With the vast array of bodybuilding supplements on the market today it is no wonder that even experienced bodybuilders and athletes are baffled as to which to use for performance and maximizing gains from weight training.
Bodybuilding supplements are an essential part of gaining muscle, strength, size and even definition. We get asked so many times, “what should I take?” Well, there are so many Bodybuilding supplements to choose from and so many manufacturers. And everyone is different, some are good and some are not so good.
Bodybuilding supplements we’ve used over the years are many. We train hard and heavy! We both need nutrients, and food doesn’t always cover all that is required especially in restricted diets like competition diets.
These are just some of the reasons why we take bodybuilding supplements. We also take certain supplements to help us train hard and recover quicker from our intense workouts. We also need quality protein supplements to maintain our physiques for muscle growth and even recovery. This review is based solely on our professional opinion and experience.
Protein Powders Supplements
A few years ago, a new system of filtration identified ion-exchange whey protein as a top-quality protein source. Before then, protein powders were cheap, poor quality soy protein, or egg white protein, which mixes like a froth. The discussion on whey protein continues.
There is no doubt as to its high biological value and similar amino acid profile to human muscle tissue, and that it is digested and absorbed into muscles quickly. Some people feel it passes too quickly through our gut though, so not all is available for absorption. Again, that is an assumption and I personally do not feel that is the case.
Other quality protein powders are combination ones, containing two or more sources of protein. These often include whey, but other sources as well, so there is more staged digestion of the protein. If at all possible get a combination of proteins from your protein source.
All quality whey and combination protein powders are invaluable to the bodybuilder. Get a good protein supplement, as it is often impractical and very hard to eat the amount of protein foods required for optimal gains. You can mix your protein with water or some 2% milk or even do like my husband and add some heavy cream.
Weight And Mass Gainers Supplements
What about weight gain powders? These are great for hard-gainers, high school student-athletes and those who just need some extra calories. I prefer a weight gain powder supplement to a meal replacement (MRP).
Some of these weight gainers are very, very high-calorie formulas full of simple carbohydrates and lots of fats but there are ones out there if you research that are moderately high calorie with a high protein mixture. Typically these are 650 calories, 50g plus protein per serving range, and can be mixed with water or skim milk also.
Amino Acid Supplements
Adding amino acids to every meal is useful for improving protein quality. Try and avoid the tablets, as these have binders making them harder to be absorbed. Get capsule form because they are more easily digested. I am a big believer in mixing two or more sources of protein at each meal.
Remember that we are bodybuilders, and the protein sources we eat may be ‘incomplete’ and we have higher demands for each amino acid than ‘normal’ people do. If it’s impractical to mix proteins, take a few amino acid capsules to help ensure quality protein at each meal. Not necessary with whole egg sources, as these are already high-quality protein sources.
Amino acids are, in my personal opinion, the best on the market. Most of the time we do not get all our amino’s in each meal, so to help this and to get full saturation into the lymph one must take a good amino acid profile with each meal. I take 4 amino acid capsules with each meal. Amino acids are not essential but could be useful for more advanced bodybuilders to take with food.
I will not recommend any particular types, I’ll leave that for you to decide which you prefer; but avoid the high sugar (glucose) ones that are full of calories, as these can have a rebound effect on your energy levels and, in fact, cause sluggishness.
Energy drinks come in a vast array of different concoctions, some just sugar-based and some containing a range of stimulants like caffeine, guarana, and ephedra. These are expensive but taste good and many individuals feel they need them to train after a hard day at work. I like my basic cup of “regular” coffee – cream, no sugar, please!
OK, here we go, the continued debate and confusion over how to take and when to take creatine. Creatine is probably the most scientifically researched supplement ever and the only conclusive results in on creatine is that it does improve performance. I guess that’s why most NCAA schools ban creatine use.
Here’s the 411: ATP is used for energy, by being broken down to ADP and AMP. Creatine Phosphate (CP) is found in muscle cells and replenishes ADP/AMP to ATP, hence more ATP is available for energy. It has been found that muscles can store far more CP than is possible to obtain from food (creatine is found in meat), so by supplementing with creatine monohydrate you can maximize these stores.
More CP stored in muscle also draws water into muscle and makes it fuller and stronger. Not only does creatine allow you to have more energy to help lift heavier weights, train harder and at a higher intensity, but it also has other benefits to the bodybuilder.
It has been demonstrated that creatine may also promote muscle growth by stimulating protein synthesis in two ways. Firstly, from the increased work you are able to do as a result of the above actions. But also, creatine’s other principle function is as a cell volumizer, the more CP that is stored in the muscle, the more water is drawn in.
This aids the ability to work, enhances the muscle ‘pump’ and helps to trigger protein synthesis, minimizes protein breakdown and increase glycogen synthesis. If a muscle is then trained properly, this could lead to enhanced muscle growth. The above information can be found on any label of your creatine supplement.
How To Use Creatine:
Well, I only do the loading phase for two weeks and then stay off creatine for three weeks and then repeat the load phase again for two weeks. That’s me, as I was told by an individual with several Doctorates in Bio-Chem. He told me if I want the anabolic effect just do the above.
You will hear a number ways of using creatine, some say to take with a carbohydrate; some say to take with a hot beverage so it dissolves and is absorbed more easily; some advocate a loading and maintenance phase (most do); some say only a maintenance dose of 5g a day and loading is a waste.
Take your Creatine with simple carbohydrates. But, don’t take it with grape juice anymore, that’s old info and incorrect use.
There are many pre-formulated creatine and carb supplements available, but these can be expensive and contain unnecessary amounts of sugars, it is far cheaper and better to add your own carbs.
My advice before taking creatine is to investigate and study all data available. Do not go online and ask someone how to use it. Investigate, try it in all the above ways, during different periods of course, and see what best works for you.
If you do feel glutamine is worth it, take it at least half an hour away from other protein sources, as other amino acids will compete for receptor uptake. Glutamine has its place for the more advanced bodybuilder, in aiding recovery. I personally take about 5,000 mg a day.
Tips For Proper Supplementation
Now, remember there are two kinds of people that workout. The real hardcore and wanna-be individuals who talk the talk and complain about this and that. Shut up and walk the walk and stop being a whining baby.
If you’re not 100% hardcore, get the Fuck out now! So, if you’re serious about bodybuilding or your own version of hardcore training then you have to understand that training, supplementation, and eating is a way of life, a philosophy, a do or die attitude that focuses on everything in your world. We all want to grow. For us, it’s all about nutrition, supplementation and heavy training.
Supplementation is the only tool that can compensate for the abuse we put our bodies through. Here is one simple way to help maximize your training: protein and more protein. Protein overloading is the key to the next mutation. Take 1.2g or as high as 1.5 g per pound of bodyweight!
To aid in the absorption of protein uptake and assimilation take a good amino acid and lots of glutamine for muscle assimilation. Also, increase your caloric intake on a weekly basis. Do not ease up on cardio. Some say to back off on cardio when bulking or trying to gain weight and size, I do not. Maintain at least 20 minutes every day or at least 3 times a week.
Some of you out there cannot afford to get all your supplements month after month so my advice is this, save your money and do it all out for one month. Get all your bodybuilding supplements for one month so to saturate your system.
Remember to go all out hardcore balls-to-the-walls training during this month too. Do your supplements, nutrition, and training right for one month and watch the thing in the mirror change. Get big, stay big and always remember to stay hardcore!