Top Supplements For Bodybuilding
In this post I will detail the top supplements for bodybuilding. There will be some that I am sure you are already using, but others which you may not be. The whole idea of supplements is to give your body something extra which you may not be getting already in your diet. They can compliment as well as enhance your diet and nutrition. If you choose the right supplements you can give yourself a decent edge in your bodybuilding efforts and also become healthier in the process. Health is the number one asset after all.
Whey protein is a great supplement and is widely used in the bodybuilding community. Whilst it is true that you can add more protein into your diet through whole foods, this may not always be possible. Whey protein is a convenient way to boost your protein intake. You don’t have to consume protein shakes, you can also add whey into your diet in different ways. For instance you can make high protein rice krispies or flapjacks. I like to add whey to my greek yoghurt. It tastes good and as greek yoghurt is mostly casein protein; you have a blend of both fast digesting and slow digesting proteins.
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Creatine is a tried and tested supplement and has been proven to increase strength and lean muscle mass over a relatively short period of time. It is just a combination of three amino acids – arginine, glycine and methionine. These amino acids are already found naturally in meat and fish. ATP is energy that is stored in the muscle cells, creatine helps to regenerate this ATP. Thus creatine enhances physical performance by increasing the times that ATP energy can recycle itself.
My personal favourite is creatine monohydrate. One thing I wouldn’t recommend with creatine is to do “the loading phase” where you ramp up the amount of creatine you consume at the start and then taper down as time goes on. It is better to just take a steady amount of 5-10g a day consistently. This is all you need to do to have adequate creatine in your system. There have never been any serious side effects from creatine supplementation ever recorded in research. This shows that creatine is a very safe supplement. Creatine also helps with heart health, brain function, chronic fatigue and a lot more.
Magnesium glycinate is a very important supplement that improve sleep quality and therefore is very helpful for bodybuilders. It can improve their recovery from gym sessions as well as reducing tiredness from having had better sleep. It also helps in insulin function and assists over 300 other bodily functions. A link has been found between insufficient magnesium intake and higher incidences of muscular pain and tendon injuries. Therefore it really is important from a health aspect to top up your levels of magnesium. Cashews and almonds are foods that are high in magnesium, consider adding these into your diet along with magnesium glycinate.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 fish oil is another essential supplement for bodybuilding and also for everyday life. Fish oil helps to protect against heart and inflammatory diseases. The three main omega 3 fatty acids are ALA, DHA and EPA. Fish is a good source of both DHA and EPA, if you don’t consume much fish then it is very important to supplement with fish oils.
Some of the benefits bodybuilders can expect from fish oil supplementation include:
- Reduced muscle damage after exercise
- Improved athletic performance
- Slows down age related muscle loss (sarcopenia)
Zinc is a great supplement as it has been shown to increase testosterone levels naturally. It also acts as an antioxidant and can slow down the aging process. This means that it can reduce sarcopenia. All you need to reap the benefits of zinc is a consistent daily supplementation of around 30-40mg. Some foods high in zinc include red meat, oysters, seeds and nuts. As a reference, 8 ounces of rib eye steak contain around 25mg of zinc.
Vitamin D is another key supplement that many people are deficient in. Deficiency in this vitamin is associated with muscle weakness and atrophy. It is very important to make sure that you supplement this vitamin into your diet on a daily basis. Vitamin D has the potential to alter protein synthesis in muscle cells. Also many studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and low testosterone levels. This only enhances the case for ensuring adequate supplementation.
Vitamin C is a crucial supplement for bodybuilders. It is an antioxidant powerhouse and drastically improves the body’s ability to recover. It has been known to significantly reduce the time taken to recover after a cold and is very important for strengthening the immune system.
Vitamin C can also strengthen the walls of the arteries and is good for people with high blood pressure. For bodybuilders vitamin C is essential for improving recovery after strenuous training sessions. This will massively improve your bodybuilding efforts in the gym and reduce the likelihood of “over-training”. This vitamin can help to preserve muscle mass as you age, it is so good that Scot Mendelson swears by it. Scot is well known as a famous bench presser and he is still in the game at over 50 years old! For bodybuilders and athletes you need to supplement with a higher dose of vitamin C, as a minimum 1000mg a day. Some foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, kiwis and cantaloupes.
In this article I have outlined the top supplements for bodybuilding. These are all you really need to go along with your normal bodybuilding diet to maximise your efforts. Proper supplementation is important for improving your overall health which in turn improves your success in bodybuilding.
Poor supplementation can result in a decline in health and also detrimentally affect other areas of your life. If you have any questions about any of the supplements I have talked about in this post, please leave me a comment below. I would be happy to answer any of your questions. As always, enjoy your training!