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We've coached hundreds of clients to permanent, sustainable results.

None of which relied SOLELY on supplements.

Do not expect to find short-cuts here.

Most fat-burners are no better than coffee.

Most mass-gainers are BS.

That said, there ARE a few worthwhile research-backed supplements, which when combined with eating mostly real food, and training effectively, will assist with producing and maintaining a lean, defined, impressive physique.

Below are our personal suggestions.

This isn't medical advice - obviously.


If you only buy two supplements ever, you'd buy PROTEIN and CREATINE.


And really, if you're happy to eat real food, you only need creatine. Why? Because, unlike many mineral, vitamins or compounds, getting more than the RDA for creatine is beneficial.


Protein is a convenience supplement. A good isolate and water is better than missing your daily protein target. It's not a milkshake; it's not an experience you need to share on TikTok - it's topping up protein levels. Mix it with water and get it down. I've used Rule One R1 for many years.


Rule One Proteins' R1 Protein stands out due to its high-quality whey protein isolates and hydrolysates, ensuring rapid absorption and maximum protein with minimal fat and lactose. Its formula prioritizes purity, containing minimal fillers and sugars, making it ideal for lean muscle growth and recovery. R1 Protein also boasts a rich amino acid profile, including essential BCAAs, vital for muscle repair and health. Furthermore, it's appreciated for its excellent taste and mixability, offering a convenient and enjoyable way to meet protein intake goals, making it a favoured choice among fitness enthusiasts for its effectiveness and quality.


Supplementing with creatine is beneficial because it enhances energy production in muscles, leading to improved strength, power, and endurance during high-intensity activities. This effect supports more effective workouts and faster muscle growth. Creatine also aids in quicker recovery by reducing muscle damage and inflammation. It increases the water content in muscle cells, contributing to muscle fiber growth. Additionally, some studies suggest cognitive benefits, especially under conditions of sleep deprivation or mental fatigue. Its well-researched safety profile makes creatine a popular and effective supplement for athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone looking to improve their physical or cognitive performance.

You don't need HCL, monohydrate is cheaper and perfectly suitable for the majority of the population.



Caffeine is known to enhance sports performance through several mechanisms, including improved endurance, increased power output, and reduced perception of effort and muscle pain. The effective dose of caffeine to achieve these benefits varies across studies, but a common range is 3 to 6 mg/kg body weight.


Here's what the research says...

  1. Improved Endurance and Reduced Muscle Interstitial Potassium Accumulation: Caffeine intake at 6 mg/kg body weight improved intense intermittent exercise performance and reduced muscle interstitial potassium accumulation, potentially enhancing fatigue resistance during intense intermittent exercise (Mohr, Nielsen, & Bangsbo, 2011).

  2. Enhanced Physical Performance: Addition of caffeine to a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution improved performance. The dose-response relationship observed indicates performance improvement without necessarily enhancing fat oxidation, suggesting other mechanisms of action for caffeine's ergogenic effects (Kovacs, Stegen, & Brouns, 1998).

  3. Improved Maximal Exercise Performance and Increased Prefrontal Cortex Deoxygenation: Caffeine ingestion enhanced maximal exercise performance without significant changes in motor cortex activation, suggesting a complex interaction between caffeine's central and peripheral effects (Pires et al., 2018).

  4. Improved Performance Over Consecutive Days: Caffeine doses of 3 and 4.5 mg/kg body mass improved performance in a 10-min all-out, cross-country double poling ergometer test over two consecutive days, suggesting caffeine's utility for athletes competing over consecutive days despite potential muscle damage (Stadheim et al., 2014).

These studies indicate caffeine's broad ergogenic effects across different sports and conditions, highlighting its role in enhancing performance through both central and peripheral mechanisms.


The effective dosage range of 3 to 6 mg/kg body weight before exercise appears to be a common recommendation across different types of athletic activities and outcomes.


These are pre-workouts specifically for cardio.

Do not use these before weights/resistance training.

These pre-workouts contain caffeine, and some thermogenic ingredients. They don't melt fat, but they will fractionally increase core temp which, over time, can elevate the metabolic rate, helping you burn more energy throughout the day.

These are NOT in the essentials list, because they are not required to get shredded.

But they may make the process of getting there a little more enjoyable; caffeine will make hard work feel easier.


These pre-workouts do not contain most of the pump ingredients you'd want for resistance training, so only use these for pre-cardio.

