Let’s face it. There is a myriad of information out there telling you that you need to take a dozen supplements three times per day in order to add mass. Bro science has every “bro” knowing more than the last with each of them telling you to take more and more in order to add inches to your arms every week. It is no wonder that bodybuilders quick lose faith when they do not attain these lofty goals.
Supplement companies are a dime a dozen these days, which has its merits and its problems. On one hand, there is more competition which leads to better science behind the products and more competitive pricing. On the other hand, there are low quality products out there and weeding through the maze of supplements can only be done by trial and error.
There is also the general lack of knowledge from bodybuilders about what to take for their primary fitness goals. Most have a lack of knowledge about how to train and eat for what goals they have assuming that they have been forward thinking enough to create goals.
First and foremost, people need to realize that supplements (for the most part) are just that – supplements. They are supplemental to your daily diet. You should try to get all of the nutrients that you need from your diet alone. In some cases, it is very hard. For some, they cannot eat enough calories every day, so a high calorie protein shake is necessary.
With all of this talk making supplements seem like a waste of time, that is far from how I feel. I take supplements every day myself, but I prefer to take a simplistic approach to my supplementation. I am a big believer in the basics of supplementation. Sure, I have tried a ton of various supplements, but I stick to the basics.
My first supplement that is fundamental to muscle growth and recovery is whey protein. I love to have a whey protein shake before and after a strenuous workout. Whey protein breaks down quickly, so it is ideal for repairing muscles that have been broken down by a tough workout.
A daily multi-vitamin can be your best friend when working out. Not only should everyone take a daily multi-vitamin, they are even more important for bodybuilders because muscles simply will not grow with a vitamin deficiency in the body.
BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) are another must. BCAAs are highly efficient in stimulating muscle growth and repair and are not amino acids that can be obtained from food, so I highly suggest 10-15 grams per day.
Creatine still seems to be the red-headed stepchild of supplements because there are so many myths spread about this highly effective supplement. Creatine aids in fueling the body’s phosphate energy system, which is highly responsible for muscular contractions during strenuous activities like weight lifting. Creatine also increases “the pump” while working out by drawing water into muscle cells, which gives you that amazing feeling of the muscles getting engorged while working out. “The pump” is so important in the stimulation of muscles. Creatine is also highly efficient is repair broken muscle tissue meaning that you can work out harder and more often with fear of over training.
I should also mention casein protein and glutamine as I enjoy these as well. Casein is my go to protein of choice at night because it breaks down much slower and allows our bodies to get a steady steam of quality protein during sleeping hours. Glutamine is also extremely cheap and effective with muscle repair.
Of course, supplements are only as good as your workouts. If you are not working out hard, then it does not make any sense is supplementing. Your workouts need to be highly intense. Your nutrition needs to be top notch and your supplementation needs to done correctly.