Manufacturers of creatine often combine 90 grams (g) of simple sugars with the supplement, because the insulin spike from the sugar helps to increase creatine uptake by muscles. The downside of this sugar-creatine combo is that high insulin levels equate to lower blood-sugar levels (causing muscle fatigue) and the extra sugar-based calories lead to storing more bodyfat. A better way to spike insulin is to combine protein and carbs with creatine. Protein helps to promote recovery and to build muscle, more than carbs alone. Adding protein also blunts the serotonin/sedating effects that go hand-in-hand with creatine that only has carbs included.The ideal postexercise creatine cocktail includes 2-7 g of creatine, 30-40 g of protein and 40-80 g of carbs.

The three supplements usually advertised to keep testosterone levels elevated are androstenedione, Tribulus terrestris and ZMA. A dose of 100-200 milligrams (mg) of andro taken three times daily –in the morning, before training and in the late afternoon — may indeed elevate testosterone levels, but over time it could lower your body’s natural testosterone production. The solution? Although some experts suggest trading andro for 500 mg of Tribulus twice a day, I recommend that you opt for the unique zinc-magnesium complex ZMA. Zinc supports the immune system, the intricate web that is indirectly involved in muscle growth, and magnesium helps in the production of adenosine triphosphate (the chief energy molecule derived from carbs and fats, which powers your training). In research, the trademarked formulation ZMA has demonstrated increases in testosterone (32%) and strength (12-18%). Follow the instructions on the label to determine specific dosage, but do not exceed a total of 30-35 milligrams of zinc daily.

Protein and carbs are the dynamic duo for muscle growth. To satisfy the gram-of-protein-per-pound-of-bodyweight requirement, each of your five or six daily meals should contain 25-50 g of protein. Supplement three of your meals with a whey-casein combo, as these two goodies have been shown to increase muscle while decreasing bodyfat. Powders are superior to chicken, beef and fish for two important reasons: Powders are easier to digest and have a higher content of branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine — the three aminos that influence muscle growth).

If you want to get big, build in adequate time for rest and recuperation. The herb Kava-kava, sometimes referred to as nature’s alternative to Valium, can help reduce feelings of anxiety and induce relaxation and sleep while reducing muscle pain. A dose of 95 mg of Kava-kava can help to enhance recovery and bring you back to the gym ready to achieve the peak performance required for complete success.