What is a "stack"? No, it's not a reference to Animal "Stak". A stack is nothing more than a combo, a mix of different products "stacked" together to produce optimal results. Probably the question I get most is how to use the different Animal products. For all those who have asked, here's my little primer.
First and foremost, always start with Animal Pak. Animal Pak is the foundation among the core "foundational" Animal products (including Pak, Flex, Pump, Omega, Nitro). Pak should be at the center of any supplement regime (Animal or otherwise), as it contains the basics, like vits, minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes, etc. Truth is, by making sure your body has all it needs, this will mean that the other supps you take will work even better, especially the more sophisticated supps. Regardless of your goals, if you are serious about this game, you should be taking Animal Pak. If you're training hard, you should always supplement with a solid multi. And as far as I'm concerned, Animal Pak is the best there is. 'Nuff said.
What are your goals? Are you bulking or on a cut? Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, and like I've said before, make sure your diet matches your goals. In other words, make sure the foods you eat and the quantities are right for your goals. Whole foods are the first and last line of defense. I can't stress this enough, fellas. I'd say food is even more important than training (of course, if ya wanna grow, you also gotta train)... Between food, lifting and rest, that's 99% of the battle. OK, assuming you're diet's in check, you're in the gym regularly and consistently, and you're stacking plenty of Zs, now we get to the other supps in the "stack"...
The Animal products are designed to work together as "stacks", with the Animal Pak at the center. To get the most out of your "stack", you need to know which Animal product does what. This is pulled from "Way Of Animal" on Animalpak.com:
Foundational vs. Cycled Supplements
There are basically two categories of Animal products--the "foundational" ones and the goal-specific, specialty ones you "cycle". Simply put, the foundational supplements are those you take every day. These supplements include core or basic ingredients your body needs: Animal Pak, Animal Omega, Animal Nitro, Animal Pump and Animal Flex. The "cycled" products are specialty supplements designed to elicit specific results, at a specific time or provide particular benefits. These products follow a 21-day cycle typically and include Animal Stak, Animal M-Stak, Animal Test, and Animal Cuts.
Foundational supplement. This is your core, your "iron skillet" when it comes to nutritional supplementation. This is step one, the starting point... You begin with with Animal Pak and add everything else around it. The Pak contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, amino acids, EFAs, and more.
Foundational supplement. The serious bodybuilder knows the value of all things "essential". Like essential amino acids. Like essential fatty acids, or EFAs. EFAs are critical for the serious lifter for a whole host of reasons. Animal Omega is a specific EFA product that combines multiple sources of fish and vegetable-based oils for a complete and comprehensive EFA product. Convenient and dosed for the serious bodybuilder, Animal Omega is the last word on EFA supplementation.
Foundational supplement. Covers the basics with creatine. Not just good 'ol tried and true monohydrate, but the latest, the greatest including patented magnesium creatine chelate, tricreatine malate and creatine ethyl ester. On top of that, we added the full complement of goodies, including NO boosters, stimulants, nooptropics, other cell volumizers, NO-related antioxidants, and more. This is your single, all-in-one, creatine-based "pump" product.
Foundational supplement. A complete, comprehensive all-in-one joint and ligament supplement designed specifically for the powerlifter and bodybuilder. Full potency and easier once-per-day dosing make Animal Flex the perfect "support" supplement for strength athletes looking to "reinforce" the underlying structure of their physiques. Remember--you can pack on mass, but if you don't support the joints, tendons, and ligaments as well, you're gonna be in for a world of hurt.
Cycled supplement. Animal Stak is a specialty pro-testosterone supplement. Stak can help your body improve: (1) existing test levels and (2) overall test function/ratios. This second point is crucial here. Animal Stak can help you utilize the test you already have, emphasizing "free testosterone" ratios. Though you may have high test levels, if it's bound up as “total” test, you can't tap into it. Stak was designed to address this. Suited for lifters over 25 or those who "low" free test levels.
