4 Cheap Supplements For A Better Workout

In this article, I’m going to give you a quick rundown on some of the supplements you can use to improve your workouts by a factor of ten. Most of the stuff here can be bought at your local grocery store and costs pennies, unlike the overpriced garbage they sell at GNC.

1. Sodium

This is one of the most underrated and cheapest pre-workout supplements you can take, hands-down. Sodium is one of the seven electrolytes that keep our body hydrated. When taken as a pre-workout for lifting, you will experience better pumps at the gym, giving your muscles a better sense of fullness.

Something basic as eating table salt thirty minutes before you go pump iron will do the trick. Start off with 200 milligrams and increase from there until you get a sense of how much your body needs. This will go a long way if you have a good intake of sodium in your daily meals. You can also experience less cramping during your workouts.

If eating table salt seems too off-putting and gross, you can try seasoning packets for a bit of flavor or even beef jerky, which has a lot of sodium in it. Bringing sodium with you to the gym and using it as an intra-workout supplement can also help during your routine.

2. Potassium

Another electrolyte. Potassium pretty much falls in line with sodium in terms of outcome: better pumps, less cramping, and more hydration. The RDA recommends that a normal person gets about 5,000 milligrams per day. If you are an active lifter, you can go up to one gram per day and get tremendous results.

While you can use potassium sources as a pre-workout, you’ll get a far greater experience if you consume potassium throughout the day. Good food sources for potassium are tomatoes, potatoes, coconut milk, and pineapple juice.

Something that you can pick up off the cooking shelf is cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate), a byproduct during the wine-making process that is used for baking. This costs anywhere between $2 to $5.

Alternatively, a simple potassium supplement could be used if you don’t feel like altering your diet (although eating is always better than supplementation).

A quick warning about cream of tartar and potassium supplements: taking too much in a short amount of time can lead you to running to the bathroom with loose bowels. Also, taking too much potassium and not drinking enough water could cause hyperkalemia (potassium overdose). Start off slowly, and if you experience any diarrhea, then you need to back off a bit.

3. L-Arginine


L-arginine is one of the twenty amino acids. When isolated from other amino acids, L-arginine can be a great tool for your workout. When consumed, it converts into nitric oxide which increases blood flow into the muscles.

When taking L-arginine, it is best to take on an empty stomach and without other BCAA supplements. If you consume other amino acids, the L-arginine will not work. L-arginine only works when isolated and is easily destroyed by stomach acid.

You should take it 20-30 minutes before your workout. Start off at two grams to see how it feels, then slowly increase your dosage. Do not ramp up your intake too quickly or you’ll experience severe discomfort. Personally, I gone up to ten grams of L-Arginine and haven’t experienced any serious negative effects, although I haven’t noticed a big difference in terms of performance after eight grams. Again, start off at two grams and slowly figure out what dose works for you.

Lastly, this supplement needs to be cycled on and off every two to three weeks as you build up a tolerance.

If you do a little bit of shopping around, this supplement can be anywhere from $4 to $20, depending on capsules vs. pills, the amount per bottle, and number of milligrams in each capsule/pill.

4. Ashwagandha

Also known as Withania Somnifera or winter cherry, ashwagandha is a root from India that has been used since the time of the Roman Empire. It has commonly been used as tea and has a relaxing effect on the body. While not really used as a pre-workout like the supplements I’ve mentioned above, ashwagandha can help your workouts by relaxing the muscles during the healing process, among many other things.

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, meaning it doesn’t do one specific thing. It has been shown in some people to increase their testosterone, increase their thyroid function, regulate their serotonin levels, and other effects. One common side effect of using ashwagandha is drowsiness and slight inhibition due to the calming nature.

Personally, ashwagandha helped me through depression and gives me a sense of not giving a fuck in large dosages. It almost led me to go on a racist rant against Muslims in my local gym.

On the other hand, I have friends who have tried this supplement and cannot notice any changes. I don’t believe everybody will have the same exact effects with ashwaganda, making it somewhat unreliable. It really comes down to if it’s working out for you or not on a personal level.  If you’re somewhat depressed and suspect your hormones may be out of normal range, then ashwaganda may be a supplement worth trying. If you don’t notice anything after your first run, though, then just disregard it.

