arry Wheels skyrocketed to notoriety at just 17 years old after snatching the title of youngest person to deadlift 600 lbs. Fast forward a decade, and the 28-year-old fitness influencer is a powerlifting prodigy, crushing world records across three weight classes.
His records weren’t without a boost from anabolic steroids, though. Wheels says he started his first gear cycle when he was 17. But last year he swapped ‘roids for TRT and simplified his daily supplement stack as he pivots into classic physique bodybuilding.
“My heart was going to be at a major compromise doing X, Y, and Z, partying, drinking, drugs, and doing steroids,” Wheels told Youtube bro-fluencer Bradley Martyn about his decision to ditch ‘roids. “It’s just, like, ridiculous,” he said of the time.
Wheels’ current supplement protocol covers two basic workout-boosting elements—energy and muscle growth—which makes it ideal for guys building their stack from scratch. Here are four supplements and one treatment Wheels takes to get god-tier gains without the gear.
Wheels revealed that he used to take six to seven scoops of pre-workout during his ‘roid era in an interview with Bradley Martyn. Now he only takes a half a scoop before hitting the gym.
Pre-workout is a water soluble powder supplement that contains ingredients like caffeine and beta-alanine (a non-essential amino acid), which may encourage athletic endurance. Take it before a workout to reap benefits like boosted endurance, alertness, and athletic performance (1).
“For me, pre-workout needs to give me that push without pushing me over the edge,” Wheels says on his Youtube channel.
One scoop of pre-workout contains 150 to 300 mg of caffeine, which is about the same amount in three 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee. The Cleveland Clinic recommends picking a pre-workout that contains 200 mg or less of caffeine per serving if you’re sensitive to caffeine. Mix one scoop into 6 to 8 oz of water, and drink 15-30 minutes before your workout.
Wheels takes BCAAs with water during his workouts to maximize his hydration.
BCAAs are a group of three amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—that your body doesn’t make on its own (2). Foods like beans, lentils, chicken, and eggs are packed with BCAAs (3).
This supplement may boost hydration by improving cellular rehydration, which helps your cells keep their shape and function optimally (4).
“A lot of us have a lot of steam and energy during the first 30 minutes of the workout, but then we crash and get very lethargic and lazy,” Wheels says. “[BCAA] prevents cramps and keeps you going at 100 percent.”
A few studies also link BCAAs to muscle growth (5), but dietitian Kelsey Sackmann, MS, RD previously told The Edge that more extensive research is needed before she’d recommend them.
For Building Muscle
Wheels says creatine is “probably the most effective natural supplement for packing on size quickly.” And science backs him up.
Creatine is produced naturally by your liver, pancreas, and kidneys. You can also boost your levels by eating creatine-rich foods like red meat, chicken, and almonds. This supplement boosts your gains by increasing your body’s production of ATP, the compound responsible for muscle contractions.
By boosting your ATP levels, you may find that you can lift for more reps which could lead to building more muscle over time (6).
Wheels takes 10 grams of creatine everyday with water, year round. But 5 grams is the usual recommended dose (7).
Wheels consumes a whopping eight scoops of protein powder throughout the day to fuel his gains—that adds up to 200 grams of protein. For his first protein shake of the day, he mixes in three scoops of whey protein powder with 10 oz of water.
Getting enough protein is an essential part of packing on muscle mass. When you consume protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids which are then used to rebuild and repair muscle tissue (8).
When he’s bulking, Wheels uses protein shakes to supplement other protein-packed meals. For cutting season, he drinks them as a meal replacement.
The Edge’s Fitness and Nutrition Editor Sydney Bueckert, NASM CPT, CES, FNS, GPT, says your daily protein intake “depends on your overarching goal.”
“Generally, .7 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is a great place to start if you’re looking to maintain and build or bulk,” she says. “If you’re cutting, protein becomes more important because with fewer calories, your body is more likely to spare muscle protein for energy. Shoot for 1 to 1.4 grams to make sure you’re getting enough protein to preserve muscle while losing fat.”
Wheels uses for Optimal Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey Protein.
He Ditched Anabolic Steroids for TRT
After a decade-long run of cycling steroids, Wheels made the switch to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in 2022.
At 28, Wheels is at least a decade younger than most guys who are prescribed a therapeutic dose of TRT. Prolonged use of anabolic steroids can prevent your body from producing its own T when you finally get off gear, Nick Dahl M.D., a physician who works with Hone Health, previously told the Edge. That may be what happened to Wheels.
Wheels says his doctors started off by prescribing him 175 mg per week of TRT. After quitting ‘roids, he says that he feels better and looks better—pointing out that he no longer has steroid face, which made his cheeks appear more gaunt and sunken.
“I plan to stay on TRT for the long run,” he says.
Hone’s at-home testosterone assessment is the simplest way to uncover whether your levels are low. If you qualify for treatment, TRT can be sent right to your door.
- Kaczka, et al (2020). Effects of Pre-Workout Multi-Ingredient Supplement on Anaerobic Performance: Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Study.
- Wolfe, (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?
- Haydar, et al (2018). Branched-Chain Amino Acid Database Integrated in MEDIPAD Software as a Tool for Nutritional Investigation of Mediterranean Populations.
- Tai, et al (2014). An amino acid-electrolyte beverage may increase cellular rehydration relative to carbohydrate-electrolyte and flavored water beverages.
- Santos, et al (2021). Dose Response of Acute ATP Supplementation on Strength Training Performance.
- Antonio, et al (2021). Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?
- Carbone, et al (2019). Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit.