1. I noticed that you talk about supplementing with BCAAs a lot for pre and post workout, but should I also take a protien supplement like whey post-workout?
2. How many grams of BCAAs should I take daily and how often?
3. Is the intermittent fasting diet also good for building muscle for a hardgainer like myself?

Martin Berkhan said...

Ip Man,

I think Leviathan Reloaded might be your best bet since it contains yohimbine.

Man Scorch lacks yohimbine and contains raspberry ketones (one study implies that RK might act as an androgen antagonist).

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"1. I noticed that you talk about supplementing with BCAAs a lot for pre and post workout, but should I also take a protien supplement like whey post-workout?"

If you want, but no need.

"2. How many grams of BCAAs should I take daily and how often?"

Read the Leangains guide.

"3. Is the intermittent fasting diet also good for building muscle for a hardgainer like myself?"

Depends on your appetite. It might be hard to get a sufficient amount of calories in.

miguelito said...

Hi Martin,

Thanks for all the great info that you provide on your site, I'm really looking forward to a book at some point.

What are your thoughts on the cortisol boots from coffee/caffeine when combined with a morning fast? The fast is by definition a stress on the body, but a beneficial one as long as sleep, diet, and other factors are in order. The morning is also the period of highest circadian cortisol levels, and when considering that, increased by IF and further increase by caffeine, could this lead to problems by hindering either weight loss or strength gains?

Your system obviously works from your own as well as client experience, just wanted to hear your thoughts.

Thanks,
Miguel

Martin Berkhan said...

Short-term fasting does not affect cortisol. Coffee has a very modest effect.

Elevating cortisol is only favorable for fat loss and performance in the short term. There's a reason prednisolone and other glucocorticosteroids is on the WADA list of banned substances. It's only with chronically elevated levels of cortisol you run into trouble.

Tim said...

What's your opinion on citrulline malate as a pre-workout supplement (or in general)?

Martin Berkhan said...

The scientific evidence for citrulline malate is mixed but some studies suggest it might be of benefit for endurance training.

Since it's a precursor for arginine, it might also contribute to NO production and give you a better pump. But it's hardly of much use for anaerobic activities, performance wise.

Anonymous said...

Martin Hope you can give me a quick answear; Do they have;
- VPX Meltdown
- Alphaburn
- Yohimbine / Rauwolscine-products
you know of in Sweden?
Like Svinesund, Strömstad, Nordbysenteret? I'm from Norway :)
I'm going there today!

Anonymous said...

what affect do you think a supplement like jack3d would have while following IF plan? during fasting? during non-fasting? could it be something used in addition to the purple wrath? (i notice both contain beta alkaline) or would the purple wrath suffice on it's own?
if one wanted to supplement creatine would it be best to take with bcaa? (at same time)
so for lean gains plan you only need to take purple wrath? I assume other multivitamins etc are with first meal?

sorry for all the questions all this is new to me trying to sort it out :)

Jack3d

250 Grams Lemon Lime
Serving Size
1 Scoop (5.55 grams)
Servings Per Container: 45
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value*
Proprietary Blend 4145mg*
(Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate, Creatine Monohydrate, Beta Alanine, Caffeine, 1,3-Dimethylamylamine (Geranium [Stem]), Schizandrol A)
* Daily Value not established
Other Ingredients:
Citric Acid, Natural Lemon-Lime Flavor, Acesulfame-K, Sucralose, Vegetable Stearate, Silicon Dioxide, Chlorophyll (For Coloring).
This product is produced in a facility that processes milk and soy ingredients
Black Box Warning:
This Product Produces An Intense Sensation Of Drive, Focus, Energy, Motiviation & Awareness. In Addition, It Allows For Rapid Increases In Strength, Speed, Power & Endurance. Therefore, Extreme Caution Must Be Exercised & Should Not Be Used By Novice Athletes.
Use With Caution Under Strict Dosing Protocols.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

You won't find any of those here. All of them banned.

Anon,

So jacked3 is basically creatine. Yeah, you can take that with BCAA pre-workout.

Anonymous said...

"You won't find any of those here. All of them banned."

Ok. But I can still order them to Norway? No stupid fees or customs?

