Bodybuilders are known to train hard and diet intensely. To gain a lot of muscle mass, they lift weights often. Then, to reveal a chiseled, ripped physique, bodybuilders usually count their macros to a T and/or eat a low-carb diet. With the intense training splits and rigorous dieting comes the need for next-level supplementation.
To support their in-gym performance and recovery, bodybuilders can most likely benefit from an array of different supplements. For example, a joint support supplement may help to keep bodybuilders safe while lifting heavy weights often. And to recover, a sleep aid can help them get the seven to nine hours of Z’s they need while pre-workout fuels their workouts, and whey protein feeds growing muscles. Not sure where to start? No worries — we rounded up the best supplements for bodybuilding to help you on your journey.
Best Bodybuilding Supplements
- Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders: Huge Supplements Wrecked
- Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders Without Caffeine: Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
- Best Fat Burner for Bodybuilders: Huge Supplements Eliminate
- Best Whey Isolate for Bodybuilders: Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
- Best Recovery Supplement for Bodybuilders: Kaged Re-Kaged
- Best Multivitamin for Bodybuilders: Huge Supplements Huge Multivitamin
- Best Sleep Aid for Bodybuilders: Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
- Best Beta-Alanine for Bodybuilders: Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Best Creatine for Bodybuilders: Huge Supplements Creatine
- Best Non-Melatonin Sleep Aid for Bodybuilders: Nested Naturals Luna Melatonin-Free Sleep Aid
- Best Essential Amino for Bodybuilders: Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. None of these supplements are meant to treat or cure any disease. If you feel you may be deficient in a particular nutrient or nutrients, please seek out a medical professional.
Best Supplements for Bodybuilding Video Review
We still recommend you read the rest of this detailed article, but in addition, you can take a peek at this video review by BarBend’s own Nick English as he breaks down all of our top picks for 2023.
Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders
A good pre-workout powder can facilitate better pumps and provide you with the energy you need to kick butt in the gym.
Huge Supplements Wrecked Pre-Workout
This product contains the usual pre-workout players — caffeine, beta-alanine, and l-citrulline — which may help with better blood flow and performance. (1) The addition of black pepper extract in this formula is a positive as it can potentially enhance the absorption of ingredients it’s paired with.
This product packs 17 ingredients at high doses, including 8,000mg of citrulline, 3,500mg of beta alanine, 250mg of caffeine, and 3,000mg of betaine anhydrous. Plus, you’ll find 1,500mg of tyrosine and 197mg of Himalayan pink sea salt, as well.
That said, those who are sensitive to caffeine should be warned: This supplement contains 350 milligrams of caffeine per serving which is equivalent to about four cups of coffee. This formula comes in four flavors — Raspberry Mojito, Bomb Popsicle, Rainbow Burst, and Peach Rings — and comes in at $2.50 per serving, making it a more expensive option.
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Wrecked Pre-Workout
- Bodybuilders will appreciate the addition of l-citrulline here, which may have an impact on better blood flow for pumps, and could help you build mass.
- Morning gymgoers who need a high dose of caffeine will appreciate the combined dosage of 350 milligrams added to this formula via caffeine anhydrous and caffeine malate.
- Those who want a pre-workout that contains black pepper extract, which may help facilitate better absorption of other ingredients will be happy to see this in the formula.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Wrecked Pre-Workout
- People who can’t take or don’t want caffeine should avoid this supplement due to its high content of 350mg.
- Anyone on a budget might want to consider a different option as this rings in at $2.50 per serving.
- Those who work out at night may want to look for a stimulant-free pre-workout. Huge Supplements does offer a stim-free pre-workout.
Bodybuilders know all too well that finding the energy to make your way to the gym during a long contest prep can be difficult, especially when your muscles are feeling flat from a lack of carbs. This potent pre-workout may help give you the energy and pump you remember from the off-season.
Read our full review of Huge Supplements Wrecked.
Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders Without Caffeine
If you train late or can’t tolerate stimulants like caffeine, there are still pre-workout options for you. Some formulas — like this one — lean on focus-enhancing and pump-inducing ingredients instead of stimulants.
Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
To make up for the lack of stimulant-induced energy, Swolverine PRE pre-workout contains 1,000mg of ginseng extract, which may help those who struggle with fatigue push through their strenuous workouts. (2) It also includes ingredients that may promote blood flow for pumps, like beta-alanine and citrulline — the latter of which might also help with muscle retention. (3) If you’re an early bird and want the caffeine energy boost, this non-stim formula is likely not for you though.
Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout may lack stimulants, but it makes up for that with a great blend of high-dosed ingredients to help improve blood flow, recovery, and endurance. The citrulline malate and betaine anhydrous can give you the edge you need to conquer your next gym session.
However, if you’re looking for a blend of citrulline, beta-alanine, and betaine that can help keep you focused and build muscle throughout your workout, Swolverine’s pre-workout may be a good choice for you. The formula contains less than one gram of sugar, but the taste isn’t compromised in their only flavor option, Mango Lemonade. It’s one of the higher-priced pre-workouts on this list, coming in at $2.11 per serving — but we think this ingredient lineup is worth the price tag if you can swing it.
Who Should Buy Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
- Bodybuilders who are looking to retain muscle mass during their cutting phase will appreciate the addition of l-citrulline in this blend.
- People who don’t want stimulants in their pre-workout will like that this blend comes caffeine-free, but also contains ginseng for a potential energy boost.
- Anyone who is looking for a pre-workout that has less than one gram of sugar, but still tastes great.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
- People who train early in the morning may want a pre-workout with a caffeine-based formula.
- If you’re looking for a lineup of unique flavors or an unflavored option, this may not be the best choice for you, as it is only offered in a Mango Lemonade flavor — it’s delicious, but nonetheless singular.
- Those on a tight budget can find cheaper formulas on the market, though you’ll be trading quality for price.
Bodybuilders have lives too and even the GOAT Ronnie Coleman had a day job when he was training to become Mr. Olympia. If you train at night or are sensitive to caffeine, but still want other hallmark pre-workout ingredients, we think this stimulant-free pre-workout from Swolverine is the best option out there.
Best Fat Burner for Bodybuilders
If your goal is to burn fat, and you’re already training hard and zeroed in on your nutrition, a fat burner may be a good tool to help speed up your process. This pick has classics like green tea extract and some bonus ingredients, like grains of paradise, which may help you burn fat.
Huge Supplements Eliminate
This product contains the usual fat-burning players like green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, Capsimax, and caffeine anhydrous. One of the ingredients included in this formula is 75mg of grains of paradise, which one study suggests may increase energy expenditure and result in decreased visceral fat. (4)
Packed with carnitine, 5-HTP, theanine, caffeine, and green coffee bean extract, this product is a great option for those who want a robust list of ingredients in their supplement — it contains 13 dedicated fat burning ingredients.
It contains 5mg of black pepper extract, which may help you absorb the other ingredients better. This supplement has a four-pill serving size and contains 30 servings per bottle at $1.66 per serving. It’s important to remember that a fat burner isn’t necessary to reach your fat loss goal, so there’s no need to force it into your budget. However, if you can afford it, and your diet and fitness plan are already in check, this product may be able to help you a little bit further on your fat loss journey.
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Eliminate
- Bodybuilders will appreciate the grains of paradise in this formula for its potential to increase energy expenditure and decrease visceral fat.
- Those who respond well to caffeine as this formula contains caffeine anhydrous, green tea extract, and green coffee bean extract.
- Those who want a fat burner that contains black pepper extract, which may help facilitate better absorption of other ingredients.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Eliminate
- Those who are on a tight budget — a fat burner isn’t necessary for fat loss goals.
- Anyone who is pill adverse as this serving size is four pills.
- People who are looking for a stimulant-free fat burner may want to look for other options.
Fat burners aren’t miracle pills, but they may be helpful in gaining you an extra edge over the competition when it counts the most on stage. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder, then any extra potential benefit shouldn’t be ignored.
Best Whey Isolate for Bodybuilders
A whey isolate protein may be better for bodybuilders because it’s filtered more thoroughly and contains fewer grams of carbs and fat than whey concentrate. You’re getting all of the protein with next to none of the extra fats and carbohydrates with this pick.
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Bodybuilders know that protein supplementation is their best friend when it comes to making gains, hitting macros, and staying full when their other macronutrients are cut. Swolverine’s Whey Isolate protein comes with 26 grams of protein per scoop, a half gram of fat, one gram of carbohydrates, and 110 calories per serving.
This whey protein formula delivers 26 grams of protein with just 0.5 grams of fat, and one gram of carbs. You’ll also find 10mg of digestive enzymes, and a decent number of micronutrients.
