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The Essential Supplements

Q: I know you’re sponsored by a supplement company and get all the supplements you want, but what products do you think are essential for a bodybuilder on a limited budget?

A: For starters, I don’t get everything I want, but I understand your point. Supplements—although essential for taking your training and performance to the next level—are by and large expensive. I am fortunate to work with a great company, MPH, that provides me with the innovative supplements I need to be a successful IFBB pro and powerlifter, but it wasn’t too long ago that I was in your boots—a lifter with a limited bank account who couldn’t keep up with my bodybuilding aspirations! Back then I created a list of “supplement essentials” that I will share with you. Even now these are still my basics.

Protein. First off is protein (no surprise there). No matter how well you eat, you need to take in quality proteins to keep your muscles growing. Yeah, I know that many registered dieticians say Americans eat too much protein, but how many dieticians do you know who are bodybuilders or work with them? Enough said.

Lord knows the RDA of 50 grams or thereabouts for an adult male isn’t sufficient for anabolism—muscular repair and growth. I advocate eating about one gram of protein for each pound of bodyweight. It’s easy to do the math that way too.

Having a variety is also important, however, so beef, chicken and fish should all be in your diet. In addition, your body can digest about 35 grams of protein at a time—depending on your size—so spread out your intake every two to three hours.

Back to supplements. The best protein is a combination supplement, such as MHP’s Probolic-SR (the SR stands for “sustained release”). There is new research showing that a combo protein containing whey, casein and soy (yes, soy!) helps with postworkout muscle building better than whey because it is digested over an extended period and keeps the anabolic process alive.

And, no, you won’t turn into a girl after eating soy. There is a ton of scientific data showing that it has absolutely no feminizing effects. Probolic-SR is also a great protein to have at night, before bedtime, in order to avoid a catastrophic catabolic loss of muscle tissue due to extended fasting overnight. One more thing: If you have a sweet tooth, dive into some Power Pak Pudding—30 grams of protein per can at just 190 calories, and it’s a damn good treat when you’re craving chocolate (or vanilla)!

Multivitamin. Far too many lifters spend their paychecks on all manner of pre- and postworkout formulas and overcomplicated ergogenic supplements while ignoring the need for basic nutrition. A multi is critical for ensuring that your body has all the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform all the various biological processes necessary for you to grow. No matter if you go One-A-Day or buy some fancy formula, you need a multivitamin. Once again, I’ll recommend an MHP product—the Activite Sport is a multi that also contains a research-proven digestive enzyme complex that helps you get the maximum nutritional value from the protein, carbs and fats you eat. This is nutritional insurance with the added value of enhancing your nutrient absorption.

Postworkout. A lot of knuckleheads in gyms across the country pump themselves up with simulant-based preworkouts but miss the boat on what’s important. If you want a shot of energy, make yourself a cup of strong coffee at home and drink that before you hit the gym, but if you want to maximize your anabolic growth, you have to feed your muscles properly after training. When you finish your workout, your muscles are stripped of glycogen, their ATP stores are greatly diminished, and they are in need of amino acids to avoid catabolism and ensure anabolic repair. As I said above, a combination protein can help with the amino acid replenishment, but that’s only one-third of the story. So unless you feel like eating carbs and protein and downing some creatine right after intense training—and that’s a time when I know I’m not hungry in the least—you need a complete postworkout supplement to meet your physical requirements.

Enter MHP’s new Extra Potent Dark Matter. This improved formula is rich in BCAAs, glutamine and other aminos to stimulate growth and recovery while containing a proprietary carb blend of waxy maize and potato starch, plus insulin amplifiers, to replenish muscle glycogen quickly. It also has a powerful creatine complex to reboot your muscular ATP stores. Dark Matter is available in both Extra Potent regular and new Zero Carb Concentrate versions.

Preworkout. Okay, if you have the cash for one more product, go with a preworkout that’s more than just a bunch of cheap stimulants. Hell, if you need some amphetamines just to get your ass moving in the gym, you need to take a step back to figure out how badly you want to succeed. That said, I don’t mind getting a little stimulation preworkout—along with creatine and beta-alanine for power and strength, a nitric oxide potentiator for a great pump and even a fat burner to keep my metabolism high during training. I recommend new Fit Trainer from MHP. Not only does it contain all of the above ingredients, but it’s also fortified with an adaptogenic herb that actually lowers the catabolic hormone cortisol—so you recover faster and are better able to hit it hard under the iron day after day.

Editor’s note: Ben White won his first IFBB professional bodybuilding contest, the Tampa Pro, in 2010. He is also a champion powerlifter and frequently competes in the World’s Strongest Bodybuilder contest at the Olympia. His best competition bench press is 711 pounds. He is an MPH athlete,  IM

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