Vitamin Supplements

        No significant proof shows that vitamin supplements enhance energy, strength, muscle size, or athletic performance. No over-the-counter vitamin or supplement will increase muscle mass or burn fat.

       Train hard, eat right, and get plenty of rest are the basics of bodybuilding. Even people who take steroids won't see any results unless they train hard with weights and eat right. Not to say that steroids and growth hormone don't work. They do, that's pretty obvious from looking at professional bodybuilders. But unless a person on steroids trains hard with weights and eats quality foods, they won't see muscle gain and fat loss. Do not get ripped off buying vitamin supplements.

      Every one is looking for the quick fix. Walk into a health food store to purchase amino acids and vitamins and see 1000 different brands make false claims. Chromium Picolinate gained national attention from one study conducted on young athletes in 1989. The young athletes participated in a weight lifting program, but maintained their normal eating habits. They received 200 micrograms daily of chromium picolinate or a placebo.

      The chromium picolinate group showed greater gains in muscle and total body weight than the placebo group. The size of the biceps and calves of the chromium group showed a slightly greater increase than the placebo group. And the average body weight increase was about four to five pounds compared to two to three pounds of the placebo group. A greater decrease in body fat was also reported in the chromium group.

      It was conducted on athletes participating in a vigorous weight lifting program. Of course you will see an increase in muscle mass. The argument of the study is that the athletes given chromium picolinate showed more benefits than the control group. Even still, other factors such as diet, heredity, gender, exercise frequency and intensity, need to be considered.

      Many bodybuilders that have tried this agent have reported no additional muscle building or fat reducing benefits. On a positive note, chromium picolinate has shown to improve blood sugar tolerance and reduce blood cholesterol levels.


      Creatine is naturally occurring amino acid found in raw meat and fish and it gets stored in the skeletal muscles. It will help you build muscle, and then eat plenty of fish and meat. The only problem is creatine gets reduced by cooking. How much it gets reduced by cooking, but it will depend on how long you cook your food.

      Creatine is known to increase short term, high intensity, and exercise performance by delaying muscle fatigue. It does not increase muscle. It is known to increase the ability to work harder. It may lead to better workouts and potentially some muscle gain but there is no known mechanism of action in creatine that builds muscle.

      In a June 4, 1998 USA TODAY article titled "1 in 3 sports teams say 'no' to creatine," trainers and conditioners for 21 professional sports teams surveyed disapproved the use of creatine for their players. They say that creatine causes muscle cramps, tears, and gastrointestinal problems. However, some athletes and teams say that creatine is safe and helps increase strength and size.

      Some of these athletes promote creatine for the manufacturers and marketers of creatine.Other evidence suggest that creatine may be advantageous to a bodybuilder interested in ornamental muscle development.


      Androstenedione is one of the supplements and is found in meat. It is a building block for testosterone. By supplying the body with more building blocks, the body may have the ability to produce more hormones, but may not necessarily do that. Your body will determine how much testosterone is needs.

      It will increase testosterone to optimal levels. Androstenedione, a pro-hormone is safer that anabolic steroids. A person using androstenedione gets only a short elevation in testosterone that lasts about one and a half hours. This may be the reason why some users claim better energy during their workouts.

      Anabolic Steroids on the other hand increase testosterone levels about ten time’s normal levels for longer durations. This is significantly higher than androstenedione. Besides, steroids work through a mechanism that increases the production of new protein cells in the muscles resulting in muscle size and strength.

      The placebo effect, People who make claims that creatine or any of these products work for them are either lying or experienced the PLACEBO EFFECT. The mind is more powerful than you think. A total of 900 patients were studied.463 patients were given Redux and 467 patients were given a placebo. 40% of the patients on Redux lost at least 10% of their body weight where 21% of the 467 patients on the placebo lost 10% or more of their body weight.

      In this example, 185 of the patients on Redux lost 10% or more of their body weight and 98 of the patients on the placebo lost 10% or more of their body weight. Even though Redux was twice as effective as the placebo, the placebo showed a pretty good success rate.

      I think that the people in the placebo group started eating better and exercised and therefore lost weight. Probably the same thing that happens to people who take supplements trying to gain muscle. They start eating better, training harder and more frequently, and make gains.

Amino Acids

       During my years of contest preparation, I did include amino acids after every meal during the last six weeks before my contests. I worried that my decreased caloric intake reduced the amount of protein I was consuming. The last six weeks of precontest dieting, most bodybuilders eliminate fruit, dairy products, egg wholes, red meat, and cold cereals. These foods are rich in the essential vitamins, especially vitamin C and B complex.

      During this time, it is necessary to supplement with a one a day vitamin, Vitamin C, and B complex vitamins. Although I increased my protein meals to three per day, they were of smaller portions. If I had to do it all over again, I would rely on hard boiled egg whites and chicken slices for supplements.

