Muscle for life

9 Supplements That Suck and What to Take Instead

9 Supplements That Suck and What to Take Instead

The supplement industry is brimming with products that suck and in this article, we’re going to look at some of the more popular ones, and what to take instead.


If you’re familiar with my work, you know what I think of the supplement industry: it’s under-regulated and overflowing with worthless garbage or worse, and should be viewed with a very skeptical eye and tight-fisted budget.

And although certain supplements can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, they are by no means necessary. They can only supplement your progress at best, not dramatically affect it.

So, in this article, I’m going to talk about 9 popular supplements that actually suck, and what you can take instead to achieve the desired effects.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I want you to know that the supplements I recommend in this article are not just what I personally use but they are from my supplement line, LEGION.

As you probably know, the supplement industry is notorious for its lies and shenanigans. The truth is the majority of the supplements you see in the magazines and on the shelves aren’t going to help you reach your goals faster.

That’s why I decided to create the products I myself have always wanted: science-based formulations, clinically effective dosages of all ingredients, no fillers or unnecessary junk, and natural sweetening and flavoring.

You can learn more about LEGION and my goal to change the supplement industry for the better here.

And if you like what you see and decide to support my work…you’re awesome. 🙂 It’s because of people like you that I get to spend my time writing articles like this that help others get into the best shape of their lives.

Supplement That Sucks #1:
Hoodia Gordonii

Hoodia is a small plant that looks like a cactus, and has long been used by South African bushmen to suppress the appetite.

The gordonii species is a garden plant and is sold as a weight loss aid, but research has shown that it is ineffective as an appetite suppressant and may be toxic in dosages often recommended.

What Supplement to Take Instead

Many people like to include an appetite suppressant when dieting to lose weight because it helps with compliance.

Before you do this, however, I would recommend you make sure you’re not restricting your calories too heavily and that you utilize other dietary strategies to reduce hunger. These methods are often effective enough to prevent the need for any supplements.

That said, if you’re keeping yourself in a mild calorie deficit and doing everything you can to minimize hunger through your diet and meal planning, then you can take a supplement called 5-HTP.

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of happiness, and which has been proven to increase satiety (fullness) when ingested with meals.

You can buy 5-HTP as a standalone supplement, but you can also find it in my fat burner PHOENIX, which contains 7 other ingredients scientifically proven to accelerate fat loss, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

Research has show that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

  • And more…

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.


Typical dosages are 300 – 500 mg per day, and should be taken with meals. Don’t supplement with 5-HTP if you’re taking any drugs for depression or cognitive performance, as the interaction can be dangerous (especially true in the case of SSRIs).

Supplement That Sucks #2:
Deer Velvet Antler

Deer velvet antler is crushed deer antlers (not just the velvety material that grows on them), and it’s used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for various preventative health purposes.

It’s also sold as a bodybuilding supplement with claims of increasing testosterone and growth hormone levels and improving physical performance, but the research says otherwise:

What Supplements to Take Instead

Let’s address each of the deer velvet antler’s selling points separately, starting with increasing testosterone levels.

The Truth About Testosterone Supplements

While there are things you can do to naturally increase testosterone levels, if you’re trying to increase muscle size or strength, you’ll be disappointed.

As I discuss in this article, fluctuations of testosterone levels within normal physiological ranges, up or down, doesn’t much affect how much muscle and strength you gain from weightlifting.

To really notice a difference, testosterone levels must exceed normal physiological ranges and no dietary methods or supplements will accomplish this (only steroids can).

That said, research has shown that varying levels of testosterone within physiological normal ranges does have significant effects on body fat percentage.

Although the exact mechanisms behind this aren’t fully understood just yet, research has show that testosterone directly inhibits the creation of fat cells and that low testosterone is a contributing factor to obesity.

Furthermore, natural-level variations in testosterone can also affect the libido in men.

So, if you’re looking to raise testosterone levels to build more muscle, natural methods won’t help you. But if you’re looking to stay leaner and improve your libido, you have natural options. I talk about them here.

