Nutrition

Finding the Right Supplement for Bodybuilding

The Right Protein Supplement For Bodybuilding

When it comes to physical fitness, most experts agree that results are driving predominantly by diet rather than physical training. “You are what you eat” has become a rule of physical fitness as much as calories in/out. As a result, huge strides have been made in dietary selections and options for those looking to get into better shape. However, we don’t always have the time for properly prepared meals and pre-planned consumption amounts. Sometimes our busy schedules force us to rely on meal supplements and snacks to get us through our long days. With that in mind, we felt it would be a good idea to break down the best types of food and protein supplements for bodybuilding and improving cardiovascular performance with a special focus on quick, nutritional snacks you can use to maximize the impact of your workouts to get that beach body you desperately want.

Dieting: The Macromolecule Approachappetite-1285185_1280

Despite what you might know about nutrition, there are truly only 3 food groups available to you every day:
1) Lipids 2) Carbohydrates 3) Proteins
Each helps your body function in a different way and each is absolutely essential to your body’s general functions and health.

Lipids

Lipids, or fats, are a crucial aspect of the human diet. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you, and a diet stripped of fat will actually cause you serious harm. The common misconception of lipids is that they translate directly to a larger waistline and are therefore evil. In fact, fats are responsible for the youthful look of your skin. They also help with regulating your body temperate, keeping your hair shiny, improving digestion and creating satiety (the full feeling you get after eating). Problems arise, however, with the types of fats we are eating. Studies conducted over the last 30 years have shown that the types of fats common in our day-to-day diets are not the kinds of fats we need to survive These fats are at the root of many of society’s biggest killers such as hydrogenated oils and saturated fats – the fats we find in baked goods, butter and margarine. These are responsible for the elevated levels of heart disease and stroke that we are seeing today.
Pro Tip: Approximately 10-20% of your daily caloric intake should come from fats and oils. The reason most people are gaining weight is that their fat intake is about 30-40% of their daily caloric intake. In other words, if your diet consists of 2,000 calories, 200-400 of them should come from fats and lipids.
Rather than announce all fats as “bad” for you, it is more important that we understand which types of fats we should be consuming on a daily basis. Omega fats and oils (Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, for example) are regularly found in fish like Salmon and Tilapia or Eggs. These fats are incredibly healthy for us and should be consumed on a daily basis since our bodies are incapable of producing them. Oils found in nuts are also healthy for us but should be eaten in moderate quantities since these oils include a high fat content. As a general rule, remember the following:
Trans-fats and saturated fats are bad for you, no matter where they come from.Unsaturated fats are not terrible for you, but should be consumed in moderation.Look for Omega products (Salmon and Eggs are a great place to start) to facilitate your fat needs.

Carbohydrates

For most people, just the word carbohydrates (or “carbs”) is enough to cause nervousness. Carbs have been transformed into the enemy as far as most dieters are concerned and it is unfortunate since your body needs carbs to survive. In fact, a diet without carbs is actually likely to cause weight gains, since the vast majority of your healthy foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains) are made of carbohydrates. Carbs are not only necessary for a healthy diet, they also promote higher energy levels giving you the ability to take on a more intense fitness regimen than you would otherwise be able to handle. In other words, carbs are the fuel for your overall fitness as long as they are consumed at reasonable levels.
Pro Tip: There are 2 kinds of carbohydrates: simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are found in refined sugars (table sugar, soda and candy) while complex carbs are found in vegetables, fruits and grains. You want to avoid simple carbs as much as possible but eat as many complex carbs as you can. We have never seen anyone gain weight by eating vegetables.
Carbs have various other effects on your body: they improve energy levels, help with digestion, improve immunity to disease and help you remain awake throughout the day. In fact, one glass of orange juice has the same wakeful effect on your body as a cup of coffee, and also features valuable vitamin C, iron, vitamin D (if it is fortified) and other healthy items. To drive the importance of carbs home, if you transitioned your daily routine to include 1 glass of orange juice rather than a cup of coffee with cream and sugar, you would lose 10 pounds of fat over the course of the year and your overall health and fitness would improve as well. And orange juice is only “average” when it comes to healthy carbs.

Proteins

Although predominantly found in meat and dairy products, protein can be found in different plant species such as beans, lentils, almonds, seeds and quinoa. It is of utmost importance that your body receive its daily requirement of protein every day since your reconstructive processes (blood creation, skin repair, hair growth, nail growth, immune system and digestion) all require adequate amounts of protein to work properly. Failure to eat enough protein increases your chances of autoimmune disease and decreases your life span significantly over an extended time frame.
Pro Tip: The easiest way to know how much protein your body needs is to take your Lean Body Weight (your weight minus the weight of your body fat) and eat that many grams of protein. For example, if your Lean Body Weight is 130 pounds, you should be eating 130 grams of protein every day to sustain your bodily functions.
The easiest place to find protein is in meat and dairy products, which typically feature anywhere from a 30-80% protein makeup percentage (i.e. 30-80% of what you are eating is pure protein). Ideally, fish and chicken should be your main sources of protein, since they feature high protein percentages without significant amounts of fat. Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs also feature plenty of protein, but these products also feature a lot of fat and can increase your cholesterol levels.

