Every fitness magazine you look through these days is full of supplement ads. Supplements can assist you in achieving your goals, but they are not magic, as the magazines would like you to believe. Nothing takes the place of proper training and nutrition.
Currently there are thousands of supplements on the market. Note, a lot of these products are worthless. There is a handful of useful supplements. I would like to give a brief profile of the Leaders of the pack. These supplements include whey protein, L-glutamine, and creatine.
Whey Protein - Learn More
Protein is a must for muscular growth. Your muscles are made up of proteins. No matter what type of diet you decide to use, protein is a must. Weight trainees need more protein than sedentary people. The body must receive a constant stream of protein to promote muscular growth. Scientific studies have shown that intense weight training increases the need for protein. The more intense you train the more protein you require.
Your body must have a positive protein balance to remain anabolic. In other words, your muscles have to obtain more protein than they expel. Intense training increases the loss of protein from the muscles; therefore, you must be sure to have sufficient protein storage to negate the effect of muscle loss. It is recommended that the trainee consume .8 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. It is also necessary to consume adequate amounts of water while consuming high levels of protein. Whey-protein has a higher biological value than other proteins.
Biological value means the percent of the protein the body is able to use. Whey-protein is also convenient and easy to use. Whey-protein also provides a higher level of essential amino acids than most other protein powders. Whey-protein has been shown to protect the immune system. This is probably the result of the high concentration of essential amino acids provided by whey-protein. Anyone serious about their physiques probably needs to consume whey-protein.
Unless you don't have a job and you do nothing all day except sit at home and cook, you probably do not have time to prepare all the meals necessary to provide your body with adequate protein. Not to mention it is a little easier to make a protein shake than it is to bake a chicken breast. The number of protein shakes you consume per day depends on your food intake.
Whey-protein is not a substitute for food; it just makes it easier to acquire proper amounts of protein. If you are drinking only one protein shake per day the best time to drink it would probably be 30-60 minutes after your workout. The shake is easy for the body to absorb and will probably be a little easier to consume than a large protein meal following a workout. I would recommend whey-protein to all athletes. In my opinion, this is the best supplement ever put on the earth!
L-Glutamine - Learn More
The stress of exercise can have an effect on the bodies immune system. This is done by decreasing the effectiveness of white blood cells and other immune cells. Glutamine acts as a fuel source for white blood cells and other immune cells. Glutamine also plays an important role in regulating the gastrointestinal system. Glutamine has been shown to decrease the effects of overtraining. Glutamine has also been shown to be a potent anti-catabolic, antioxidant, nitrogen transporter , cell volumizer , and it stimulates growth hormone release.
This is a supplement I recommend every person weight training should use. I rank this supplement up there with whey-protein. It has many benefits; thus the nickname the "all star supplement". It is especially effective for preventing muscle breakdown. I would say it is probably, the top anti-catabolic on the market.
Creatine - Learn More
Everyone involved with the exercise industry has heard of creatine monohydrate and those seriously involved with the exercise field have used creatine or knows someone who has. Everyone from the weekend warriors to pro-bodybuilders and everyone in between has reaped the rewards of creatine's benefits. Why has everyone gone berserk over creatine? Because it is the real deal and it works. It is one of the few supplements that can actually back up its claims. Creatine can be very effective for gaining weight and maximizing strength. It has also been shown to increase recovery time and give the user more energy during workouts.
Creatine taken in combination with carbohydrates can increase the effectiveness of creatine even more. Some experts report that works up to 60% better when taken with carbs. In fact, a recent study revealed that athletes who used creatine with carbs ran faster, jumped higher, gained more mass and gained more strength than athletes who supplemented with creatine alone.
Another study showed that creatine taken with carbs improved anaerobic performance 30% more than creatine taken alone. The chemical name for creatine is "methylguanido-acetic acid". Creatine is made from the amino acids arginine, methionione, and glycine. It is manufactured in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas and is then transported to the blood and taken to the muscle cells where it is converted to Creatine Phosphate (CP).
CP and ADP combine to form ATP which acts as the body's energy source. Creatine is found in meat products although the amount is relatively small. You would need to consume 10lbs of raw steak to receive the benefits of creatine supplementation. Red meat has the most abundant amount of creatine among meat products. One of the first notable studies of creatine dates back 70 years ago. Researchers conducted some experiments that concluded creatine enhanced weight gain and nitrogen balance.
A number of studies over the years have demonstrated the benefits of creatine. A study in 1981 stated that creatine supplementation improved strength, increased body weight and partially reversed atrophy of muscles in patients suffering from "gyrate atrophy" (A genetic problem with the eyes linked to a disability to metabolize ornithine and synthesize creatine). This study was published in 1981 in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. I. Sipila. I would have to write an entire book to list all of the documented studies and experiments conducted with this product. Basically, creatine has stood up to all of the tests and trial and has been shown to work on the gyms as well as the research field.
One of the main goals of weight training is progressive over-load. Creatine helps with this in a number of ways. It helps to build muscle, which allows the use of heavier weights. Creatine provides prolonged energy so time under tension becomes longer and it speeds up recovery so you can exercise more often. It is also suggested that creatine acts as a cell volumizer, meaning your muscle cells retain more water.
Scientific studies have shown when cell volume occurs this can stimultate protein synthesis and minimize protein degradation. In addition, increased glycogen synthesis can also occur. This leads to an increase in muscular growth. Some studies have suggested that creatine can act as a lactic acid buffer. This means it is possible to increase lactate threshold with creatine. When a person's lactic threshold increases, their duration of exercise can increase.
Creatine has stood the test of time and it is an effective supplement. Just about anyone who uses this product will experience some type of effect. Some people gain weight and strength very fast, while others experience slower, steady gains. Either way, if you experience any positive results it is worth taking. I would recommend creatine to anyone weight training whether the person is male or female. Creatine causes a tremendous pump in the muscle, so be ready for this. The only negative I have found with creatine is that it can cause cramping in some people. I think it should be used for a maximum of 6 weeks before taking a break.
After six weeks, the body becomes adapted to creatine and no longer experiences benefits. The off-period should be one to two weeks. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water while using creatine. Other supplements that can also be of benefit include branched chain amino acids, ephedrine based products, liver tablets, a quality meal replacement, and a multi-vitamin mineral.
Copyright 2000 Jamie Hale