      One ounce of chicken which is equivalent to a small slice has about seven grams of protein. Why not keep small slices of chicken in your refrigerator and use them for additional supplements? It's much less expensive and more nutritious than any amino acid supplement. You can also keep hard-boiled eggs in your refrigerator and use the egg whites as supplements.

      One egg white has about three grams of protein. You can consume 12 egg whites, which is about 36 grams of protein for less than one dollar. On the other hand, a bottle of 100 tablets of amino acids costs about $30, with each tablet containing about one gram of protein. That same 36 grams of protein will cost you about $11! The irony is that these supplements are made from food, especially eggs.

      Read the nutritional information on any bottle of amino acids and notice the recommended consumption: five to seven tablets after every meal. There are usually about 100 capsules per bottle that sells anywhere from $25 to $35. You will also notice that five to seven capsules equal about 10 grams of protein. You will eventually consume the entire bottle in less than a week to supplement 100 grams of protein.

Amount of Protein Needed

      Originally, when I was competing, my protein intake was much higher than it is today. My goals have changed. I'm not looking to be huge anymore, but I do want to maintain my current musculature. I'm currently about 170 pounds. My body fat is very low, at about 5 or 6%. Enough about me, let's hear what they have to say about protein.

      U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that 10% of your calories consumed should be protein. Let's say that the average person consumes 2000 calories. So 10% of 2000 equal 200 calories. 200 calories divided by 4 calories is 50 grams of protein. So that's one recommendation. U.S. Department of Agriculture's protein recommendation for a 2000 calorie diet: 50 grams or 10%of your calories consumed should be protein.

      The PDR Family Guide to Nutrition and Health takes this into consideration. It suggests including 1.5 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight to build a more powerful physique. It recommends 116 grams or 23% of total calories for a 170 pound person. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, a widely read nutrition book recommends that a 170 pound man, doing light work, should consume 25 to 30 grams of protein. If this person consumed 2000 calories, then that is only 5 to 6% of total calories.

      Bodybuilding books, Beyond Built, written by my favorite bodybuilder, Bob Paris, An average weight-trained athlete should consume 20% protein. For 170 pound person consuming 2000 calories, that would be 100 grams of protein. A competitive bodybuilder should take in 30% protein. For a bodybuilder consuming 2000 calories that would be 150 grams of protein, which is almost one gram of protein for each pound of body weight.

      Beyond Built recommends 20 to 30% of total calories for an average weight trainer and competitive bodybuilder respectively. For a 2000 calorie diet, that would be 100 to 150 grams of protein. It would be the best recommendation. That is, 20 to 30% of your total calories, depending on your fitness goals or 1.5 to 2.0 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight. For a 170 pound person, that would be a range of 116 to 155 grams of protein.

      Experts say protein foods such as meats allow your body to use amino acids to make new proteins that build muscle tissue. Excess amounts of protein on the other hand shouldn't harm you, but if you are taking in excess protein, that also means you are taking in excess calories. Unused protein stored as a fat.

      Try to consistently consume two to three small protein meals a day. That means 4 egg whites and one whole egg in the morning, some tuna for lunch and one or two chicken breasts for dinner. It doesn't mean a 12 ounce steak three to four times per week.

Protein Powders

      The first question you have to ask yourself is why do you want to include a protein drink in your diet? Is it to supplement protein that you think is lacking in your diet? Is it to gain weight for muscle building goals? Or, is it just a post workout treat? Personally, I just love the way some of them taste. These are all fairly legitimate reasons to want to consume protein drinks, but once again, this can get very expensive.

      Spending a lot of money for something that can be easily and very inexpensively accomplished with food. If you are trying to build muscle and want to consume additional calories and protein, consuming a protein packet, skim milk, and one banana, could add about 500 good calories to your diet.Suppose you 150 pounds and want to gain 10 pounds.

      Suppose you figured you are currently consuming about 2000 calories a day. So you know that 2000 calories a day maintains your current body weight, but you find it difficult eating more food. Drinking a protein shake can help add 500 calories a day. If you are consistent in drinking these extra 500 calories every day, you would possibly gain about one pound per week because 3500 calories equals one pound.

      The math is easy, 500 calories times 7 days equals 3500. So it would take you about 10 weeks to gain ten pounds by simply increasing your calories by 500 per day, assuming everything else remains constant, and your food intake and calorie expenditure. I enjoy drinking MET-Rx, not because of its claims of decreased body fat and increase muscle. I don't believe that part at all, but because it tastes great and doesn't upset my stomach.

      I love drinking a cold MET-Rx mixed with skim milk, a banana, with crushed ice after a hard workout. Other than MET-Rx, the only other protein powder I recommend is one that contains 100% egg albumen. Egg albumen is the protein in egg whites. I do not recommend carbohydrate drinks or powders. Besides the fact that they can upset your stomach and cost a fortune, carbohydrates are not usually lacking in the average diet. We usually consume too many carbohydrate meals and not enough protein meals.

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