James said...

Hey Martin, SuperStaunch here from mean forums, Whats the dosage recs for l-tyrosine? Thanks

Paulo said...

Hi Martin, greetings from Portugal! Wanna thank you for your blog. It's helping me a lot! I'm going to start monday with the intermittent fasting and I ordered some Bulk Bcaa's 'cause I'm gonna train fasted. I just wanna ask you what you think abaout the supplement Xtend. Is a nice way to have my Bcaa's?

Thanks,

Paulo

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Ok. But I can still order them to Norway? No stupid fees or customs?"

You can order them to Norway but there's always a risk they get stuck in customs. That being said, the orders go through more often than not - at least in Sweden.

James,

1-3 grams.

Paulo,

Yes, Xtend is fine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,

Been reading all your material over the past couple weeks and really appreciate the time and effort you put into all this. Unfortunately I can't show my appreciation but I will with a picture during the next couple of months, trust me :)

So I had a question, you recommend Alpha Burn by Predator Nutrition, or pure Yohimbine which is great, my problem is Yohimbine is banned in Canada so IF you could recommend a substitute what would it be, or should I just throw this out the window all together? I'm not taking caffeine pills as I drink coffee regularly. I'm trying to cut, I am 185 lbs, about 16/17% bodyfat. What do you suggest for speeding up this process a little, lump sum of fat is in the stomach, lower back, and butt area. I'd appreciate your time to respond.

-Nick

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin


Would like to know your thoughts on two other type of supplements.

1. Pre-workout supplements??? I have been taking 1.M.R for about a month now and am still making 5 pound increases on my big lifts.

2. Test Boosters? I am thinking of doing a 2month cycle. I understand that the supplement companies sell more hype than anything but is this a valid supplement to include once and awhile?

Martin Berkhan said...

Nick,

"IF you could recommend a substitute what would it be, or should I just throw this out the window all together? I'm not taking caffeine pills as I drink coffee regularly. I'm trying to cut, I am 185 lbs, about 16/17% bodyfat."

You're too fat to concern yourself with yohimbine atm.

Anon,

"1. Pre-workout supplements??? I have been taking 1.M.R for about a month now and am still making 5 pound increases on my big lifts."

There are none that I would recommend atm (as in them being very effective for anything else than a better pump).

Caffeine "works", i.e consistently shows performance increases in studies, though it's more so for endurance based work.

"2. Test Boosters? I am thinking of doing a 2month cycle. I understand that the supplement companies sell more hype than anything but is this a valid supplement to include once and awhile?"

I do not recommend pro-hormones but if you wanna go that route there's a few effective "legal" supps. However, I have not looked into this much and can't give any specific recs.

Keep in mind that these exist on the market only due to regulatory authorities being too slow in banning the substances they contain. Like steroids they all come with side-effects.

The general consensus is, I think, that from a pure effect vs side-effect point of view, (legal) pro-hormones are inferior to many other (all illegal) steroids.

Anonymous said...

Have you looked into the Anaconda Protocol from Biotest?

Is it just overpriced hype for a 'special' protein, 'special' creatine, and a ton of leucine, beta alanine, and other BCAAs?

Beejer said...

what is your recommendation for grams of bcaas if training during the feeding window? how many grams per serving and how many servings per day?

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,

I'm taking the ECA stack, along with L-tyrosine, pre-workout. How will this affect insulin? Will the caffeine elicit a significant enough insulin response to 'break' the fast?

Awesome awesome site. MORE!

Nik

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

Anaconda?

Read this: http://www.alanaragonblog.com/2010/04/16/are-you-a-real-t-man/

Martin Berkhan said...

Beejer,

Zero

Nik,

"I'm taking the ECA stack, along with L-tyrosine, pre-workout. How will this affect insulin?"

Negligible

"Will the caffeine elicit a significant enough insulin response to 'break' the fast?"

No

Anonymous said...

Martin,

Thanks for responding so promptly. I'm just getting into your site and through it, subsequently, have began reading Alan Aragon's site. It's probably been discussed already but I just haven't come across it, he doesn't see the need for BCAA's if there is sufficient dietary protein. What's your opinion of that and does the disconnect exist because you see merit in their place in an IF'ing approach to eating/training.

