Hello everyone. Today’s article is a guest post from personal trainer John McKiernan who writes for the website Supplement Helper.
Natural bodybuilding consists of bodybuilding without the use of steroids or pro-hormones. Just because you’re not using steroids or pro-hormones though, doesn’t mean there aren’t supplements that provide great results without any risks or side effects. Today most natural bodybuilding supplements on the market include combinations of the same ingredients over and over again with different marketing labels. Those ingredients are protein, amino acids, creatine and energy boosting supplements such as caffeine and herbal stimulants.
To simplify even further I’m going to leave out creatine and pre-workout supplements because some people experience side effects with creatine. It has been known, in some cases, to cause kidney damage as well. Energy stimulants are not necessary for bodybuilding, but can be helpful, before workouts, to increase energy and endurance. Many people, however, have unfavorable side effects when using stimulant based supplements.
I’m going to keep this article focused on only the supplements that have absolutely no side effects or risks whatsoever. Luckily, those are the same supplements that will give you the best results and are the most vital for muscle growth and workout recovery.
The three supplements I’m talking about are protein powder, glutamine and branched chain amino acids. All three of these supplements are closely related. Protein powder is simply chains of amino acids bonded together. Glutamine and branched chain amino acids are two of the amino acid groups that make up the protein chains. So, essentially, natural bodybuilding supplements are all just amino acids.
1) PROTEIN POWDER
There are three main types of protein powder which are discussed below:
Whey protein powder is a very high quality and fast acting form of protein that is best taken immediately before and after workouts. The body uses this protein to repair damaged muscle fibers and thus increase muscle size and strength. The quality of the protein is a reflection of the completeness of the amino acid profile. No form of protein out there has as complete an amino acid profile as whey protein.
Casein protein is a slow acting protein that also helps the body recover from resistance training and other workouts. The benefit of taking a slow acting protein is that the protein stays in your system longer and thus creates an anabolic effect. Any time the body doesn’t have the necessary protein to synthesize it goes into a catabolic state and breaks down muscle tissue. Casein protein will help the body avoid ever going into a catabolic state, by keeping protein in your system, readily available for long periods of time.
To consolidate your protein supplement into one that contains both whey protein and casein protein you can buy what is known as a protein complex. Protein complexes are a great way to simplify your supplement stack while getting multiple sources of high quality protein that can be taken at any time of the day.
Glutamine is an extremely powerful anti-catabolic agent. Glutamine helps the body recover from workouts faster and keeps the body in an anabolic state. Glutamine’s specialty is in healing. The healing effects of glutamine are so powerful that it is even used in hospitals, for burn victims. This healing property also works on damaged muscle fibers, to help rebuild them after strenuous workouts. Glutamine is known as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that “the body can make enough glutamine for its regular needs, but extreme stress (the kind you would experience after very heavy exercise or an injury), your body may need more glutamine than it can make”. If glutamine levels are low, while training, the body begins to break down muscle to get glutamine back. Two thirds of the free-form amino acids within the muscle tissue are comprised of glutamine. This should be an indication of exactly how important glutamine is, in relation to muscle existence.
The other one third of the free-form amino acids within the muscle tissue are comprised of branched chain amino acids. Again, this is an indicator of how vital these amino acids are. Branched chain amino acids are comprised of leucine, isoleucine and valine. It is impossible for the body to synthesize protein without leucine. The reason it is so important to supplement branched chain amino acids is that they fall under the category of essential amino acids. There are nine total essential amino acids, which the body cannot produce. It is vital to get all of these essential amino acids through diet and supplementation. On top of that “exercise may increase the BCAA requirement”. None of the essential amino acids are more important than BCAA’s. Without proper BCAA intake muscle building will be put to a halt altogether. Without BCAA’s, protein cannot be synthesized and without protein being synthesized, muscle cannot be built.
SUM IT UP
To sum things up, our necessary supplements for muscle building and workout recovery include a high-quality protein complex, branched chain amino acids and glutamine. The next time a hyped up bodybuilding supplement comes out, check the ingredients. I guarantee you’ll see at least one of these three supplements on the list. Bodybuilding supplementation doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler you make it, the more effective it can become. By focusing your attention and resources on only the supplements that will provide the greatest results, you can simplify your life and maximize your results.
About the Author:
John McKiernan is a personal trainer who enjoys researching information on bodybuilding, supplements, diets, health tips and more. He is the owner of Supplementhelper.com where he shares knowledge and advice about popular bodybuilding and health supplements.