by Hugh Roid
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen strange powders being mixed in the locker room. These are not wizard brews for strength. These are supplements!
There are hundreds of supplements you could use, but I’ll go over the basics and their effects.
Powdered Protein: Comes in whey (milk), beef, soy, eggs, hemp and a rainbow of flavors. Powdered proteins are low in carbs and fat, while being high in protein. Convenient to consume for immediate consumption post-workout.
Casein: A slow digesting milk-derived protein best consumed before sleeping. Found abundantly in cottage cheese. If you’re not eating anything else for muscle building, eat cottage cheese.
Creatine: Pulls water into muscle cells, increases free testosterone, speeds the recovery rate of muscle cells, and numerous other things. If you want to push one more rep or 5 more pounds today creatine is the way to do it. Found abundantly in pre-workout mixes. Creatine is found naturally in beef, red meat, venison, and fish.
Branch Chain Amino Acids: The first thing your body devours when working out is the BCAAs floating around. Consumed BCAAs speed recovery time significantly. Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine (L:I:V) are the three amino acids found in BCAA mixes. Doctor of Exercise Physiology Jim Stoppani recommends a 2:1:1 ratio. BCAAs make a huge difference while on a low carb diet (more on diets in another article).
Glutamine: Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and plays an important role in preventing catabolism (the body’s digestion of muscle). Spinach is a great source of glutamine.
Arginine: Dilates veins to improve blood flow and muscle pump.
D-Ribose: Ribose occurs naturally in all living cells. It is a simple sugar that begins the metabolic process for ATP production. If you reach back to high school biology, you’ll recall that ATP is the “energy currency” of the human body. More currency > Less currency.
Coenzyme Q10: Like Ribose, CoQ10 plays an important part in ATP production.
Glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin: Joint supplements to rebuild and reduce the inflammation of the joints from working out hard. Ideal for runners.
Sleeveless Shirts: Muscles require light and air for proper growth. It’s no coincidence the Hulk is shirtless.
Another good thing to have is a multivitamin and a blender bottle to mix everything in.
Supplements can be found at Vitamin World, GNC, Bodybuilding.com, the Vitamin Shoppe, Sam’s Club, etc. Yes, they cost money. Give them a try; see if they work for you. Generic pre-workout and some chocolate flavored whey is a good place to start. More natural sources for the supplements on this list can be found at Livestrong.com
Don’t take this article to mean “YOU MUST HAVE SUPPLEMENTS.” Instead, take their name for face value: they’re supplementary.