In fitness and bodybuilding, a supplement stack is a group of supplements that work together to enhance performance. The different ingredients included in a stack complement each other to improve energy, endurance, and recovery. As a general rule, stacks are typically categorized into three groups:
- Pre-Workout Stack: These products provide needed energy for your workout. A pre-workout supplement may include such ingredients as caffeine and creatine.
- Intra-Workout Stack: An intra-workout supplement may contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) which bypass digestion and go directly to the muscle cells to be used as an energy source.
- Post-Workout Stack: These products help replenish your body after exercise and aid in muscle growth and post-exercise recovery.
Benefits of Supplement Stacks
- Can lead to improve strength levels in the weight room
- Can aid in meal timing and planning
- May increase your immune response
- Easier to meet your nutrition goals for each day
- Improved recovery between training sessions
- Can prompt an increase in protein synthesis
Goal: Weight Loss
Muscle activity aids in burning calories, so you want to entice your body to use fat as a fuel source. Some supplement ingredients to consider:
- Caffeine: Essentially sends the cells’ metabolic processes into “hyperdrive.” An elevated metabolic rate helps burn more calories.
- Yohimbine: Taken pre-exercise, may ramp up fat-releasing activity in the cells.
- Synephrine: Works by stimulating increased production of catecholamines, which help convert stored fat into usable energy.
- Capsaicins: These compounds give peppers their heat and spice. They aid weight loss by increasing energy expenditure through increased metabolic rates.
Goal: Muscle Building
To build muscle, you have to put your body in an anabolic (net-positive) state through proper training, nutrition, and base supplementation. Here are a few supplements that can help get your muscle-building in line:
- Creatine: Effective in boosting muscle strength and increasing size through increased ATP production within the muscle cells.
- Whey Protein: This complete protein source is rich in branched-chain amino acids which your muscles use for tissue repair and recovery.
- Beta-Alanine: Aids in improving your training performance by being a lactic-acid buffer during your workouts.
- Multi-Vitamin: No nutrition is complete without a well-rounded Multi supplement. This help fills in the micronutrient gaps within your daily diet. Everyone can benefit from taking a Multi, regardless of the physical goal.
Goal: Boost Focus
Add one or more of the following ingredients to improve your mental energy, increase your focus, and manage the stresses of everyday life a bit better:
- L-Theanine: A non-essential amino acid found in black and green tea. It can perk up your attention, impart a sense of alertness, and boost your mental energy without the feeling of being overstimulated.
- Ahiflower Oil: This plant-based, omega-3 fatty acid is an essential nutrient for cognitive health.
- Vitamin D: Technically a hormone, Vitamin D is imperative for the nervous and immune system. It is paramount for glucose metabolism and neuromuscular function within the body.
Goal: Increase Energy
Enhancing your energy levels and drive translates into greater strength in and out of the weight room. Supplemental stacks for increased energy may work best with one or more of these ingredients:
- Caffeine: No self-respecting energy stack would be without caffeine. This is the most widely used central nervous system stimulant in the world.
- Tyrosine: L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used to produce hormones for the thyroid and certain neurotransmitters. These hormones help reduce fatigue during workouts.
- COQ-10: Coenzyme Q10 is critical for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. Muscles need ATP to contract. ATP is the energy currency for your muscle cells.