The Truth About Human Growth Hormone Supplements

Like testosterone boosters, there are all kinds of products out there that claim to be able to boost growth hormone levels, but they’re completely bogus.

They usually include a variety of amino acids that have never been proven to increase growth hormone levels, along with other strange-sounding ingredients that have absolutely no human research behind them whatsoever.

One very common ingredient that deserves a quick blurbis gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA. Research has shown that supplementation with GABA elevates resting and postexercise growth hormone levels, but the forms of growth hormone increased have not been proven to contribute to muscle growth (there are over 100 forms of growth hormone in your body, and all perform different functions).

The bottom line is as of now, there are no natural substances known to significantly increase growth hormone levels, so save your money by avoiding these types of products.

The Truth About Muscle Building Supplements

When it comes down to it, there really is only one supplement that can reliably accelerate your muscle growth: creatine.

Creatine is an amino-acid-like substance found in foods like red meat, and hundreds of clinical studies have definitively proven its effectiveness as a muscle-building supplement.

Supplementation with creatine can help you build muscle and improve strengthimprove anaerobic endurance, and reduce muscle damage and soreness from exercise.

There are many forms of creatine available, however, such as monohydrate, citrate, ethyl ester, nitrate, and others. Which is best?

Well, as I discuss in my article on which form of creatine is most effective, good old monohydrate is all you need, and 5 grams per day is enough to reap its benefits.

Here’s my creatine product from my line of workout supplements:

recharge-single-600 (1)

RECHARGE gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.

Each serving of RECHARGE contains:

  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate.
  • 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate.
  • 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid.

Furthermore, RECHARGE is naturally sweetened with stevia, and naturally flavored, and it contains no junk fillers or artificial food dyes.

Supplement That Sucks #3:

Chitosan is derived from chitin, a substance obtained by treating the shells of shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and crabs.

As the story goes, chitosan helps you lose weight by blocking the absorption of dietary fats, thus effectively reducing the total amount of calories available for use by the body.

What does the research say, though? Well, I’ll just quote the conclusion of  this 2008 meta-analysis of 15 chitosan clinical trials of chitoson:

“Results obtained from high quality trials indicate that the effect of chitosan on body weight is minimal and unlikely to be of clinical significance.”

That is, it doesn’t work. Don’t bother with it.

What Supplements to Take Instead

I’ve never liked the idea of taking something that blocks the absorption of nutrients because it’s much easier to just create and follow a proper meal plan and exercise routine, and utilize clinically effective weight loss supplements like caffeine, yohimbine, and green tea extract.

Supplement That Sucks #4:

HMB (beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid–a mouthful indeed) is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine, and it has been growing in popularity thanks to a handful of studies that indicate it helps with strength and muscle growth, such as this and this.

These studies are controversial, however, because they were conducted by Steven Nissen, the inventor of HMB and owner of the patent.

When you look at unbiased research on HMB, which has also been conducted with resistance-trained men and not the elderly, it’s much less effective than Nissen has reported. For instance:

Researchers from Massey University also conducted a literature review on the subject of HMB supplementation, and their conclusion was very simple (emphasis added):

“Supplementation with HMB during resistance training incurs small but clear overall and leg strength gains in previously untrained men, but effects in trained lifters are trivial.The HMB effect on body composition is inconsequential.”

Save your money if you’re trying to build muscle.

There is one benefit of HMB that’s well established, however: it’s an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent.

That is, it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown, which means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness (and the free acid form shows the most promise in this regard).

This makes HMB perfect for use with fasted training.

Its powerful anti-catabolic effects and non-existent insulin effects means you reap all the fat loss benefits of training fasted without any of the problems relating to muscle loss or insulin secretion.

And that’s why you’ll find it in my pre-workout fat burner FORGE, which was made specifically for fasted training.

FORGE is a fat burner made specifically for use with fasted training and it contains clinically effective dosages of…

  • HMB. β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (also known as HMB) is a substance formed when your body metabolizes the amino acid leucine.

As you now know, research shows that HMB is an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent,  which helps you recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness.

