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10 Essential Bodybuilding Supplements

Year after year novice trainers to hardcore bodybuilders spend thousands of dollars on supplements as an addition to their diet and weight training programs. Some see supplements as the answer to their bodybuilding prayers. The truth is without the right training and diet routine, most of these are completely ineffective in achieving anything. Supplements, as their name suggests are used to “supplement” some nutritional requirements and should never be used as a priority source of nutrition.Supplements do have their place in the world of fitness and bodybuilding if used correctly and in conjunction with appropriate training and diet. The most important thing to remember is to always be aware of what you’re putting into your body and acquire knowledge first of a product before you get sucked in to buying something completely irrelevant to your personal bodybuilding and fitness goals. The top 10 essential supplements to any bodybuilder or fitness fanatic are as follows. Note: This is only a guideline and brief outline of what each supplement does. Remember that different people have different goals, and that a 'one size fits all' approach cannot be taken to planning supplement regimes. Everyone's goals are different and a huge range of supplements are now available to help everyone choose supplements best suited to their specific needs.

Protein Powders

Perhaps the most important supplement of all is protein. Protein is the key foundation to muscle tissue hypertrophy. Without protein, building strong, new muscle would be virtually impossible. As a general rule of thumb, anybody looking to increase lean muscle mass should consume approximately 1.5g to 2g per kilo of bodyweight a day. To successfully build a lean and muscular physique, one must train hard and eat frequent meals anywhere from 5-7 times per day. In today’s day and age, most are limited on time and follow a busy day to day schedule, so eating 5-7 whole meals per day containing a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fats becomes nearly impossible. Protein powders in this situation are a god send. They can be made and consumed in next to no time at all and are a convenient and easy way to ensure the body stays in an anabolic, and nourished state. Protein powders such as whey are fast absorbing and digesting. A whey powder is ideal for someone on a low carb diet, or as a good source of protein after a hard workout. Whey and casein blends take longer to digest and are more suitable as meal replacements, before bed, or during the night.

Post-Workout Protein Shakes

A heavy workout depletes the body of amino acids, glycogen and creatine. At this point in time, muscles will absorb every nutrient possible in order to start the growth and repair process. Ideally, perfect immediate post workout nutrition would consist of a plate of chicken or fish, rice and some form of fibrous vegetable such as broccoli. Unless you live right next door to the gym, this would prove somewhat impossible for most. A post workout protein shake, consisting of fast absorbing, high quality whey protein would seem much more convenient. By consuming a post workout protein shake, the body is given its best chance at growth and repair.


Unfortunately, current food sources are highly processed. This means most of the vitamins and minerals they contain, have been depleted to some degree. Almost everything that surrounds us in everyday life can pose a potential and detrimental threat to our health and well being. This spans from the water we drink, to the air we breathe, and even the chemicals used in shampoos. Taking a multi-vitamin/antioxidant formula daily can help to protect the body and its defences against potentially harmful threats.


Creatine works in both increasing muscular strength and endurance by hydrating muscles, or attracting more water into them. It has been proven to be both safe and effective. By attracting more water into the muscles, creatine causes an increase in weight. Although this gain in weight may only be due to extra water being with held, it can help give a much fuller look. Creatine helps fuel muscular contractions on a molecular level which in turn produces an increase in strength and the ability to increase weight lifted and reps. This forces the recruitment of more muscle fibres which fires growth. There are many types of creatine on the market, however pure creatine monohydrate has been proven to still be the safest and most effective by far.


L-glutamine is an amino acid utilised by many bodybuilders and fitness fanatics alike in order to enhance recovery ability. L-glutamine has proven effective in those who have heavy training schedules, this may include five or more training sessions per week. Generally speaking bodybuilders may take ten grams of L-glutamine before training, another ten after, then ten grams right before bed.

Joint Complex

Taking a joint support formula containing such ingredients as Glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin, shark cartilage or MSM on a regular basis can help to strengthen and rebuild connective tissue. Other benefits include a reduction in inflammation and joint pain as well as increased joint flexibility and the ability to heal and recover significantly faster from tissue injuries. Taking Joint support formulas from a young training age can help to prevent the problems that years of hard training may cause later in life. So its not just for the olds!

Protein Bars

Protein bars are an efficient and handy meal on the go. If you struggle to eat the required amount of meals per day for your health and fitness goals, protein bars may be the answer you are looking for. Always choose one best suited to your needs as types of protein bars vary from fat loss, to meal replacement, to calorie support for weight gain.

Fat Burners/Thermogenics

Fat burning products with the aid of a clean diet and well designed exercise program may help to produce fast and effective fat loss results. Most fat burners on the modern market contain such ingredients as green tea, bitter orange, fenugreek, synephrine, guggulsterones, garcnia camboga, and caffeine. Ensure that you taked a reduced intake of these supplements initially, to ascertain your level of tolerance.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus is derived from a plant, and is responsible for increasing the body’s ability to produce testosterone. This would be recommended for those aged about 25 years above, as testosterone production is already at its prime at this age for those younger than 25.

Essential Fatty Acids & Fish Oil

Most bodybuilders and recreational trainers are more often than not unaware of the benefits that can be obtained from consuming the right dietary fats. Early bodybuilders would obtain dietary fats from such things as red meat, whole milk, eggs and nuts. These days, supplements designed to help meet good fat intake requirements include flax seed oil, omega 3, evening primrose oil and CLA, most are available in both liquid and tablet form. Adding some good fats to your diet can produce significant results in a matter of weeks. Try adding some of these supplements to your diet and exercise program and see what they can do for you!

Real bodybuilding: Muscle truth from 25 years in the trenches.



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