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The Best Bodybuilding Supplements – 5 Supplements For Increased Size And Strength

Updated on December 22, 2017
dwelburn profile image

David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

Good bodybuilding supplements help build muscle
Good bodybuilding supplements help build muscle | Source

The 5 Best Bodybuilding Supplements

There are hundreds of bodybuilding supplements on the market today, but sadly most of them will do little or nothing to help you build muscle and increase strength. All they will do is make your wallet lighter.

However if you use the right supplements, ensuring they are of high quality and potency, you’ll be able to dramatically accelerate the progress you are making from your efforts in the gym.

So which supplements are worth taking? Well, here are the 5 best bodybuilding supplements you can take to maximize your gains…

1. Whey Protein

Your muscles need protein to grow, and although you can get as much of this as you need from your diet if you consume a good amount of meat, fish and eggs, whey protein is an easy and convenient way to boost your protein intake with the minimum of fuss.

Whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein – even higher than eggs. And on top of this it contains compounds that increase the body’s antioxidant levels and enhance immune function.

It’s important to get a high quality, undenatured whey protein, as inferior versions are far less effective. Also, you don’t want a product that is full of all sorts of additives, artificial sweeteners etc.

Whey protein is great to use as a pre and post workout shake in order to maximize protein synthesis after training. But you could also take it between or after meals to increase your overall protein intake if you wish. No need to get carried away though; taking 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (as some authorities advise) is simply not necessary and will not make your muscles grow any faster. 1g per pound of bodyweight is plenty.

2. Creatine

Creatine monohydrate is the most well-researched, proven, powerful muscle building supplement ever. It works by helping your body to produce more ATP in the mitochondria of your cells. ATP is the body’s major currency of energy and it helps the muscles contract effectively. This means you will be able to lift more weight at the gym (or do more reps with the same weight), which will translate into greater strength gains and more muscle mass.

Creatine also plumps up the muscles by drawing more water into the muscle cells. Because this additional water is in the actual cells (rather than under the skin) it results in a fuller and harder appearance, without any puffiness or bloating.

Again it’s essential to choose a good quality product if you want to get the best results. Take 3 – 5g per day. You may want to do a ‘loading phase’ for about 5 days first, but this is not essential. Also, it's not true that you need to take a break from using creating occasionally; once you start taking it you can continue with it for as long as you want.

3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)

Proteins are broken down into amino acids in your digestive system, but certain amino acids have more of an impact on protein synthesis (muscle growth) than others.

The BCAA’s consist of three amino acids – l-leucine, l-isoleucine and l-valine. These are essential amino acids (i.e. they cannot be produced in the body) and they play a critical role in protein synthesis. They also help to prevent muscle breakdown (catabolism) during exercise. L-leucine is in fact the most anabolic of all the amino acids, and supplementing with 10 – 15g of BCAA’s per day will make a very positive contribution to your muscle building efforts.

4. Omega 3 Fish Oils

The omega 3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are essential to good health, and one of the most important nutrients you could take. But on top of this they could also assist you in your efforts to build muscle and burn fat too.

Omega 3’s have a fantastic range of health benefits including improving cardiovascular health, enhancing brain function, improving skin tone and quality, strengthening the immune system, maintaining healthy joints, reducing triglyceride levels, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol – and much, much more.

Apart from this they also help to promote muscle growth, inhibit muscle breakdown, increase fat burning and reduce inflammation in the body (which will help with recovery from training).

Once again though, you do need to ensure you get a high quality brand, as free from heavy metal contamination and other toxins as possible. It also needs to be high potency. You need around 3g of EPA/DHA per day to get the full benefit. That’s not 3g of fish oil; it’s 3g of EPA/DHA. Some fish oils contain less than 30% EPA/DHA, whereas others contain up to 70%, so check the labels so you know what you are getting.

MegaFood Whole Food Multivitamin

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5. Multivitamin Supplement

Once again this is something everyone should take to ensure optimum health, as our food today is usually nutritionally deficient – even if we do try to stick to a healthy diet.

But for the athlete or bodybuilder it’s more important still, as your requirement for micro-nutrients is far higher than the average persons. If you are not getting adequate levels of these nutrients you will not recover or grow as well as you could. So take a good quality broad spectrum multivitamin/multimineral supplement each day to ensure you can perform at optimum levels.

The cheap brands are worthless as they are low dose and made from inferior ingredients that are poorly absorbed and utilized. Some of the expensive brands however supply dosages of certain vitamins and minerals that are actually too high. However if you buy one of these, and the recommendation is to take 4 per day, you could simply take 2 per day instead.

But do ensure it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals in a highly bioavailable form. A whole food supplement is best, but there are a number of good brands on the market.

So these then are the 5 best bodybuilding supplements available today. And if you take them on a regular basis you'll ensure you are able to make the best progress possible.


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    • dwelburn profile image

      David 5 months ago from Birmingham, UK

      Thanks SagaSphere; and yes, I agree.

    • SagaSphere profile image

      SagaSphere 5 months ago

      Good choice for fish oil and protein! Diet would always be preferred for these... But who are we kidding. Supplements will always be the most efficient way of meeting dietary needs.

    • profile image

      prashant 2 years ago

      Whey protien is the best to all protien