Supplements are inextricably linked to bodybuilding as mentioned on orlandoweekly. There are three pillars to support muscle building: the first is bodybuilding exercises, the second is a healthy and rounded muscle building diet and the third correct bodybuilding diet supplements to support muscle growth.
In some circles, supplements is code for steroids but as every man and his dog knows that steroids are not conducive to long term health, can be expensive and are often illegal. Hence this article is going to focus on the “other” type of supplements – the good muscle building supplements that you can get in health food and online stores.
What is a Bodybuilding Supplement?
A supplement is a chemical or substance that is normally naturally occurring but may not necessarily be in its natural state. For example creatine and vitamin C are both naturally occurring substance but are not found in nature in powder or tablet form. You can get both of these substances from food but, to get them into supplement form, some processing is required. That means that “natural supplement” is a somewhat oxymoronic term but that’s a topic for a whole other article!
Supplements are designed to ensure you get enough of or more than usual of a particular nutrient that is not normally present in your diet. That nutrient will have a positive effect on some aspect or other of your physiology.
For example, some supplements are muscle enhancers because they increase anabolic hormone production – Hyper GH 14X is a good example of this.
What a Supplement is Not
Supplements are not drugs although some exhibit a drug-like effect. They are not supposed to be used to the diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition although, in the case of substances like bodybuilding creatine and fish oil, they can actually be very effective for treating some common and less common illnesses. Don’t tell your doctor though or, before you know it, you’ll need a prescription to buy even muscle building vitamins!
Supplements should, in the vast majority of cases, not cause a positive result if you compete in a drug tested sport but should enhance your own natural bodily processes. For example, a testosterone or HGH booster is fine and perfectly legal according to the IOC or International Olympic Committee while the use of actual testosterone and growth hormone is not.
A Brief Review of Some Important Bodybuilding Supplements that Work
With so many supplements available and new ones being launched every week, this is a hard question to answer but there are several types of supplements that are important to muscle growth and so worth discussing. Consider this as the best bodybuilding supplements that work guide:
- Bodybuilding Benefits of ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium & Vitamin B)
Vitamins and minerals – vitamins and minerals are essential for health and the healthier you are, the better your body will recover from workouts and build muscle. Zinc and magnesium, combined with Vitamin B6 is often sold together as ZMA supplements, a natural sleep enhancer and anabolic hormone booster.
You should be able to get most of the vitamins and minerals from your diet but taking supplemental “vits and mins” ensures you are getting everything you need to keep you healthy and isolated vitamins and minerals, like a aforementioned ZMA which has important bodybuilding benefits – it can be very performance enhancing.
This particular ZMA product from Optimum Nutrition is one of the best ZMA bodybuilding supplements available as it has been especially formulated for the muscle building community.
- Protein Powder – Bodybuilders Best Friend
Protein powder – muscle building protein powder is a cornerstone of many bodybuilders eating plans. Protein is essential for muscle growth and as eating a lot of protein is not always practical, protein powder can be very useful.
Protein powder can be derived from several sources including milk, egg, soya, hemp and rice but arguably the most popular and effective is whey protein.
A couple of servings of whey protein per day will ensure you hit your daily protein quota without having to eat chicken or tuna six-times a day.
There is no shortage of protein powders available, but one in particular stands out for being particularly pure, high quality and effective. It’s called WheyMax and is manufactured in the UK by PharmaMuscle.
To summarize: it’s made only with hydrolysed whey proteins that have been isolated to remove the excess lactose, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and fat. The result is a product that’s ultra-pure, quickly digested, and packed with muscle building and replenishing amino acids.
And this product has a lot of testimonials (click here to see and scroll down the page). For instance this one by Hayden:
I have only been using this for 3 weeks and have already put on more muscle than before. I can train for much longer and strength is increasing too with every work out. Its definitely one of the must haves in my diet.
Click here to check out WheyMax
- Muscle Building Creatine – Tried & Tested It Works!
Creatine – creatine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in your muscles and in meat. It plays an important role in energy production and, in particular, the formation of something called ATP which is essentially your body’s primary source of fuel.
Creatine has been around for 30+ years which suggests that it really does work. It has been heavily researched and both imperial and anecdotal evidence has proven its effectiveness. It’s no surprise that it’s many Bodybuilders staple supplement!
Creatine monohydrate is the most commonly used form of creatine but other types do exist.
This particular creatine from Muscle Advance has had excellent feedback. And at the time of writing you can get an incredible six months supply for just $150 or $25 per month! (and they deliver worldwide).
By contrast the – also excellent – CreaPlus weighs in at $46 per month!
- Fish Oil – Good for Everyone, Especially Hard Working Muscle Builders!
Fish oil – fish oil is not really a muscle growth supplement but it’s very useful for several other reasons. Firstly, it is anti-inflammatory.
Many hard-training bodybuilders suffer from sore joints and a couple of grams of fish oil per day has been shown to relieve mild to moderate joint pain.
Fish oil is also good for your heart and brain and can help promote fat burning. Another name for fish oil is EFA which is short of Essential Fatty Acids – THAT’S how important fish oil is!
Fish oil is reasonably easy to find, but not all fish oils are equal so get a good one! This one from Dr. Tobias and which is supplied by Amazon is top of the range triple strength fish oil. Very good indeed. Check it out here if you are interested.
- Pre-Workout Formulas – Used Correctly are of Massive Benefit
Pre-workout formulas – a more recent supplement, pre-workout formulas are designed to give you increased energy for training. Usually packed full of caffeine and other energising substances, a shot of pre-workout can mean the difference between skipping your workout entirely and setting personal bests.
Pre-workouts are certainly effective but it’s very easy to abuse them and if you have to use them all the time, that would suggest you aren’t getting enough rest between workouts, are sleep deprived or are over training. In contrast, if you only use one on your toughest bodybuilding workouts or for competition, they are generally safe.
Supplements can certainly enhance your training and recovery but will not make up for a bad diet, too little sleep or a badly designed workout plan. If you are looking for a miracle in a bottle then supplements aren’t for you but if you need a bit of a boost either in or out of the gym, supplements can be very beneficial.
Right now, research results suggest that large doses of supplements with antioxidants will not prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. In fact, some studies have shown that taking large doses of some antioxidants could be harmful. Again, it is best to check with your doctor before taking a dietary supplement.