Does everyone remember the old Charles Atlas cartoon? The one where a 98-pound weakling gets sand kicked in his face at the beach by a big, hulking brute? But then the little guy comes back as a big bodybuilder and gets his pride (and his girl) back.
I bet you're wondering how he did it. How he went from 98 lbs of sinew and muscle to a lean, mean muscle machine. Well, from personal experience, ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you, 'It isn't easy.' My 8 year battle with an eating disorder left me at a weak and mousy 95 lbs. I was, literally, the little weakling. But I was ready to make a change.
When I decided to make that change for the better and live a healthy lifestyle, I knew certain things had to be in place if I was going to be successful: A solid training regimen, a clean, healthy nutrition plan, and a social network of people to support me, like the forums on Bodybuilding.com.
I made it to 125, but still felt like there was something missing, but then stalled. It took me days and weeks of searching, but the Bodybuilding.com store, and my friends, led me to the answer: Supplements. I needed a bit of help in this department.
Remember that although supplements are helpful, they shouldn't be the nuts and bolts of your plan. You should start with a solid foundation of training and diet, and then build on that with supplements.
So using the wealth of knowledge I found online, in magazines, books, and journal articles, I present the six supplements I used (and you can too), to put on quality lean body mass. Remember to check out with your doctor if these supplements are appropriate for you or not.
- Numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled university studies have show
- supplementation may boost muscle size and
- , increase lean body mass, delay fatigue, and speed muscle
- after exercise. Creatine may also "super-hydrate" or volumize your muscle cells to further stimulate
- synthesis and decrease protein breakdown.
| Protein Synthesis
The process by which nitrogen from amino acids is linearly arranged into structural proteins through the involvement of RNA and various enzymes. Protein synthesis is muscle growth. The more efficient you can make this process the more efficiently you can build muscle.
- Make no mistake; volumizing isn't about
- retention, which happens outside the cell. Your muscles really are getting bigger, fuller, rounder-from the inside out. This could enhance muscularity and create an improved environment for muscle growth.
- What's more, studies show that when weight-training athletes start supplementing with creatine, they gain lean body mass and
- fast-sometimes within a week. When you're trying to put on lean mass, creatine clearly helps with your gains.
2. Whey Protein
- (the highest quality and best form of protein) is incredible stuff. It provides the body with the necessary building blocks to produce
- that are used for building muscle tissue. Whoa! Nearly every bodybuilder knows the importance of protein supplementation.
- Studies have been conducted that compare whey protein to other sources. They have found that whey protein contains the perfect combination of overall amino acid makeup and in just the right concentrations for optimal performance in the body. Both
- and cellular responses seem to be greatly enhanced with supplementation of whey protein, too!
- Not to mention the benefits whey protein has on the body's immune system according to documented scientific research. Whey protein also plays a role as an
- and helps support a healthy immune system. Most importantly, consistent whey protein intake coupled with exercise will result in consistent muscle building.
- Research suggests that after intensely working out,
- levels in the body are reduced by as much as 50%. Since the body relies on glutamine as cellular fuel for the immune system, scientific studies suggest that glutamine supplementation can minimize the breakdown of muscle tissue and improve protein
- Glutamine's cell-volumizing effects have also been supported by several studies. A recent study suggests a meaningful increase in
- levels when as little as 2 grams of free-form L-glutamine supplement was consumed! Bodybuilders can particularly gain from the intake of glutamine.
| Started By:
- Since bodybuilders use a lot of their glutamine when working out, the immune system relies heavily on this amino acid. Catabolism, or muscle break down, can occur if the body robs muscles of glutamine for use elsewhere such as nitrogen transport or maintaining the immune system. Glutamine supplementation is certainly important in keeping muscles building - not deteriorating.
4. Meal Replacement Powders/RTDs
- are probably the most valuable and underrated supplement on the market. In fact, they really are not supplements at all when you come to think of it. They are complete meals. People are always looking for the magic solution to fat loss or building muscle, buying some drink or pill that promises miraculous results.
We gain body fat by having poor eating habits, so the only way to undo the damage is to reverse the cycle by developing good eating habits. Meal replacements make this possible. They're for people who don't have the time/money to prepare a calorie-dense, nutrient-rich meal everyday.
- Meal replacements are pre-packaged powdered drink mixes that you mix with
- , or juice and then drink in the place of a meal. They are convenient, inexpensive, and most taste pretty good.
Meal replacements provide a perfect, compact meal in a packet. They are very nutrient dense and can be mixed easily and conveniently. Look for one that has adequate calories and macronutrients basd on your goals.
5. Protein Bars
- Similar to, but not the same as Meal Replacement powders.
- are formulated to be the perfect meal, all wrapped up in a quick and easy bar. It is easy to take them with you to work or school or anywhere that you need to get your
- or satisfy your hunger in a healthy way.
If you are trying to gain muscle, you would want a high protein, high calorie bar that is relatively low in sugar and fat. If you are simply trying to find a quick meal replacement, a protein bar with medium carbs and medium calories would most likely be for you.
- Even though you're trying to gain size, there's a right way, and a wrong way to do it. You DO want a calorie/nutrient dense bar, but you don't want one loaded down with unhealthy fats and sugars.
6. Beta Alanine
- is a relatively new player to the supplement game. Unlike some of the other supplements I mentioned previously, Beta Alanine does not play a role in protein synthesis and enzyme production; it instead helps to promote high intramuscular
- By promoting high levels of intramuscular carnosine, Beta-Alanine promotes high energy levels and supports maximum muscular
- and improved performance. An increase in intramuscular carnosine levels can increase the buffering capacity of a muscle by up to 20%.
- By increasing the lactate threshold, Beta-Alanine supplementation can result in a dramatic delay of fatigue and failure, and considerable improvements in muscular working capacity and performance. It's believed that
- and Beta-Alanine work together to maintain optimum muscle power output, as well as promoting a healthy body weight.