Go from Scrawny to Brawny in two months! Watch your biceps flare, your abs ripple. 6 pack in 6 weeks!
Lines like these accompanying pictures of impossibly built men and women lure us to buy supplements. We hear that a particular celebrity bodybuilder swears by one supplement while another swears by a different one.
Not knowing whom to trust more, we end up ordering both.
Supporting all this (and the multi billion dollar supplement industry) is the prevalent belief that big muscle cannot be built without big supplements.
Nothing Could Be More Wrong.
The thing to remember about supplements is – they are supplements. They are not substitutes. They supplement your diet and your training.
They cannot take their place.
The second thing to remember is that supplements cannot give you what a natural healthy diet can’t. But getting all the right nutrients in your daily intake of food may be difficult. And that is where supplements play an important function.
So now that you are trying to build up muscle mass, do you really need to pop those supplements?
Let us find out.
The Great Protein Conspiracy
This is the universal truth that is drilled into everyone’s mind even before they start hitting the gym. Muscle mass needs protein. Absolutely true. But the question arises, how much?
The truth is, most of us are already eating way too much protein. Even you vegetarians out there. Protein is there in vegetarian/vegan food as well.
So what happens when we add to this protein glut?
Firstly your kidneys are completely stressed out as the protein is passed through your body. And secondly excess protein is eventually converted to, yes you guessed it right, excess fat.
How much Protein is Enough?
The daily recommended protein for adults is between 0.5 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. The 0.5 grams being for people who live an extremely sedentary and inactive lifestyles. Like professional couch potatoes for instance. And 1.5 grams being for Olympic level athletes, people who are probably exercising the whole day long.
So even if you are working hard to build muscle mass, your need will be somewhere between those two extremes. And getting that in your regular diet is actually extremely easy. And far healthier and tastier as well.
However if in the unlikely case you are not getting your daily need of protein through your food, you may try protein supplements, but only in moderate quantities.
So what supplements do you really need?
No matter how hard you try with a natural diet, you may still end up missing a few essential nutrients. Supplements like marine muscle can help you plug in those holes in your daily food intake.
Let us look at some of them.
Few of us think of multivitamins when we think of muscle mass. The thing is, vitamins play an important role in various functions in your body.
So they may not be providing the amino acids for your body to build protein, but they could go a long way in helping your body process those amino compounds to build up muscle. Vitamins can also increase muscle performance and add that extra zest to your training.
When your body digests food better, you get more nutrients out of it. Your immunity increases and you become healthier and fitter. This will help you train harder and gain more muscle mass. Indirect but more effective.
When Supplements work
There are many of us on whom the training just does not show. No matter how hard we work or how heavy the weights we lift, it does not convert into muscle mass. This could be because of various factors include genetics and rates of metabolism.
In that case you may be advised to use muscle building supplements. But before you do, make sure you try the other options available.
Add a few more sets to your exercise. Exercise more often. Yes your friend with those bulging muscles might not be doing it, but everyone’s body is different and needs different levels of training inputs.
Try eating as much natural foods as possible. Avoid processed foods. Eat healthy, but eat tasty. Make sure you enjoy every bite.
Resting your body is as important as training it. It is during the rest periods that the muscle mass actually builds up.
Supplement your Muscles
Muscle mass is important. But it is not the only important thing. Your main objective should be to become a stronger, healthier person. A judicious mix of training programs, foods and supplements can help you achieve that.
However there are no short cuts. There is no magic supplement that will transform you into an atlas in a few days. Only you can do that – with the hours you spend in the gym.