Bodybuilding has gained a lot of popularity in the past few decades, all thanks to some of the fore fathers like Arnold Schwarzenegger for popularizing it.
The added benefit in bodybuilding apart from a sculpted figure was good general health and often bodybuilders are less likely to carry any modern lifestyle diseases.
Along with the world of bodybuilders did grow another industry which shares a symbiotic association with each other.
It’s none other than the supplement industry which is now valued at $32 billion dollars worldwide and expected to hit $45 billion by 2022.
As per one of the latest survey, 81% of newbie bodybuilders would use a bodybuilding supplement of some kind to enhance their result.
While whey protein being the market king, others like general mass gainers, creatine, nitric oxide, etc. are also popular.
Until now, many of the bodybuilders would prefer to stick with whey protein as their only supplement but many studies show why a lot of micronutrient supplements are also important.
In this article, we are addressing some of the general doubts that might be with many of you who needs a buying guide for supplements.
So without further ado, let’s nose dive into and see what’s below.
What are the muscle building supplements?
A muscle building supplement or a bodybuilding supplement are those food extracts that helps in improving physical performance during weight training.
As the name suggests they supplement the body with some elements that are vital in muscle growth, and this supplemented stuff is likely to be deficient in the general diet, but very much needed for a sculpted and buffed muscle.
They help in stimulating muscle cells to proliferate more along with maintaining an apt fat- protein composition to give you a lean muscle structure.
Weight lifting is a form of resistance training that put a lot of pressure and strain on the muscle tissue which creates a lot of micro tears.
When the body has an injury the immunity kicks in and repairs it quickly; it is this repair mechanism that helps in gaining more and more muscle mass.
Apart from mainstream supplements, nowadays you can see a variety of other products that would supplement a different nutrient whose intake would benefit muscle building in a different way.
Supplements are very much required for intermediates or advanced bodybuilders since the muscle growth would hit a plateau phase after the initial resistance training.
Therefore beginners usually do not prefer macronutrient supplement, while taking other subsidiary supplements could help them survive the initial muscle stiffness and resistance.
Are muscle building supplements safe?
Generally, the majority of muscle building supplements are safe to use since they rely on extracts of macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fats, branched chain amino acids, etc.
Products sold in the USA or Europe are usually certified by their respective authorities in order to ensure safety aspects.
Also, health supplements are produced in a cGMP facility under the guidelines and rules set by the FDA or ED-GMP.
One good thing is products like whey protein or casein protein, isolates, BCAA, Folic acid, etc. are of organic origin.
They are usually extracted from dairy products, plants and sometimes from meat as well.
Organic origin of supplements means there are no chemical additives or stimulants to enhance the desired results.
One point to be noted is about knock-offs and low-quality bodybuilding supplements who uses steroids instead of expensive organic extracts to achieve false positive results.
There are certain anabolic steroids that can be mixed with the supplement powder or capsule in to boost the muscle development artificially.
Most of the bodybuilding associations have banned steroid usage due to health concern and their artificial potential to boost muscle growth.
Always go with good quality, reputed, certified, and popular bodybuilding supplements like the one reviewed on our website.
What muscle supplements actually work?
Bodybuilding is often done by resistance training, in which the human body is put to test by stretching to the extreme limits by lifting weights focused on a particular body part or muscle.
This results in micro tears on the tissue, which gets healed post workout. This phase is called a recovery phase.
So one must give ample time for the body to heal all these micro tears and that’s why a break between work-out sessions must be given.
For advanced bodybuilders usually, this recovery time is reduced since their muscles are easily adapted to the resistance training.
Healing of micro tears takes place by cytokinesis or cell division and for this, you need certain nutrients in surplus than how much you acquire from the diet.
That’s the reason why supplementation comes in to play and it’s unavoidably crucial, especially if you are an intermediate or an advanced bodybuilder.
Let us see how some of the mainstream supplements work:
- It is an organic amino acid that exists in the body naturally and synthesized by liver, pancreas, and kidney.
- It stimulates the production of ‘Adenosine triphosphate’ or ATP which is the energy currency of our body.
- Creatine plays a major role in the repair and recovery of muscles post workout.
