If you consider yourself a bodybuilder, or if you simply train like one, one thing you’ll be painfully aware of, is just how difficult it is to lose fat, whilst gaining muscle simultaneously. Building muscle OR losing fat, is difficult enough as it is, so if you try to do both at the same time, you need all of the knowledge, help, and experience that you can get. Bodybuilders generally go through two main phases of the year: Bulking, and cutting. Most bodybuilders would agree that bulking is far more favourable than cutting, because it allows them to be a little more relaxed with their diets and their nutrition, they perhaps don’t have to get quite as much cardio exercise in each week, and above all else, they can afford a cheat meal now and then, without feeling guilty and setting themselves back a few days in terms of progress. The idea behind bulking is to build as much muscle mass and size as possible, whereas with cutting, the idea is to lose body fat and become as ripped, and vascular as possible, which means getting body fat percentages down into single digit figures, which is incredibly difficult. On top of eating the right foods, getting enough cardio, and tracking macros etc, if you’re truly serious about getting shredded, you may need the help of certain supplements. Here’s a look at five supplements guaranteed to help get you shredded.
BCAAs, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, are incredibly popular supplements that are considered a staple part of pretty much every bodybuilder’s cutting supplement stack. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules, and when protein is consumed, in the stomach and intestine, it is broken down and converted into amino acids and short chain amino acids, which are then absorbed directly into the blood stream. Numerous studies however, have found countless bodybuilding benefits associated with BCAAs, especially when it comes to building muscle and burning body fat. For example, BCAAs help increase ATP production, which is a form of natural energy used by the muscles in the body. This means that the muscles have more energy, and can therefore work for longer before they fatigue. On top of that, they also enhance cell volumisation in the muscles, and enhance protein synthesis. This in turn leads to a far greater protein assimilation and absorption, which again, enhances muscle growth and fat loss. For cutting purposes, it is ideal because muscle loss during a cut is a very common problem for bodybuilders, and so as the supplements helps prevent muscle loss and enhances fat loss, it can only be beneficial.
Sometimes it is best to keep things simple, and with multi-vitamins, it is especially true. There’s no point in spending heaps of money on expensive multi-vitamins, when in reality, even some of the more basic ones serve the exact same purposes, for a fraction of the price. The body requires vitamins for a whole variety of different purposes, so of course the more vitamins we absorb, the healthier we become. When bodybuilders diet down to lose weight, they’re obviously consuming far less food and drink than before, which means that they often aren’t getting enough vitamins and nutrients from whole foods and drinks alone. In these instances, multi-vitamin supplements are absolutely ideal, and they simply couldn’t be easier to use.
Whether bulking, cutting, or even simply trying to maintain muscle mass, whey protein is an absolute necessity, with no ifs or buts about it. Protein is of course essential for cellular health and function, not to mention for muscle growth, repair, function, and recovery, which is why bodybuilders consume high protein diets. Whey protein is a fast-absorbing protein which comes from dairy sources, and is absolutely ideal for post-workout recovery, due to the fact that it is absorbed so quickly. Whey protein however, is also rich in just the right quantities of amino acids, and nutrients required by the body, not only to help it build muscle, but to also simply allow it to function healthily. Whey protein not only influences muscle growth, it also influences hormonal production, secretion, and responses as well. Hormones such as testosterone and HGH (Human Growth Hormone) have both been found to be higher in individuals who regularly consume whey protein supplements, and as they both play key roles in muscle growth and fat loss, obviously that is a very significant finding indeed.
Although there has been a lot of negative press lately surrounding certain fat burners, if the product comes from a reputable manufacturer, and has been tried and tested time and time again, a fat burner could actually prove to be a very welcome addition to any cutting bodybuilding supplement stack. These supplements are thermogenic, which means that they increase the core body temperature as the body struggles to digest them and break them down. This leads to an increase in basic metabolic rates, which in turn means more calories burnt, and more energy being produced as a result. They’re especially beneficial when it comes to stubborn body fat, such as the fat found on the obliques (love handles) as they open up adipose fat tissue, allowing the fat to be used as energy, rather than it just sitting there doing nothing.
Finally, one common problem associated with cutting and trying to burn body fat, is the fact that, as you are consuming far less calories than you’re used to, and doing more physical exercise than usual, you can find yourself feeling tired and drained, both physically and mentally. When you feel like this, the last thing you want to do is head into the gym and workout, which is where pre-workout supplements prove so useful. These supplements contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and natural stimulants such as caffeine, which give you mental and physical boosts in energy. Many of them also contain Nitric Oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, dilating the blood vessels, increasing circulation, and allowing more oxygen and nutrient rich blood to be carried around the body. This not only gives the muscles more energy to work harder, it also increases vascularity, helping to make you look more ripped and more defined.