This protein comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter flavors. We should mention that these flavors are sweetened with sucralose, so if you’re trying to avoid that ingredient, this protein may not be the best option. Otherwise, the whey is sourced from grass-fed cows, so this is a high-quality product. It also contains two digestive enzymes — protease and papain — which may help with digestion. At $2.09 per serving, it is on the higher end of the price range, but for the high-quality ingredients, we think it’s worth choosing if you can swing it in your budget.
Who Should Buy Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
- Bodybuilders who want mainly protein, and few carbs or fats. This formula has 26g of protein per serving, which is on the higher end.
- Folks who care about where their protein powder is sourced from — this formula contains protein from grass-fed American cows.
- Those who get bloated from regular protein powders may have better luck with this formula as it contains digestive enzymes.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
- Those who are in a bulking phase and want protein with higher carbs and fats to help hit their macros.
- Bodybuilders who are avoiding sucralose will have to find a different protein powder.
- Athletes who are on a tight budget may want to look for a more cost-effective product as this is top-tier but more expensive than some other isolates.
If you’re looking for a lean and clean protein, this product is your answer. It may not be the most cost-effective whey isolate on the market, but it offers high protein content, minimal fats and carbs, and digestive enzymes to potentially help reduce bloating and improve digestion. This grass-fed protein is the whey to go for bodybuilders.
Read our full review of Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate.
Best Recovery Supplement for Bodybuilders
Long, rigorous training sessions can deplete your body of energy. That’s why lifters who work out intensely for over an hour may benefit from drinking a recovery supplement. Intra-workout and recovery nutrition has actually been shown to make a workout feel easier to lifters. (5)
Re-Kaged’s formula offers blends of ingredients that focus on muscle building and recovery. That’s apparent from the start with 28 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate for quick digestion. It contains three grams of glutamine, which can potentially boost recovery. Re-Kaged also has one and a half grams of betaine anhydrous, which may help with blood flow and pumps during your workout. You’ll find one and a half grams of creatine hydrochloride, as well.
Kaged Re-Kaged Post-Workout Formula contains a heavy hitting dose of 28 grams of protein per serving to assist you in recovery and potential muscle growth. It also contains some post-workout staples like glutamine and creatine.
On top of all of that, there’s a digestive enzyme blend to potentially aid in digesting and breaking down foods. Because you’re likely sweating a good bit during your workout Re-Kaged includes electrolytes, like calcium, sodium, and potassium, to help replenish those lost through sweat. In total, Re-Kaged provides 140 calories per serving.
This supplement is; however, low in carbs — providing only two grams. As you exercise your carbohydrates and glycogen in the muscles are depleted, which is why some recovery supplements will provide a dose of carbs for replenishment — Re-Kaged only contains two grams of carbs, which is not very significant. If this isn’t an ingredient you’re keen on though, Re-Kaged comes in three delicious flavors — Orange Kream, Iced Lemon Cake, and Strawberry Lemonade — all of which contain no artificial colors or flavors. You can pick up a 20-serving container for around $44.99 for a one-time purchase or $40.49 for regular shipments. With that pricing, each serving will cost you about $2.25 or $2.02, respectively.
Who Should Buy Kaged Re-Kaged
- Lifters who train intensely for long periods of time and need a recovery supplement to help potentially kickstart muscle recovery with protein and glutamine.
- Folks who want a low-calorie intra-workout or recovery drink. This supplement is only 140 calories per serving compared to some with 400 or more calories per serving.
- Anyone who wants potential help with replenishing electrolytes and breaking down foods. You’ll find a digestive enzyme blend and electrolytes here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Re-Kaged
- Lifters who are looking for a carb supplement in their recovery supplement will need to look elsewhere.
- People who don’t necessarily train at a high intensity often or for long periods of time may not need a specific recovery drink. Regular food and protein powder may suffice.
- For those who are looking to avoid sodium if you’re close to stepping on stage. There’s only 180mg in here, but that may be enough a few days out from a show to throw a wrench into your water manipulation.
Recovery and post-workout nutrition are important factors in making gains and require just as much attention as your workout plan. With Re-Kaged you have an all-in-one intra and post-workout supplement to potentially aid in recovery and help make the work you put in at the gym pay off.
