Author: Sarah Oliver • Fact checked by: NASM • Dec. 12, 2022
Supplements for Physique Athletes
Once cast aside as the outliers, bodybuilders and physique athletes are becoming the norm in the fitness industry. Social media is ripe with images of shredded peak week competitors, and misinformation on safe protocols are emulated and replicated to the detriment of amateurs. If you’re curious about bodybuilding, ensuring you have an experienced and educated coach is essential. Another essential for bodybuilders is choosing the right supplements. Although not essential for most people, bodybuilders have unique needs due to the stringent dietary changes they must make in order to get both strong and unsustainably lean.
Protein is the building block for muscle tissue growth, repair and maintenance. In order to have success on competition day, physique athletes must spend years training and recovering in order to present a muscular physique on stage. When eating sufficient calories for growth, protein is funneled to damaged muscle fibers rto build back bigger and stronger. Once the prep season begins, calorie intake starts dropping. In order to hold into the muscle they worked so hard to build, high protein intake, often in the form of both food and supplements, is necessary. For most athletes, calories drop low enough that it can be tough to follow strict nutrition guidelines that maintain health without some isolated sources of protein to reach their macronutrient goals. This is the reason protein supplements are used throughout all seasons of a physique athlete’s career.
Creatine is one of the single most researched, effective, safe (and legal) performance-enhancing supplements out there. Creatine is found in animal-based foods, but supplementation can “top-off” stores of this vital nutrient in muscle tissue. Creatine is used during fast, explosive movement to exert great strength or force. Therefore, it’s heavily used during resistance training, which is key to building a physique ready for show day. Athletes who take creatine may be able to perform an extra rep or two of their weight lifting set, or push just slightly harder in strength or intensity. This can enhance strength and muscle hypertrophy outcomes overtime.
Physique athlete may only step on stage a handful of times over the course of their competition season. Leading up to this, they put in hours of consistency and hard work in the gym and with their food intake. Therefore, the preparation of the physique athlete is really where the bulk of the time is spent, despite going on “behind the scenes.” Pre-workout is a useful daily supplement to enhance the hours and years of dedication to the sport. Each gym session, each cardio workout, is a drop in the bucket that will allow for success on that single day on stage, so it’s worthwhile to ensure the efforts are quality! Not all pre-workouts are made the same, and ingredients can vary substantially. Ensuring your pre-workout uses clean, science-backed ingredients can promote performance and recovery while avoiding the potential risks that can come from other brands.
Curious to learn more about physique sports? Or looking to grow your leadership in the field as a coach? NASM is offering a first-of-its-kind Physique and Bodybuilding Coach certification. And Gainful subscribers get 35% off with code GAINFUL35!
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