Powders, gels, chews, and more ways to get your protein, vitamin, or energy fix.
Joy Ronson 1 / 7
No matter what fitness goal you’re aiming for, there’s a supplement out there designed to help you achieve it faster. Want more muscle? Try a protein shake. Interested in boosting your heart health? Pop a fish-oil softgel. But what if you’re tired of the same old shakes, pills, and potions and want to try something a little different? Now you can get your protein fix from beverages that taste like soda and chew your pre-workout booster like candy. And if shakes are your thing, there are even great ones with multivitamins included. These are our favorite supplements that utilize unconventional delivery systems.
Think of the shelf space you’d save if you could cram a tub of protein powder into a pill. That’s what MuscleTech aimed to do with Clear Muscle, a concentrated form of HMB (a metabolite of the amino acid leucine) called BetaTOR. The caps pack the same amount of BetaTOR as 200g of whey protein powder; subjects gained 16 pounds of muscle in 12 weeks using it.
Supplements aren’t medicine, but they’re not candy either. That doesn’t mean they can’t taste like it, though. If you’d rather nosh on your pre-workout supp than drink or swallow it whole, try Optimum Nutrition’s AmiN.O. Energy Chewables. It’s not as convenient as a powder—a serving is three chews—but the punch flavor tasted good to us.
Do you like the benefits of fish oil but can’t stand burping up a pier at low tide? Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega lets you swallow your fish oil in a mellow lemon-flavored softgel so you barely notice it going down (or coming back up). Third-party tested for purity, Nordic Naturals is one of the most trusted fish oils on the market.
Remember when you were a kid and craved cough drops long after you were sick? Now you have an excuse to suck ’em again. GNC makes lozenges that provide 1,000mcg of vitamin B12, which is essential for energy production—no horse pills required. And, unlike those children’s cough drops, these suckers are sugar free—but still come in cherry flavor.
If you’re tired of cleaning out shaker cups and hate the taste of bars, MuscleGel from MusclePharm supplies 22g of protein in a gel shot, similar to what marathon runners use to fuel up on the road. Gels pack easily into a gym bag or pocket; they also come in more flavor varieties than powders. (Try finding key lime or tropical mango in a tub.)
Multivitamins nearly always come as pills, but Gaspari Nutrition’s Anavite now serves them up in a tasty orange-flavored powder. Anavite also includes 1.6g of beta-alanine, an amino acid shown to give you the ability to train harder and longer, and carnitine tartrate, which may enhance hormones that promote muscle growth.