Regards,

Nik

Jason said...

Hi Martin,

Is it alright to take creatine while fasted? I used to take them post workout before.

I workout early morning and take BCAA's as you have prescribed (pre-workout and every other hour)

Thanks!

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"It's probably been discussed already but I just haven't come across it, he doesn't see the need for BCAA's if there is sufficient dietary protein."

Nor do I - in the FED state, as there will be plenty of BCAAs in circulation from whole food protein. I recommend BCAA solely for fasted state training and the reasons are clearly outlined in the articles dealing with the topic matter.

Martin Berkhan said...

Jason,

Yes

Anonymous said...

Martin,

Have you ever tried the Core ABC? Here's the link :
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/core/abc.html

Looks like is a good source of BCAA plus Beta Alanine.

Cheers,
Alex

Martin Berkhan said...

No, haven't tried it. Looks like just another BCAA supplement among countless others.

Anonymous said...

Martin,

do you recommend stacking a 200mg caffeine pill with an alphaburn pill first thing in the morning? also iv'e read people taking alphaburn before sleep, this something you tried/recommend?

thanks

Andy

Anonymous said...

Regarding creatine - I recently lowered my training frequency to 3 days/week. I have always taken 5 grams of creatine monohydrate on workout days, but that was with ~4 workouts/week. Do you think 5 grams, 3x/week would be enough? If not, would it be best to take maybe 6-7 grams on those 3 days, or increase the frequency of 5 gram dosages to 4-5 days/week? I am about 185 lbs if that has any relevance

Thanks!

Martin Berkhan said...

Andy,

"Martin,

do you recommend stacking a 200mg caffeine pill with an alphaburn pill first thing in the morning?"

Yes

"also iv'e read people taking alphaburn before sleep, this something you tried/recommend?"

Really? Most people get jittery and energetic of yohimbine. Never tried taking it any other time than during the fasted state. Either way, insulin negates the effects of yohimbine on a1-receptors so it would be fairly pointless.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Do you think 5 grams, 3x/week would be enough?"

After the loading phase, a maintenance dose of 2 g/day is recommended (may vary depending on brand...I guess it would be in the best financial interest of some to recommend a higher maintenance dose). That's 14 g/week so 3 x 5 or 15 g/week should be sufficient, yes.

John Michael said...

Hey Martin,

Just curious about your stance on Magnesium supplementation. Obviously you don't recommend it, but I'd be curious to know the rationale.

Thanks for your time and knowledge. You're one of the few sources of reason in this dietary shit-storm.

Martin Berkhan said...

Extra magnesium certainly won't hurt but it's not something most people on a non-retarded whole foods diet would be lacking in. Fruit, potatoes, some veggies, are all high in magnesium. Grains are very high.

However, magnesium supplementation does have its place if

1) training volume is high. One study showed judo athletes (I think) training 5-6x/week benefitted from magnesium supplementation while the group training 3x/week didn't. Testosterone was higher with supplementation.

2) On a "hardcore" paleo diet, meaning no grains, potatoes, dairy and relatively low intake of fruits and fibrous veggies, all of which are high magnesium foods, I could see a place for supplementation. Especially if combined with a hypocaloric diet and/or high training volume.

Matty said...

yea and if caffeine and chinese herbs just dont cut it you could always use cocaine. that 8 ball really helped me through my last fat loss plateau, real life saver...

Grok said...

Meth works too. It'll help you buzz right through those 4-5 day fasts.

andré said...

should i use creatine universal + jack3d? any problem with creatine dosage

jose said...

Hey man, i'm new at LG. I am trying to get rid of my fat (my bf is about 20%), and i thought of buying a thermo (or building one). What do you think? I'm meso-endomorph. I also considered using jack3d/no-shotgun. I am not counting calories on my diet (Only proteins, which is about 170 grams). What do you think? I thought about somethink like:
Caffeine
Taurine
Yohimbrine
Chromium Picholinate (alone)

Thanks.

Rick said...