Best Multivitamin for Bodybuilders
If you are looking for a supplement that may help fill in the gaps in your diet, a multivitamin can help. While it’s important to eat a diet of whole foods first and foremost, a multivitamin may be able to fill in a few nutritional gaps while also supporting a lifter’s body for rigorous workouts.
Huge Supplements Huge Multivitamin
Let’s get the con out of the way first: A serving of this supplement is four capsules. That’s a lot compared to some multivitamins that only require one or two capsules for a full dose. But if you can deal, we like this multi because it provides one of the most robust ingredient lists we’ve seen.
This supplement packs 100 percent to 41,667 percent of the eight essential B vitamins into one dose. Plus, Huge Supplements includes over 30 essential vitamins and minerals overall, like vitamin K1, K2, and D, and zinc, magnesium, iodine, and calcium.
It contains over 30 vitamins and minerals, including zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin C, all of which can be helpful in reducing inflammation after tough bodybuilding workouts. Huge Supplements also provides calcium for joint health and B vitamins, which can help with energy. If you’re looking for a multivitamin that can pair particularly well with your training, we think you’ve found one of the best options.
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Huge Multivitamin
- Bodybuilders who train hard and heavy and would benefit from a joint supplement — you’ll like the calcium here.
- Folks looking for ingredients that can help fight inflammation may appreciate the zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin C in this supplement.
- Anyone who wants a robust ingredients list. This multivitamin contains over 30 vitamins and minerals, which is higher than the market average.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Huge Multivitamin
- People who don’t want to take a large four-pill dose should look elsewhere.
- Non-bodybuilders who may not need such a comprehensive multivitamin formula.
- Some folks like ingesting their vitamins from a greens powder instead of pills — we have an option for that too on this list.
Whether you’re bulking or cutting, covering your bases for vitamins and minerals is important to ensure you’re not becoming deficient in any micronutrients. Multivitamins, especially robust ones like Huge Supplements Huge Multivitamin, can be a convenient way to give yourself peace of mind.
Best Sleep Aid for Bodybuilders
Sleep is vital — to your performance, your mental health, and your survival. It’s been referred to as a magic pill for athletes, and a study on Stanford Basketball players proved that more sleep undoubtedly improved their performance. (6) If you have trouble falling asleep, that’s a problem, but there are supplements designed to lure you into a slumber.
Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
One three-pill serving offers up 3 milligrams of melatonin, a hormone your body produces that regulates your sleep cycle. Taking extra melatonin has been shown to help those with sleep difficulties. (7) This sleep aid also comes with tart cherry, which contains melatonin and tryptophan, another sleep helper.
A solid night's sleep is essential for your recovery and to optimize performance in the gym. Transparent Labs sleep time formula offers up tried-and-true ingredients such as melatonin and zinc and a couple of extras like tart cherry and vitamin B6. The end result: great sleep without that groggy feeling.
Also, zinc and magnesium, two ingredients in the Transparent Labs formula, have been shown to improve sleep when paired with melatonin considerably. (8) Though, for some, melatonin can cause headaches and daytime sleepiness. This sleeping aid will require you to take three pills before bedtime and will cost you $0.66 per serving.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
- People who have trouble getting to sleep regularly will appreciate the melatonin here.
- Those who want a multi-ingredient sleep aid should like this robust ingredient list.
- Anyone who finds that melatonin by itself doesn’t work for them. The other ingredients included here may do the trick.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
- Folks who aren’t comfortable or don’t like swallowing multiple pills.
- People who may not handle melatonin well should look elsewhere.
- Anyone who already sleeps well and wakes feeling rested. There’s got to be one or two of you out there.
Sleep is extremely important for recovery and maximizing gains. (6) If you’re not sleeping well or not sleeping long enough, you may be leaving hard-earned gains on the table — and nobody wants to do that. Get your sleep right and reap all the rewards you’ve worked for in the gym.
Best Beta-Alanine for Bodybuilders
Supplementing with beta-alanine has been linked to a significant uptick in training performance for lifters compared to those who didn’t take it, potentially allowing athletes to work harder for longer. (9) If you’re a seasoned gymgoer who needs to push past plateaus, beta-alanine may be able to help you do just that.
Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
This is a single-ingredient supplement, so there’s not a whole lot to look for other than dosage. That said, typically beta-alanine doses across the market range from 1.6g to 5g, and Swolverine provides a 5g dose, putting it on the higher end of the market. In addition to that, this product comes with 60 servings per container, making the cost around $0.80 per serving, which is a great deal.
When you need pure beta-alanine and nothing else, Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine provides five solid grams per serving. Plus, it offers up 100 servings per container.
This is also a Lemon Lime powder, which may be a winner if you enjoy refreshing citrus flavors. And if you want to save 15 percent per container, you can subscribe to have your product delivered before you run out next. It’s worth noting that beta-alanine can cause a tingling sensation in your skin, which isn’t inherently dangerous, but some people may not like the feeling.
Who Should Buy Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
- Lifters who want to work harder for longer may appreciate this research-backed performance supplement.
- Those who want to take a single-ingredient supplement versus consuming beta-alanine in a pre-workout blend.
- If you’re looking for a high dose of beta-alanine, this product provides five grams.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
- Novice lifters who don’t necessarily need a helping hand in the strength and performance department — yet.
- Those who aren’t comfortable with the tingling sensation that beta-alanine can cause will want to steer clear.
- If you’re looking for beta-alanine within a blend (like pre-workout), you can find supplements with a more robust ingredient list that includes beta-alanine.
Harder, better, faster, stronger isn’t just a catchy Daft Punk line. It’s what we intend to make our muscles into with every workout. If you’re looking for a push to work harder for longer, then adding a beta-alanine supplement to your regimen is a great place to start. (9)
Best Creatine for Bodybuilders
Research shows that creatine can help make you stronger and more powerful. (10) Some creatine supplements — like this one — are paired with other ingredients to potentially help increase their absorption and efficacy rate.
Huge Supplements Creatine
Bodybuilders who are sick of adding more powder supplements to their stack, rejoice. This creatine from Huge Supplements comes in pill form, but be advised — one serving size is five pills. With the ability to have your creatine in pill form, it makes it the perfect choice for on-the-go situations, like throwing it in your gym bag or taking it on airplanes with you to your next competition.
Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate in a convenient capsule form. For the best results, you only need to take five capsules in the morning or evening each day — consistency is key.
Creatine can be an important tool in a bodybuilder’s supplement arsenal. One study on creatine found that muscle strength and lifting performance were improved more through the supplementation of creatine than without (11). Huge Supplements make this an affordable option to add to your stack of supplements.
With their recommended serving size of 5 pills (5g), this creatine comes in at a pretty low rate of $1.00 per serving. This formula includes 5g of creatine, microcrystalline cellulose which is an anti-caking agent, titanium dioxide, which may prevent degradation, and magnesium stearate which may help with digestion.
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Creatine
- Bodybuilders who want to potentially max out their performance in the gym and increase their strength will appreciate this solid 5g of creatine.
- Anyone who likes to control their dosage of supplements will like the ease of dosing these, as each pill is 1g.
- Those who prefer to take their creatine in pill form will be happy to have this option.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Creatine
- Folks who are used to mixing creatine with protein powder, or other supps won’t appreciate the pill form.
- People who want their creatine formulated with other supplements, such as protein or pre-workout, may want a formula that’s more stacked — this is just creatine with no extra frills.
- Anyone who finds that they become bloated from creatine monohydrate may want to look at other types of creatine, such as creatine HCl — especially close to stepping on stage.
Creatine is one of the oldest tried and true supplements on the market, and it’s generally pretty cheap too. The potential strength and power benefits of creatine make it seem almost silly for a competitive athlete not to have it as part of their supplement regimen. (10)
Best Non-Melatonin Sleep Aid for Bodybuilders
Some folks don’t react well to melatonin. Either they find it addictive, or it causes unwanted side effects such as dizziness, nausea, and daytime sleepiness. You can, however, take a sleep aid that doesn’t contain melatonin — and this is our favorite product for that.
Nested Naturals Luna Melatonin-Free Sleep Aid
This blend of herbs — which includes l-theanine, valerian extract, and chamomile extract — is meant to put you in a state of relaxation. While this formula isn’t as powerful as one with melatonin, this is a solid option for those who want to steer clear of the stuff.
Nested Naturals uses herbs to lull you to sleep without the use of melatonin, which some people may find addictive or have a poor reaction to.
And we like that this product is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, and third-party tested. You’ll take two pills per serving to induce your best potential sleep. It also sports a pretty reasonable price tag of about $0.65 per serving.
Who Should Buy Nested Naturals Luna Melatonin-Free Sleep Aid
- People who don’t want to take melatonin will like the theanine, valerian, and chamomile here.
- Vegans, as this product is vegan-friendly.
- Those on a budget will like this price point.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Nested Naturals Luna Melatonin-Free Sleep Aid
- Folks who want a product that’s backed by a little more science.
- Those who prefer a melatonin-based sleep aid.
- Those who don’t like taking pills will want to try a different supplement like liquid ashwagandha.
If you’re not on a solid sleep schedule and melatonin doesn’t seem to do the trick, then this sleep aid from Nested Naturals may be the answer. With a blend of herbs, like valerian and chamomile, meant to help you relax into sleep, your best nights may be ahead of you.
Best BCAAs for Bodybuilders
Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle, so taking them may help prevent muscle breakdown. That said, you may want a formula that has both branch-chain amino acids and essential amino acids, which is where this pick comes into play.
Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine covers all your bases for muscle nourishment with an 8,000mg, 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs providing 4,000mg of leucine, 2,000mg of isoleucine, and 2,000mg of valine. A solid 5,000mg serving of glutamine is in the formula to potentially help promote protein synthesis and aid in recovery. The formula is rounded out by 1,000mg of coconut water powder, which may help with hydration, as well as 1,500mg of vitamin C. Vegans out there will be happy to know that Transparent Labs uses fermented vegan BCAAs, so this is a vegan-friendly product.
This glutamine supplement is gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of artificial preservatives. Each container provides 30 servings that contain 5000 milligrams of L-Glutamine and 1,535 milligrams of Vitamin C.
This glutamine supplement is gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of artificial preservatives. Each container provides 30 servings that contain 5000 milligrams of L-Glutamine and 1,535 milligrams of Vitamin C.
In terms of flavors, there are five to choose from — Sour Green Apple, Tropical Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, and Orange. Each 30-serving container will cost you around $39.99 for a one-time purchase or $1.33 per serving. If you decide this is the product for you and you subscribe to regular shipments, the price drops to about $33.99 or $1.13 per serving — a solid price. It’s worth noting that Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine is free of artificial sweeteners, coloring, and preservatives for those who want to avoid them.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
- Bodybuilders who want to try and preserve muscle mass, especially during a cut, will like this high 8g (8,000mg) dose of BCAAs.
- People who want to spice up their hydration game will appreciate having five flavors here to choose from, so things don’t get boring.
- Folks who want to get both BCAAs and glutamine that can help not just during your workouts, but after them too since glutamine may provide an added recovery boost. (12)
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine
- Those who are on a budget can find BCAAs within other supplements they may already be taking, such as protein powder. It’s not necessary to have a separate BCAA or glutamine product. It may be helpful though to maximize protein synthesis potential.
- Bodybuilding can be expensive, so if you’re tight on cash, you may be able to find a more cost-effective BCAA-only supplement, and take glutamine on the side rather than paying a premium for them to come together in the same formula.
- Anyone who’s allergic to coconuts or tree nuts may want to steer clear of this product.
Many bodybuilders like to reach for BCAAs and glutamine to help bridge the amino acids gap between high-protein meals, so their muscles, in theory, always have their building blocks (amino acids) at the ready. Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine provides the potential to ensure that you’re maxing out your recovery. (12)
Benefits of Bodybuilding Supplements
Bodybuilding supplements can be really beneficial as you prepare to hit the stage. Bodybuilding is a nuanced sport that requires you to go through bulking and cutting phases throughout your prep, and these supplements can be a factor in your success. Since the supplements on this list range in their purposes, they can potentially improve your lifts, recovery, shreds, sleep, and even fill nutritional gaps. If you have a specific goal in mind with supplementation, you’ll want to pick the supp that may best benefit your needs.
The pre-workouts, beta-alanine, creatine, and essential amino acids may be helpful to get you through grueling workouts, keep you focused, improve your pump, and help you push past plateaus. The whey isolate, recovery supplement, and sleep aids may be the key to your best recovery. As our bodies recover during rest, having a solid sleep supplement may be the ticket to a fruitful rebuilding process. And the whey isolate may help repair muscles and promote muscular gains after your muscles have been broken down by resistance training.
How We Chose the Best Bodybuilding Supplements
Bodybuilders have unique supplementation needs, and those were taken into consideration when putting together this list of the best bodybuilding supplements.
