In this post, I’m going to share with you the 4 best supplements for lean muscle. As a bonus, I’m also going to tell you what supplements not to buy so that you save your hard-earned money!
These supplements are for you if your goal is to…
- Get leaner without losing muscle
- Prep for a bodybuilding show or physique competition, or photoshoot
- See more definition and muscle striations
- Ensure you’re getting the added benefits from a strict lean muscle diet
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Supplements to Get Ripped
The purpose of this supplement stack post is two-fold…
- Help you get the most effective supplements for cutting
- Save your money by giving you a small list of supplements that work
Of course, there are many fat burning supplements you can take. And let me be upfront with you – most fat burners do not work. They’re crap!
So I’m going to give you the best supplement stack for getting ripped and cut, and it won’t break the bank.
Do You Need Supplements to Get Cut?
In theory, no, you do not. You can totally get ripped and even gain some lean muscle in the process by hitting the gym hard and eating the right types of foods (and appropriate amounts, of course). Yes, it’s that simple.
So what do supplements do for you and why should you take them to get cut? Well, there are 3 benefits I see to taking supplements when your goal is to get lean and ripped:
- Ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients you need to recover
- Provide you with the energy you need to train harder and longer
- Help you reach your goals a little faster
Again, you can do all of this through your workouts and diet. The supplements just give you that extra edge.
Now that I’ve convinced you that you don’t need supplements, let’s go over the ones I recommend for getting ripped and cut!
1) Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein powder is the perfect supplement for getting ripped and cut for two reasons:
- It’s high in protein, and low in both carbs and fats (most whey protein powders have less than 2 grams of each); it’s also low in calories.
- It’s ideal for pre and post-workout meals, and you can always make a quick protein shake if you don’t have time to cook a whole food meal.
Recommended Whey Protein
ALLMAX All Whey Classic protein is my recommended protein powder for gaining lean muscle mass and getting cut.
At 30 grams of protein per serving, it’s 100% complete whole protein source with zero non-protein amino acids (this is a problem with many other protein powders). It’s also one of the few that doesn’t upset my stomach.
My personal favorite is the French Vanilla flavor because it tastes good blended with other ingredients like dark berries. Their chocolate flavor is good too (you can’t go wrong with chocolate!).
Jason’s ALLMAX All Whey post-workout shake smoothie recipe:
- 6 ounces of almond or coconut milk
- 1.5 servings of All Whey Classic (French Vanilla)
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup of frozen blueberries (or dark berry mix)
**I’m also a fan of Dymatize Elite Whey Protein, and will often alternate Dymatize and AllMax. I talk about my experience with Dymatize in this post: Best Bodybuilding Supplement Stack for Mass
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is considered to be the absolute best fat burning supplement. In fact, many fat burners will include this as a key ingredient.
CLA is composed of fatty acids found in meat and dairy that help your body naturally burn more fat. Think of it as high octane fuel for your body.
Here’s are some benefits of taking CLA:
- Can help enhance performance (result in more intense workouts)
- Helps you maintain lean muscle while cutting
- CLA alone is far less expensive than fat burners!
Recommended CLA Supplement
OPTIMUM NUTRITION CLA is going to be the best bang for your buck.
The reason I’m recommending Optimum Nutrition CLA soft-gels is that ‘ON’ is one of the most trusted brands (since 1986).
Optimum Nutrition supplements, in general, have been my go-to source for years when I want to take a stand-alone supplement like CLA (I take their Fish Oil and Creatine as well).
Simply put, you’re getting a high-quality supplement for a fair price.
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are almost a must in your supplement arsenal when your goal is to maintain lean muscle mass while getting cut. BCAAs consists of the 3 amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
And here’s how BCAAs fit into your supplement stack for getting ripped and cut:
- BCAAs help preserve muscle while dieting.
- Branched-chain amino acids work by increasing protein synthesis, preventing the breakdown of protein.
- Taking BCAAs during your workouts can give you more muscle energy that helps you increase both the intensity and duration of your workouts.
- They’re also perfect for pre and immediate postworkout supplementation for the above reason.
Recommended BCAA Supplement
Scivation Xtend BCAAs has been my go-amino amino acid supplement for countless years. Simply put, it works. I’ll go into more detail below…
Xtend has a hefty dose of BCAAs with a proven ratio. But it also contains an important recovery amino acid, glutamine. It’s packed with some other ingredients like citrulline malate and an electrolyte blend. All that said, you really can’t beat Xtend for BCAAs.
My favorite flavor is Xtend Blue Raspberry. It’s a smooth taste that isn’t overpowering or over-flavored. The watermelon flavor is my 2nd choice.
