To supplement or not to supplement – that is the question on more bodybuilder's lips than ever before. Are they safe? What works and what doesn't?
Lets have a look at the basics.
There are various reasons why athletes may be interested in supplementation.
Concern about getting adequate nutrients from our food supply.
Suspicion of pharmaceuticals.
Belief that diet alone will not achieve optimal nutrition
Supplements include the following:
Vitamins Minerals Amino Acids Herbs
The concerning thing about supplements is that anything classified as a dietary supplement is not required to meet any FDA or other standards! Think about that! there are no regulations in place that guarantee the safety or purity of something sold as a supplement.
They are also not made to meet the similar safety requirements as prescription drugs or any other manufacturing standards. They are not required to meet product potency or purity ratings and are not required to prove the effectiveness of any health claim that is made.
Studies suggest that a number of supplements may deliver on advertising claims. However, trainees are spending large sums of money on products that have little or no proven usefulness.
Personally I find the use of supplements over rated and as with strength training, supplementation asks the same question "if a little is good then maybe more has to be better"
Supplementation and steroids started to proliferate when volume strength training became the training system of the day. Young strength trainees slaving in the gym for five to six days a week was seen as normal. All this without making any progress or putting on any size whatsoever.
They then turned to the latest supplement or steroid thinking that this is the magic bullet to put on that added muscle when all the time they were just plain "overtraining"
The cold hard facts are that the majority of the regular trainees in your gym are overtraining. The sad reality is that the type of training that you find in bodybuilding books and magazines (and used by the stars) are irrelevant to the majority of the population and has a high failure rate.
If more bodybuilders started using more infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger…
MOST OF THE WEIGHT GAIN SUPPLEMENTS AND STERIODS AVAILABLE TODAY WOULD NOT BE NEEDED.
The bottom line on weight gain supplements
Before taking a supplement try to make modifications to your diet that might achieve the same goals.
Only choose products that show the amount of active ingredients on the label that are required.
Be aware that "natural" does not mean 'safe'
Some herbal supplements may have unpleasant side effects.
Listed below are some popular bodybuilding supplements available on the market today:
Creatine was first introduced to the market place some eight years ago and has since become the most popular bodybuilding supplement of all time.
Creatine is said to significantly increase lean muscle mass, improve performance, increase energy levels and speed up recovery rates. Creatine also stimulates the uptake of amino acids in the proteins, which means that the more that it's used the more muscle that may be grown.
Dosage: A loading phase of 20grams a day for the first five days then a maintenance phase of 5grams a day from then on.
Whey Protein isolate
The highest yield of protein currently available and is extracted from milk. This is another popular supplement for athletes and bodybuilders because of its high proportion of amino acids. It is supposed to be high in potassium, which is essential for muscle growth and is an antioxidant and a good immune system builder.
Dosage: 20gms – 100gms a day.
Tribulus terrestris is a plant that grows in many tropical and moderate areas of the world and is very rich in chemical compounds such as saponins, flavonoids and alkaloids.
Tribulus terrestris is supposedly a testosterone enhancer. and increases sex drives in both men and women.
Dosage as per bottle.
Is a non-essential amino acid, which makes up to 60% of the amino acids in the bodies muscles. Glutamine containing products are protein shakes and good quality protein powders; it can also be added to protein shakes for added potency.
Dosage: 5grams to 15 grams per day.
So please remember a supplement is something added to the diet to make up for a nutritional deficiency or imbalance they are not intended to substitute for eating a balanced diet. If they are to be taken at all they should only be used to supplement the diet and not replace it.