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Nature, to Be Commanded, Must Be Obeyed

June 28, 2009

Bodybuilding Supplements For Beginners

I see people asking gym instructors for supplementation advice. And those schmucks are invariably telling they should buy amino acids. This is wrong. Just as any other advice from those ignorant fools it should be best avoided. But maybe it is as foolish of them as usual; you see aminos cost approximately three times what protein powders cost.

Do beginners need amino acid supplementation? Hell, no! No, no, NO! You don’t even need protein powders. Don’t rely on supplementation. There are no magic pills. Well, there are magic pills with magical effects. But they can also kill you or cause serious chronic diseases. Reasonably safe supplements on the other hand, regardless of what advertisements say, have way lower potency. So don’t rely on supplements, you would only be deceiving yourself and wasting money.

I frequently hear oversimplified explanations and defintions such as L-Cartinine is a fat burner or proteins build muscle. Human body is a complex machine. It is just naive to believe you can simply stick something in your body and expect (positive) results. For instance L-Carnitine helps burning fat, but if you don’t combine it with physical activity you will have no results. No matter how much L-Carnitine you take, you won’t lose fat just by taking it. Same goes for protein supplementation. The more the better approach will only make you fat.

Master The Real Food First

How should beginners supplement then? First of all, know what you are doing. Since you are reading this now, you have Internet access. Just try to educate yourself as much as you can. This is your health, it should worth the time. Second of all, keep it simple in the beginning. Here is my short list of supplements:

  • Real food. Rice, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables… You need to make sure you are getting enough of these. Enough and not too much. Not too much but diverse enough. If you are not eating right, supplements will have even less positive effects.
  • Vitamins and minerals. I know you want to start munching those animal-giga-nitro-x’s right now. But your body won’t really respond hype. Make sure you take enough micronutrients. Remember extra stress caused by workout increases your need. Consult your doctor for precise amounts. Especially important for bodybuilders are:
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • [optional] Post workout shake. This is not a necessity, but if you happen to have a fast metabolizing protein (such as powdered whey protein) take it just after your workout. This is one of the best times to take supplements.

Take-away here, is that you don’t need fancy supplements when you are just beginning. They won’t do wonders as they are advertised. They won’t even make a significant difference to be honest. Concentrate on other aspects of bodybuilding. Learn how to train right. Make sure you rest enough. Eat real, healthy food.

And of course; have fun!

If you have any questions, suggestions or corrections feel free to drop me a line.