How to Survive on a College Student Budget while Still Buying Supplements

supplements on a college budget

If you are a typical broke college student or recent graduate, then you certainly do not have any extra money to throw around. And for those of us concerned about working out and keeping healthy, there is one huge additional expense that eats into our food budget: supplements.

Come on, you are already paying through the nose for tuition, books, and room and board. You do not need to keep paying more than you should for these big name-brand supplements. Do not sacrifice your monthly or weekly food budget any more, forcing yourself to live on ramen noodles and that famous protein pill that you just have to have.

Did you know that most nationally-known big-brand supplements cost a lot more than they need to? A large portion of the product prices are based on the flashy packaging that you see in the stores and the magazine ads which are meant to catch your eye. Well, who do you think pays for all that? You do through higher prices.

Beating the System:

The first step to getting around the seeming monopoly of these big brands is to step back and consider what you really need. It might not be as easy to do as it seems, especially since the big supplement companies have been brainwashing you into thinking that you really NEED their stuff. A solid research tool is the site Spend a little bit of time here and you will have a much clearer idea of what you ultimately “need” in terms of supplementation. It will most likely be a lot less than you thought.

After doing this research, let’s say you have decided to buy beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, and bulk caffeine powder. It should also be pointed out here that the powder versions tend to be the most economical. You not only end up spending less money on a cost per use basis, but you generally get a lot more product as well. Sure, it is a little less convenient to actually take an extra couple seconds and mix this up in a blender or by hand, but the significant savings are certainly worth it.

Your Supplement War Chest:

The first supplement you decided upon was Beta-Alanine. This is a non-essential amino acid which is a hybrid between powerful neurotransmitters L-glycine and GABA. When it is consumed as a dietary supplement, beta-alanine is transported into your skeletal muscles through the use of sodium and chloride. Once it enters into the muscle, it binds with the essential amino acid histidine and forms the dipeptide carnosine. Without getting overly technical, by increasing the muscular concentrations of carnosine, it helps to fight off muscular fatigue. This fight allows you to train harder and longer before getting tired.

The second supplement chosen was bulk creatine monohydrate powder. Creatine is one of most well-researched supplements around and it just plain works. Creatine helps to increase the body’s ability to produce energy. This energy is transported directly into the working muscle cells, which allows you to train harder, longer, and even more often. You will likely find yourself being able to lift an extra rep or two, or add 5 more pounds to the bar.

The third supplement you are using is bulk caffeine powder. Of course everyone knows that coffee and tea have naturally-occurring amounts of caffeine in them. But as a supplement, caffeine powder is actually quite useful and effective. This usefulness includes being able to increase the capacity of a workload someone can handle and building extra muscle fibers. These increases will allow you to have more energy, work out more intensely, have increased alertness and endurance, and improve your concentration. Many people will also see an increased uptake of oxygen and it can help to spare glycogen usage.

Give these a try and we think you will find out very quickly that you can still have some money left over for other things. Things like eating and paying for school!

Pre-Workout Supplements for Beginners

pre workout supplements for beginners

If you’re not using pre workout supplements, you’re cheating yourself in the gym. The addition of pre workout supplements can make your time in the gym more efficient and more effective, meaning you will build more muscle and lose more fat in a shorter amount of time. Just like you make sure your car has all the proper fluids and fuel it needs before going on a road trip, there are pre workout supplements that will help your body run at its optimal levels while you exercise. Basically, pre workout supplements will give you the boost you need and get the right nutrients into your muscles so you can get bigger and stronger. There are a variety of pre workout supplements available, but for the beginner, there are a few basics you should keep on hand.

Why Use Pre Workout Supplements?

Anyone can benefit from proper pre workout nutrition. Whether you’re a weekend warrior trying to lose some belly fat or a professional athlete, the advantages of proper pre workout supplementation are solid.

  • Energy and focus: When you enter the gym with pep in your step and laser focus on the workout ahead of you, you’re much more likely to give it your all and enjoy your time there. Having the same levels of energy for the last exercise as you did for your first will be crucial in a well balanced physique and training regimen.
  • Build more strength: Pre workout supplements can help you move more volume while training, which results in more muscle fiber growth and stronger muscles. Even if your initial goal isn’t to build strength, being stronger definitely won’t hurt.
  • Get bigger, faster: Between getting the right nutrients in your muscles, getting the right pump and having the energy to move more weight, pre workout supplements will help increase hypertrophy.
  • Lose fat: The right pre workout supplementation will increase lipolysis, or fatty acid mobilization, and your body will burn more fat for fuel. There’s a common misconception that having supplements before a workout may decrease fat loss, but if done right, it can only help. A lot.
  • Faster recovery: Soreness after a hard workout can be annoying and can get in the way of your next training session. Correct supplementation can speed up the recovery process and get you ready for your next workout faster.

