As a former competitive bodybuilder, I know the importance of proper nutrition and supplementation when it comes to looking your best on stage for a bodybuilding competition. Bodybuilding supplements have come a long way since the first protein powders were marketed back in the days of legends like Reg Park, Larry Scott, and of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
First on the chopping block for muscle building nutrition is protein. Protein powders are a convenient and affordable way to fuel your muscles with quality amino acids, to help repair muscle tissue after grueling workouts. Within the category of protein, there are subcategories that you may not be aware of. Not all proteins are created equal, and I will touch on just a few in this article.
The most popular protein on the market is whey protein. Whey proteins are fast-digesting, and because of this aspect, they are usually taken post-training. What you may not know is that whey is classified into three classes. There is whey concentrate, which is the lowest grade and the cheapest to manufacture. Then there is whey isolate, which is rapidly gaining popularity due to its quality and affordability. The top of the line is whey hydrolysate, which is also the most expensive to manufacture. Some quality isolate protein powders are American Whey by American Sports Nutrition, Isolyze by Species Nutrition and Lean1 by Nutrition 53.
Another one of the best bodybuilding supplements
is branched chain amino acids, or BCAA’s, as they are more commonly referred to. An old adage often refers to muscle as a brick wall. Within this wall, every third brick would be a BCAA. When supplementing with BCAA’s, one can expect:
· Muscle mass being spared during strict dieting
· Decrease in abdominal fat
· Greater mental focus
· Increased look of hardness to muscles
· Strength increases
If you’re looking for a quality BCAA supplement, Muscle Mass by Beverly International and BCAA 5000 by Optimum Nutrition are both excellent products for any bodybuilder in training.
Most bodybuilders want maximum muscularity and vascularity when they step on stage. For this effect, nitric oxide supplements have been touted as being extremely effective. The vein-bulging and insane muscle pumps you may experience from nitric oxide are linked to the amino acid L-arginine. Arginine helps to increase blood-flow as well as dilate blood vessels to help attain the look you want. Gaspari Nutrition makes two excellent products for mind-blowing pumps and roadmap vascularity – Plasma Jet and SuperPump 250. With arginine supplements, you may experience:
· Increased nutrient uptake
· Extreme muscle pumps
· Notice effects during the first use
· Improved muscle recovery
· Vein-bulging vascularity
Not all bodybuilding supplements
are geared toward muscle gain. If you want to get on stage in your best shape, then maximum fat loss is crucial to your success, and there are a variety of supplements out there to help you lose fat quickly. Most competitors rely on some type of thermogenic to aid their metabolism in burning more calories. More often called “fat burners”, these weight loss supplements help your body burn more calories while at rest, and give you the energy you need when calorie depletion takes its toll on you.
With the ephedra ban lifted by the FDA, many sports nutrition companies have provided a slurry of different weight loss products to consumers. ECA Xtreme by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is a reintroduced version of the ever-popular ECA Stack, which combines the awesome calorie-burning cocktail of ephedra, caffeine and aspirin.
Need a little help curbing your appetite during contest preparation? Tri-Matrix not only contains ephedra and caffeine, but also has the powerful appetite suppressing ingredient hoodia, which has been quickly gaining popularity around the globe.
These are just a few of the most popular muscle building supplements and fat loss products that many bodybuilders use. They can help serve as a foundation for your pre-contest program, or they can also be used during the off-season to help you better your physique so the next time you take the stage, the judges will be sure to take notice of you.Tim Mielke
Competitive Bodybuilder and Author
Tim Mielke has been involved in the supplement industry for over 15 years. As a former competitive body builder and personal trainer, Tim has extensive first-hand knowledge of the benefits and pitfalls of fitness supplementation. Knowledge so extensive, in fact, that his book, “The Book of Supplement Secrets: A Beginners Guide to Nutritional Supplements,” was recently published and is currently available through Amazon.com. Tim brings this supplement and bodybuilding know-how to www.i-supplements.com as a contributing author and researcher.