As we’ve said, bodybuilders are typically working out more often with more intensity. And that intense training is usually coupled with a restrictive diet to support muscle gain while simultaneously losing fat. For that reason, certain supps — like beta-alanine, creatine, and a sleep aid — were considered. That’s not to say non-bodybuilders can’t benefit from these products, but more intensive goals typically require a more intensive supplement regimen.
We opted for companies we trust for their transparent dosing and thoughtfully curated ingredients for brand selection. Sometimes, companies will hide lackluster doses behind blends. Instead, you want to look for products that list each ingredient and its exact dose.
After all, a supplement is only as good as the ingredients that it’s made of. Blends are usually more of an issue with pre-workout supps and multis, not so much single-ingredient supplements like beta-alanine and creatine.
All of the supplements on this list play a unique role in supporting bodybuilding goals. For example, protein helps you meet your protein macro needs, while amino acids help stop muscle protein breakdown. Both creatine and beta-alanine support strength, but they also work better together. (13) None of these supps will negatively interact with one another, though we don’t suggest taking a non-stim and standard pre-workout as it’s a bit redundant.
How Much do Bodybuilding Supplements Cost?
Because the supplements bodybuilders use are so diverse, the prices will be substantially different from supplement to supplement. Products like creatine, beta-alanine, and sleep aids come at lower prices per serving while some of the more robust supplements, such as the pre-workouts or whey protein, will be a bit more expensive per serving.
|Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders||Huge Supplements Wrecked||$49.95
$2.50 per serving
|Best Pre-Workout for Bodybuilders Without Caffeine||Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout||$52.99
$2.11 per serving
|Best Fat Burner for Bodybuilders||Huge Supplements Eliminate||$49.95
$1.66 per serving
|Best Whey Isolate for Bodybuilders||Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate||$62.99
$2.11 per serving
|Best Recovery Supplement for Bodybuilders||Kaged Re-Kaged||$44.99
$2.25 per serving
|Best Multivitamin for Bodybuilders||Huge Supplements Huge Multivitamin||$34.95
$1.16 per serving
|Best Sleep Aid for Bodybuilders||Transparent Labs Sleep Aid||$19.99
$0.66 per serving
|Best Beta-Alanine for Bodybuilders||Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine||$54.99
$0.91 per serving
|Best Creatine for Bodybuilders||Huge Supplements Creatine||$29.95
$1.00 per serving
|Best Non-Melatonin Sleep Aid for Bodybuilders||Nested Naturals Luna Melatonin-Free Sleep Aid||$19.95
$0.66 per serving
|Best Essential Amino for Bodybuilders||Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine||$39.99
$1.33 per serving
The quality, ingredient list, servings per container, and whether or not a formula has proprietary blends will make a difference in the price you pay. Proprietary blends are a collection of ingredients that are listed with their total amount rather than a disclosed individual amount for each particular ingredient. We always disclose which supplements contain proprietary blends. If you have a strict budget and the product you need isn’t on this list, you can also check out our focused articles — such as Best Meal Replacement Shakes — to find more options that may fit your budget and needs better.
What to Consider Before Buying Bodybuilding Supplements
Bodybuilders have different needs than your average lifter and should take different factors into consideration before purchasing their supplements. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder, you’ll need to weigh how close to a competition you are, what weak points you’re attempting to address during your prep, and your daily calorie goals in order to make the most informed decision.
How Close to Competition You Are
Keeping in mind how close you are to stepping on stage is important when gauging the supplements you need at that exact moment, and which ones can wait until after the show. A lot of bodybuilders have coaches that guide them through which supplements to take and when, but coaches are expensive and if you don’t have one, things can get confusing.
If you’re a few weeks out from a show and deep into your prep, a fat burner will be a more appropriate choice than a mass gainer. Similarly, if you’re that deep into prep, you’ll be counting every single calorie exactly but will still need to keep your muscles fed. A BCAA supplement that is low in added calories and discloses the exact calorie amount is likely what you’re looking for. Something that you’ll likely want regardless of where you’re at in your prep is a high-quality whey isolate to help hit your protein goals. Keeping where you’re at in your prep in mind can help guide your choices in supplements.