  • Yohimbine. Research shows that yohimbine enables your body to reduce fat stores faster, and it’s particularly useful as you get leaner and are battling with stubborn fat holdouts.
  • Citicoline. CDP-choline (also known as citicoline) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain that increases levels of another chemical called phosphatidylcholine, which is vital for brain function.Research shows that supplementation with CDP-choline improves attentional focus, and I included this in FORGE because most people find fasted training more mentally draining than fed training and CDP-choline can help counteract this.

The bottom line is FORGE helps you lose fat–and “stubborn” fat in particular–faster, preserve muscle, and maintain training intensity and mental sharpness.


What Supplement to Take Instead

Again, creatine is the only supplement that can reliably deliver the types of results that HMB marketers claim.

Supplement That Sucks #6:
Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is an herb commonly sold as a supplement for enhancing the libido and boosting testosterone levels. Check any testosterone supplement on the market and chances are it will contain Tribulus terrestris.










While it appears to improve libido and fertility, multiple studies have proven that supplementation with Tribulus terrestris has no effect ontestosterone levelsbody composition, or exercise performance.

What Supplement to Take Instead

As discussed earlier, if you’re looking to increase testosterone levels, one supplement that can actually help is D-aspartic acid.

Supplement That Sucks #7:

ZMA is a combination of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, and it’s often sold as a testosterone booster and recovery agent.

Research has shown that a zinc deficiency can lower testosterone levels, and thus supplementation can help under these circumstances. If you’re not deficient, however, ZMA won’t boost your testosterone levels.

What Supplement to Take Instead

Supplementing with zinc is a good idea if you’re deficient, but you have to determine that first. An easy way to do this is the zinc taste test. It works like this:

  1. Get a good liquid zinc supplement, like this. Keep it in the fridge.
  2. Remove it from the fridge and let sit for two hours at room temperature.
  3. Refrain from eating or smoking for an hour, and then take a sip of it (5 – 10 ml) and swirl it around in your mouth for 10 seconds.
  4. Assess your zinc levels as follows:
    1. Very Deficient: If it tastes like plain water for all 10 seconds, you’re severely deficient and should supplement with about 150 mg of zinc per day to correct, and retest after a week.
    2. Quite Deficient: If it first tastes like water and then, within the ten seconds of the test, it tastes dry or metallic, this indicates a moderate deficiency. Supplement with about 100 mg of zinc per day to correct, and retest after a week.
    3. Slightly Deficient: If you immediately notice a slight dry, metallic taste, and it increases with time over the ten second period, this indicates a minor deficiency. Supplement with about 50 mg per day to correct, and retest after a week.
    4. Adequate: If the dry, metallic taste is immediate, strong, and unpleasant, this indicates no deficiency is present. It’s likely that your diet is providing sufficient zinc. You can retest every couple of weeks to ensure you haven’t developed a deficiency.

If you do the above test and discover you’re deficient in zinc, I recommend you pick up some zinc gluconate and supplement accordingly.


If you find and handle a deficiency, you can prevent it from recurring by getting anywhere from 15 – 150 mg of zinc per day, based on your body’s needs. You can obtain this through food or supplementation.

Supplement That Sucks #8:
Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a small fruit often used in Indian and Asian cuisine to impart a sour flavor. It’s a good natural source of hydroxycitric acidand has received a lot of media attention recently as a weight loss aid.

These claims are unfounded, however. Like many fad supplements, garcinia cambogia has some animal research on its side, but human research is contradictory and hard to interpret.

A couple rat studies, such as this one, have demonstrated that garcinia cambogia can reduce weight gain during a period of overfeeding. The mechanism by which it accomplished this is the suppression of fatty acid synthesis in the liver (it reduced the amount of fat the body could make from the excess calories).

The human research bursts that bubble, though. A meta analysis of 12 randomized clinical trials of garcinia cambogia found the following:

  • Three studies with small sample sizes reported statistically significant, albeit small, decreases in fat mass over the placebo groups.

(In case you were wondering, the best result was 1.3 kg more weight lost than placebo group over a 3-month period.)

