5 Essential Supplements for Weightlifters
Can you get six pack abs, chiseled body without supplements? Many people argue that persistence and exercises alone can get you there. Problem is today everyone including weightlifters wants results fast. When no one is willing to wait indefinitely, supplements are a must. On this argument, everyone seems to agree.
True there are endless combinations of supplements on the market, not every supplement suits everybody. Our bodies are unique in many respects and one size fits all seldom works. Despite this, there are some supplements which work beautifully for almost all athletes, weightlifters and bodybuilders.
The 5 essential supplements that help weightlifters achieve new heights are as follows.
1. Whey Protein This is the only supplement which is called as an all-inclusive one. It has all the amino acids, some carbohydrate, some fat, protein and it is quickly absorbed and benefits our body almost instantly. Its mixing ability with liquids makes it an ideal energy supplier. Whey protein shakes improve performance and helps gain muscle mass for bodybuilders. Weightlifters typically consume whey protein before, in-between and post-workouts to increase protein synthesis and improve muscle recovery and restoration tasks much better.
Irrespective of whether you aim to add lean muscle mass or drop stubborn body fat, whey protein works to your advantage in all conditions.
Some amazing benefits of whey protein are
- Derived from milk, hence easy to digest
- Helps in muscle repair & recovery
- Rich in essential amino acids and increase endurance
- Improves metabolism
- Works as a meal replacement
Maximum dosage is 25-30 grams whey protein which can be started at pre-workout and brought further till post-workout stage.
2. BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) This group of 3 amino acids namely Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine (together called the BCAA) help in stimulating protein synthesis in our body and promote protein metabolism. They drive the nutrients towards the muscles, which improves muscle recovery process.
When these amino acids are present in the muscles, they act as energy source during the workouts and keep depleting. After workout when you consume BCAA supplement, you restore the same nutrients and this replenishment reduces muscular pain due to fatigue and improve muscle recovery. With BCAAs in place, you can also increase endurance which pleases every bodybuilder.
Due to these qualities, BCAA is an important supplement for all bodybuilders & weightlifters.
3. Beta Alanine When working out for long durations, our body starts accumulating hydrogen which increases acidity and drops the pH. This leads to severe fatigue and thereby decreasing muscle performance. To counter this, feeding our body with Beta Alanine it turns into the molecule carnosine, which acts as an acid buffer in the body and prevents the formation of hydrogen ions and weightlifters can continue their exercise routine for long.
The foods that can provide carnosine are beef, pork, fish or chicken and the amount can vary from 50-250 milligrams. However, one month of beta-alanine supplementation (at 4-6 grams per day) can significantly increase muscle carnosine levels and come in good stead for every bodybuilder. The best part is this supplement can be started even before workouts have begun.
Some additional benefits of beta alanine supplementation are:
- Increases endurance levels
- Delays fatigue to a large extent
- A boost in short-to-medium duration high-intensity muscle performance
- Increases muscle power output, high-intensity exercise performance
Recommended Dosage is just 3-5 grams per day, an hour before the workouts.
4. Creatine The chemical is naturally made by the body, but it can also be obtained from some foods and supplements. Creatine has the ability to supply energy where it is needed, it is mainly used by athletes to rapidly increase their energy production, improving athletic performance and allowing them to train harder. Creatine can help your muscles build Phospocreatine, which gives you the ability to perform better at shorter, intense, strength-building exercises.
Some broader benefits of Creatine
Creatine is so beneficial, summing here is tough. Hence, we break them up making it easy for you to assimilate the benefits.
- If you want to improve the first few seconds of your task, creatine can increase it by around 10-12% without putting extra effort.
- Creatine also enhances the male testosterone especially since the levels start diminishing after thirties.
- It also enhances your mental sharpness as a study found the same in six-weeks.
Benefits of Creatine
- Increases muscle strength, volume and size
- Promotes lean body mass
- Enhances recovery of muscles and heals bones
- Improves sprint performance
- Enhances brain function
- Increases Glucose Tolerance
- Reduces age related muscle loss
- Improves performance and muscle mass status in vegetarians
- Improves single-effort sprint performance
Recommended Dosage: 15-20 grams creatine throughout the day can easily be used without any apparent side effects.
5. Glutamine It is the most common amino acid found in muscles - over 62% of skeletal muscle is Glutamine. Glutamine consists of 18% nitrogen, making it the primary transporter of nitrogen into your muscle cells. Its supplementation can minimize breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism.
During intense workouts, Glutamine levels start depleting, which decreases strength, stamina and recovery. Our body can take up to 6 days for Glutamine levels to return to normal - and Glutamine plays a key role in protein synthesis.
It plays key roles in cell volumizing & anti-catabolism. Glutamine also increases your ability to secrete the Human Growth Hormone, which helps metabolize body fat and support new muscle growth. Glutamine's anti-catabolism ability prevents the breakdown of your muscles. It is especially useful for people who are trying 'cutting down' that is, to get rid of some body fat without losing any muscle.
Benefits of Glutamine
- It prevents your muscle from being catabolized (eaten up).
- It helps maintain cell volume & hydration, speeding up the healing & recovery process.
- Glutamine serves to boost your immune system.
It has the ability to 'repair a leaky gut' by maintaining the structural integrity of the bowels.