What Supplements Do Bodybuilders Really Need to Take?

Protein is essential for bodybuilders looking to build muscle mass but there are other supplements like BCAA's creatine caffeine citrulline malate glutamine fish oils whey protein powder L-citrulline beta alanine that can help too! Find out which ones are best for

What Supplements Do Bodybuilders Really Need to Take?

Protein is not surprising that it is the most important macronutrient the body needs to develop those larger, stronger muscles.


: branched chain amino acids. Long-term creatine supplementation appears to improve the quality of resistance training, generally leading to strength and performance gains of between 5 and 15 percent more.


may be the world's most widely used stimulant, and for good reason.

It has been repeatedly demonstrated to be an effective ergogenic aid in both endurance exercise and high-intensity activity. However, when it comes to strength performance, the effects of caffeine are a bit more confusing. That said, caffeine has been shown to decrease fatigue rates and decrease the perception of exertion, which can be beneficial during high-intensity, high-volume workouts, or if you just need a little energy before putting on the weights.

Citrulline malate

(CM) was originally marketed as an anti-fatigue supplement.

In fact, if you were to travel back in time for about 40 years, you would discover that CM is prescribed to treat mental and physical fatigue in post-surgical patients. More recently, CM has become popular for its performance-boosting effects. Previous research has 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 (compared to a placebo). A recent review article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlighted the benefits of protein supplementation and showed that 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.

While this non-essential amino acid may not produce devastating RP or extreme muscle growth, it plays an important role in repair and recovery.


works by eliminating 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 countless benefits for the body.

For strength athletes and bodybuilders, we're more concerned about its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Intense resistance training can cause microscopic tears in muscle fibers, leading to muscle damage and inflammation. While a little swelling is desirable, too much can delay the recovery process after exercise. In addition, high-quality whey protein powder tastes good and tends to provide a lot of protein for every dollar spent, making it practical and cost-effective.

A better approach is to supplement with vegetable protein powder. Generally speaking, the best plant-based protein supplements for building muscle quickly are rice and pea protein blends. This is because they are easily digested, taste good and contain high amounts of the essential amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, making them particularly good for building muscle.


is relatively cheap and taking about 20 grams a day for the first 5 to 7 days may or may not help creatine to exert its benefits sooner.

For years, many people thought it was necessary to take creatine after training to maximize its effects, but more recent research has found that this is not the case. You can take creatine at any time of the day and get all the benefits.


boosts metabolism, improves strength, promotes muscle endurance and improves anaerobic performance. To put those numbers into perspective, 6 milligrams per kilogram would be about 300 milligrams for a 120-pound woman (~3 cups of coffee) and 500 milligrams (~5 cups) for a 180-pound man.

That's much more than most people eat before training, which is usually close to 100 to 200 milligrams.


supplements were able to do about 53% more repetitions on the bench press than participants who took a placebo. In addition, the group that took L-citrulline experienced 40% less muscle pain. This is also consistent with the results of several other studies.

For example, in a study conducted by scientists at the Timone School of Medicine, daily supplementation with L-citrulline increased cellular energy (ATP) production during exercise by 34%, allowing you to train at higher intensities for longer periods of time.


allowed participants to do an average of 22% more repetitions and lift 18% more total weight in each workout than when taking a placebo. Beta-alanine is similar to creatine in that its effects are cumulative in nature. It takes several weeks to increase carnosine levels in your muscles enough to improve your performance.

That's why studies show that taking small doses throughout the day is as beneficial as taking it right before training. Companies that sell it as a muscle-building supplement often cite some studies as proof that it should be considered as one of the best supplements for muscle growth that you can buy. Taking our 60-second quiz now can help you learn which supplements can help you reach your fitness goals faster.

Joshua Nessner
Joshua Nessner

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

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