  • Two studies found no difference in weight loss between the garcinia cambogia and placebo groups, including the largest and most rigorous study reviewed.
  • The results of the remaining studies reviewed were marred by serious design and/or execution flaws.

The research currently available says that garcinia cambogia probably won’t help you lose weight, but if it did, the best you could hope for is a very small boost.

What Supplements to Take Instead

As discussed in the chitoson section, healthy weight loss requires proper meal planning and workouts, but there are a few supplements that speed up the weight loss process. Namely caffeineyohimbine, and green tea extract.

Supplement That Sucks #9:
Raspberry Ketones

Raspberry ketones are the primary aroma compound of the red raspberry (it gives the raspberry its smell), and it’s also found in other fruits like the blackberry and cranberry.

How did such a seemingly random compound find its way into weight loss products? Well, it started with a couple animal studies. One demonstrated that raspberry ketone supplementation prevented weight gain by increasing lipolysis and fat oxidation, and the other backed up this mechanism.

That might be promising if it weren’t for a few little details:

  • Animal research can not be used as proof of human effectiveness. The human and rat body just isn’t similar enough, and this is especially true when talking about metabolic functions.
  • One of the rat studies was in vitro research. This means parts of living rats were removed to be studied in isolation, as opposed to research done with living, intact organisms (in vivoresearch).

In vitro research is less definitive than in vivo because living organisms are incredibly complex, and sometimes in vitro findings just don’t pan out in vivo.

  • The in vivo rat study that demonstrated weight gain prevention used an absolutelymassive oral dose: up to 20 g/kg of body weight, or 4761 times greater than the average human intake.

There is one human trial I know of that is commonly cited as evidence of raspberry ketone’s effectiveness for weight loss.

The problem with this study, however, is the compound was paired with caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger, and citrus aurantium as a source of synephrine. It’s impossible to know if the raspberry ketone did anything or not.

The bottom line is there’s just insufficient evidence to support the use of low oral doses of raspberry ketone for weight loss purposes.

Stick with caffeineyohimbine, and green tea extract.

What do you think about these bodybuilding supplements? Have anything else to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here's a little sneak peek of what you'll learn inside...

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.
  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body" without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

My book will show you how. Get it today and let’s build a body you can be proud of.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

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Leave a Comment!
  • Adam Clancey

    Interesting read. I take ZMA, I feel like it helps me sleep better but maybe that’s placebo? Also, I feel like I’m about to be told I wrong, but with creatine I get some cramping, I drink 4-6 litres of water a day and if I keep my electrolytes high it seems to stop the cramping. Again, I realise it’s anecdotal and possibly placeboic (I choose ZMA over electrolyte caps because they hardly have any magnesium).

    • Joe

      I have taken ZMA also.. on and off… and I can say that it also helps me sleep. I don’t think there is anything wrong with ZMA. I wouldn’t say it boosts testosterone levels, but it doesn’t “suck”. If one is deficient, or just wants to see if it helps you sleep for better recovery – I recommend it!

      • Michael Matthews

        Yeah it’s not so much a sucky supplement but it’s marketed in a sucky way. 🙂

        Most guys aren’t buying ZMA for the relaxing effects of magnesium.

        • mehirst

          Research suggests that a reasonable dose of magnesium nightly helps to promote the sleep essential to muscle repair and growth. Nonetheless, I believe that few such supplements are needed when one eats a healthy, balanced diet. Nothing in a bottle works as well as eating and exercising properly.

          • Michael Matthews

            Yup, mag is totally fine, it’s just not how ZMA is usually sold.

          • rohit sharma

            hey mike,,have you heard of growth factor plus??…do you think it works

          • It’s not gonna.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s probably the magnesium. It helps the body relax. You could just get mag powder if you’d like.

  • Martin

    Please find a distributor in the UK for your Legion products. The shipping costs are just too high for me. Looks like quality gear.

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m working on it Martin! 🙂

    • Silentbobafett

      I +1 this!

