If you are a serious physique or strength athlete, then you are probably already aware that there are some supplements which can help you to get the most from your gruelling and intense training sessions and diet. But, the question is which supplements should you be taking?
The market is currently filled with new and amazing vitamins and supplements and whilst it is likely tempting to read the countless online reviews and blogs, these are often filled with wrong information, which can be dangerous. When you go to the gym and change your diet, it is because you are determined to see results and, whilst you may be happy with your progress, including essential supplements and vitamins will take your efforts up to the next level.
#1 6 Of The Best Supplements For Body Builders
#1 Whey Protein
When it comes to building muscle and improving your body condition, whey protein has been shown to out-perform many other types of protein powders available on the market. Whey is one of two proteins which can be found in milk. When cheese is made, the liquid which is left over is whey.
Whey is known as a complete protein, as it contains the nine essential amino acids which are needed for both health and muscle building. It is also quickly and easily absorbed by the body, which ensures that all of the protein you have consumed is used by your body as needed. Whey is fast-digesting and is perfect for post-workout consumption as it can help your muscles to recover and adapt after strenuous exercise. Consuming whey protein has been found to stimulate muscle protein more so than other proteins, such as soy and casein.
Caffeine has been extensively reported on and studied for many years for its ability to boost endurance training performance and high-intensity workouts. It is known for being beneficial for aerobic exercises, however as bodybuilding is an anaerobic workout, results have been mixed.
Taking caffeine whilst bodybuilding will have individual results and will vary depending on how each person reacts to caffeine intake. Some people may find that they can drink coffee before bed with little to no effect, whereas others may feel jittery and shakey after less than a cup full. Whether or not you choose to use caffeine as a way to boost your endurance, it completely depends on how well you tolerate it.
#3 Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate is a power-enhancing, muscle-building supplement which comes with a high safety profile and is backed by evidence which fully supports is efficiency. Creatine works by increasing the levels of creatine and phosphocreatine within the muscles, which helps to maintain energy during high-intensity exercises, such as weight lifting. It is also known that increasing the availability of phosphocreatine within the body can help to speed up the recovery process in between sets and sessions.
Creatine is one of the most popular strength and muscle building supplements on the market. The recommended dose is around 20 grams per day, but when you first begin taking creatine monohydrate, you might notice that the number on the scales increase. For creatine to be able to work, it needs to hold onto water, so increased water within the cells can cause anything between 2-4 pounds of weight gain.
#4 Branch Chain Amino Acids
Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein and muscle. There are three specific kinds of amino acids(leucine, valine and isoleucine), which are often referred to as the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and these are particularly beneficial for those who are muscle building or weight training. When taken either during or after a workout, BCAAs have been shown to reduce soreness, improve endurance and increase muscle synthesis.
BCAAs, particularly leucine, help to regulate and steady the levels of protein metabolism by promoting protein synthesis, which then suppresses protein degradation. This can improve the recovery of muscles which are damaged during weight and resistance training.
#5 Nitric Oxide Boosters
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a substance which is produced by pretty much every cell in the body which acts as a vasodilator and relaxes the blood vessels. This then helps to increase blood flow to the various muscles and tissues which need it. There are many different types of supplements and foods, such as radishes, beetroot and pomegranates, which help to boost the production of NO and are used for treating a wide variety of health conditions, but it can also help with strength development.
Nitric Oxide helps bodybuilders as it has been shown to decrease the sensation of muscle soreness. Popular NO-boosting supplements are citrulline malate or L-citrulline and these have been proven to reduce muscle soreness by increasing NO production. Some bodybuilders have found that adding pomegranate and/or beetroot juice, extract or powder to their supplement intake has boosted their performance and helped with recovery tenderness.
#6 Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats are essential for human nutrition and they must come directly from the diet. The three types of omega-3 – DHA, EPA and ALA – have all been researched extensively for their disease-preventing and anti-inflammatory benefits. DHA and EPA are primarily found in fish, whereas ALA is a plant-based form of omega-3 and can be found in walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds. However, our bodies have to convert ALA into active omega-3, so whilst it is beneficial, the low conversion rate makes it slightly less effective.
For bodybuilders, the biggest benefit of omega-3s is the effect it has on exercise recovery and the reduction of muscle soreness following a workout. When you feel soreness after a tough workout, this is due to inflammation and omega-3s a known for being powerful anti-inflammatories.
#7 Fish Oil
Fish oils are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and for bodybuilders and strength athletes, their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are what make them all that more appealing. Intense training, such as bodybuilding, causes small, microscopic tears within the muscle fibres, which then leads to muscle damage and inflammation. Although some inflammation is needed, too much can put a delay on the recovery process following workouts.
There are many different options when it comes to omega-3 supplements. DHA and EPA fish oil contain active forms of the fat, so are the most effective. If you don’t have dietary requirements, such as being a vegetarian or vegan, then you should choose to take a fish oil supplement as a way to meet your omega-3 needs, but be sure to choose a supplement which does not contain any mercury.