I am impressed by several things. Your critical thinking analysis skills, your ability to explain very clearly, the fact that you answered every question and never berated anyone for a stupid question.
Class Act Martin! I will be sure to find all my products through your links and I really really look forward to the Book

Martin Berkhan said...

André,

Jack3d already contains creatine.

Jose,

1. I've already listed what I recommend in the guide.

2. Counting calories would do far more for you than whatever supps you take.

Rick,

Thanks

andré said...

ty for answer btw i have to know ur thoughts about yohimbine and caffeine, im using something about 5g of caffeine every day and have some anxiety's feelings, but without use caffeine i also have these feelings, u agree if i add yohimbine?
this anxiety can be of psychological background?

Omri said...

Martin,

I'm currently bulking using your IF protocol. For someone whose never tried supplementing with creatine before, do you recommend the loading phase? Bodybuilding.com recommends upwards of 20-30g a day for a week for the loading phase (which seems like an insane amount -- I can see why they'd recommend this much) then tapering to 5g-10g a day. Do you agree with this, it sure seems like a lot but then again I've had no previous experience with Creatine.

Keep up the awesome work!

bli said...

i'll use 20g of yohimbine in 2 equal doses in day
first i'll use 10 of yohimbine + 3g guaraná powder (more caffeine than coffe) before aerobic and later other 10g before workout
may creatine dont be absorved at all because yohimbine + guaraná powder dosage?

Sonic said...

clenbutrx=liquid cinnamon ass

It's a good product though... I just cap the liquid and swallow.

Sacharissa said...

Hi Martin

36 year old female, 122lb, 30% bf.

Seriously looking to slash that considerably, but I'm NOT a hardcore trainer (I can't afford a gym membership).

It's getting towards winter here in the UK, and so it's ruddy freezing (not to mention wet!)!

I try to eat as clean a diet as possible, but I don't do grains, and I feel like I shouldn't be doing dairy either, but I have a Fage addiction!

Would supps like Meltdown and AlphaBurn work for me? I get out and walk/sprint as much as I can (when it isn't ruddy raining) but of late I'e been just so fecking exhausted! Not sleeping well, either for some reason.
I have some caff tabs, and some eph, but I find it makes me hungrier (and I'm finding it hard enough to achieve satiety of late - I must be consuming around 2,500kcals per day easy, sitting around on my arse with zero energy!)

No, obviously I know there's no 'magic pill' but you've shown some with some pretty impressive results.

Finally, what are your thoughts on ALCAR/Carnitine Fumarate? I've anecdotal evidence they work for fat loss, but nothing solid.

Could you suggest things I might do to help me in my efforts?

I would like to be able to IF without wanting to raid the fridge, the cupboards, the freezer and just about everywhere else afterwards!

Thanks for any help you can give me mate!

shiu jung said...

hi martin! good job

im from brazi(sry for bad english) and here good protein powders are expensive and casein are goddamn overpriced, im was thinking about albumin its a good change? here have others proteins powders(more like hypercalorics) that contains too many carbs per dosage like 20g carb/10g prot can i use this for make pudins? and what ur thoughts about high intesity cardio in fast? i know u agree with walking but what about other types? like run in sprints? is it more efective? and these cardios in feeding window? (broke the fast)
finally last question..i c people asking for yohimbine HCL..i have some of it here(manipulated in a lab)10g but it is cloridrate not HCL really dont know if cloridrate in portuguese is same of HCL in english, i dont think so, if they are different things, cloridrate yohimbine have the same effect as HCL?
so one more time sry for really bad english im just 19 years old ><

keep this awesome work!

Anonymous said...

hi martin

imabout 18% bodyfat and a lot of stubborn fat, i'll start with creatine, and what suplement would you recomend for lose this fat since im too fat for yohimbine? maybe some thermmogenic? (already using caffeine)

Martin Berkhan said...

André,

Yes

Omri,

Yes. Loading makes it "kick in" a little faster. If you skip it, it'll just take longer for creatine stores to get saturated. The thing is that the loading phase probably doesn't have to be that long - a high protein/high meat diet yields a lot of creatine naturally. 3-4 days is usually sufficient but again, this depends on your habitual diet, etc.

Martin Berkhan said...

