Research shows that complementing exercise along with a proper diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. This further keeps an individual away from many chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, ill mental health, cancers, stroke and back injury. In today’s world, exercising routine is regarded imperfect without vital elements called Bodybuilding supplements. They act as a fuel for your body and boost sporting performance.
Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements used by bodybuilders and athletes to enhance weight gain, promote weight loss, replace meals and improve athletic performance. They are specially prepared to complement the diet and provide essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, etc. that may be missing or found in insufficient quantities in one’s diet.
Bodybuilding Supplements: Essential Ingredients
Bodybuilding supplements are sold either in the form of single ingredient preparation or in the form of "stacks", i.e. exclusive blends of various supplements offering synergistic benefits.
Among the most commonly used bodybuilding supplements, few are:
Multi-vitamins: They are the most essential supplements used by bodybuilders and sports persons to enhance performance. Multivitamins encompass both vitamins and minerals in varying combinations and are used by the body to carry out various metabolic reactions and processes occurring in everyday life.
Proteins: They are required by the body to support maximum muscle growth. Protein powders are usually consumed immediately before and after a workout session like whey protein, while others are consumed before going to bed like casein protein.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA): There are three branched-chain amino acids namely, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine that are responsible for various biological processes in the body.
Glutamine: As a part of bodybuilding supplements, hard training athletes require Glutamine because the body is unable to synthesize enough of it on its own. It boosts body’s immune system, promotes greater protein synthesis and improved hydration, resulting in the increase of lean tissue.
Essential fatty acids: These cannot be synthesized by the body but required for carrying out various functions within the body for inducing good health.
Meal replacement products: They are of two types- pre-packaged powdered drink mixes and edible bars. These products are designed to substitute prepared meals. MRPs are usually low in fats, high in proteins, contain low to moderate amount of carbohydrates, and an extensive assortment of vitamins and minerals.
Creatine: Creatine is an excellent supplement used as a part of strength training program wherein it helps in producing lean muscle tissue.
Weight loss products: Often regarded as a quick fix for losing weight, weight loss products when used as a part of bodybuilding supplements, enhance an individual’s fat loss goals. The most commonly used include Hoodia Gordonii, Green tea, Caffeine, White Bean extract and Hydroxycitric acid.
Testosterone boosters: These not only support healthy testosterone levels but also support libido, lean muscle mass, strength, endurance and recovery.
Bodybuilding supplements are used as an important part of many sports training routines like strength sports such as weight lifting and bodybuilding and endurance sports such as cycling, running and swimming.
Factors Deciding the Nutritional Requirement
There is a wide array of Bodybuilding supplements available and it is sometimes difficult to opt for the right one. There are factors that help in deciding an athlete's or a bodybuilder’s nutritional needs. They are:
- Type of activity (aerobic vs. anaerobic)
- BMI (Body mass index)
- Workout stage (pre-workout, intra-workout, recovery)
- Times of the day, as some nutrients are utilized by the body more effectively during the night time while sleeping.