Recommended Pre Workout Supplements for Beginners

If you’re a newcomer to pre workout nutrition, here are some good pre workout supplements that will serve as a solid foundation to your regimen.

Caffeine Benefits: Taking caffeine in your pre workout stack can serve multiple purposes. First, as you’re well aware, it will give you energy and focus. Second, it will help ramp up your metabolism and increase fat loss. Dosage can vary based on caffeine tolerance, so start low if you’re not used to caffeine. A good starting dose is 100mg (about the caffeine in a cup of coffee.

Creatine Benefits: Overall work capacity is crucial in the gym. Creatine increases ATP energy, giving your muscles more fuel for the extra reps or the extra lap. And when you’re done working out, creatine will help you recover faster and prevent soreness.

Arginine Benefits: By boosting nitric oxide levels, arginine helps improve blood flow into the muscles so more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your muscles during your workout. This is a great synergistic addition since it works well on its own to reduce fatigue, but helps other supplements become more effective.

What is the best creatine for women?

Creatine allows for various muscle gains in both men and women

Creatine supplements have been popular among athletes since the nineties, and they have gradually become popular among bodybuilders and frequent gym goers. However given its muscle building nature, many women are afraid to approach this supplement in fear that it will make them gain weight. Even more troubling is the fact that there’s more than one type of Creatine supplement out there, making it hard to choose one.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is an organic acid that is found only on vertebrates; it provides energy to all cells in the body, mainly to muscles. Most of it is not naturally generated so it must come with the food we eat; particularly in meats and fish such as beef, salmon, and tuna (vegetarians often show lesser levels of creatine but these can be balanced through supplements[1]). As with many supplements, there have been various types of creatines formulated and sold over the years, each with distinct benefits.

What’s the Difference?

The most commonly used form is Creatine Monohydrate powder. Usually mixed with water and swallowed, creatine monohydrate travels through the bloodstream to the muscle cells, absorbing water into them to increase the visible size of muscles. Creatine Monohydrate also serves to fill the body with energy so that users are capable of doing more repetitions of an exercise, thus hardening the muscle faster.

During the first week or so of use many report rapid weight gain, usually about 5 lbs or so of water weight, but this usually doesn’t last too long and lean muscle follows soon after. For men, it usually has no side effects other than possible dehydration; however, some women have reported to have a swollen belly right after the first intake alongside reported dehydration.[2] Fortunately there is no reported risk of permanent damage to the renal system due to the sudden bloating.[3]

A possible alternative to creatine monohydrate is creatine ethyl ester powder (CEE creatine), which allegedly prevents the bloating by attaching an “ester,” an organic compound used to increase the amount of creatine absorbed, reducing the bloating and dehydration that are sometimes attributed to the supplement.

CEE Creatine was developed as an alternative form of creatine as the body has trouble absorbing creatine monohydrate which means you generally need to take a larger amount to notice the effect. This is due to the semi-lipopholic nature of ester-less creatine which means that it uses fat inefficiently as a transport mechanism and causes the side effects of bloating and dehydration.[4] Unfortunately there haven’t been any concrete studies which can prove or disprove this theory and as such it may depend on how each individual’s body reacts to the creatine.

A third type of creatine supplement has been recently gaining popularity is magnesium creatine chelate or MCC. This type is absorbed through a different pathway than monohydrate and ethyl ester; this way it should make the absorption faster and ensure that most of it is used and not discarded as waste by the body.[5] Again, there have not been any conclusive studies that can prove that MCC is more effective than creatine monohydrate, though the different absorption method may be preferable to some.

One last alternative is Creatine HCL, one of the newest forms of the supplement. This form of creatine is highly concentrated, much like CEE which means there is no “loading period” required and smaller amounts remain as effective as larger amounts of creatine monohydrate. In addition, creatine HCL is water soluble which make for quicker absorption which helps reduce the possible bloating and dehydration issues.

Dosage Info

To receive the best results out of creatine monohydrate, a “loading phase” of five to seven days is recommended in which you must take 20 g per day and then 5g per day for the rest of the cycle, usually another 5-7 days. A more precise approach to determining your ideal dose is to calculate the intake according to mass. This is calculated by dividing 0.3 grams over your body weight for the loading phase and 0.03 over your body weight afterwards.[6] If you want the science behind enhancing your athleticism and strength, studies used 20 gram dose per day for 4-7 days. Other methods required a daily maintenance dose of 2-5 grams or 0.3 mg/kg of body weight.[7] As for CEE and HCL creatines, only about 3-6 grams of CEE or 750mg of HCL are necessary for comparable results and no loading phase is needed.[4]

Best Creatine for Women: Decisions, Decisions

So what is the best creatine for women? The answer is not entirely cut and dry. While CEE and MCC creatine claim to almost completely eliminate the bloating and dehydration issues, there is not a lot of research to prove that is the case. As with many supplements the best supplement may depend on a person to person basis. That said, basic creatine monohydrate is the most popular. It’s the cheapest variety and while it’s necessary to take a higher dose, it provides more bang for your buck. However, if you would prefer to take a smaller dose before your workout and find that you have issues with bloating, creatine HCL may be a better alternative.



