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Bodybuilding Supplements

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding and athletics. Bodybuilding supplements may be used to replace meals, enhance weight gain, promote weight loss or improve athletic performance. Among the most widely used are vitamin supplements, protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA),glutamine, essential fatty acids, meal replacement products, creatine, weight loss products and testosterone boosters.

Bodybuilders often supplement their diets with a powdered form of protein. Protein powders can be mixed with water, milk or juice. Protein powder is generally consumed immediately before and after exercising, or in place of a meal. Some types of protein are to be taken directly before and after a workout (whey protein), while others are to be taken before going to bed (casein protein). The theory behind this supplementation is that bodybuilders, by virtue of their unique training methods and end-goals, require higher-than-average quantities of protein to support maximal muscle growth.

Whey protein contains high levels of all the essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids. It also has the highest content of the amino acid cysteine, which aids in the biosynthesis of glutathione. For bodybuilders whey protein provides amino acids used to aid in muscle recovery. Whey protein is derived from the process of making cheese from milk. There are three types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. Whey concentrate is 29%–89% protein by weight whereas whey isolate is 90%+ protein by weight. Whey hydrolysate is enzymatically predigested and therefore has the shortest rate of digestion of all protein types.

Casein protein (or milk protein) has glutamine, and casomorphin and is generally used before bedtime to aid the body in recovery.

Soy protein from soybeans contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen and is an excellent alternative to traditional proteins.

Egg-white protein is a lactose-free and dairy-free protein that many use if they can not digest other protein powered easily.

Although it is generally undisputed that athletes and bodybuilders need an increased intake of protein, the exact amount is highly individualized and dependent on the type and duration of the exercise as well as the physiological make up of the individual. Age, gender, and body size may vary this protein intake.

It also depends on what your goals are. Endurance athletes in aerobic activity may have increased daily protein intake at 1.2-1.4 g per kg body weight per day where strength training athletes performing anaerobic activity may have increased daily protein intake needs at 1.4-1.8 g per kg body weight so as to enhance muscle protein synthesis or to make up for the loss of amino acid oxidation during exercise.

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