This is the ten million dollar question – ‘What bodybuilding supplements should I take?’
Well, if you are just starting out using supplements then it is a good strategy to keep it simple and to see what works for you because everybody is different.
Realistically you don’t want to be blowing a lot of money on products that may or may not work and remember that just because the adverts in the bodybuilding magazines say they are the ‘best’ – this is not always the case!
A top tip to always set yourself a budget when buying bodybuilding supplements and stick within this figure.
You can always add to your arsenal when you know that the supplement that you are using – really does work for you!
However there is a huge amount of choice on the market and by doing your homework to match the supplements your physique/training goals, combined with a solid process of elimination throughout your cycle; will definitely save you a lot of cash in the long run.
The following are three key supplements that should be used across the board, as they do help to build muscle mass and strength. Please read on….
Creatine is made up of 3 amino acids and these include arginine, glycine and methionine.
There are vast amounts of robust scientific research that supplementing with creatine can help you to gain some muscle mass, increase strength levels, reduce fatigue and recovery times post exercise.
Creatine works in a number of different ways and these are as follows:
- It works primarily on the fat twitch muscle fibres giving them an immediate energy supply and this ensures that you can work at higher intensities for longer durations when lifting
- This increases the lifters creatine storage capacity and this facilitates an increase in maximal power output, muscular strength, it reduces time to fatigue and recovery times in between setsIt
- pulls water into the muscle cells and mechanism increases the cell’s volumization and its overall size
- It increases the anabolic hormone IGF-1 which is an important element in building muscle mass
- It decreases muscle cell damage and inflammation caused by the stress of lifting
When bulking it is recommended to add 2-4 grams of creatine into your isolate whey protein shake about 20 minutes before you start your session. This strategy will ensure that your muscle is loaded with creatine and this will enable you to pump out a lot more reps.
Once you have finished your workout consume another 1-2 grams of creatine with some fast acting carb mixed into a protein shake.
After you have finished training your muscle is like a sponge and by adding some creatine into the mix will further increase your muscle growth via the boosting IGF-1 levels.
A top tip is drink lots of water to flush your kidneys when supplementing with creatine.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
The BCAAs are made up of leucine, isoleucine and valine and these are absolutely vital for building muscle mass and repairing any damage caused by lifting.
Leucine is the most beneficial out of all three of the BCAA’s and research indicates that it can facilitate protein synthesis on its own by activating the mTOR pathway. Adequate levels of Leucine are essential for mTOR pathway activation and there is evidence to suggest that is switched off and protein synthesis is shut down when levels of this particular BCAAs are running low.
However it is still the best strategy to take of all the BCAAs together as they work in unison to provide a large number of benefits which include the following:
- They increase muscle growth by binding a higher number of amino acids together to form stronger muscle tissues
- They increase insulin levels which is a catalyst for protein synthesis to occur
- They blunt the level of cortisol in the blood which is a catabolic hormone
- They increase human growth hormone levels which is an anabolic hormone which is essential for muscle growth
- They delay the onset of fatigue which any lifter knows that this really does hurt 2 days post exercise
It is recommended to take BCAAs with your breakfast, as well as in your pre and post workout shakes. Many whey protein powders have BCAAs already in them but ensure that they have higher amounts of leucine compared to isoleucine and valine. A ratio of 2:1 is probably best when looking at the ingredients on your container.
Yes glutamine has made the top 3 essential supplements for bodybuilders.
Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in the human body. It plays a vital role in protein metabolism, shunting nitrogen into the muscle tissue; it increases the muscle cells size and helps to block acidosis caused by lifting.
An increase in muscle pH can have a catabolic impact on its development and this is bad news when trying to build muscle mass.
Glutamine helps to build muscle by increasing the levels of leucine within the muscle fibres and it also decreases muscle fatigue enabling you to work longer and harder at the gym.
This key amino acid boosts your immune function which enables you to recover quicker post exercise and it increase your human growth hormone levels which are essential for building muscle mass.
In terms of supplementation it is recommended that you take 5-10 grams of glutamine pre and post workout.