The Ultimate Guide to the Best Supplements for Bodybuilding

As a bodybuilder, you know that quality protein supplementation is essential for muscle mass gain. Learn about whey protein, creatine & more.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Supplements for Bodybuilding

As a bodybuilder, you know that quality protein supplementation is essential for muscle mass gain. The best absorbed form of protein is whey protein, which is often used after training and with meals to complete protein balance. Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve the quality of resistance training, leading to strength and performance gains of between 5 and 15 percent. Caffeine is a widely used stimulant that can be beneficial during high-intensity, high-volume workouts, as it decreases fatigue rates and decreases the perception of exertion.

Citrulline malate (CM) is an anti-fatigue supplement that has become popular for its performance-boosting effects. Studies have shown that a single dose of CM (8 grams) increased the number of repetitions performed during an upper body resistance training protocol and reduced pain 24 and 48 hours after exercise. Protein supplementation during prolonged resistance training (more than 6 weeks) can lead to significantly greater increases in muscle mass and strength in comparison with resistance training without protein intervention in the diet. Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that plays an important role in repair and recovery.

It eliminates excess ammonia, which can build up during intense exercise, helping to regulate the body's acid-base balance. People who do intense resistance training, training sessions twice a day, or who have a calorie deficit can benefit from the additional support of glutamine supplementation. Fish oils are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Intense resistance training can cause microscopic tears in muscle fibers, leading to muscle damage and inflammation.

Fish oils can help reduce this swelling and delay the recovery process after exercise. Creatine is perhaps the most efficient supplement if you do a high-intensity activity, but if your main exercise consists of aerobic exercise and your goal is to increase work capacity, creatine would be a total waste of money. Few supplements have the solid scientific basis of creatine; studies show that it is effective for 80 percent of those who use it. Creatine acts as a backup phosphate donor for the replacement of ATP, the most elemental form of energy and the source of energy for all muscle contractions.

It also helps neutralize acidity, which reduces energy production in trained muscles. If you don't eat fatty fish at least three times a week, you'll be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that this is the case for approximately 80 percent of people. Omega-3s help prevent several types of cancer, improve insulin sensitivity, make cell membranes more flexible so that hormones can interact more efficiently with cell receptors, reduce body fat synthesis and reduce inflammation. The liquid form of omega-3 supplements is preferred because they are replaced less after swallowing and because many capsules are needed to obtain the five-gram dose. Exercise produces oxidative reactions that would normally be toxic to the body.

Supplemental antioxidants help them combat numerous toxic oxidants, such as the free radicals that are produced when exercise increases oxygen metabolism. Don't get carried away by alarmist studies; all antioxidants work as a team.

Joshua Nessner
Joshua Nessner

Evil food guru. Typical twitter scholar. Incurable web enthusiast. Award-winning beer advocate. Travelaholic.

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