Your Weak Points
This point is a bit more nuanced on the surface, but in reality, it may be the most important. Supplements, at their core, are meant to supplement your training and diet. They can help potentially provide an edge in areas that need special care, which is why it would benefit you to identify your weak points and select your supplements accordingly. If you’ve got no problem staying lean year-round, but you can’t seem to break over 200 pounds and put on muscle mass, then a mass gainer may be a solid idea.
If you’ve been hitting it hard in the gym but your pumps seem lackluster or you burn out halfway through your training session, maybe an intra-workout or nitric oxide booster is what you need. It’s great to notice what’s working well, but equally important to know what needs more attention, so you can supplement accordingly.
Your Daily Calorie Goals
You’ve just received the dreaded email or update that your carbs got cut again as you’re coming ever closer to being stage-ready. It’s only by 20g per day, but those 20g will be sorely missed. No problem, you’ve got this. You can just sip on some BCAA-flavored water to curb the hunger — until you realize that BCAA powder has five grams of carbs per serving. This is where it pays to keep your calorie goals in mind when selecting a supplement.
That BCAA powder may be fine for the off-season, but deep into prep, you’ll want one that doesn’t have any extra carbs, so you can actually eat and enjoy those precious carbs. Ensure you’re selecting the right supplements to match your calorie needs during prep to save yourself the headache from the scenario mentioned above.
Bodybuilders are a unique breed of folks who require special consideration and care when selecting supplements. The off-season is one thing, but prep (and especially the final few weeks before stepping on stage) is a different animal entirely. You have to ensure that everything is exact, from your fluid and protein intake to your sodium levels. That’s why we carefully curated this list to meet the demands of a competitive bodybuilder.
Sure, there are tons of supplements out there, and we offer only one per category here, but rest assured we’ve done the testing and research on these to make sure you feel confident when you click purchase. If you’re taking care of your diet and training, these supplements may be able to help give you the extra edge that you’ve been looking for.
Do I really need all of these supplements?
No. At least not right away. If you’re new to bodybuilding or lifting weights in general, then you’ll most likely see good progress from a solid diet and training plan alone. That said, as you progress in training your body will require you to push harder and harder for more gains. Once your progress starts to stall, you can begin adding in certain supplements to your nutrition regimen.
Should I add all of these supplements to my diet at once?
Not necessarily. This is a case by case scenario. For example, if you’re having trouble lifting more weight or more reps, then beta-alanine and creatine may be all you need to keep on progressing. Or, if you just increased your calories and are having trouble hitting your protein goals, then a whey protein may be required to boost your intake. And if you’re in a cutting phase and started fasted cardio, then amino acids may be a worthwhile supplement to add. Your supplement choices can be cyclical and goal-based.
Are supplements safe?
Yeah. But you should always — always — consult with your doctor before taking any new supplement. Especially if you have a pre-existing condition. In fact, if you’re serious about living the bodybuilding lifestyle, you should consult with your doctor anyway as it’s most likely a drastic change from how you’ve been eating and lifting anyways.
Can of these supplements replace real foods?
Definitely not — they’re called supplements for a reason. Even f you’re dieting down or eating low carb, you can still get a diverse array of fruits, veggies, and meats to ensure all of your nutrient needs are being met. Whey protein should be used to help you reach a large protein intake. Some bodybuilders eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. For a 200-pound man that’s equal to 300 grams of protein or three pounds of chicken breast, which is a lot of chicken.
Are bodybuilding supplements expensive?
Depending on what supplement you’re in need of, you’ll find a wide variety of prices for bodybuilding supplements. The simpler the supplement and the ingredient list, the less you’ll likely pay per serving. The more robust supplements, like pre-workout, will cost more. Similarly, the supplements that are more expensive to source or process, such as a whey protein isolate, will sport a higher price tag per serving.
Ultimately, there are ways to make sure your budget, desire for quality, and needs in a supplement will all agree with each other. You may have to look at our more specialized best lists (such as the Best Beta-Alanine) if you want to find a better fit outside of what we suggested here.
What is the best bodybuilding supplement?
Although this will depend on what your needs are for bodybuilding (burning fat, muscle recovery, sleep, etc.), we believe that Huge Supplements Wrecked pre-workout is a top choice for any bodybuilder. The potent and robust ingredient list makes it a top-tier pre-workout choice, and it comes in four flavors that are pretty unique, including Rainbow Burst, Raspberry Mojito, Bomb Popsicle, and Peach Rings.
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