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What Are Bodybuilding Supplements?

The article concerns the following question – What Are Bodybuilding Supplements? You’ve probably heard about various supplements and arguments as to why they’re great or not so great in similar amounts. In this article I’ll outline the different bodybuilding supplements and what you should get, if at all.

Bodybuilding Supplements

First of all, supplements don’t provide you with magic nutrients without which you cannot get as muscular, they simply offer a convenient (very convenient) way of providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair and build muscle. Supplements are ideal for those who due to lifestyle/personal reasons can’t get the daily amount of calorie surplus required to grow muscle. You can get those nutrients from normal foodstuffs.

Please note as this is not a full reference to all types of supplements — it is merely an introduction to the most popular ones. Behold the list, in no particular order.

Types Of Bodybuilding Supplements

  • Protein Powders
    Protein powders are the most popular bodybuilding supplements. Well, because protein is the building block of muscle tissue, and as an individual who works out, you need a few more grams of protein a day than the average mortal… The rule of thumb is 2g per kg of body weight. Popular forms of protein supplements are the powders and bars/snacks.
    Protein powders come from the following sources: from leftovers of cheese made of milk (whey), from milk (casein) & soybeans (soy).
  • Glutamine
    If we were to compare Glutamine amounts in our body to the most populous country in the world, I would have to say China… It’s abundant. Glutamine is said to be depleted from the body after a vigorous workout and as the body finds itself lacking it, it is taken from muscle. In other words, your muscles shrink a bit. How true it is, is a matter in controversy.
  • Weight Gainers / Meal Replacements
    Powder that contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. Depends on the specific product, may contain varying amounts of protein-carbohydrates combination. The weight gainers sport bigger amounts of carbohydrates to aid… well, weight gain. It’s mainly for people struggling to… you guessed it! The main distinction from regular protein powders such as whey, casein & soy is that meal replacements / weight gainers contain much more carbs.
  • Creatine
    The most popular supplement, second to protein powders. It’s an acid that acts as the source of energy for muscle cells during explosive movements. Creatine can therefore aid your workouts by providing you with more energy, allowing you to lift heavier weights. This is not the only benefit: Creatine boosts up muscle volume by drawing in water & is said to alleviate fatigue. Creatine can be mixed in protein/carb shakes. It’s the supplement that will give you the most bang for the buck.
  • Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
    The BCAAs are amino acids which cannot be generated in the body, they therefore need to be provided from external sources. They are essential amino acids, unlike the non-essential ones which can be home-made in your body. BCAAs amount for about 30% of body muscle mass. Since BCAAs are amino acids, and amino acids build protein, and protein is present in protein powders… You may ask yourself “why separate?” Well, most, if not all, protein powders, cannot provide you with all the necessary amino acids for optimal growth (20 different types). BCAAs come to the rescue when strain is put on the body (workout) and muscle building process is hampered due to loss of a certain amino acid. They allow muscle to overcome this condition, because you provide it with what is being lost.


I’d say BCAAs & Creatine are worth a shot. On the other hand, shakes replace what you have in abundance: food. Take shakes only if you find it hard to eat like a horse, which is completely understandable and a wide-spread syndrome, called Canteatlikeahorsism. Other reasons as to why you would find it worthwhile are lifestyle limits (hardcore careerist?) and maybe you’re simply too lazy for preparing real food?

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