Bli,

No

Sacharissa,

1. Yes

2. ALCAR/Carnitine won't help you much.

3. Veggies and lots of protein.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

At 18% body fat you don't have any "stubborn fat".

Only "fat-fat".

Anonymous said...

Martin, is YOHIMBINE and YOHIMBE the same thing. I have a yohimbe supplement, but each pill is 450mg of yohimbe.. this seems to be alot compared to the 15mg you have been saying.. could you give some sort of conversion factor, cuz I have no idea how much to take

Sammy V said...

I have a question about creatine. I currently use Jack3d. Should I still be taking pure creatine outside of the creatine I'm getting from Jack3d?

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

Yohimbe is the name of the tree & yohimbine is the extract from the bark of yohimbe. I think 5-6% of yohimbe = yohimbine. So 450 mg yohimbine would be about 20 mg yohimbine IIRC.

SammyV,

No, that would not be necessary.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin! Quick question:

For someone who has been on VPX (>6months) and had no adverse reactions beyond a rapid heart beats, would you recommend they ramp up the EC stack from 16mg (HCL) or just go into the full (24mg HCL) twice daily?

Thanks in advance and I really hope the book is coming...want an editor? haha

Rob Is said...

Hi Martin,

I just started dabbling in the intermittent fasting-- thanks for all the great info.

I have a question regarding BCAAs.

I'm wondering about the sugar and artificial sweeteners in the BCAA powder. I have weened myself off of most sugar and carbs (using Robb Wolf's paleo approach, which is how I found out about your site) and I really wanted to use a BCAA that was unsweetened and unflavored. I bought Extend once and it was like kool-aid-- the sweetness was overwhelming.

Could you give me your take on this? It seems you are not so worried about it, but I'm trying to keep my insulin response and sugar cravings at bay. I figure the less of that I put in, the better. Basically I don't like the idea of fasting for 15 hours and then the first thing I ingest is a just of sugar.

I'm thinking of going with Optimum Nutrition BCAA 5000 powder basically because it's 2 teaspoons to get me the dose you recommend, it's unflavored and it seems to have just a minor amount of maltodextrin.

Thoughts and feedback on this?

Thanks!

lylemcd said...

I'm 99% sure that the amount of caffeine/yohimbine in adipoxil is insignificant beyond getting it on the label. Like 50mg and 2.5 mcg or some silly bullshit. Hence no real effect.

mrJingles said...

Hello Martin, in italy there's an old not-solved point about the high incidence of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis issue in the pros soccer player. Well, few days ago came out a study from Milan University (financed from health ministry and government) that links this issue to an high and not controlled use of bcaa supplements.

Unfortunately this study is only in italian but if you want i can translate it and give you all the links.

Well, although this research has many weak points, i'm wondering if the fasted workout may be supported with low-cals/high pro food as egg white insted of bcaa suppl.

You pointed 50kcal as a threshold for mantaing the fasted state, correct? this means 100gr of egg white.

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Martin,

When you say 3g of fish oil, do you mean 3g of combined epa/dha, so 10 standard caps? Or 3 caps?

Greg

Scott said...

I was wondering I anyone had any views of the use of acetyl-l-carnitine during the morning fasted state, would this be effective in enhacning the metabolism of stored fr during the fast?

Martin Berkhan said...

Greg,

3 grams combined.

Scott,

If it ain't on the list, it has no use and/or scientific support. That should answer your question.

Max Meyer said...

hey Martin,

what do you think about 1,3 Dimethylamylamine in general (in context of IF), do you know any studies/significant effects regarding this stuff?

kind regards

Max Meyer said...

ignore my last post, you answered the question in another blogpost already

kind regards
max

Max Meyer said...

Martin, do you know about any scientific proven effects of phosphatidylserin (which one can buy now which is apparantly made from soy) or have any experiences with it?

Aeonian said...

Hi everybody - first of all, leangains is fantastic. Tack så mycket Martin for sharing all this with us.
I knwo this question will sound dumb, but I started 16/8 IF training, everything is going great but I´d like to start adding proteins and BCAA to my regime. The problem is that I am trying to find aspartame-free products. Can anyone recommend some - possibly available in Sweden? I don´t mind horrible tastes, or spending a bit more, provided the supplement is good.
Thank you all !

Mikey said...

Martin, I have always had a bit of a double chin and it bothers me. Even when I get really low bf%, its still there. I have heard about topical yohimbe such as yohimburn es to useful for this. What do you think, is it worth it/safe?

Martin Berkhan said...

Max Meyer,

No

Mikey,

I've yet to hear someone claim that topical yohimbine produced an effect. That should give you a hint in regards to its effectiveness or use (or lack thereof).

Max Meyer said...

could you be so kind to review "Elite Nutritions Ultimate Stack" (http://www.elite-n.co.uk/id31.html)?

it's cheap and should be really good if the claimed ingredients are really in there..

Anonymous said...

Anyone embraced Spirulina, as a source of protein and appetite suppressant????

Anonymous said...

I'm also curious about Rob's question on artificial sweeteners.

With calcium and Vitamin D, it seems that the benefits are compelling, while the effects of overdose are small. Is the effectiveness dose-dependent at all? I'm especially interested in calcium and fat loss - not much to go regarding dosages from from the study.

Anonymous said...

Someone ripped your article, posting it as their own with a few word changes throughout, felt like you should know

http://jackedfood.blogspot.com/2011/01/supplements-you-might-actually-find.html

Loran said...

Hi Martin,

I have had much greater gains in muscle over the last two months since I switched from whey to hemp protein. Do you have any thoughts on hemp protein or does it really matter? The reason I switched to hemp protein was it seemed like it was less "processed" than other forms of powdered proteins.

Kevindg said...

I was wondering if taking supplements shortly after waking up breaks the fast?

For example, I take caffeïne tabs and fish oil in the morning normally.

So I can't take them when doing IF? Or is it still allowed?

Zewski said...

hey Martin,

I've read places that you should not take yohimbine when under 21 years of age. I just recently turned 19, and are currently at about 7-8% body fat. Should i opt for Meltdown over alphaburn due to my youth? I tend to stay away from products that advertise an increased libido since i feel like they're aimed more towards middle-aged men.

Anonymous said...

hello martin, each pill of alphaburn contains 9/10mg of Alpha Yohimbine. So, is the ratio 1:1 compare to regular yohimbine? For my weight (77kg) i need 15mg of yohi,is it ok if i take 2 alphaburn pills?

furthermore: is it a good idea to take 200mg of caffeine in stack?

thanks indeed!

Thomas said...

Hey Martin!

I'm going to start Leangains in 13 days, focus on fat loss, and I wondered what you have to say about L-Acyl-Carnitine as a supplement? It's said to be effective, and if it is, is there a problem if I take it in the fasted state?

Also, what's your take on Raspberry Ketones?

Anonymous said...

Have just found your site and want to congratulate you on your tireless work.
A question re Yohimbine which is banned in Australia (due to aphrodisiac properties). Is there another fat burner supplement that assists with alpha 2 receptors. Also ECA stack is also banned in Australia due to ephedrine.

Jens KC said...

Hey Martin and thanks for all this great info!

I myself don't really have a problem losing weight, but if fat-loss supplements make more of the weight come from fat or can help me lose fat from problem areas, they might be worth it!

Do you think all of these fat burners are benefitial for someone who can lose weight without them, that is, do they have an effect beyond energizing/suppressing appetite?

Kat said...

Hi Martin!

Thanks for all the wonderful and useful advice. I just started the Intermittent Fasting today and will see how it goes. I want to do cardio in the morning fasted and lift in the evening post meal. Would you recommend taking BCAA prior to the fasted cardio session or will coffee do just fine?

Kat said...

Hi Martin!

I really appreciate all your extensive research and knowledge. I just started on the Intermittent Fasting and will see how it goes. I want to do cardio fasted in the mornings and lift in the evenings post meal. Would you suggest taking BCAA prior to fasted cardio sessions or will coffee do just fine?

Happy belated birthday by the way!! =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,

Nice straightfoward guide, with regards to a NO enhancer/energy supp such as white flood, would it be appropriate to consume this preworkout (fast)?, like BCAA, as I believe it has no calories but noticed in the ingredients that "sugar cane" is present?