Making Your Pre-Workout Supplements Synergistic

One of the biggest challenges bodybuilders and other strength training athletes face is how to make their workouts more productive. Many times, this issue is not related to the actual training. Instead, it is centered on their nutritional and supplementation routine. While a large number of athletes will certainly agree that good pre workout nutrition is necessary, not many take the time to consider ways to make those supplements produce a synergistic effect.

What is Synergy?

supplement synergy for improved performance in the gymSynergy is a scientific concept that basically means combining two or more things in such a way that both become more effective than they would otherwise. In other words, two plus two is not four, it becomes five (or even six) when synergy is present.

In order to make your pre-workout supplements (and your workout itself) more effective, it is important to be eating a healthy diet. This means getting your carbs, proteins, and fats in the proper amounts and percentages. Being under-nourished is just as bad as eating too much.

Testosterone Boosters

One of the easiest ways to help you in your fitness goals is by taking a testosterone booster. This is a longer term solution, since these types of supplements are slow-acting and require consistent use. However, when the effects take place, it will be that much easier to gain muscle and even lose fat. Thus, they will help you to achieve your goals faster. You can buy testosterone supplements from this site.

Creatine Monohydrate Powder

Creatine is one of the most effective and thoroughly researched bodybuilding supplements on the planet. This supplement can be very effective at improving strength and for building additional muscle mass. When added to your routine, creatine monohydrate powder will help to make your workouts much more productive and effective.

Glutamine Supplement

The main effect of this amino acid is to help improve nitrogen balance, which is essential for synthesizing proteins and building muscle. Not only will glutamine have a synergistic effect on your pre-workout supplements, but it will also last long after the workout is over. It will also help to improve your recovery and healing time.

Citrulline Malate Powder

This supplement might be the best at inducing a synergistic effect. If your pre-workout supplements include something designed to help you maintain more energy and an enhanced focus, then this will multiply the effects. Not only will it serve to provide more energy, but it may also lead to more endurance. Citrulline malate enhances ATP production, delaying the onset of muscular fatigue.

If you are interested in being more effective in the gym and helping your pre-workout supplements to have an increased effect, then consider some of the above products. They are all backed by tons of research and the actual results of real users!

Testosterone Boosters and Pre-Workout Supplements

Many weight lifters, bodybuilders and other athletes (and even just curious “regular” guys) have said that they are interested in learning more about the relationship between testosterone boosters and pre-workout supplements. Of course, most people do understand that these are two different categories and areas of supplements, with different purposes. But many people often wonder if they can be taken together.

Testosterone Boosters:

lift more with testosterone boosters
Stuggling to use the same weights as you normally do? Losing your gains? You may need to invest in a testosterone booster.

But why would someone turn to a testosterone booster in the first place? Many men choose to take testosterone boosters for a number of purposes. Some want to promote lean muscle growth, others want to support their hormone levels. Plus, many testosterone boosters come with the added bonus of being libido enhancers.

There are also numerous negative side effects of decreased testosterone levels in men. For instance, it’ very hard to gain muscle mass and strength declines dramatically. Along with decreased strength is low energy levels.

So who is at risk for decreased testosterone? Assuming you are a healthy man and have no medical issues to take into account, your environment is the number one factor that can throw off your testosterone. Do you have a sedentary job? Eat a lot of processed food? Sitting all day and filling your body with junk can play a big role in low testosterone levels.

If you are noticing a dip in your performance in the gym and your body composition, you may want to look into taking a testosterone enhancer like D-Aspartic Acid supplement. If you are looking for a boost in your bedroom perfomance, you may want to consider longjack. This supplement will give you a kick in the gym, but Longjack powder is well documented for its libido enhancing prowess as well.

Bear in mind, testosterone boosters are not an overnight solution and are meant to be taken on a consistent basis. That being said, individuals taking testosterone boosters should also cycle off from time to time to give their body a break.

Pre-Workout Supplements:

The idea behind pre-workout supplements is to give your system an initial jolt. An increased energy level is the primary goal and as such almost every pre workout blend contains caffeine. If you are looking to avoid caffeine, check out my suggestions for caffeine alternatives here.