This supplement comes in two different forms, a capsule or a beverage. This supplement can range anywhere from $8 to $50. However, do not buy the expensive varieties; they are merely inflating prices to make more money. I have taken the $8 bottle brands (Nature Valley) and have noticed a difference in my mood. I haven’t tried the beverage version, so I can’t give an honest opinion on it. Fair warning: ashwagandha does have a slight odor to it.

For dosage, you can try three grams in the morning and late afternoon each to see how you respond. If you have a stomach that is easy to upset, it is recommended you take it with food. If you have an ulcer, it is best to avoid ashwagandha to avoid any health complications. Also, if you are on any medication, make sure you check with your doctor, as ashwaganda does have some compatibility issues with some medications.

I have gone up to ten grams of ashwagandha in a day without suffering any side effects, but I have found that the sweet spot is between six and eight grams. This supplement does need to be cycled on and off every so often as you build up a tolerance.

So there you have it—four supplements that have increased my workouts and standard of living. Good luck.

Read More: Supplements Don’t Build Muscle

31 thoughts on “4 Cheap Supplements For A Better Workout”

  1. “The RDA recommends that a normal person gets about 5,000 milligrams per day. If you are an active lifter, you can go up to one gram per day and get tremendous results.”
    That’s 5 grams per day. Do you mean 6g (6000mg)? Or another gram?

  2. Very good advice.
    When I saw the title I was expecting to read about stuff like that Joe Wieder weight gain crap the meatheads used back in the 80s.
    Might I add taking zinc and magnesium daily as well.
    Been doing that for a few years and has seemed to have made a positive impact on my tendon/cartilage issues.

  3. Big 28 can packs of regular V-8 (normal sodium) from Sam’s Club along with protein powder & GNC mega men multi-vitamin capsules, which you can also get from Sam’s Club. A can of V-8 + vitamins + protein shake in a blender is a great way to start your day. You can avoid coffee expenses by getting caffeine pills from Walmart and adding a caffeine pill with your vitamins, which I take at breakfast and lunch, to provide baseload energy and nutrition throughout the workday at a very reasonable cost. I very rarely get sick from the flu, colds, etc.

    1. V-8 is great. Drink it with my vitamins every morning.
      It’s also my go to drink when hungover.
      I drink a lot of V-8…

    2. V8 is amazing for sodium and potassium. Can’t recommend it enough. However, taking caffeine pills with vitamins can decrease the absorption with some of the vitamins, so it’s probably best to take separately.

    3. I drink V8 every day too. The low sodium kind is even better because it has a quarter of your daily potassium.

  4. How about salt tablets? I once worked in a cannery that had salt tablet dispensers all over the place. I would take an occasional one just to play it safe.

  5. Nathan Ferguson sorry dude but you know jack shit!!
    Yep, good on you that you’ve lost your fat boy but you should be way longer in the business than giving out advice that might work or not because so many individual can have so many different effects of those!
    1. You should LEARN from pro or natural or semi pro (doesn’t really matter to be frank! ) bodybuilders who knows their shit! ! !
    NOBODY on the Planet knows this kind of knowledge better than THEM!
    -Your FIRST point: Sodium
    Dude, salt is GOOD for muscle contraction ( in a SMALL, I say a very small amount!! ) Stay the F away from salty food as much as possible EXCEPT cheat day!!!
    Sodium causes water retention SO IT MAKES MEN FLABBY!!
    ( News flash: That’s not fat in many cases! That’s fucking water retention! )
    Also Sodium puts pressure on the vascular system. No good either.
    Also: unless SEA SALT / or pink Himalayan or proper mined salt THAN IT’S POISON!!!
    Do the research! a.k.a STAY THE F AWAY FROM ANY KIND OF TABLE SALT!
    2. Your SECOND point: Potassium
    Well I’m a pro level fighter / trainer / nutritionist but still, I learn all the knacks from the real PROS as much and often as I can!
    Very careful with Potassium My boy!
    You cannot give out crap like this: “to much P and you run to the toilet or whatnot!”
    Potassium ( if to much / depends on individuals ) can stop your heart!!!
    That is why when applying pressure tourniquets to some heavy bleeding limb or whatever for more than 10 minutes then you shouldn’t release them because potassium builds up in cells that don’t receive oxygen, so when you undo the tourniquet, all that potassium hits your heart at once and could stop it!
    Nathan! 5,000 milligrams equals 5 grams!
    WHO told you that it’s a proper RDA??
    Yep, a BALANCED amount of Sodium/Potassium intake can be very healthy IF that person is AWARE of the right amounts of each of those components!
    FYI: —>
    “Normal” For Sodium
    The RDA for sodium is a range of .5-2.4 grams per day but other sources recommend up to 3.3 grams per day. The RDA for potassium is 1.6-2.0 grams per day.
    One Quick Side Note On Potassium:
    Excessive potassium will also stimulate Aldosterone. Don’t add potassium in amounts that place it higher than sodium intake.
    Ps: Sorry Nathan dude, seriously NO offense bud! Just make sure that You know what you need to know so none will call you upon it!

