By Oliver Wolter
There seems to be much confusion about supplements. Do they work - or are they only hype and a waste of time and money?
It's not so easy to answer this question, but let's go into more detail.
What are supplements?
Well exactly what their name states - they are just supplements. Supplements can not build up muscles for you - their whole purpose is to help you by doing this.
Please read this twice before going on!
There is nothing magic about supplements, all they do is to help you.
But how do they help?
They contain of concentrated nutritional elements you couldn't get in such an isolated form in natural foods.
For example you can get all your protein you'll ever need by drinking good old milk. But if you drink milk, there is not only protein in it. If you drink milk, you will also absorb a lot of carbohydrates and fat. So if you drink milk the whole day you get a lot of calories.
But sometimes these additional milk calories can be to much for you. So they will let you gain some unwanted fat. So here is a perfect use for protein powders. If you don't want to get all these additional calories contained in milk you should use a protein powder that you prefer.
The same is for weight gainers - there is nothing magic about weight gainers - if overused they will convert to fat gainers like any food. Just take a look at the calories. They make perfect sense like meal replacement powders if used in the right way.
Weight gainers, you should use right after your workouts when your body needs a lot of carbohydrates. But it makes no sense to use them the whole day long.
The same is for meal replacement powders. Use them if you have no time to take a normal meal and they will work fine for you.
But protein and carbohydrates are just the basics. What is about other nutritional supplements that should boost your muscle gains?
Well they all have one thing in common. They only work if your body needs them.
There was a big hype during the past years about some micro nutrients like HM▀ or similar things. But the truth is - they only work if your body needs them. And for most people this is never the case. If you want to get sure that you get all micronutrients - take a meal replacement powder that contains of them - but don't expect that your muscle gain rates will shoot through the roof. This can be the case if your body would be undernourished in any way but this is very rare in the western civilization.
Well - what did I leave out?
Two kinds of supplements that could really boost your muscle gains.
Creatine you'll find in red meat. But you'll have to eat several pounds of steaks to feel some effect. So Creatine powders make perfect sense and in fact they work for the majority of muscle building enthusiasts.
You'll feel an effect very fast and this effect will last for up to six weeks. This is because Creatine get's converted into ATP and ATP is what your muscles need for energy during anaerobic workouts. So after a few days of taking Creatine your anaerobic endurance will get better (this means more reps) and your strength levels will rise.
But don't think you can use Creatine the whole year round and your muscles will grow like crazy. You should take it in cycles of 6 weeks. After 6 weeks the Creatine will lose all it's effect. So take Creatine several times a year but not the whole time.
Pro Hormones are are more like mild steroids. Prohormones are converted in the body by enzymes and therefore carry many of same characteristics as the hormone they convert to. However, there is limit to how much of these substances can be enzymatically converted and, as a result, their effects are not as strong as an actual anabolic androgenic steroid.
Oliver Wolter is a world renowed fitness and bodybuilding expert. He is the creator of X-Size Bodybuilding Software.