First of all supplements aren't gonna do a bit of good if you don't have a healthy diet. Ideally you want around 1.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight and atleast enough carbs to stay out of ketosis. Don't forget to eat your fruits and veggies. Here's a spreadsheet to get you started. The idea is to keep a constant supply of food feeding your muscles throughout the day, taking in something every 3 hours or so. Frequency is not as important as some may think as long as you hit your macros in the spreadsheet though.


To make changes you have to save the spreadsheet to your computer.

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Supplements (In order of priority)

Note: I'm not affiliated with ON it just so happens that they offer what I want at a good price. Their multivitamin is no good though.


1. Casein protein before bed, everyday. Casein is the slowest digesting form of protein and will provide your muscles the nutrition they need to recover while you sleep.
$28.92/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/opt/cas.html




2. Whey before your workout. Whey is the fastest digesting form of protein. Take 40 -50 minutes before your workout with a scoop of beta alanine to make sure your body has the amino acids when your muscles call for it. I try to use as little water as possible so I'm not full for my workout. For a weight gainer I use Real Gains by Universal.
$11.46/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/opt/whey.html




3. Creatine Monohydrate. 5g every day mixed with your casein protein. If your pwo has creatine then skip it on those days. Your muscles use ATP (Adenine Tri-Phosphate) for energy. ATP = Energy + ADP (Adenine Di-Phosphate). Creatine works by giving a phosphate back to ADP to once again form ATP, thus giving you more energy. More energy = harder workouts which in turn leads to better results. It also helps prevent the buildup of lactic acid by minimizing glycolysis (what your body turns to when it runs out of energy) so you will not feel as sore.

Creatines effectiveness is about maintaining muscle saturation with 5g a day, every day. You can load if you want to speed up the process. All the other forms/types of creatine are marketing... sure a faster absorbing form might help for the first few days but after that the point is moot. Companies will also say that creatine mono can cause gi distress; with creatine mono I doubt that occurs in 1% of people, and if it does it's probably just temporary or caused from taking more than 5g a day.
$3.62/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/opt/crea.html





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The supplements listed below are not essential and will not make near as much of a difference as the top 3 will. So if you're just starting out or on a budget I wouldn't bother.



4. Beta Alanine (as a PWO). This further helps to keep your muscles ph balance in tact by buffering H+ ion buildup that is responsible for raising muscle acidity. Once again by reducing soreness and fatigue it lets you work your muscles harder. Take with your pre-workout protein shake. For a "real" pwo you could try Amino Energy, Pre-Jym or C4.
$5.09/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/optimum/beta-alanine-powder.html




5. Caffeine (as a PWO). Energy. Pre-Workout supplements are basically flavored caffeine with other crap mixed in. I just grab mine at walmart. Take 1/2 to 1 pill (100-200mg) with your pre-workout protein shake.
$0.79/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/prima/caffeine.html





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These supplements make sure your body has the nutrients it needs to perform its best:



6. A good, key word good, multivitamin. Orange triad has the best forms of vitamins and includes a joint complex and a digestive aid. (Take 1/2 or 1/3 of a serving a day). I take 1 tablet with each meal. An alternative would be NOW Glucosamine and Chondroiton for a stand alone joint complex.
$6.62/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/clabs/orangetriad.html




7. Fish oil, a cap or two a day on days you don't eat fish. Acts as a nutrient partitioner and helps your overall health.
$8.98/Month
http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/clabs/orange-oximega.html









Based on my research the only two performance enhancing supplements that have actual researched/scientific backing are creatine monohydrate and beta alanine. Creatine has the most profound effect of the two.