For the last installment of our month long supplement stack series, we’re going to take a look at two final stacks, one for joint protection and another for strength. These two go hand-in-hand, since you don’t want to injure your joints as you begin to lift heavier. And seeing how not everyone that wants to protect their joints necessarily wants to lift heavier, we’ve separated them…
Joint Protection Stack
You’ll train heavy only if you have happy and healthy joints. This stack contains research-supported compounds that’ll help keep you training heavy and out of the doctor’s office. Methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM), delivers bioavailable (readily absorbed) sulfur, which forms specialized structural bonds that give rigidity and integrity to connective tissue (i.e., tendons/ligaments/muscle). Glucosamine and chondroitin have both been shown in several scientific studies to relieve joint pain and aid in cartilage repair. Perna canaliculus, derived from the green-lipped mussel (an edible shellfish), has potent anti-inflammatory properties that protects joints and relieve pain. Finally, vitamin C is essential for cartilage maintenance, repair, and production.
Take It: If you shop around, you may be able to find products that combine all of these supplements (or at least the better part of them) into a single formulation. Otherwise, combine 250 milligrams of MSM, 750 milligrams of glucosamine, 250 milligrams of chondroitin, 200 milligrams of perna canaliculus, and 250 milligrams of vitamin C, and then mix with 8 ounces of water. Consume this drink twice per day, once before breakfast and again before dinner.
For a stack that increases strength, skip the break…
Pre- & Post-Training Strength Stack
Supplements that boost strength must boost muscle energy levels and protect the muscle from fatigue so that you can perform harder for longer periods of time. Creatine Monohydrate(CM) is not only an anabolic activator but it also provides robust strength benefits by increasing the amount of substrates available to make ATP (energy) in skeletal muscle, leading to stronger and more explosive sets. Beta-alanine is a rate limiting amino acid in the production of muscle carnosine in the body. Carnosine is an essential buffer for exercise-related metabolic byproducts that lead to fatigue, and beta-alanine has been shown to increase muscle carnosine levels by 60% in as few as 2-4 weeks and by greater than 80% after only 10 weeks. Working synergistically with creatine, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG) provides dramatic increases in strength. It promotes vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) during exercise and subsequently augments nutrient delivery and metabolite clearance. Recent research has shown that AAKG ingestion increases plasma levels of several strength-associated hormones such as growth hormone (GH), insulin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.
Take It: Mix 3-5 grams of CM, 2 grams of beta-alanine, and 2-5 grams of AAKG into an 8-ounce drink containing glucose (fast-digesting sugars) such as Kool-Aid or Gatorade. Drink one serving 30 minutes before training and another serving immediately after your workout.