More advanced supplements also may include ingredients like Creatine powder to help improve your muscle “pumps” as well as your energy level. Creatine is an extremely popular pre workout supplement for this reason. It boosts ATP production to deliver energy to your muscles quickly without caffeine jitters.

Creatine monohydrate is the oldest and most well known creatine variant on the market, but newer versions are gaining more attention. Creatine HCL supplement is one such variant that promises the same results as monohydrate, but with a significantly smaller dosage.

All pre-workout supplements are fast acting. This is why they are taken 30 minutes or so before your workout. It is also why they need to be taken before every workout, since the effects wear off very quickly. Most users mix their pre workout supplements into a drink or shake.

Testosterone + Pre workout Supplement Benefits

The good news is that it is absolutely beneficial to take both of these types of supplements. Since they each have different ingredients, they do not interact with each other negatively. In fact, they may even have a synergistic effect, helping each other to be even more effective!

The obvious connection between the two is to improve your fitness levels. Pre workout supplements are taken as a quick solution to boost energy as well as improve short-term muscle strength and recovery. This allows you to do more work for longer without demolishing your muscles beyond repair.

Testosterone boosters are a long-term solution. Pre workout supplements will give you quick energy, but if your testosterone levels are flagging, you may notice yourself needing more and more pre workout to do the same routines. With testosterone boosters you can slowly bring your testosterone levels back up to where they should be to get the most out of your pre workout supplement.

The best way to combine both of these would be to stagger the doses. The best idea might be to start off your day with the testosterone booster(s). Then, have your pre-workout supplements immediately before heading off to the gym. If you do this right, you will be hyped up enough to have an incredible workout and then, over the long term, your natural testosterone levels will increase. This will help to enhance and speed up your goal of gaining lean muscle mass and improving your body composition.

Creatine Ethyl Ester HCL (CEE Creatine)

article-new_ehow_images_a06_2o_fo_measure-arm-size-inches-800x800What is Creatine?

Aside from whey protein, creatine is one of the most popular and widely recommended supplements for beginners. The reasons are understandable, creatine is extremely effective, relatively inexpensive and safe. Creatine supplement has been used for decades in the health and fitness community for it’s ability to increase work capacity and improve body composition. More recently, creatine has been recommended to improve brain function. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to using regular creatine such as water weight gain (which can cause loss of muscle tone and bloating) and upset stomach. Creatine ethyl ester HCL, also known as CEE Creatine, is a new form of creatine that is rising in popularity as a more effective alternative to creatine monohydrate powder.

Creatine Ethyl Ester Benefits

Before we look at the benefits of creatine ethyl ester over creatine monohydrate, let’s look at the benefits of increasing intramuscular creatine levels. First, creatine enables your body to perform more high intensity work. Supplmenting with creatine helps regenerate ATP, energy used by the body to fuel fast-twitch muscle fibers. Having plenty of creatine in the muscle provides energy quickly, so there’s less fatigue and longer duration of optimal performance [1]. If you’re lifting weights, that means you can lift more weight for a longer period of time – resulting in faster muscle and strength gains. Of course, sprinters or other athletes can also benefit greatly from improved fast-twitch muscle performance. For more cosmetic purposes, a benefit of creatine is increased muscle volume. With creatine supplementation, water moves to the muscle fibers and increases the size. However, since creatine monohydrate isn’t broken down by the body very efficiently, the water volumization isn’t always limited to the muscles. This is also where creatine ehtyl ester is superior to creatine monohydrate.

Creatine ethyl ester powder is a derivative of creatine[2]. It has been enhanced to improve absorption into the body, which is the main downfall of creatine monohydrate. Because of the poor absorption,  users of creatine monohydrate powder often have to use large amounts to get maximum effects. This becomes an issue immediately by causing disturbed digestion and other gastrointestinal problems. As you could imagine, it’s not fun working out when your stomach is upset. Creatine ethyl ester may also have better skeletel muscle uptake than creatiine monhydrate, so less is required to improve muscle function and there is less creatine in other parts of the body to cause some of the other side effects of creatine such as dehydration and bloating. In essence, you may be able to use less creatine ethyl ester to achieve even better results than you do with creatine monohydrate[2].

CEE Creatine Dosage and Timing

Creatine ethyl ester is best used as a pre-workout supplement. You want the levels of creatine in your muscles to be highest. You can also use it first thing in the morning and before bed for 24-hour recovery benefits. The dosage of creatine ethyl ester is significantly less than regular creatine. First, there’s no loading period required, so you can begin with the standard dose. The recommended daily dosage is only 3-6g, much less than 5-25g recommended for creatine monohydrate.