The Best Diet For Your Fitness Goals

Now that you know what is out there, what should your diet consist of to meet your fitness goals? As you can imagine, this is a complex question that requires a complex answer, but we have simplified it to help you get started. There are 2 kinds of diet you can use for your fitness regimen:

The Sedentary Diet

The sedentary diet is known as the “traditional” diet in that it is created to help people lose weight without the need for exercise. While any successful weight loss regimen typically features some form of exercise, these diets can help you reduce your body fat percentage without the need for considerable exertion. Most sedentary diets require the reduction of fat and lipids intake as well as a reduction in simple carbohydrate intake in order to minimize potential weight gain.
In other words, sedentary diets reduce your overall caloric intake by skewing your food intake towards low-calorie, high nutritional density foods. They are not ideal for fitness regimens since a reduced caloric intake is the last thing your body needs when it is exerting itself (i.e. during a workout). We do not suggest these diets since they effectively refuse your body the nutrition it needs to function properly in order to help you lose weight.

The Workout Diet

Workout diets are made for those who undergo regular workout routines in an attempt to build body mass. In other words, if you are looking to gain muscle and lose fat, you should be on a workout diet. Workout diets predominantly focus on protein and carbs, since these are the major food groups your body needs to repair itself and build new muscle fibers during and after your workouts.
On a workout diet, you ingest complex carbs (grains and vegetables) before a workout to provide your body with the fuel it needs to power through your routine. Afterwards, a workout diet focuses on protein intake to minimize the time it takes to heal the micro-tears in your muscles a workout creates. This protein can come from any source, but typically takes the form of meat and dairy products or supplements, depending on your specific needs. Chicken, eggs and fish are ideal for this system, although many turn to milk, yogurt, cheese or beef as a means of repairing their muscles after a strenuous workout.

Protein Supplements

While some people do not feel that protein suplements are necessary for bodybuilding or repairing soft tissue after a workout, many people swear by them. The truth is that supplements are only as good as the protein they are made of, and this protein can vary in terms of effectiveness based on your particular needs. For example, our bodies require live protein for use in rebuilding our muscles. Live protein can be found in natural sources such as meat and dairy products, or it can be created and simulated in a lab and placed in containers for consumption. The problem is that many supplements do not feature live protein, which means our bodies are only able to take in a small amount of what we are consuming. The rest is either rejected or, worse, simply added to our fat stores without any noticeable positive impact. Here are some things to look for when purchasing protein supplements:

  1. Look for whey protein, amino acids, animal proteins and dairy proteins – these are the types of protein you need to rebuild your muscles after a workout
  2. Avoid plant-based proteins if you want top efficiency – plant proteins will help you rebuild your muscles but they are less efficient as your body needs to convert them into amino acids before it can use them
  3. Avoid specially flavored protein supplements – while they may taste a bit better, the ingredients required to make protein flavorful are also unhealthy for you and can take away the positive impact of your protein supplement

We have created a list of supplements to help you find the right one for you:

Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder

PROS:
  • Mixes easily in any liquid- 5 g of protein

CONS:
  • Insufficient protein provided

Creatine is a well-known brand many bodybuilding and workout enthusiasts trust and use. Many will say that they have seen significant gains as a result of using Creatine and we do not want to disappoint them. The truth is that 5 grams of protein is insignificant when it comes to your daily protein requirements. Even if you weigh 100 pounds and 80% of that weight is lean body mass, a scoop of Creatine still only provides you with 6% of your daily protein requirements. The chances that Creatine is responsible for the muscle gains seen by these individuals is unlikely. It is far more likely that taking a protein supplement increased their dedication to their workouts and their regular diet provided them with the protein they needed to build muscle. That being said, if you are mixing Creatine in water, it is a shot of protein into your system with the added benefit of hydration after a workout, both of which are good for you.