Foundational supplement. Essential amino acids (EAAs) are absolutely "essential" for the human body and for the strength athlete. Your body can't make EAAs so you can only get them through diet or supplementation. When it comes to pre- and post-training, nothing is better than EAAs alone for igniting anabolism and protein synthesis. The EAAs in Animal Nitro are modeled after the EAAs in actual human muscle itself for superior benefits. After all, it's not just about getting EAAs. It's about the right ratios and the right amounts.
Cycled supplement. Animal M-Stak is a “natural” pro-anabolic designed especially for “hardgainers” (those who have a hard time putting on weight) and those on those on a "bulk". M-Stak can help increase anabolism via protein synthesis and nitrogen retention. M-Stak can help shuttle more of the calories you eat into lean mass, not body fat (nutrition-partitioning), making this product ideal for those lifters looking for lean gains.
Cycled supplement. Animal Cuts is our complete thermogenic & diuretic “cutting” formula. Helps not only with fat burning but with water retention as well. Suitable for contest prep or following an off-season bulk when you need to shed some fat.
Cycled supplement. Animal Test is a powerful, legal hypertrophic/pro-testosterone supplement. Combining the most potent natural extracts with one of the hottest, patented, proven supplements to hit the industry in recent years, the all new Animal Test redefines the capabilities of over-the-counter bodybuilding supplementation.
Once you have an understanding what each "pack" product does, you can begin putting 'em together mixing 'n matching. Here's a hypothetical, fellas.... Let's say you want a basic "mass" stack. You've upped the cals and are eating more. Great. So again, you start with Animal Pak. Another great foundational Animal product is Animal Pump. It gives ya your daily dose of creatine plus other goodies. So there ya go, Pak/Pump. A great, basic combo. Maybe you're taking bulk creatine and don't need energy before ya lift. Maybe you're on a bulk. Maybe now you should consider Pak/M-Stak instead, especially if you're a hardgainer. And if you're not taking bulk creatine, then you're stack might look like Pak/Pump/M-Stak.
Here's another example. Let's say you're looking to shed a few pounds. Again, start with the Pak. On a cut, the Pak will play a greater role as you're reducing your overall food intake (in theory). But at the same time, you don't want to lose any hard-earned muscle. To kickstart the metabolism, you might throw in Animal Cuts for the thermogenics, lipolytics and diuretics. Just to play it safe, and to help preserve lean mass, you might throw in Animal Nitro (cuz you know studies show EAAs can help preserve mass). So now you're stack looks like Pak/Cuts/Nitro.
These are just two example. Of course, you can get more creative with just Animal products. Or, you can throw in other solid products and mix 'n match. For example, Pak/Pump/Nitro/Torrent or even Pak/Pump/EAA Stack/Torrent. The combinations are limitless.
Figure out what supplements you want to help you meet your goals. If you're already using supplements, figure out what the gaps are. Then work around the gaps, again, starting with Pak.
One final note. Anyone who's spoken to me knows my approach to supplements is pretty straightforward. Less is more. Always start will less, and only work your way up in terms of complexity as you become more advanced and knowledgeable. So starting out, rely on basic two-product combos maybe, like Pak/Stak or Pak/Pump or Pak/M-Stak. Resist the temptation to throw in too many products, hoping for "overnight" results as these are just pipedreams.
My current "stack"
- Animal Pak (breakfast)
- Uni-Liver (3-4 with meals)
- Animal M-Stak (pre)
- Animal Pump (pre)
- Animal Nitro G or EAA Stack (pre, intra, post)
- Torrent (post)
- Animal Flex (dinner)
- I'll be adding Omega shortly (with lunch, most likely)
- Ultra Iso Whey, Lemonade (between meals)
My basic, "all-year-round stack"
- Animal Pak
- Animal Omega
- Animal Flex
- EAAs (usually Animal Nitro or EAA Stack)
Here's J's thread on what other fellas are running, Animal "stack" wise here on the F O R V M. Good place to get some ideas for your own stack: http://forum.animalpak.com/showthread.php?t=178
How to design your own stack: http://forum.animalpak.com/showthrea...=1777#post1777
Here's a great resource started by W on where you can more info an Animal products (including useful charts & descriptions) and stacks (recommendations, etc.): http://forum.animalpak.com/showthread.php?t=15265
Here's another perspective on building a solid stack: