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Bodybuilding is becoming increasingly popular, as it allows you to get in shape, build muscle mass, burn fat, and increase strength. Transforming your body to fit your desires is not easy, but bodybuilding supplements can be a great way to help you with the process.
These supplements can vary considerably from product to product in ingredients, serving sizes, and more. But the goal of each of them is generally quite similar. Most bodybuilding supplements are designed to help stimulate new muscle growth, cut away excess fat, and improve the recovery process so that you can get the most out of each trip to the gym.
How Bodybuilding Supplements Work
If you’re looking to put on extra muscle mass and build strength, there are a few things that need to occur. The first of these, even though it may seem obvious, is that you will need to have an exercise routine. To stimulate maximum muscle growth, you’ll need to challenge yourself in the gym, forcing your muscles to adapt to heavier workloads by increasing in size and strength.
On top of this, you’ll need to consume more calories than you’re burning. Burning more calories each day than you eat is a great way to lose weight, but if your goal is to put on muscle mass, this can make the process much harder. Your body requires calories to build new muscle tissue, but this can’t occur if all the body’s energy is being used up for daily processes. Because of this, some bodybuilding supplements include weight gainers to help you get more healthy calories in your diet.
It is equally important, if not more so, to ensure that you supply your body with more protein than it is breaking down each day. Your body uses protein for many things daily, and when you are working out, your body may start to break down proteins to provide extra energy. But your body also requires proteins to create new muscle cells and repair damaged ones. Many bodybuilding supplements contain large amounts of protein to ensure that your body has plenty for all required processes. Jump to Our 10 Best Bodybuilding Supplement List
Health Benefits of Bodybuilding Supplements
During and after workouts, your body requires large amounts of energy and nutrients to ensure top performance and efficient recovery. Bodybuilding supplements can provide your body with all the energy, nutrients, and proteins it needs to work effectively and get the most out of each workout.
INCREASED MUSCLE MASS
One of the biggest goals of bodybuilders is to increase their muscle size and strength. Bodybuilding supplements often contain many ingredients that help to encourage this. Branched-chain amino acids are a common ingredient that can significantly increase muscle growth. Other ingredients help to increase the levels of hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, that can also stimulate muscle growth.
While muscle growth is critical for bodybuilding, getting rid of extra fat is a necessity to improve your total physique. These supplements can help to increase your metabolism, forcing your body to burn away more of its fat stores. They can also slow down the digestion process to prevent excess fat and carbohydrates from entering the body and being stored.
FASTER MUSCLE RECOVERY
Tough workouts drive muscle growth, but they generally cause a lot of damage to your muscles to do so. This damage often results in soreness for several days, which can make it tough to get to the gym or sometimes even move. Many bodybuilding supplements contain ingredients that work to reduce the breakdown of muscle during workouts, making the recovery process easier on the body.
Less muscle breakdown can also help to reduce post-workout muscle soreness levels. During workouts, the body creates lactic acid as it works to generate extra energy. The buildup of lactic acid can cause muscle fatigue, swelling, and tenderness. Improving the ability of the body to recover can help to more effectively clear out lactic acid, reducing inflammation and soreness.
IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW
Blood flow can have a significant effect on exercise performance. The biggest way that blood flow is increased is through nitric oxide. A variety of amino acids can be converted into nitric oxide, and one of the most common of those is arginine.
Nitric oxide works to dilate (increase the size of) the blood vessels. This improves blood flow and allows the body to pump extra nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. This is especially important during exercise and afterward, during recovery. Supplying the muscles with extra blood can increase energy levels and speed up the rebuilding process.
MORE MUSCULAR ENDURANCE
Your body requires energy to execute a wide variety of functions each day. In the gym, the demand for energy increases even more, as your muscles require energy to contract repeatedly. The primary energy source for the muscles is ATP.
Some ATP is stockpiled in the muscles, but it is enough to sustain exercise for only a few seconds. After this, energy must be produced from creatine stores or aerobic or anaerobic glycolysis. Many of the ingredients in bodybuilding supplements can increase energy stores in the body or improve the ability to create new energy.
What to Look for When Buying Bodybuilding Supplements
Bodybuilding supplements can vary significantly in the ingredients they include, so the specific benefits each product offers can differ as well. Here is a list of some of the ingredients that are regularly included in these supplements and the benefits associated with each.
Creatine is one of the most popular supplements used by bodybuilders. It works to stimulate new muscle growth and improve overall strength. Creatine is made in the body and it is kept in the muscles. During intense exercise, it provides instant energy for the muscles to use after ATP stores are used up.
