Ranking Plans' Effectiveness

Hi there!

I’m thinking about strategizing my supplementation to be more cost-conscious capping things around $200/month might be a good idea for me at some point.

With that in mind, I wanted to get your thoughts on the most effective plans.

First, my goals. I’m on a strength-gaining program, working from Starting Strength: so, two workouts, A) squats, bench press, power cleans, and B) squats, overhead press, and deadlifts. Warmup sets plus 3 sets of 5 reps for all except 1x5 deadlifts.

I’m 5’ 7", about 167 lbs, about 20% bodyfat, and 43 years old.

I’m managing mostly linear progression right now, and my weights are:

Squats - 211 lbs, deloading from failing at 231
Bench - 165 lb high
Power Cleans - 115 lbs, learning these…still new at them
Overhead press - 90 lbs, deloading from failing at 105

I’ve been using Plazma + MAG-10 + Indigo-3G (Plan 1, below, left in place for reference), but I think I might have to rein in my spending, so I’m looking for other options.

I’ve concocted a bunch of plan permutations, listed below with their costs for a one month (roughly) supply:

Plan 1: Plazma + MAG-10 + Indigo-3G: $490 (left in mostly for reference)

  • 2 Plazma bottles: 3 servings/workout x 3 workouts per week x 4 weeks = 36 servings. 20 servings per bottle
  • 4 MAG-10 bottles: (3 servings per day x 7 days + (one extra serving per workout day x 3 workout days)) x 4 weeks) = 96 servings, 28 servings per bottle
  • 2 Indigo-3G bottles: 1 serving/day, 15 servings per bottle.

Plan 2: Plazma + MAG-10: $390 (Is this probably less effective without the Indigo-3G?)

Plan 3: Surge Workout Fuel + Surge Recovery + Metabolic Drive: $176

  • 1.5-2 Surge Workout Fuel bottles, $90: roughly 1 scoop/30 minutes of workout, 2.5-3 hour workout = 5-6 scoops. 3 workouts/week x 4 weeks = 12 workouts. 60-72 scoops per month. 40 scoops per bottle.
  • 1 Surge Recovery bottle, $50: 1 serving/workout x12 workouts/month = 12 servings per month. 16 servings per botthe.
  • 1 Metabolic Drive bottle, $36: roughly one serving per day before bed. May have a second serving during the day, though. 31 servings per bottle.

Plan 4: Plazma: $130

Plan 5: MAG-10: $130

I’d appreciate thoughts on those plans, especially ranking the plans’ effectiveness for those under $200/month (so, Plans 3-5). Are there other plans that I should also consider?

Thanks very much for your time and attention!
=> Shadowhawk

You have several options for an effective budget plan, especially since your workout is short and “easy” compared to an actual bodybuilding plan (sorry, Rippetoe.)

  1. <a href=""target=“new”>Surge Workout Fuel: Almost as good as Plazma and fine for your abbreviated strength workouts. Follow label. One serving of Indigo-3G pre-training.

  2. Plazma, but use only two servings, the pre-load and the intra. 1 servings of Mag-10 after, Indigo-3G if you need it. You may can even get away with just the pre-load of Plazma and a post-workout pulse of Mag-10.

Thanks for the advice!

My workouts may be easy, but they don’t strike me as short, unfortunately. 4-6 warmup sets for each exercise, plus the 3 work sets, plus the rest time, plus adding in chins seems to take roughly 2.5-3 hours. So I try to scale my intra-workout nutrition appropriately.

What would you advise for pre-bed intake? I often don’t go to bed for several hours after dinner, so there might be a bit of hunger there, but I also want to throw in anything that might help with recovery (especially the night of a workout).

With the Plazma/MAG-10/Indigo plan, I would quaff a MAG-10 serving (sometimes with nuts as mentioned in the Plazma Stack article) before heading to bed.

Before using Plazma, I’d use the Low-Carb Metabolic Drive, which, I think, was discontinued a while back.


  1. Are you sure you’re following Starting Strength? I didn’t compare note for note, but no way would Rippetoe have you training 2 to 3 hours a workout. Maybe you’ve revised it.

  2. Either a pulse of Mag-10 or a serving of <a href=""target=“new”>Metabolic Drive would be great before bed. Low-carb Metabolic Drive is still here, just the “low carb” wording label was dropped. (There used to be a higher carb version of Metabolic Drive, hence the initial label to differentiate them.)

  1. I don’t think I’ve revised it. The book lays down the exercises, and recommends adding chin-ups/pull-ups after a while. It also emphasizes the importance of warm-up sets along with some emphasis on general warm-up. Not counting my general warm-up or stretching/self-myofascial release afterwards, the three exercises plus the chins usually take about that 2.5 hour mark… 4-6 Warm-up sets plus 3 work sets plus rest (about 3 minutes between work sets at this point and folks say longer as the weight gets heavier) plus changing the weights in the warm-up sets, I don’t feel like I’m wasting any time, but they seem to come out to about 40 minutes per exercise (not counting the chins–those are more like 15 minutes tops).

I keep trying to shave time off by avoiding any time wasting, but, it’s held pretty steady since I moved from 1.5 minute rest periods to 3 minute rest periods. Still, I’m definitely try to keep my eyes open for ways to shorten it without sacrificing effectiveness.

  1. That’s great to hear about the Metabolic Drive being the low-carb one. I’ll definitely consider that, then. That or MAG-10. For MAG-10, how would you rank the importance of each pulse? At a guess, I would posit: 1) post-training, 2) before bed, 3) morning, first thing, 4) in-between long-interval meal-times (for me, usually between lunch and dinner).

=> Shadowhawk

The post-workout pulse of Mag-10 is definitely the most important. After that it would be hard to say, may depend on the individual and his schedule and eating habits. The good news is, there’s really not a bad time to have a pulse of Mag-10. We’ve seen multiple methods work very, very well.

Thanks a lot, Chris, for your consistently high responsiveness. I really appreciate your spending the time with our questions (and mine in particular, of course) in the forums.

2.5 hours+ is ridiculous…sorry.

i do.

4 x d.l’s (max 1 rep is 142.5KG)
4 X weighterd pull ups (about 20-30KG)
4 X squats (90 -110KG)
4 X bench (70-80KG) I struggle the most here

takes about 40 min’s.

I might do a bit of inclined walking after…

Isn’t working out longer than 1 hour detrimental? Not to mention who has the time to work out 2+ hours a day? I’d be sick of it after a month.

I am not changing MY ROUTINE…but i do try to add more weights through time. It’s great for an overall body workout. My only problem is i do feel worn out after the 3rd work. I don’t want to be the biggest guy in the room. Just a good physique/low body fat %. More lean/atheletic than big.

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