Whipping yourself into a training frenzy won't help if your muscle tissue is undernourished. You need to infuse your body with generous
amounts of nutrients. For bodybuilders, that means supplementing your food intake. Just as you build a muscular foundation with
fundamental exercises, so, too, do you construct a nutritional program by calling on the basics.
Not everyone will agree with our seven pillars of supplemental wisdom, but you'll likely find essentials that will boost your ability to
train and recover among this list. To further help you utilize these nutritional helpers to optimum advantage, it essential to be aware
of the key timing of your supplementation. In alphabetical order, here's our "Magnificent Seven." Why seven? As Snow White might say,
"Because it feels right."
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
These important building blocks of protein help increase your nitrogen balance and prevent catabolism.
BCAAs are mostly comprised of leucine, isoleucine and valine. In studies, BCAAs have shown an appetite-suppressing effect; they also have
an ability to counteract the dire results of over- training. So, not only do they help fuel workouts, but BCAAs can aid in preventing
damage from training mistakes.
This nutrient has become essential for elite athletes interested in packing on muscle. You can train heavier and longer while
supplementing with creatine, thanks to its ability to inhibit lactic-acid buildup. With dozens of studies proving its effectiveness, the
biggest debate about this substance is not if it works but how it works best.
If you have read any recent studies on glutamine, then you know that many experts consider this the most
important nutrient for bodybuilders. Known as the immunity amino, glutamine took a fast track to magnificent status by scoring high in
scientific studies, which found that numerous physiologic systems needed it to function well. Glutamine also aids in the uptake of other
important amino acids. the fact that your body cannot make enough glutamine to satisfy its needs - especially if you're a hardcore trainer -
makes supplementing this substance even more essential.
Your body craves minerals, and it likely won't get enough from your meals. While some may advocate specific minerals
for your needs, your best bet is a multi that delivers at least 100% of the recommended daily allowance. Choose a multi that gives you
iron (some don't), selenium, zinc and magnesium.
Of course you know you need it, and you may be sucking down steaks, eggs, skinless chicken and other foods to glean as much as you
can, but you still need extra helpings of protein. The question is, what kind? Whey is the state-of-the-art protein these days, but soy,
egg and casein may work better for your specific needs. It may come down to what you more easily digest, so don't be afraid to experiment.
Whatever your choice, your muscles will reward you by growing.
You don't have to be a Nobel laureate to love this versatile vitamin. It helps reduce soreness from workouts, aids in creating
connective tissue and fights those nasty free radicals. Take it in 1,000 mg tablets two or three times per day to make sure you're "C"ing
This antioxidant continues to produce excellent results in exercise-related research, including one recent study in which men
taking 1,200 international units (IU) of vitamin E had reduced muscle damage after intense exercise. Along with this benefit, vitamin F
fights free radicals, improves glucose tolerance and enhances your muscles' ability to use the anabolic hormone insulin. Take at least 400
IU per day, but more will not produce a toxic response and may prove beneficial.