      • Michael Matthews

        Thanks! 🙂

  • Hoda

    Wow! What an incredible article, I loved it! I had a question about the “Suma Root” (Brazilian ginseng). I heard it acts like a steroid but I haven’t read anything conclusive or empirical about it. I would interested in your input, thanks! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Hoda! I really appreciate it! I haven’t heard of that but there’s no way it acts like a steroid if it’s just a natural substance.


    What do u think of glucosine Mike? My friend told me about it because his personal trainer advised him he should be taking it. Just wondering if u done any research on it ?

  • Travis

    Hey Mike I stumbled across an interesting read today and I would really appreciate your opinion on it since Im sure you have seem similar types of articles while doing all of your research.

    Its about multivitamins and how they could actually not only be useless but actually be hurting peoples health. I take a multi every day but this article does make sense to me on the surface and now Im wondering if its a good idea?

    please take a look and give your opinion the article link is:


    Thanks for all you do,

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Travis!

      Yeah these multivitamin stories come around every couple of years and the bottom line is a) the average one-a-day multi is definitely a worthless piece of shit and b) it’s quite hard to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our food alone.

      I talk about this here:


      • Travis

        Thanks Mike for the reply, and I dont know how the hell I missed that article!

        Very informative thanks!

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! 🙂

  • Raul Gil

    Hi Hello. Im Raul from spain.

    I have a doubt about one of those supplements, is about Tribulus Terrerstris. In my case im using once , maybe twice a week sometimes, only when i want more power, and the truth is that, give me a lot of power. Maybe is a placebo? I don’t know, but the true is that Im taking in my leg day to smash my legs.

    And it really works for me.

    And for the other side , i was trying d-aspartic acid because i read that in one of your books and there is no effect on me, and taste horrible (maybe is that branch).

    The bad effect…change my humor, makes me very angry, but give me a lot of power.


    And by the way, is unfair that we can’t read your books in spanish. The people of my country needs to read you, even i was thinking in translate something.


    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, that’s definitely the placebo effect.

      All amino acids taste pretty bad. I’ve only taken it in capsules.

      I’m working on other foreign book deals! Hopefully much more to come on this this year!

  • AFA

    Hi Mike, just a question on Creatine. If taken before exercise when in a fasted state,(ie when cutting) do you need to still take some form of BCAA?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes you would because what you really want is leucine for the fasted training. Creatine is best taken with your post-workout meal.

  • Gabe

    Is pure test a pct? I have a bottle of revolution pct that I bought a couple of months ago but have been afraid to use. I’m 27 and pretty healthy in all respects. What do you think? I also bought a bottle of ultradrol that I have firmly decided not to use after hearing some horror stories. Are pcts safe to use stand alone? Also would I be correct in assuming that test supps are most effective during a bulk cycle? Thanks a lot. Loved your book.

  • Guestavanza

    Hi Mike,
    What is your opinion about Testovox?

    • Michael Matthews

      Never heard of it but if it’s a “test booster,” it’s a waste of money.

  • Lukasz

    Mike, any new updates on Garcinia Cambogia. Seems to have a lot of positive reviews on the web and a lot of good press. Any new thoughts?

    • Michael Matthews

      Nope no new research that I know of. It’s pretty clear that it doesn’t work, or barely works at best.

  • Jeremy

    Hey Mike, What do you think about Universal Nutritions’ Animal Stak, Animal Test, and Animal M-Stak?

    • Michael Matthews

      Not familiar with those products. Only know their A Pak. If they’re test boosters, don’t waste your money if your goal is build muscle and strength.

  • Michael

    Hi michael,
    What is your opinion about Axis-H (BSN), Vitrix (Nutrex) and Lipo 6x (Nutrex)?

    • Michael Matthews

      Not familiar with those products sorry.

  • Renier

    I have seen some many hype lately for this product called ” BetaTOR. HMB Free Acid” , When I saw ”HMB” I thought that it was a useless supplement, but I decide to do some research, This Thing claims to be a ”natural” thing that is made of leucine, give you 12 pounds more of muscle compared to an average person and claims to have no sides effect, How in the hell can this be possible?
    The human body Can not produce such a ridiculous amount of muscle naturally, because it’s a slow process, even if you are newbie. It’s really expesive thought, but I think there’s NO WAY that this can be a natural supplement, I just want to know what do you think about It, I wouldn’t buy such a thing because this thing has to be a roid, your thoughts?