How I take Scivation Extend BCAAs:
- 1 serving pre-workout (will often mix with my pre-workout drink)
- 1 serving during my workout towards the end (will sometimes mix regular creatine monohydrate with it)
- 1 serving first thing in the morning on non-training days when I’m not consuming a lot of calories, or after a walk
4) Multi-Vitamin (Training Pack)
First, let me specify what I mean by multi-vitamin. I’m not talking about a 1-pill a day multivitamin. The majority of those are worthless.
I’m talking about an actual training pack that’s designed for athletes and people like us who train hard and live in the gym.
When we are training to gain or preserve muscle mass while getting ripped, our bodies need more than the average person. That should be obvious.
Here’s what to look for in a multivitamin training pack:
- Appropriate dose of all essential vitamins required by athletes
- Antioxidant complex
- Digestive enzyme complex
- Performance complex
Recommended Training Pack
Universal Nutrition Animal Pak has been my go-to multi-vitamin and training pack throughout my adult life of training (since I could afford to buy supplements!).
Animal Pak is ‘packed’ (pun intended!) with the complexes mentioned above but also contains a full amino acid complex.
Here’s the kicker…I have NEVER gotten sick while taking Animal Pak consistently (the times I’ve gotten sick were when I ran out of AP and forgot to order…just laziness on my part). And I do notice a substantial difference in overall energy and my workout intensity while taking Animal Pak.
Animal Pak suggests taking 1-2 training packs per day, as the actual serving size is 2 packs.
I typically just take 1 Animal Pak pack per day, in the morning with my post-workout shake or breakfast.
5) Fat Burner (Optional)
It’s expected when gaining lean muscle while getting shredded is going to entice you to look for the best fat burner.
While I’m personally not a fan of fat burners, I want to share one of the better fat burners I’ve come across, Instant Knockout (and I’ll tell you exactly why this product is better)…
INSTANT KNOCKOUT is more than just a fat burner. It was actually created for boxers and fighters to help them maintain lean muscle and energy while dropping weight.
This is what sets Instant Knock apart and above all of the other fat burners. The goal of this product is to enhance your performance and level of conditioning.
Before you buy Instant Knockout, I encourage you to read my full experience here. If you’re ready to get started, just click the button below and it’ll take you to their website to purchase.
Why Doesn’t this Supplement Stack have a Pre Workout?
You may be asking…”Dude, where’s the pre-workout? I rely on those for my workouts!’
I did not include it because Instant Knockout covers that. At the risk of sounding soft, I really don’t recommend taking a pre-workout supplement if you’re taking a fat burner. That’s just overkill on the stimulants and caffeine.
And I would prefer you to take the fat burner over a pre-workout. Especially Instant Knockout, because it’s going to help keep your metabolism up throughout the day, not just during your workout.
However, if you still want to take a pre-workout supplement, or if you would rather take a pre-workout instead of a fat burner to get cut, then read my review on 4 Gauge.
How to Take Your Supplements to Get Ripped
Now you’ve got all of these supplements you need to get ripped and cut, but how should you take them?
Of course, I recommend following the label. But below is a visual chart that shows you when and how much to take each product in your supplement stack.
|Whey protein||post-workout||1 – 1.5 servings|
|Multivitamins||with any meal||1 serving/pack|
|BCAAs||before, during and after workouts||1 serving each time|
|CLA||between meals, 3x a day||1 serving each time|
|Fat burner||follow the label||follow the label|
Supplements that Don’t Work for Getting Cut
As you and I both know, you can quickly rack up a hefty supplement bill. With so many fat burners and products that claim to get you ripped, it’s difficult to know what works (and what doesn’t work).
I won’t name brands, but here are 3 types of products to stay away from…
- The majority of fat burners – seriously most of these suck
- ‘Carb blockers‘ – I couldn’t believe it when I saw this the first time…just don’t, really…don’t waste your money (there’s a good article on WebMD about this: The Truth About Starch Blockers)
- Appetite suppressants – these may help short term but this is not a long-term solution (I’ve got more tips below to help you)
Tips and Resources for Getting Ripped and Cut
I can’t reiterate this enough. Supplements alone will not get you lean, cut, ripped, shredded, and all that yada-yada.
In other words, there’s nothing you can take that will supersede the results that come from training hard and watching what you eat. So here are some additional tips and resources to help you on your journey to lean muscle.
- Train legs twice a week! This exercise is the first thing you need to start doing, now! Training legs takes more effort than other muscles so you’re going to burn more calories and get in better conditioning by training them twice a week. For a full program, read my post: How to Train Legs Twice a Week
- You MUST EAT THE RIGHT TYPES OF FOODS for energy, recovery, and to help your body burn more fat. Your diet also has to be one that is sensible and sustainable for you to follow. So forget about the trendy diet. Instead, take a look at the meal plans on my post: Meal Plans for Gaining Lean Muscle and Getting Shredded
- Make sure you’re training with more overall sets and reps. Supersets are a great way to do this, and you can actually read about my premium workout program here: Lean Muscle Building Program
Train with Passion,