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
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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.