    • Michael Matthews

      It’s not possible. That study is BULLSHIT. If we are to believe it, HMB>steroids. Yeah…okay.

      • Renier

        Thank you very Much sir!

        • Michael Matthews


  • Duke0477

    I have a question in regards to D-Aspartic Acid. After reading other articles and forums on D-Aspartic it mentions an increase in estrogen levels as well and the recommendation of including Diindolylmethane (DIM) to counteract the increase the increased estrogen levels when using D-Aspartic Acid. Do you think there is anything to this?

    Thanks in advance and I have read several of your books and am currently doing the one-year challenge. So far I am very happy with the results to his point. Keep pumping the great books and articles out!

    • Michael Matthews

      Honestly the increase in estrogen is going to be minor as it’s a natty supplement. I don’t know of any good natural anti-estrogen supplements.

      Thanks for the support man! Glad you’re doing well!

  • Nathan Hanak

    I’ve seen you mention Green Tea extract a few times, plus you mention that one should take it for aiding fat loss in your book BLS. I was wondering, does just drinking green tea have the same effect? I know extracts tend to be a little more expensive, so if I can just drink regular tea (plus it has the a little caffeine, I love using it as a pre-workout drink), would that be enough, or would I have to chug gallons of it to get the same effect?

    • Michael Matthews

      Unfortunately you would need to drink an absurd amount of green tea to get enough catechins to help.

      • Nathan Hanak

        Damn, oh well. Are there a specific kinds of GTE I should look for, or any types to avoid? Also, is it OK to take on a bulk to help minimize the unavoidable fat gain?

        • Michael Matthews

          Nothing special needed beyond actual GTE, so just stick to a reputable company. Yes it has other health benefits too.

  • acirpr

    How do you feel about Calorease (or Meratrim) on those evenings you know you will be indulging heavily at parties, weddings, etc

    • Michael Matthews

      Haven’t heard of those. Will have to check them out.

      • Did you get a chance to check them out yet?

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah yeah. I’m not sure what to think as the fiber can bind to fat but I couldn’t find any research on how this affects the metabolism of the food…

  • Dave

    Wait a minute! I just watched a video of yours on YouTube in which you said that HMB can, along with BCAAs, help to avoid catabolism that comes with cardio.

    Did I get that wrong, or have you changed your position on HMB?

    • Dave

      Now I see you mentioned HMB but recommended Leucine instead.

      • Michael Matthews

        Yeah HMB is a strong anti-catabolic but it’s very expensive. Up to you.

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  • Monty

    Mike, what’s your position on suma root as a muscle growth booster?

    • Michael Matthews

      Never seen any evidence that it can help.

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Shatteredreamer

    Mike, while you are out of triumph, what would you suggest is the next best thing as far as multivitamins go? I am a flight
    attendant on call most of the time and as you can imagine, it can be incredibly difficult to get the right nutrition all of the time. Also, I do a lot of fasted workouts in the morning before breakfast to try to get them in before scheduling calls and puts me in the air. I noticed you mentioned BCAA’s might be beneficial in that scenario, I don’t see one on among your products (unless you are considering Pulse one). Do you have one you recommend? Last, which brands of Vitamin D and Fish oil are your favs? Thanks in advance for your response, I am trying to build an affordable nutrition stack of beneficiary products that I can sustain long term. If there are any other must have supplements you recommend for someone with a suspect diet, please advise. I know I can’t supplement everything all the time, but when I am forced to, I like to know whats worth it. Love your books. Just bought the second edition of Bigger Leaner Stronger to accompany my first. Just reading through that book two or three times a year keeps me focused on the goals.

