It's a fairly common term in the supplement industry, but just what is a "stack".
Simply put a stack is a group of 3 or 4 supplements designed to work together to help achieve a common goal. These goals can range from things like weight loss or mass gaining, to combinations of preworkouts designed to enhance gym sessions. Below we'll break each part of possible stacks, and include pictures and links to products that we and our customers have used with great success. One thing to keep in mind is a stack doesn't always need to be comprised of a single brand.
Weight Loss Stacks
Generally weight loss stacks contain a few basic supplements, that work complimentary of each other to improve weight loss results.
- Weight Loss Pill or Powder
- Some form of Carnitine
- Essential Fats
1. The weight loss pill or powder, often referred to as a "fat burner" is most often the centerpiece of the stack. It's main purpose is to increase metabolism, boost thermogenic rate, curb appetite, and can have a stimulant included to increase the likelihood of exercise for those who need that extra kick. They don't always need to be stimulant based though, and there are quite a few quality products that don't contain stims.
2. L-carnitine is usually a good thing to include in a stack for weight loss as it works well alongside the main fat burner. L-carnitine helps with the conversion of fat to energy. A more in depth breakdown of L-carnitine can be found here.
3. The most commonly used essential fat is probably CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid. CLA is related to the Omega-6 fatty acids that help balance metabolism, and have even shown promise in promoting healthy cholesterol levels.
Mass Gaining Stacks
Mass Gaining type stacks also contain a few basic supplements, but there are a few that are optional depending on how each individual person plans to achieve their goals.
The fairly universal mass gaining supplements are
- Mass Gaining Protein
- BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
Supplements that can be included in a "Mass Stack"
- Carbohydrate powder
- Testosterone Booster
1. A mass gaining protein is usually included for people looking to gain weight and have higher metabolisms. Theses usually include significantly higher carbohydrate and fat content, and much higher calorie count compared to regular proteins.
2. BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids), are important for everyone, but can aid greatly in the mass gaining process. This is because supplementing with BCAA's is a great way to reduce muscle breakdown during your workout, and if you have a higher metabolism it will be beneficial throughout the day as well.
3. Creatine is a great supplement when trying to gain mass, because it helps increase the amount of work you're able to do with your time in the gym. By increasing ATP recovery, it allows you to get more out of your training sessions, making gains happen more quickly.
a. While a carbohydrate powder is not absolutely necessary, they can be extremely helpful in a mass gaining focused supplement regimen. Many times it can be difficult to consume enough carbohydrates through diet alone, and carb powders can be an easy meal booster before, during, or after workouts.
b. Again, not absolutely necessary, but very helpful for gaining muscle mass. Testosterone boosters work naturally to increase your body's free testosterone. This can result in increased strength, enhanced energy levels, and better sleep patterns.
Pre Workout Stacks
Usually pre-workout stacks contain 2 basic elements, but there are a ton of options to fill those spots. Generally a regular pre workout is combined with a non-stim based nitric oxide booster. This combination can provide much greater pumps than a standard pre-workout, but also better energy and focus than going with a nitric oxide booster alone. Below are links to a few of our favorite of each, as well as a link to the pre-workout and nitric oxide booster categories respectively.
By no stretch does this cover all the possibilities out for combination "stacks" of supplements Hopefully it gave you some insight into why certain supplements are recommended together, and that it's absolutely not just a sales pitch.