If you want to know how to stack supplements to maximize their effects and get the most bang for your supplement-buck, you want to read this article.
Payday has come and gone, bills are paid, savings have been set aside, and you’ve got some extra dough burning a hole in your pocket. It just so happens that your favorite supplement retailer is also running a big sale.
But, with so many options out there, what supplements should you purchase? Which products go together well, which are redundant, and which don’t go together at all?
We’ll answer all of those questions and more in this beginner’s guide to supplement stacks.
Whether you’re new to supplements or everything related to fitness and sport nutrition, this guide is for you! Ahead, we’ll show you how to create the ultimate supplement stack as well as discuss a few other less common supplements, once you have the basics down.
But first, a word…
Supplements are Supplemental
It’s often said that you can’t out-train a crappy diet, and the same could very well be said of supplements. No amount of supplements, no matter how great or all-encompassing they may be, will ever replace a proper muscle-building diet.
Without the proper nutrients, you can squat, curl, and bench all you want, but it won’t do a lick of good for building muscle or strength. That’s because increasing size, strength, and performance requires that you fuel your body properly, and that begins first and foremost with a proper nutrition plan.
With that being said, once you have your diet and training in place, supplements can absolutely be used to augment your results from training, enhance your performance, and accelerate your recovery. And, when you get the right combination of them together some really great things can happen.
So, with that said, let’s start with the basics:
What is a Supplement Stack?
A supplement, as you probably know, is “something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.”
Let’s say, for instance, that you want to increase your performance in the gym as well as build some lean muscle mass. You’ve already got your diet, training, and sleep dialed in, but you want to further enhance your performance and results.
In this scenario, you’ll likely look to creatine, as it is, without question, the single most effective supplement in the history of sports nutrition, backed by hundreds and hundreds of studies documenting its benefits regarding performance, power, strength, and lean mass gains.
Here, creatine is the supplement that you are using to enhance your performance and physique.
Now, let’s say that you’ve been running creatine for a while, and you’re now ready to add something else into the mix. But, you still want to continue using creatine.
So, you go to the local supplement shop and buy some caffeine tabs to take pre workout along with your creatine.
In combining these two ingredients together, you’ve now made a supplement stack.
A supplement stack is taking two or more supplements throughout the day that compliment each other and enhance your ability to achieve a particular goal or set of goals, such as building muscle, increasing strength, or losing body fat.
So, under this definition something that combines multiple ingredients together in a single product, such as a pre workout, could classify as a supplement stack. And when you consider that pre workouts typically contain (or they should contain) ingredients that enhance your performance in the proceeding training session.
And, in fact, many people do just that. They purchase several individual ingredients in bulk (such as caffeine, L-Citrulline, and choline) and then dose them individually right before heading to the gym.
Now, you can easily do that yourself, or you can purchase a premade pre workout supplement like the ones we make here at Primeval Labs, which contain numerous proven ingredients at their clinically-backed doses. Premade pre workouts also taste a hell of a lot better than mixing up a bunch of bulk ingredients too. So, if you want to enjoy your pre workout drink, purchasing ready made pre workouts is a must.
Now, we realize that the majority of you reading this probably don’t consider a tub of pre workout a “supplement stack” (even though it technically is), and that when you think of a true supplement stack, you’re referring to combining several different premade products together to create the ultimate gains-enhancing arsenal of supplements.
Well, you’re in luck, because we’re going to cover that too!
Let’s start assembling the ultimate stack with a supplement that every athlete should be using regardless of their goals.
Creatine -- A Must Have in Every Supplement Stack
We already stated this up top, but it bears mentioning again, creatine is the most well-studied, and successful supplement in the history of sports nutrition. It’s been documented to enhance performance in a wide range of sports as well as cognitive function and recovery.
What makes creatine so effective is its dual abilities to enhance energy (ATP) production in the body and increase cell volumization and hydration, due to its actions as an osmolyte. With greater energy production and hydration, you’re able to perform at a higher level during training, lifting more weight for more reps and performing more sets, which ultimately leads to bigger, better gains in your training.
As such, it only makes sense that creatine form the foundation of any athlete’s supplement stack, and Primeval Labs has created the ultimate creatine supplement in Prim-ATP.
Prim-ATP combines 5 grams of pure creatine anhydrous alongside 150mg of elevATP, another proven and potent ATP-boosting compound.
Now, let’s say that you’re looking to expand your supplement stack beyond simple creatine.
What should you consider next?
Well, that’s where things start to get a little bit more complicated, but immensely fun too!
First things first, how’s your diet?
Are you getting in enough protein and calories each day to support your performance and physique goals?
Or, do you suffer from a lack of appetite, and tend to come up short on calories and/or protein most days?
If you fall into this second category, then next supplement you’ll want to add to your stack is a whey protein powder.
Having a high quality whey protein powder, such as Primeval Labs ISOLIT, provides an efficient, cost-effective, and absurdly delicious way to make sure that no matter what, come hell or high water, you can hit your protein quota for the day.
ISOLIT can be used as a quick pre or post workout meal to supply your muscles with the protein they need to build and repair lean muscle tissue. It also serves as a quick on-the-go breakfast, or a late night snack when you need to finish off your calories for the day and want something sweet before bed.
