There have been quite a few questions lately about supplements so I thought I would make a sticky on the subject giving a bit of general advice and then everyone can post their experiences and questions in one place. Please note that supplements are in no way endorsed or recommended by the Royal Navy/Royal Marines or PRMC.co.uk. Taking supplements is no substitute for a good diet and you can build your fitness level up and complete training without ever taking them. First off, a bit of info into the different goals when exercising: Body builders aim for strength (the maximum amount of force your muscles can apply) and achieve this by lifting big weights, which results in large muscles that are made up of fewer layers separated by large layers of energy stores. The problem with this is they are also heavy which makes running and lifting your own body weight very difficult (some body builders can struggle to do a single press up). For Royal Marines training you really need lean muscle, which is why a lot of recruits/marines you see won’t actually look that big. In order to achieve lean muscle you need to do body weight exercises (where you use your own body weight as resistance), this results in highly toned muscles. Toned muscles are made up of many layers separated by thin layers of energy stores. Toned muscles are perfect for Royal Marines, they are light which makes running easier, powerful (the speed that your muscles can apply force) and also good for stamina and endurance. Now on to the actual supplements: The problem with many supplements is that they are designed for body builders and contain ingredients which promote large muscles (which you don’t want) taking these supplements will not only be a waste of money but won’t help you with your goal of lean muscle either. Rather than run though the different products I will go through some of the most common ingredients so you can make your own informed decision if you choose to try supplements. Be aware of the advice given by the manufactures or supplement websites as this will be biased and some of the ingredients have no medical proof they even work. Protein Protein is the essential building block of muscle, no one will argue that it does not help muscle growth be it for bodybuilding or toning up. However, if you have a good diet chances are you are getting enough protein already and if you take too much you will literally be peeing your money away. If you do buy protein stay away from the big brands as you are just paying for the name. Creatine Creatine is a naturally occurring acid in the body that supplies energy to muscle cells for short bursts of energy (good for lifting weights but doesn’t help much with endurance). It is also proven to increase the size of your muscles by drawing water into them – again this is not particularly good for building lean muscle. HMB HMB (or Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate if want to be clever) is naturally occurring in the body and believed to increase muscle mass and decrease muscle breakdown (in other words scientists are fairly certain it does but at the same time it might do nothing at all). Taking three grams per day may help reduce muscle breakdown, assist with muscle repair and support higher endurance. Glutamine Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, research shows that it can help support the immune system as well as reduce healing/recover time after injury. Glutamine can also convert into alanine which is an amino acid that the liver in turn converts into glucose which supplies extra energy to muscles during a long fizz session. Please ask any questions you have about any other supplements you come across or post your own advice and experiences.