Beginner's Guide To Supplements

Beginner's Guide To Supplements

Beginner's Guide To Supplements

With so many types of products on the market, it becomes increasingly difficult to figure out what to take first. There are hundreds of varieties, each with its role. Below are the main bodybuilding supplements to look for:

 

Amino acids and branched chain amino acids (BCAA)Amino acids are the "blocks" which stack up proteins. They are of two kinds:

 - essential amino acids which cannot be synthesized by the human body (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, lysine, methionine, Phenylalanine, threonine, and tryptophan), and thus must be present in the diet at all times.

 - non-essential amino acids (alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine) which the body may produce itself.

Among the essential amino acids, 3 are of great importance for athletes. These are leucine, isoleucine and valine and they are so important because they are not metabolized in the skeletal muscle and the liver, as happens with other amino acids. Thus, the proteins digested with branched chain amino acids may be used for the construction of other proteins, as a source of energy or as precursors to the formation of other amino acids.

 

Creatine

Creatine is naturally present in the body, especially in skeletal muscle. Creatine sources are chicken, cow or fish. Creatine is destroyed, however, through cooking, so supplements remain the best source of it.

 Creatine is very effective for increasing muscle mass and boosting the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate - the main source of energy for muscles' explosive power). Thus, it allows you to perform more repetitions and sets with higher weights, which in turn help you gain bigger and stronger muscles.

Creatine should be cycled. Many athletes have been very successful when taking creatine for 4 weeks, followed by two weeks of rest. There are many types of creatine such as creatine monohydrate, pure liquid creatine, micronized creatine and many others. Of creatine-based supplements, the best are those containing dextrose, amino acids and other ingredients. However, a cheaper alternative such as micronized creatine taken with fruit juice is not a bad choice. Whatever the chosen supplement is, creatine should be taken after training.

Glutamine

This is most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue. Prevents muscle cell damage and improves recovery. Glutamine can be taken throughout the year. Glutamine should not be taken simultaneously with creatine as competing with one another for the receptors to be absorbed. Therefore, glutamine and creatine should be taken before and after the training, respectively. 

Multivitamins

Do not neglect them. If your body lacks one mineral or vitamin, your physical progress can be seriously affected. Therefore, a multivitamin supplement is mandatory for gaining muscle mass and maintaining a positive health state in general.

 Those who go the gym need higher amounts of vitamins minerals than sedentary individuals, and might not be able to find gain them all through fruits and regular foods.

 

Protein Powders

 Protein powder shakes are a very convenient solution to assure yourself quality protein. Proteins are made of amino acids, also called " the building blocks" that construct core muscles. Thus, proteins are of utmost importance in enhancing muscle mass. A bodybuilder should ensure 1.5-2 g of protein per body kg. Thus, a sportsman weighing 100 kg should ideally consume 150-200g of protein per day. The problem is finding a large amount of protein but with minimum calories from fat. That's where supplements come in, all tailored for the needs of each athlete.

The main sources of protein powders are whey, soy, eggs, and casein, each with its specific characteristics.

Whey - Whey protein is the ideal post-workout supplement because that is the time when the body needs most protein, and whey is digested very quickly (in about 30 minutes). Whey protein powders are presented in three main forms:

Whey protein isolate (WPI) - has a high protein content (90%) is low in fat and carbohydrates.

Whey protein concentrate (WPC) - it contains the less protein (29% -89%) and more fat and carbohydrates from whey protein isolate.

Hydrolysed whey protein - protein is "predigested" and therefore have the fastest absorption rate. More than half of hydrolysed protein consumed quickly pass through the stomach and are absorbed directly into the small intestine.

Casein - is digested slowly (2-7 hours). It is a very good supplement taken before bedtime. At night, when you sleep, the body receives nutrients and is a constant source of casein protein in this period due to slow absorption.

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