Beyond creatine and protein, let’s now look into your pre workout needs.
Stacking Pre Workouts
When it comes to pre workout offerings, there’s no shortage of options on the market. Even here at Primeval Labs, we offer several stimulant and non-stimulant pre workout supplements to help provide exactly what you want in your pre training formula.
So, let’s say you’ve already got a pretty high stim pre workout, such as Mega Pre Black or Ape Sh*t, but you’re wanting even more pumps during your training sessions. In this instance, since you’re already got your stims, you need to look for non-stimulant products that contain supplements that boost nitric oxide, enhance vasodilation, and increase cell volumization.
Ingredients at the forefront of this are ones like L-Citrulline, VASO6, VasoDrive-AP, and GlycerPump. Each of these ingredients supports your ability to get a truly savage pump during your workout, and they also help improve performance by improving hydration, blood flow, and nutrient delivery.
If this sounds like you, then you might be interested in Vasogorge Black.
Vasogorge Black is a stim-free, pump pre workout containing the full clinical dose of VASO6, along with L-Norvaline and GlycerPump. It stacks perfectly with any stim-based pre workout and provides everything you need to get a raging pump during training.
Now, let’s say that you still have your pre workout needs covered but during training lately, you find that you’re “running out of gas” during the latter portion of your longer, more intense workouts.
Is there anything that you can add to your supplement stack to boost performance during training?
Indeed you can.
Intra workouts are designed to be consumed during training with the purpose of providing your body with what it needs to continue to perform at a high level. Since you’re most likely performing some sort of high intensity exercise that relies on glycogen (stored glucose), that means you’re going to want to make sure that any intra workout you consider has some fast-digesting carbohydrates in it, as consuming carbs will provide your muscles with the quick-burning energy (glucose) it needs when it needs it most.
But, what if you’re not training any longer than 45-60 minutes, could an intra workout still be of use?
Sure it can!
Intra workouts aren’t just about carbohydrates, case in point Intracell 7.
Intracell 7 contains 20 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates, but it also contains a full spectrum of essential amino acids (EAAs) along with valuable hydration agents, cell volumizers, and nitric oxide support ingredients.
Therefore, if you’re wanting to sustain your pumps during your workout and for hours after, having an intra workout that supplies nitric oxide agents and cell volumizers would be ideal.
We all have those days where we either didn’t sleep that well or we hit the proverbial “wall” where no matter what, it seems that our energy levels just plummet. In these instances, it doesn’t really make sense to use a pre workout or intra workout, as those contain supplements to support and enhance performance.
So, what should you consider when looking to boost your energy, but not get completely wired and want to bench press your desk at work?
An energy-boosting supplement.
Now, most people will default to energy drinks or energy shots in these scenarios. And while there’s nothing wrong with energy drinks, they’re not the cheapest, and on top of that, many people experience crashes or jitters when taking them.
To help solve this energy crisis of sorts, Primeval Labs has created EAA Max Energy, which supplies smooth, long-lasting energy absent the jitters or crash of typical energy drinks and shots. Moreover, EAA Max Energy also delivers exceptional flavoring, an area that’s often hit or miss with many energy drinks.
And finally, since EAA Max Energy is a powder, you can scale the dosing to fit your needs based on how much energy you want. WIth energy drinks, it’s a one size fits all proposition. You either have to drink the whole can, or throw it away after you’ve had your fill, wasting more money in the process.
With EAA Max Energy, you get exactly what you want each and every time, along with a full array of essential amino acids to support your recovery and growth.
Let’s say that you’ve got your diet in check. You consistently hit your macros, consuming sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat each day. Yet, you still struggle to feel fully recovered and recharged for the next day’s training session.
In this instance, we’d ask you to consider how your sleep has been lately. Are you sleeping for 7-9 hours each night, and how is the quality of those 7-9 hours? If you’re sleeping long enough, but waking up several times or tossing and turning all night, those 7-9 hours aren’t going to be very “productive” or restorative.
And when it comes to recovery and growth, sleep is about as important as nutrition is, and possibly even more so.
Therefore, if you find yourself in the above scenario, a few things to consider are:
Shifting more of your carbohydrates to the evening and eating them closer to bed, as carbohydrates enhance serotonin release, which improves sleep.
Additionally, you might also want to consider limiting your exposure to blue light (smartphones, computers, televisions, tablets) 1-2 hours before bed as blue light inhibits melatonin release
Finally, you can consider investing in an all-natural sleep aid, such as EAA Sleep, which provides several non-habit forming ingredients that soothe, relax, and calm, helping you peacefully drift off to sleep. As an added bonus, EAA Sleep also provides additional essential amino acids that your body can use to further support the recovery and growth process.
Creating a supplement stack doesn’t have to be a confusing, difficult, or frustrating process. Quite the opposite in fact, most lifters enjoy the experience of mixing and matching different products in the hopes of developing their own personal best supplement stack.
For the best personal stack for YOUR needs involves doing a bit of introspection and identifying those areas that aren’t as good as they good be in regards to performance, recovery, and nutrition. Once you identify your weaknesses, then you can begin to find supplements that rectify those shortcomings and get you on your way to being a true savage!