Help much appreaciated.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

"Take 3 g every day and 6 g if you're running an extreme diet (high calorie deficit, low fat/low carb/high protein)."

Just curious. Why would you take more fish oil running a large deficit? I've read fish oil can depress immune function above a certain level, so wouldn't it make more sense to go the other way in the face of a large deficit (i.e. 3g fish oil) and save the 6g dose for energy balance or above ?

igs said...

Hi Martin, very nice blog, i very happy that i found your blog :) Im planning on buying myofusion protein, but im not sure about it, cus u ppl are more experienced in this, so can u give me advice in this? Can i use this instead of bcaa? or should i use another protein source, which is whey? Thanks a lot!

Seb123 said...

Hey Martin,

Nice blog:P
Now, regarding my supplementation, I started jack3d 2 weeks ago and boosted my gym energy, however I now want to cut. what do you think about clenbutrx and/or yohimbine HCL? Is it okay to take half doses on days taking jack3d and full dose of clenbutrx and/or Y HCL on off days?

Would greatly appreciate anyones advice:P

Anonymous said...

Martin, would it be a bad idea to take 10g of BCAA's prior to your workout session, and sip on Gaspari Nutrition's SIZE ON during workout, since it also has amino acids in it? Would that be overkill on the amino's?

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin, what do you think of Tim Ferris"s PAGG supplement stack? It yeilds really good result according to him.

Phillip J said...

AWESOME BLOG MARTIN!!!
I'm windering what your professional look is on forskholin + test production? It's a highly debateable issue, and some sources say that it will cause a release of androstenedione?? Any help/insight would be awesome thanks!

brandon said...

Hey Martin, I was wondering if you have ever head of Cissus Quadrangularis. it is a pretty new supplement and heard of pretty interesting things about it. I was curious to see if you have ever heard of it.

Alien Fisch said...

VPX Meltdown has 9 calories per pill. Taking 3 would break the fast in the morning?

amanwithaplan said...

hey martin

- for Xtend, do you take the 13.2 grams (2 scoops) for 1 serving?

or just 10g measured out?

-thanks

holmes said...

Martin, I take fish oil capsules 3x daily. First dose is during my 'fasted' phase. Of course, there are calories from the omega-3s. Is this okay or should I be taking ALL the omega 3s during feeding?

Anonymous said...

holmes: per Martin, seems like you should wait until you eat to take them and not during your fasting times.

To Martin: First off, great site. I just discovered it last week. Nice to see something with the broscience taken out of it. My question is also fish oil related. I'm pretty set on just get NOW Ultra Omega-3 since it seems the best overall, all-arounder... but I noticed both Nordic Naturals and NutraSea have 3:1 ratio EPA/DHA fish oil supplements. Have you done any research on these ratios (I tried to look it up without anything too helpful) and do you think they worth the premium (both come out to essentially 3x the price of NOW)? Thanks again for all the info and the site.

www.za-zi.com said...

Martin, any idea why some supplements that say they aid in appetite suppression act as appetite stimulants in some people? Are there any specific ingredients that do this? Or is it just that everyone reacts differently?

Jfrancio said...

Hello Martin,

I was curious as to what your take is on the combination of Creatine and Caffeine? I have read the 1996 study on the combination that showed Caffeine negates the benefits of Creatine, however, the study has been shown to be flawed. What is your take on this combination?

Thank You,

Jason

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin,

Should I use creatine in the morning, pre workout or post workout? (I eat from 4pm till 12)

Thnx,
Sjors

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 233   Newer› Newest»



My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

Welcome to the Internet's leading resource on intermittent fasting and all things related.

FeedBurner FeedCount

Google Friend Connect

Join Me on Twitter

Follow Me on Facebook

Recommended Reading

Lame Title, Good Book

Recommended Reading

Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss

Recommended Reading

Covers All Bases

Recommended Reading

Awesome Recipes for The Paleo Diet
Recipes for the Paleo Diet - Two Cookbooks - 120 Recipes Each!>

Recommended Reading

Fat Loss Made Easy

Great Interval Timer

+1 If You Think Leangains is Awesome