If you’ve ever ventured into the workout supplement section of your local supermarket of health food store, chances are you’ve seen row after row of weird and wonderful powders and thought “why would anyone need this stuff?”
This is especially true if you’re new to the world of weight lifting or bodybuilding. Some people will have heard of one or two supplements, but understanding what each one does and why it’s beneficial to bodybuilding can be difficult.
Fortunately, for the vast majority of people, most of them aren’t needed to see some improvements in strength and muscle gain. There are a few main supplements for bodybuilding that are worth your attention (and your money), and here we’ll look at what you should be looking for and why it will help you build muscle.
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Whey protein has been used for years by bodybuilders, trainers and athletes to increase lean muscle gain and improve performance. It provides the body with a large amount of easy to digest protein, alongside several other minerals which are important for lean muscle gain.
Shakes are best taken before and after a workout, in order give the body fast access to the nutrition required to repair and grow lean muscle.
Supplementing your diet with whey protein is beneficial for people looking to lose weight as well as those trying to increase muscle mass. A high protein diet can help you feel full for longer, making it less likely you’ll binge on unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
Creatine occurs naturally within the body, with the vast majority found in the skeletal muscle tissue. This natural substance has been produced as a supplement known as creatine monohydrate and has become one of the more popular supplements in the bodybuilding world, with both men and women reaping the benefits of creatine.
Creatine works to promote the growth of lean muscle tissue, increase the speed of recovery following a workout, improve muscular performance during high intensity exercise and increase muscle cell volume.
For the best results, creatine should be added to a pre-workout meal (or whey protein shake) and straight after exercise.
Branch-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
Like whey protein, BCAA’s help to improve muscle recovery by feeding essential nutrients to the muscles. As you work out, your body will burn BCAA’s, and supplementing your diet helps to replace these lost nutrients and encourage better recovery and reduce post-workout fatigue.
BCAA’s have also been shown to help improve muscular endurance by providing readily available fuel to muscles. While this won’t make a massive difference to those completing a 40 minute resistance workout, endurance athletes such as distance runners may notice an improvement in stamina by adding BCAA’s to their supplement stack.
Again, taking BCAA’s before and after your workout will yield the best results. If you’re doing some distance running or any other endurance work, adding BCAA’s to water and sipping on it throughout your workout may help improve your performance.
Supplements aren’t an essential part of bodybuilding or sports performance, but they can work alongside a balanced diet to help give you the best possible results from your training.