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It's based on caffeine level. If a single coffee sends you off the edge, stay away from this section. There are several main ingredients to look for, apart from caffeine, when it comes to a good pre-workout.

Citrulline Malate is a compound that boosts nitric oxide production in the body, enhancing blood flow, oxygen delivery, and nutrient uptake to muscles during exercise. This process can lead to increased endurance, reduced fatigue, and improved recovery by helping clear ammonia and lactate from the muscles more efficiently. It's popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts for its ability to support longer, more intense training sessions and for its potential to enhance muscle pumps, making it a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements. By improving both performance and recovery, Citrulline Malate is valued for its contribution to overall exercise efficiency and effectiveness.

Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that increases carnosine levels in muscles, enhancing their ability to buffer acid during high-intensity exercise. This buffering capability delays the onset of fatigue, improves endurance, and increases overall exercise performance. By helping to neutralise the acid that accumulates in muscles during strenuous activities, Beta-Alanine allows athletes and fitness enthusiasts to train harder and longer. It is especially beneficial for activities lasting one to several minutes, where acid buildup can limit performance. Regular supplementation with Beta-Alanine is popular among those looking to maximize their workout intensity and endurance.

These are the main two. There are dozens of others, but these are the most researched and proven to impact a session. They are simply amino acids - not 'chemicals' - but naturally occuring amino acids with promote different effects in the body and increase performance.

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It's worth breaking these amino acids out into their own sections, as well as stocking up on them. Almost every pre-workout on the shelves is underdosed, at around 6g.


The minimum effective dose of citrulline malate for enhancing sports performance appears to be around 8 grams, based on findings from several studies.


Here are some key insights from the research...

  1. A study by Pérez-Guisado and Jakeman (2010) found that a single dose of 8 grams of citrulline malate significantly enhanced athletic anaerobic performance and relieved muscle soreness in exercises like flat barbell bench presses. It resulted in a 52.92% increase in the number of repetitions in the last set compared to a placebo, along with a significant decrease in muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours after exercise (Pérez-Guisado & Jakeman, 2010).

  2. Rhim et al. (2020) conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, recommending 3–4 g of L-citrulline or 8 g of citrulline malate taken 1 hour before exercise to reduce post-exercise rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and muscle soreness. They particularly recommended it for power and strength athletes to aid in recovery and subsequent training at their desired intensity level (Rhim et al., 2020).

  3. Another study by Glenn et al. (2017) reported that acute supplementation of 8 grams of citrulline malate in females increased upper- and lower-body resistance exercise performance and decreased RPE during upper-body exercise. This suggests that athletes competing in sports requiring muscular endurance may potentially improve performance by acutely supplementing with citrulline malate (Glenn et al., 2017).


These studies indicate that 8 grams of citrulline malate, taken before exercise, is effective in enhancing sports performance, reducing muscle soreness, and potentially increasing the number of repetitions performed during resistance training.


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Beta alanine is also usually under-dosed at around 3-4g for most off-the-shelf pre-workouts.


Here's what the research says...


The minimum effective dose of beta-alanine for improving sports performance, as determined by randomised controlled trials (RCTs), varies widely depending on the specific outcomes measured, the duration of the supplementation period, and the population studied. However, a commonly reported effective dose in the literature ranges from 4 to 6.4 grams per day. This range is supported by several studies that have observed improvements in exercise performance, muscle carnosine levels, and reductions in fatigue with daily supplementation within this range.

  1. Beta-alanine supplementation and sprint performance: A study by Glenn et al. (2016) utilized a daily dose of 800 mg of beta-alanine, taken four times per day (totaling 3.2 grams per day) for 28 days, to examine its effects on isokinetic exercise performance and body composition in female masters athletes. The study found significant improvements in exercise performance with this supplementation strategy, suggesting that even doses lower than the commonly reported range can be effective under certain conditions Glenn et al., 2016.

  2. Beta-alanine and endurance performance: In another study, subjects were given 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day, which was shown to improve endurance performance measures in trained athletes Smith et al., 2019.



N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine and a precursor to glutathione, an essential antioxidant in the body. NAC has shown promise in various health-related applications, including enhancing athletic performance, aiding in recovery, and mitigating the effects of aging on the body. NAC is not only a powerful antioxidant but also plays a crucial role in sports and fitness by reducing oxidative stress and improving recovery. The effective dosages and benefits of NAC in this context have been explored in several studies.