This ingredient also plays a major role in cell growth, recovery, and communication. Increasing the amount of creatine stored in your muscles can speed up the growth of new muscle and help prevent current muscles from being degraded during exercise. By reducing muscle breakdown, creatine can speed up the healing and recovery processes, as there will be less damage to repair.
BCAA is short for branched-chain amino acid. There are three main BCAAs that are used in these products: isoleucine, leucine, and valine. These three amino acids are known as essential amino acids, meaning that they must be consumed through the diet because the body cannot make them on its own.
Different supplements that include BCAAs will offer various ratios of these three ingredients. The most common ratios of leucine to isoleucine to valine are 2:1:1, 4:1:1, and 8:1:1. Most studies have found the 2:1:1 ratio to be optimal for muscle growth and recovery.
While all three of these are essential amino acids, their functions vary significantly. Leucine’s primary role is in protein synthesis. This amino acid is critical for building up new muscle tissues and cells. Isoleucine and valine work to provide extra energy for the muscles during and after exercise and control blood sugar levels.
Arginine mainly benefits the body in two ways. The first of these is by producing nitric oxide. When arginine enters the body, some of it gets converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important for regulating blood pressure, as it can enlarge the blood vessels. Larger blood vessels allow the body to increase blood flow throughout the body, bringing extra nutrients and oxygen to the muscles during exercise.
Arginine also serves as a building block to create new proteins and muscle cells. It can also stimulate the production of other important substances, such as creatine and glutamate, which can help with muscle growth, recovery, and energy levels. Jump to Our 10 Best Bodybuilding Supplement List
D-aspartic acid functions to increase levels of testosterone and growth hormones in the body. Both are critical for stimulating muscle growth. They can also increase total energy in the body, making your workouts more effective by improving your endurance.
D-aspartic acid can also help to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as the “stress” hormone because its production increases during stressful situations. High cortisol levels can have many negative side effects, such as weight gain, muscle tissue breakdown, or increased blood sugar. Taking a supplement that includes cortisol can reduce stress and prevent excess fat storage or muscle loss.
Like we stated above, having enough protein in your body is critical for exercise performance and muscle growth. The most common sources of protein are created from whey, casein, or soy. These ingredients often contain a high percentage of protein.
Protein supplements can help stimulate weight loss by decreasing feelings of hunger and speeding up the body’s metabolism. They can also reduce cholesterol levels in the body, lowering the risk of heart disease and other health issues.
Fenugreek is an herb that contains large amounts of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The body has difficulty digesting fiber, so it often passes through the digestive system mostly untouched. This makes Fenugreek a great way to stimulate weight loss.
This herb can also slow down digestion in the stomach, allowing you to feel fuller for longer and decreasing your appetite. It also helps to reduce the digestion and absorption of fats and carbohydrates, reducing excess storage and weight gain.
To increase your muscle mass, you’ll need to consume more calories than you burn each day. Weight gainers are a great way to help with this. These supplements are packed with protein, and the remainder of their calories is made up of carbohydrates and fats on the healthier end of the spectrum.
The number of calories included in these products can vary widely, ranging from a few hundred to well over 1000 in each serving. Because of the large number of calories in each serving, it is critical to continue working out and watch what else you are eating each day.
The Proper Dosage for Bodybuilding Supplements
Because of the wide variety of ingredients that can be used in these supplements, there is not specific answer when it comes to the proper dosage. In general, the supplement manufacturers usually take the effective dosages of each ingredient into account when recommending a total dose.
If a dosage range is provided, it is often best to start at the lower end of this range. Taking a smaller dose of a new supplement will allow you to recognize any of the benefits or side effects that it has on your body. If you experience negative side effects, you may want to consider trying a new product.
Possible Side Effects of Bodybuilding Supplements
For the most part, bodybuilding supplements are associated with very few side effects and are safe to take. Many of the ingredients included in these products have been widely tested to help confirm this. However, it is important to note that these supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.
Some of the most common minor side effects include stomach discomfort, nausea, and increased bowel movements. Other potential side effects may include headaches, bloating, and increased thirst. There is always the chance that a supplement could cause an allergic reaction. This can result in rashes, swelling, or difficulty breathing, depending on the severity of the reaction. This is another reason why starting out with lower doses of new products is advisable.
If you are pregnant, are trying to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you should avoid taking these supplements, as they have not been sufficiently tested on these groups. These products should also not be taken by children, as their effect on body and brain development has not as of yet been determined.
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