If you are new to the whole bodybuilding scene, then the sheer volume of supplements out there can be a little daunting and confusing at first glance.
We have put together this guide which outlines some of the key products to help you get the best from your workouts, and what to look out for before you spend your hard-earned cash.
Don’t be mistaken when it comes to Pre-Workout supplements, they are not designed to replace proper pre-workout nutrition; it is still of vital importance that you have a good supply of carbs and protein in an hour or two before you visit the gym in order to give your body the fuel it needs to work out. Run-on empty and your body will turn to its most valuable resource for energy; your muscle tissue and no one wants that.
Pre-Workouts should be taken about 30 minutes before you hit the gym; they are designed to give you that extra boost of energy and focus, helping you motivate yourself to do the best damn workout you can possibly muster.
The best Pre-Workouts are caffeine or L-arginine based, and you should experience a noticeable increase in energy without any dizziness or nausea.
Post-Workout supplements and nutrition are even more important to your regime since your body continues to ‘work’ long after you’ve left the gym. Post-Workout supplements are designed to:
Support muscle repair
Optimize protein synthesis
Replenish energy reserves
You want to supply your body with everything it needs to recover in those first few hours so that you don’t lay waste to the hard work you just put in.
The best Post-Workout supplements will contain a good balance of protein, carbs, all important amino acids, and vitamins. These will most likely come in the form of a shake, as opposed to pills, but you can get Post-Workouts pills to boost those amino acids and help your muscles recover.
Testosterone Boosters (T-Boosters)
Testosterone Boosters are there to help you build mass; Testosterone is an androgenic hormone that sends messages throughout your muscles to grow, grow, grow! It can boost performance and strength endurance and is particularly helpful when you reach the dreaded plateau.
Be careful to cycle your T-Boosters and give your body a break. Use them when you want to bulk and hang back when you want to shred.
Look out for T-Boosters that eliminate DHT and inhibit 5-AR, the common myth is that you want to reduce this all-important hormone in order to elevate Testosterone, but DHT is more potent than Testosterone alone and is as vital to your workout as Testosterone itself.
There are countless websites online which sell natural test boosters, and a few have some great guides worth reading. One that is worth checking out can be found here, there are plenty of reviews and guides which make this a great place to start if you are in the market for a testosterone supplement.
Whether you’re in the gym because you want to lose weight, or because you want to become the next Mr. Universe, Fat Burners have their place in the bodybuilding supplements market if you want to convert fat cells into lean muscle. They are otherwise referred to as ‘Thermogenics’ and will literally melt fat and allow your body to use it for fuel.
Look for one with a good mix of actual fat-burning ingredients, rather than one just bulked out with caffeine and stimulants. These types of Thermogenics work well but are better when combined with other things like L-Carnitine and Raspberry Ketones, which work with protein hormones and amino acids to convert fat into energy, rather than just give you a massive buzz.
One of the best stores for this has to be Bodybuilding.com – their range is pretty extensive, however, the products are listed in order of effectiveness and popularity.
Protein is the most valuable supplement you can take as part of your workout regime. If you take absolutely nothing else to boost your training, make sure you get your fill of Protein. Muscles are Protein sponges, it literally fuels them in order for them to function and repair properly.
There are two types of Protein that help muscles build and repair – Whey and Casein. Both are necessary, although many people believe Whey is the only real source of Protein you need.
In reality, a mix of the two is best. Whey is absorbed more quickly, so provides a good burst of energy to muscles in need of recovery, whereas Casein is absorbed more slowly, much more like slow-burning Carbs.
You can buy either on its own, or good quality mixes of the two from absolutely any health food shop, bodybuilding site, or fitness supplier; it is the Holy Grail of muscle building, but don’t overdo it; experts recommend 0.7 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day for anyone training.