Key insights from research on NAC include:

  1. NAC Inhibits Muscle Fatigue: A study by Reid et al. (1994) found that intravenous infusion of NAC at 150 mg/kg could significantly inhibit acute muscular fatigue during repetitive contractions, without altering the function of unfatigued muscle. This suggests NAC's role in enhancing performance by mitigating fatigue, possibly through its antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress during high-intensity exercise (Reid et al., 1994).

  2. NAC Reduces Muscle Soreness: Rhodes et al. (2018) demonstrated that oral NAC supplementation could have a protective effect on subjective muscle soreness during the initial days of supplementation. However, its effects on performance were generally unclear, apart from improving maximal sprint time. This points to NAC's potential in reducing muscle soreness and aiding in recovery, making it beneficial for athletes, especially those engaged in repeated high-intensity efforts (Rhodes et al., 2018).

  3. NAC Enhances Cysteine and Glutathione Availability: Medved et al. (2004) found that NAC supplementation enhanced muscle cysteine and glutathione availability and attenuated fatigue during prolonged exercise in endurance-trained individuals. By increasing antioxidant capacity within the muscle, NAC may help athletes sustain longer periods of high-intensity exercise without the rapid onset of fatigue (Medved et al., 2004).



Supplementing with magnesium can significantly enhance training performance, recovery, and potentially affect the aging process positively. Magnesium is vital for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including energy production and muscle function, making it crucial for athletic performance and recovery. A diverse range of magnesium supplements, such as tablets and drinks, are available, offering different benefits.

Chelated magnesium is superior due to its enhanced absorption and bioavailability, achieved by binding magnesium to amino acids. This form is more efficiently utilised by the body and less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects compared to non-chelated forms. Additionally, chelated magnesium offers increased stability and specific health benefits, such as calming effects from magnesium glycinate, making it a preferred choice for supplementation.

RCT Studies on Magnesium:

  1. Veronese et al. (2014) conducted a study on healthy elderly women involved in a weekly exercise program and found that oral magnesium supplementation significantly improved physical performance. The study highlights magnesium's potential to enhance performance and delay age-related physical decline, suggesting benefits for athletes and active individuals (Veronese et al., 2014).

  2. Rodríguez-Morán and Guerrero-Romero (2003) investigated the effects of oral magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects. While primarily focused on metabolic health, the findings also indirectly support the role of magnesium in enhancing recovery and performance through improved metabolic control (Rodríguez-Morán and Guerrero-Romero, 2003).

  3. Rodríguez-Morán and Guerrero-Romero (2018) evaluated the efficacy of oral magnesium supplementation in improving metabolic syndrome (MetS) components. The study demonstrated significant improvements in blood pressure, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia, which are crucial for maintaining optimal health and performance in athletes and physically active individuals (Rodríguez-Morán and Guerrero-Romero, 2018).

These studies indicate that magnesium supplementation can play a significant role in enhancing athletic performance, supporting recovery, and improving metabolic health. The choice between tablets and drinks, or a combination thereof, allows individuals to tailor their magnesium supplementation to their specific needs and lifestyle, potentially maximising the benefits for training, performance, and recovery.



Supplementing with vitamin D3 can have several benefits related to training, performance, immune system, overall health, and testosterone levels. Vitamin D is available in two main forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3, derived from animal sources or synthesised by the skin upon UV exposure, is more effective at raising and maintaining overall vitamin D levels in the body. Cholecalciferol is just another name for vitamin D3. It's used in dietary supplements and fortified foods to help individuals meet their vitamin D requirements.

Vitamin D3 benefits:

  • Training/Performance: Vitamin D3 supports muscle function and strength, potentially enhancing athletic performance. It plays a critical role in calcium and phosphate balance, important for muscle contraction and energy metabolism.

  • Immune System: Vitamin D3 modulates the immune system, enhancing innate immunity while dampening excessive inflammatory responses, which can be beneficial for athletes and the general population alike.

  • Overall Health: Adequate levels of vitamin D3 are associated with numerous health benefits, including bone health, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved mood and cognitive function.

  • Testosterone Levels: There's emerging evidence suggesting vitamin D3 supplementation might influence testosterone levels, with potential implications for muscle growth and male reproductive health.

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