- ‘Creatine monophosphate’ is how you get the product, and the body converts it to phosphocreatine and stores in muscle cells.
- When you need energy this is phosphocreatine quickly gets converted into ATP and results in an energy outburst.
- Mainly used by athletes and bodybuilders to for stamina, and if you need an extra boost of power during a workout then creatine is a perfect choice.
- It is the main building block of muscle that helps in growth maintenance and repair of muscle cells.
- Proteins are made by amino acids and in its basic form they take part in many metabolic processes from cell growth to brain signaling.
- Protein makes up 80% of muscle mass devoid of water and has a major role in cell biology and ECM formation.
- Protein supplements are usually available in three compositions, namely: concentrates (80% protein content and rest non-protein nutrients), isolates (90% protein and remaining non-protein nutrients) and hydrolysates (contains partially digested proteins).
- Various types of protein supplements are: Whey, Casein, Milk, Egg, and Pea.
- A protein supplement can be purchased by anyone looking for little less meat overloaded diet.
3. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
- Proteins are the building block of muscle and BCAAs are a special group of amino acids that is more beneficial than general protein supplements.
- BCAAs ensure quick recovery, reduced fatigue, and improved protein absorption.
- It is a combination of three essential amino acids that one must acquire through diet.
- Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are three amino acids that constitute BCAA.
- The main advantage is that due to the branches in their structure they are easily metabolized by skeletal muscle instead of liver.
- BCAA are known to enhance the muscle protein synthesis by anabolic as well as anti-catabolic mechanisms.
- They also take part in ATP production, which is very much needed for stamina and endurance.
- In general, all bodybuilders are recommended to increase the ratio of BCAA in supplementation for balanced muscle growth.
4. Fish Oil
- The active comments in fish oil supplements are mainly Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
- They are generally stored in the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane and which in turn enhances the usage of stored fats in the body.
- Also, these compounds have anti-oxidants properties and also reduces the inflammatory response due to high intense workouts.
- In bodybuilding muscle gain is directly proportional to the rate of synthesis minus rate of degradation.
- DHA and EPA can increase the muscle protein synthesis at the same time reduce protein degradation thus in the bigger picture turning out to be beneficial.
- They are also known to increase the cardio output and stroke volume, meaning more blood is pumped into organs and keeps the tissue oxygenated all time.
- Fish oil can be taken by the general public; however, its profound benefits on bodybuilding make it an essential supplement for all bodybuilders.
- It is the most abundant muscle protein in the skeletal muscle system comprising of a whopping 61% of total.
- So if you supplement Glutamine directly, it means you are adding it to the muscle bulk directly.
- Studies say that after an intense workout Glutamine content in the muscle can reduce drastically and the recovery from the general diet can take up to 6 days to replenish which is a long wait for bodybuilders.
- Glutamine plays an important role in muscle biosynthesis as well as reduce the degradation.
- Apart from muscle biosynthesis, Glutamine is an important requirement for small intestine activity and immune system.
- Glutamine should be taken by advanced or intermediate bodybuilders who already have set a standard muscle volume and need something to push the limits.
How can I make my muscle building supplements more effective with exercises?
In order to juice the best out of your bodybuilding supplements, you need to understand the basics of how supplements work.
They are just a helping hand in your muscle building process and none of them would exclusively make you buffed up.
The workout is the ultimate key or the motivation behind all bodybuilding successes and the same has to be done with ultra-dedication.
Choosing the right supplement contributes a lot towards the end result.
For beginners, a general mass gainer would be enough since the body takes a while to get adapted with weight lifting.
They may also take fish oil and creatine supplement for improved stamina to survive the workout sessions.
For intermediate bodybuilders, a little more like whey protein isolates, BCAA, fish oil can be taken adjuvant to high-intensity workout to tone muscles.
For advanced bodybuilders, they can try protein hydrolysates, along with BCAA, more improvised nitro boosters, and testosterone supplements to push the limits.
It’s always better to get a consultation from your nutritionist or trainer for a custom supplementation which might be helpful for a quicker result rather than trying random products.
All the above suggestions are a well-studied guide to help you choose the right supplement from an ocean of products which keeps on adding in number day by day.