  6. This is a terrible article.
    None of the those supplements do anything for you pre-workout. You also didn’t provide any sources to back up your claims.

  7. This is my endorsement for sodium as a supplement: When drinking plain water during workouts, I would get woozy or have difficulty concentrating on my workouts. I figured I was losing too much salt in my sweat. I began experimenting with dissolving a pinch (1/8 tsp.) kosher salt per quart of water. When drinking during workouts, take frequent sips (no gulping). That bit of salt actually makes tap or filtered water taste better. I think of it as club soda without the fizz; 1/8 tsp per qt, you should just barely be able to taste any salt. This is work for me for well over a decade.

    1. I’d also suggest adding a squeeze of lemon to it, makes it taste like a budget Gatorade.

      1. Good call! Lemon, lime…either one makes a good concoction. I used to put away a gallon of gatorade working at UPS during Chicago summers, unloading parcels back in the 1990s. We worked 4-5 hour shifts. I used the Sam’s Club-sized instant, made up to 20 or 30 qts, but I made it weak. Good memories of wringing sweat from my t-shirt inside the trailers.

  8. Sodium is a must. I add salt to all my water, and I put hot sauce on my egg whites. It works wonders when I lift.

  9. Try L-Citrulline Malate instead of L-Arginine. They both do the same thing but Citrulline does it better.

  10. “It almost led me to go on a racist rant against Muslims in my local gym.”
    Uhhh, what kind of so-called endorsement is this?
    First of all, being Muslim has nothing to do with race. Being Muslim relates to Islam, which is a religion…
    Secondly, how would one logically or positively equate any benefit from an adaptogen to “almost going on a rant AGAINST” anything??!?!!
    Never mind that you did not quantify how much is too much. Please explain how this statement somehow makes sense in the context of what constitutes a benefit to taking the supplement.

    1. What he’s saying is that it brings out his inner animal, and he feels good enough to say what he really thinks and not give a fuck. He says in his bio he’s a nationalist, and I believe he’s in Europe. I don’t see the problem here.

      1. Well, that seems awfully sad and lame that anyone should find license to speak one’s mind only when they [mega]dose ashwagandha, notwithstanding the obvious display of total ignorance by conflating religious preference to race. If this is true, he should stick to blogging fallacious nationalist drivel rather than attempting to expound upon the apparent benefits of workout supplements.
        And your opinion of his statement doesn’t validate or excuse his ignorance.

        1. So nationalist talk is “fallacious drivel?” You just totally exposed yourself as being an SJW, at least to some extent.
          There are a million other sites you can go to for your precious info on working out, supplements, etc. etc., and there won’t be a single word about muslims or any other subject that might offend you. Yet you are here on a prominent man-o-sphere site, where antionalism frequently comes up in all sorts of articles and comments, whether you and the SPLC like it or not.

  11. Yeah more salt is just what you need. We already get too much salt every day by simply eating processed foods, but yeah good luck with your high blood pressure goals for 2018.

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