Perform a search on the internet and you'll find almost every supplement store and supplement manufacturer expressing the necessity for supplement consumption to gain muscle mass.
Albeit yes, we do have a supplement store ourselves, however our blog is not designed to sell products, but rather to provide an informed decision based on articles written by professionals.
So, do you need bodybuilding supplements to build muscle?
The simple answer is no. However, if you have been reading through the articles contained within this blog, you'll know that there is more to this discussion than that.
Supplementation is a growing market, simply because there are many high quality supplements available to assist in accomplishing muscle gaining goals. There is plenty of science to back up the effectiveness of many supplements readily available and many people find great value in utilising supplements to their advantage.
This is not to say that supplements are necessary. In order to gain muscle, you require several critical elements, two of particular importance include:
- An appropriate overload on the muscle (eg. exercise can provide the necessary stimulus to induce muscle growth).
- Effective nutrition in order to supply the appropriate nutrients to your body so it has the "raw ingredients" available to synthesise new muscle tissue.
Supplementation falls under the latter point, nutrition.
With good nutrition from food alone, you can obtain high quality nutrients, such as proteins (from eggs, meat, dairy, poultry, seafood), carbohydrates (from many varieties of plant foods) and fats (from oils, nuts, fish, seeds) that are necessary to gain muscle tissue.
Using wholefood alone, you will be able to gain notable amounts of muscle. However, supplementation has the ability to enhance your muscle building progress significantly.
In effect, supplementation is not a necessity to gain muscle - it is an advantage.
...and a significant one at that.
The advantage lies in the ability to get more "bang for your buck" from each workout. With wholefood alone, your body may only be able to synthesise a fraction of the muscle tissue it would otherwise be able to build with an effective supplementation approach.
Supplementing with bodybuilding supplements can have several advantages relative to consuming wholefoods. Let's get more specific:
1. Speed of absorption.Supplements are much more highly refined than natural foods. As a consequence, our body's are able to digest many much faster than a whole food. For example, while the proteins found in milk may take many hours to absorb, whey proteins from bodybuilding supplements (derived from milk) may take less than an hour. Similarly, while the sugars from a fruit may take 2-3 hous for absorption, the sugars from dextrose may take less than one hour.
This is particularly important immediately before and after your workout when your body is effectively a "nutrient sponge". For optimal results, you need a fast-acting nutrient source to deliver the necessary amino acids and carbohyrates needed for muscle growth.
2. Quality of macronutrients. With respect to proteins, they are evaluated by quality with the use of a scale known as their "Biological Value", or "BV". Egg has a BV of 100, while milk is slightly lower and fish/poultry/meat is lower still. Vegetable proteins fall even lower on the scale. The scale measures how effectively our body's are able to utilise the proteins contained in the food source.
Many good quality protein powders actually have a BV in excess of 100, indicating a much greater protein utilisation within the body. This is important when aiming to build muscle, as good quality protein is a vital ingredient for quality muscle growth.
In money terms, supplementation allows you to obtain a greater return on the investment you make with your training sessions. If you're strapped for cash or just aiming to develop a routine, then you may choose to put off the supplementation as you would still gain advantages from exercise and good quality food alone. However, if you're serious about muscle building goals, bodybuilding supplements can assist you greatly in your endeavours.