    • Hmmm hard to find something comparable but Source Naturals’ Life Force is a decent product. I’ll have Triumph back in about a week BTW. Sorry for the out of stock. 🙁

      Yeah check this out on the fasted:


      Thanks a lot for the support! You rock. 🙂

  • Kyle

    Hi Mike I have a question about the d-aspartic acid product finaflex pure test, I just bought some and it just came in but I’m very confused on how to take it for best results and second question I’ve heard some things about taking up to 6g for results even tho the reccommended dosage is 3g, need some help thanks

    • 3 grams per day is the standard. 1.5 grams upon waking and 1.5 grams before bed.

      • Kyle

        ok, do you have to take on a empty stomach or does it matter

        • Doesn’t matter.

          • Kyle

            Cool, last question have you ever heard of a supplement called A-HD? I heard it was a good anti estrogen supplement a lot of athletes take and is good to take with d-aspartic to boost test and minimize estrogen, what’s your take on that?

          • Natural E-blockers are garbage. Don’t waste your money.

  • Sam

    Have you heard of the supplemy company EHPLabs? If so, what do you think about that company?

    • I’ve heard of them but haven’t really checked out their products to be honest.

  • Vince

    I agree with most of what you describe here but I don’t thinks it is very fair for fact seeking readers to be bias on ZMA and Tribulus. That being said everyones body is completely different and the key to successful results is method of use. 68%-80% of people in the USA are deficient in magnesium. Being responsible for nearly over 300 functions in the body including protein synthesis. Which would be kaputt without insufficient mag levels. If you ask any pro bodybuilder they will tell you ZMA or a mag/zinc supplement is essential to they arsenal. May companies fudge up the real ZMA formula leading to negative reviews. I can provide 5 medical studies supporting ZMA for every one biasly done against its effectiveness. Now think about it…with all these new supplements coming out these companies create false media against ZMA only to promote newer unproven supplement sales increase. Now tribulus is a great herbal supplement if cycled on and then off. Only due to the last 10 years market demand has the market flooded with illegitimate suppliers claiming high saponin % when this is not the case at all. Now most herbs if not all have to be absorbed by the colon. Including vitamin C, vitamin b6, black pepper extract, and ginger extract to help tribulus’s over all absorption will most definitely increase results.

    • I totally agree Vince.

      I supplement with mag every day but my point here is ZMA is unlikely to do much to your testosterone levels, that’s all.

      I think the science is clear on tribulus–it’s a dud as far as hormone effects go.

  • Doni

    love your articles mike. what is your opinion on butea superbia?

  • Brian Basden

    I just ordered some Legion supplements, including Phoenix. I’m at 12% BF and am on a bulking phase right now, though – should I go ahead and take Phoenix now, or wait until I switch to a cutting phase to start taking it?

    • Thanks for picking up the supps!

      No need to take Phoenix while bulking. Save it for when you cut.

  • Chin

    Hey Mike, I don’t have an affordable way of getting the finaflex where
    I’m at. I have 3 choices from unknown brands (Primaforce and Al Sports),
    one is in capsule form, two are in powder form. All claim to contain 3g
    per serving.

    Does it come down to just price per serving?

    Or are there good and not-so-good forms of d-aspartic (eg creatine mono vs the other creatines; whey iso vs conc)?

    Also, since we’re on the topic of supplements, I read your supplement
    recommendation article a while back and noticed a flaw in one review you
    cited (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19906797) for the clinically effective dosage for green tea extract. The studies used in this review all involved green tea catechins paired with caffeine.

    “Studies that evaluated GTCs without concomitant caffeine administration
    did not show benefits on any of the assessed anthropometric endpoints.”

    And- “Current data do not suggest that GTCs alone positively alter anthropometric measurements.”

    The other studies (especially this 2008 one http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/778.abstract – about 366 mg catechins) you cited seem to show GTC working without caffeine though, so I’m sort of convinced that GTC alone works. But it seems like the GTC dosage according to that review might only be effective if it is paired with caffeine. I’m not sure but I might have read somewhere that green tea already contains caffeine, so it might have already been taken into account. I avoided GTE for a while because I didn’t want to have to also take caffeine (I’m a little sensitive to caffeine). Your thoughts on this?

    Sorry for the long ass post.

    • You can go with a different brand. In fact you can just buy DAA bulk I believe?

