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What are Bodybuilding Supplements?

By R. Anacan
Updated May 16, 2024
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While many people lift weights as part of an overall exercise program, the goal of many bodybuilders goes beyond simply being in good physical shape. Many bodybuilders seek to develop their bodies into their own version of the “Arnold Schwarzenegger physique." Unfortunately for many, the goal of the perfect body is not always attainable without a little help. Therefore, many weight lifters use bodybuilding supplements, which are products that are designed to help bodybuilders develop muscle mass, muscle definition and tone, and greater overall strength and physical endurance.

Bodybuilding supplements are generally found in one of two main categories. The first category consists of dietary vitamin supplements. There are many thoughts, opinions and information on the specific vitamins that a bodybuilder should take, much of which can be found through an Internet search; but most bodybuilders agree that effective vitamin supplementation begins with a good multi-vitamin. A multi-vitamin that has a broad spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals may help the body recover faster from intense workouts and may also provide some much needed nutrition.

The next major group of bodybuilding supplements are those that are specifically designed to help a bodybuilder develop larger and stronger muscles. The most common supplements in this group tend to be protein, creatine and glutamine. Proteins are the basic building blocks of muscles and it is important for a bodybuilder to consume enough protein to build larger muscles. Protein is often supplemented through powders, which can be added to food and drinks, protein shakes, which are similar in consistency and taste to meal-replacement shakes, or protein pills.

Creatine and glutamine bodybuilding supplements are both forms of amino acids. Many bodybuilders believe that creatine helps to create leaner muscle mass. It is also believed that creatine may increase energy and performance in those who use it and may also help muscles recover in a shorter time period from a workout. Creatine may be taken in pill form or as a powder supplement that can be added to or mixed with liquids.

Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body and plays an important role in the functioning of the brain, digestive system and immune system. When the body is under stress, such as during and after a workout, the level of glutamine that the body is able to produce may not be sufficient for its needs. Glutamine may also help reduce muscle fatigue and increase muscular performance and endurance. Glutamine bodybuilding supplements may be taken as a powder that can be mixed with liquids or taken in the form of a pill.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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