Not all workout supplements are worth your hard-earned money.

Walk into any supplement or health food store and you are sure to be overwhelmed by all of the choices. Every single product on the store shelves claims to have the ability to either make your muscles bigger, help you lose weight, increase your strength, or do some other fantastical thing to improve your health and appearance.

Do the claims of all of these supplements measure up? Hardly. Most of them do nothing more than make your bank account smaller. But that doesn't mean all of them are totally worthless. There are a few – a very few – that actually do work.

The following are four supplements that have been studied extensively and are proven to work.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring compound that is present in our muscles and in some of the foods we eat. It was originally identified in 1832 and has been the subject of many academic studies. Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular sports supplements on the market today, and for good reason – it flat-out works.

Creatine monohydrate supplementation can lead to dramatic increases in muscle mass, strength, and endurance. The supplement works by increasing the energy muscles need to work. The more energy muscles have to draw from, the harder they can work. This leads to dramatic improvements in athletic performance.

Creatine monohydrate has been on the market for over two decades now. It is very affordable and is generally considered safe in low to moderate doses. Do be careful when shopping for creatine monohydrate, however, as some companies market creatine variations (other than the monohydrate form). The only kind of creatine that has been proven effective in scientific studies is creatine monohydrate.

Whey Protein

Supplementing your diet with protein is one of the best things you can do to build muscle mass. Protein is, after all, what our muscles are made of. You can get plenty of protein from food sources such as fish and chicken. But for those who are in a hurry or don't want to be bothered with cooking, a whey protein shake is a great way to get all of the protein your body needs to recover after a workout.

Whey protein is derived from milk. You may recall hearing about it from the phrase “curds and whey.” Modern whey protein supplements are available in powder form that can be easily mixed with milk or water for a delicious, quick shake.


One remarkably effective supplement that is often overlooked by athletes is caffeine. It usually isn’t on most people's radar because it is so common. It's in the coffee we drink, in the soft drinks we probably should not drink, and in so many other beverages and food products. As common as it is, however, it should not be ignored since it can really enhance your workouts.

Consuming caffeine just before a workout can improve overall performance, increase concentration, and decrease fatigue. As a pre-workout supplement, it has the power to take an otherwise routine workout and turbo-charge it for maximum benefit.

Whole Milk

Yes, milk. Plain old milk. It really does do a body good.

Whole milk is a great source of protein, and any serious athlete should include it in his or her diet. Milk is really much more than a frothy, creamy liquid that cows make that also happens to taste great in shakes. It’s absolutely loaded with protein. It's also packed with vitamins and minerals. That’s why baby calves grow so fast on it. It is so nutrient dense, in fact, that you can easily consider whole milk to be a supplement or even a super-food.

Bodybuilders have known about the muscle-building properties of whole milk for decades. The use of whole milk to increase body mass was very popular in the early days of bodybuilding. Its use as a supplement is making a resurgence as younger bodybuilders are rediscovering just how powerful it really is. A tall, cold glass of whole milk is a great way to replenish nutrients after a grueling workout.

The GOMAD strategy is a great way to use milk to really pack on the mass. GOMAD is an acronym that stands for Gallon Of Milk A Day. It simply means drinking one full gallon of milk every day. GOMAD is usually cycled and is used for no more than one month at a time. Cycles may be repeated once every few months. GOMAD users report dramatic gains in body mass during each four-week period.

Stick to Supplements that are Proven to Work

These four supplements have been used successfully for decades to improve athletic performance and increase body mass. All of them are very affordable.

If you do happen to wander into a supplement or health food store and feel overwhelmed by all of the choices, just remember to stick to the supplements that have been proven to work. And by all means, avoid the marketing hype from the supplement companies.

Author's Bio: 

The author is a freelance business writer specializing in the financial services sector. He uses strategic content marketing to help businesses achieve results. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, he enjoys taking in the local music scene and other attractions in his spare time.