You've only got to flick through the various muscle magazines to see just how many advertisements exist for the latest supplements. Almost all of them make ridiculous claims that you will transform in a matter of weeks and so on. For the vast majority of us this never happens. Many do deliver some small incremental benefit but in the scheme of things they are often pretty negligible.
In regards to the claims they make this is something we should all feel passionate about. How can we demand that we have clinical trials and proven safety on all pharmaceuticals and yet you can set up your own supplement factory in your garage and begin to sell supplements and make wild claims without a shred of evidence? This is a very poor state of affairs and one that proliferates dodgy practices that frankly could be jeapordising your health. Don't get me wrong, I believe the majority of operators do genuinely have a belief that they are doing what they can to help athletes enhance performance but I do believe that we would all be better off if the claims made around supplements were genuinely supported by direct evidence of that exact product and not these by association type claims that one ingredient in this particular supplement lead to X amount of muscle gain etc.
Whenever I am asked about what supplements do work it is a pretty basic supplement regimen that I would suggest people undertake if they are undergoing very intensive heavy lifting. All of these supplements bar probably the Animal Pak as a whole have good clinical evidence to support their use also. As for the Animal Pak it is essentially amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants all of which have ample evidence for their therapeutic benefits. Try the following:
Animal Pak - 1 to 2 packs per day. I usually just take 1 pack per day rather than the ascribed 2 per day and find that this does give me plenty of energy throughout the day and not just in the lifting. For example I would often feel quite tired in that period just after lunch and if you are like me and work in an office this time is often a killer. However since I have been taking Animal Pak this does not happen.
Glucosamine Sulfate - The sulfate version is metabolized much better in the body and I recommend you take 4 grams per day. Given the type of loads placed on the body when powerlifting it makes sense do take some preventative treatments for your joints and cartilages.
Fish Oil - If you are like me and don't take eat a lot of fish then this is even more reason to be taking fish oil. Some recent studies are showing it is not only good for your CV system nut also for your mental health. Recommend 3 grams per day
Caffeine - as a pre workout supplement this stuff is way better than any pre workout NO booster. Taking about 200- 400mg's seems to really get you amped up. I certainly only use it sparingly as I am not a coffee drinker and don't want to tart having caffeine type withdrawals or cravings.
Creatine Monohydrate - I know there are umpteen number of creatine derivatives now been offered but the monohydrate version seems to work fine and is often the cheapest. Best to cycle this stuff for either competition or when you are seeking an extra boost. Try 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off at a time for best results.
Finally Protein - There are more recommendations on the exact quantities of taking the right amount of protein then you can poke a stick at. From all the evidence I have read it appears pretty clear that it is safe to eat and ingest in supplement form as much as you want. If you have a good balanced diet I reckon taking 30 grams 2 to 4 times per day on top of your regular eating will maintain a good nitrogen balance and ensure you maintain your hard earned muscle.
So there you have it. These supplements will be the icing on the cake to all the hard work you are putting in the gym. Give it a try and see what results you get.