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Pure Creatine Monohydrate Micronized to stay suspended in solution longer Supports strength and recovery

Binding

Health and Beauty

Brand

Optimum Nutrition

Color

Parent

Label

Optimum Nutrition – NutWell

Manufacturer

Optimum Nutrition – NutWell

Number Of Items

1

Package Quantity

1

Product Group

Health and Beauty

Publisher

Optimum Nutrition – NutWell

Studio

Optimum Nutrition – NutWell

Size

1200g, 150g, 150g (Pack of 2), 300g, 600g

100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia Extract with HCA

PROS:
  • Easy to use, comes in pill form- Purports to aid in weight loss

CONS:
  • No clinical evidence to support weight loss arguments
  • Does not supply any protein

Any chemical extract that purports to help you lose weight should be taken with a grain of salt. The claim to fame of this product is that it helps reduce food cravings and hunger, which can help you power through your diet. It does not provide you with any health benefits that we are aware of, nor are there any clinical trials that support such an argument. Overall, we would not endorse the purchase of this product unless you are looking to supplement your current workout regimen or are using a Sedentary diet to help lose weight.

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

YOU GET 120 CAPSULES - TWICE THE AMOUNT OF CAPSULES OFFERED ELSEWHERE! As a leading brand of Garcinia Cambogia, we offer twice the number of capsules per bottle. HAS CUSTOMERS RAVING! While there is ...

$15.99

Binding

Health and Beauty

Brand

Nutra Rise

Label

Nutra Rise

Manufacturer

Nutra Rise

MPN

NR-GC-120

Part Number

NR-GC-120

Product Group

Health and Beauty

Publisher

Nutra Rise

Studio

Nutra Rise

Size

Garcinia Cambogia

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Original

PROS:
  • May help your immune system
  • Easy to mix

CONS:
  • Will not help you build muscle
  • May depend on the Placebo effect

This product has become fairly popular with the juicing crowd (folks that use blenders and fruit juicers as part of their workout routine). It features a lot of natural bi-products and purports to be gluten-free and vegan. As a liquid mix, we have mixed feelings about the ability of this product to help with bodybuilding. However, it does have some nutritional value and could be used as a supplement if your diet is lacking in basic holistic nutrition. Overall, this is probably not a product you require unless you are going the sedentary diet route and not working out regularly. It may be very useful if you have a weak immune system and need some help bolstering it.

Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder

PROS:
  • Provides 21 grams of protein and 5 grams of complex carbs
  • Easy to mix into liquids

CONS:
  • Flavored products will have reduced nutritional benefit

Although we do not typically advocate the use of supplement for workouts, Orgain is one of the few products on the market that does help your workout through the use of protein and carbs mixed in the right proportions to give you a great start and finish to your workout regimen. Although you can find higher levels of protein and carbs in regular food, if you are looking for an easy-to-use supplement to help you build muscle and power through cardio workouts, this would be one of our top picks. Keep in mind that there are flavored variations of this product to help make it more appealing to a wider audience, but the artificial flavoring process involved also make these variations less healthy for you over the long term, with added simple sugars. All in all, however, Orgain is a great brand that can help with your daily workout routine.


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  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

21 gram organic plant-based protein Organic brown rice, hemp, chia and pea proteins 3 gram net carbs

Binding

Grocery

Brand

Orgain

Color

Parent

Label

Orgain

Manufacturer

Orgain

Package Quantity

1

Product Group

Grocery

Publisher

Orgain

Studio

Orgain

Flavor Name

1 of each Flavor, Chocolate Fudge, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla, Vanilla Bean

Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Vanilla

PROS:
  • Gives you more live protein than most other supplements on the market
  • No unhealthy ingredients for flavoring

CONS:
  • A bit more expensive than the average protein supplement
  • Uses plant protein

Of all products on this list, Garden of Life is one of our favorites for a couple of reasons. First, it provides you with 22 grams of protein per serving, which beats most of its competitors. More importantly, however, is that it does not feature any simple sugars or artificial flavoring, which makes it the healthiest form of supplement you can take. The only drawback we can see is that this product uses plant protein for its formula. Plant protein still helps you in bodybuilding, but it is ingested more slowly and less efficiently than animal or dairy proteins. In other words, this product provides you with more protein than the average supplement, but your body may not be able to use all of it due to digestion inefficiencies.

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Cleanest protein on the shelf with Dual certification - certified USDA organic and non-GMO project verified Vegan certified, kosher - no dairy, no soy, no artificial or chemical ingredients Highly ...

$20.99 $20.97

Binding

Health and Beauty

Brand

Garden of Life

Color

vanilla

Department

men, women, unisex-adult

EAN

0658010118026

EAN List

0658010118026, 0794620517382, 0785923039626, 0794620527220, 0794620501527, 0794620522300

Item Dimensions

900, hundredths-inches, 650, hundredths-inches, 58, hundredths-pounds, 250, hundredths-inches

Label

Garden of Life

Legal Disclaimer
Manufacturer

Garden of Life

Model

11802

MPN

2017614

Number Of Items

1

Package Quantity

1

Part Number

2017614

Product Group

Health and Beauty

Publication Date

2015-01-23

Publisher

Garden of Life

Release Date

2015-03-19

Size

260 g

Studio

Garden of Life

UPC

794620527220

UPC List

794620527220, 794620517382, 658010118026, 794620522300, 785923039626, 794620501527

BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder

PROS:
  • 22 grams of protein per serving
  • 50 servings per container

CONS:
  • More expensive than the average protein supplement
  • Flavored options are less healthy


Like Garden of Life above, SYNTHA is one of our personal favorites on this list. It is more expensive than most protein supplements on the market, but this is because it has the most science to back it up. More important than anything is SYHTNA’s focus on amino acid chains which mark it as a top-notch product. Amino acids are found in animal proteins (the human body requires over 20 of them to survive) and SYNTHA provides these instead of just simple plant proteins. In addition to amino acids, SYNTHA also provides 22 grams of animal protein and 5 grams of carbohydrates, making it one of the best-rounded, healthiest protein supplements on the market. It is a bit more expensive than traditional supplements and the flavored options are less healthy due to the presence of simple sugars, but pound for pound, this is one of the best supplements available to help you build muscle and continue your workout regimen.

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard

PROS:
  • Pros:
  • Features dairy proteins
  • Highest protein levels of all protein supplements (24 grams of protein/serving)

CONS:
  • If whey protein is denatured, whey will not help you build muscle

A lot has been written about whey protein supplements and their impacts on the human body. As a by-product of the cheese-creation process, whey contains proteins similar to what you might find in dairy products. As such, it is a great choice for building muscle assuming the whey proteins have not been denatured. Denaturation is a process whereby protein is exposed to significant heat and amino acid bonds break apart, making it impossible for your body to metabolize them. As such, whey protein supplements are terrific in that they provide you with the perfect mix of proteins you need for building muscle. On the downside, if the container has been exposed to significant heat, even for a short time, the protein in these supplements can denature, meaning they are completely useless to your body. Therefore, whey protein supplements are hit-and-miss, although if they are delivered intact, they are ideal for your muscle-building needs.

Keep in mind that every protein supplement works differently and while some may provide you with results, others may be completely useless to you based on your physical fitness regimen. Use the guide below to help you determine what protein supplements are best for you.

  • Product
  • Specification
  • Photos

Packed with Whey Protein Isolates Fast-Acting HYDROWHEY Whey Peptides More than 5 grams of BCAAs

$44.80

Binding

Health and Beauty

Brand

Optimum Nutrition

EAN

0890109983416

EAN List

0890109983416, 0879488154303, 0797978186651

Label

Optimum Nutrition

Manufacturer

Optimum Nutrition

MPN

ON-0042

Package Quantity

1

Part Number

ON-0042

Product Group

Health and Beauty

Publisher

Optimum Nutrition

Studio

Optimum Nutrition

UPC

879488154303

UPC List

879488154303, 797978186651, 890109983416

Using Protein Supplements

More important than the protein makeup of protein supplements is the way in which they are used. Protein supplements are almost completely useless if you are only performing cardio workouts. The two exceptions to this rule are cycling workouts and rowing workouts. Since both of these workouts lead to muscle-building, protein supplements can be extremely useful to help you power through them and rebuild your muscles afterwards. However, if you are simply running, using a stair climbing machine, or the elliptical, protein supplements are not necessary.
Where protein supplements really help is with the reconstruction of muscle fibers following a serious weightlifting workout. When you put strain on your muscles (i.e. lift weights), micro-tears develop that require repair before they can be used again. The evidence of this is the soreness you feel after a workout – that’s your body healing itself. When it comes to protein supplements and workouts, the best time to consume them is during and immediately after an intense workout. Most studies agree that you should use protein supplements within 30 minutes of a strenuous workout.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that a serious workout is one in which you are sweating and exerting yourself. If you are not sweating or feeling muscle soreness after a workout, you probably don’t need to up your protein intake.
Ideally, you will up your carbohydrate intake about an hour before your workout and follow it with protein to maximize your gains and minimize your recovery time. This will give you the energy to power through your workout and will provide your body with the building blocks it needs to put your muscle back together. This is why we place so much importance on amino acids and on the types of protein you are ingesting.

Final Say On Protein Supplements

Remember that protein supplements are just that – supplements. There is no replacement for a balanced diet and complete meal plan based on healthy foods and eating time frames. Don’t use protein supplements as a replacement for meals, use them if you do not have an option for real food after your workouts. For example, if you workout in the morning, take a hard-boiled egg to the gym with you. It has as much protein in it as a serving of the best protein supplement on the market. If you work out at night, eat dinner right afterwards with a chicken breast or filet of fish to maximize your body’s recovery time. A protein supplement should be used if you don’t have access to healthy food after a workout or to “supplement” your bodybuilding and weight loss diet. Read our supplement review to choose the best supplenment for your bodybuilding goals.

Best Selling Protein Supplements


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2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Alexander November 26, 2016 at 10:49 am

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