      GTCs in conjunction with exercise will help for sure because of how they work.

      You can read more here if you haven’t already:


      • Chin

        Not without high shipping costs I think. Or at least from the places I could find. Guess I’ll just go with the cheapest one.


  • Dustin

    Hi Mike,

    Wasn’t sure which article to post this under. Your new supplement, Lunar, seems like somewhat of an odd change, just considering the previous types of supplements you offer. I was just curious what led to something like this, as opposed to other kinds of supplements?

    • Hey Dustin,

      Many people have sleep problems and as good sleep hygiene is particularly important for us fitness folk (performance and recovery), and there are natural substances that are scientifically proven to help improve sleep, it made sense to make a product like Lunar.

  • Greg

    Hey Mike, have really enjoyed reading BLS, can’t believe it’s taken me so long to find this site! Wanted to ask what your thoughts were on racetams for motivation, focus and general cognitive improvement? Also noticed that you used to have Huperzine A as a recommended supplement but it’s no longer there, so wondering what your thoughts were on that? Thanks!

    • Thanks Greg!

      I’ve never even HEARD of racetames, haha. Off to Google I go.

      Honestly I wasn’t impressed with any of the nootropics I’ve tried. I was hoping I could make a good one but my experience was in line with the bulk of the research on the popular molecules: they do little at best.

      • Greg

        Great thanks Mike! Let me know what you find, I’m compelled by racetams but wanted opinion from someone more experienced!

  • Mathias

    hey Mike,I just want to know your opinion on an energy booster (made locally in my country) It is formulated specially for Asian men. The ingredients ( BioActive Fraction = Herbs + Amino Acid) are claimed to enhance hgh and testosterone. The nutritional facts are:
    serving size: 3 tablets
    servings per bottle: 30

    L-leucine 342mg
    L-Isoleucine 172.38mg
    L-Valine 175.86mg
    BioActive Fraction Blend 32.28mg
    – Eurycoma Longifolia
    – Paullinia Cupana
    – Panax GInseng
    – Tribulus Terrestris

    Other ingredients: Magnesium stearate, Fibre gum, Glycols, Lactose, Guar gum, Maltodextrin

    * to be taken as preworkout*

    so, what’s your opinion on this product? thanks


    Hey Mike what is your opinion on the use of Suma Root? Does it actually help build muscle when combined weight training?

  • csandycarrahlynn

    Question about Recharge; I’m an intermittent faster. Will Recharge break my fast?

  • Gino Gunostan

    Wrong, wong, wrong about Deer Antler you *** clown. You have weasel physique to be honest with. Enjoy the holiday

  • Natalia Duque

    Hi Mike, do you know if Yohimbine will interfere with ketosis, and /or the other way around; if being in ketosis interferes with Yohimbine effectiveness? I’ve been taking Forge in my fasted workouts for a while and I love it, but I started ketogenic diet and I’m worried there will be any type of interaction. Thanks!!

    • Hey Natalia! Nope, as long as you stick to taking Forge when fasted, you’re good. 🙂

  • NathAdrian

    Hey Mike I have been using forge before every swim workout. But then now i have seen more HMB studies and visited examine.com. They recommend HMB at least 30-45 minutes before your training session while yours say 10-15 min. Some sites also suggest that HMB be taken in several doses throughout the day. What is the ideal timing? Also im bulking atm and you wouldnt suggest people to take forge while bulking but isnt HMB more anti catabolic than insulin? Also would it be good to take whey+ HMB before workout because leucine is more anabolic than HMB but HMB is more anti catabolic than leucine so i think they blend well.

    • That’s getting a bit pedantic, IMO, because when we look at overall effects on MPS throughout the day, the benefits are what they are.

      It doesn’t need to be taken in separate doses, either. One 2ish gram dose per day, 15 to 30 min before you work out, is good.

      Remember that Forge is specifically for fasted training, so insulin levels are going to be low.

  • AmyL

    Do you suggest cycling forge and Phoenix? Or just taking it while cutting/until you reach your fat loss goal?

    • No need to cycle them. Take them both consistently when cutting.

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