Every guy wants to have a muscular physique. Not everyone will think it’s ideal to be a hulking giant, but regardless, putting on muscle is a testament to hard work and dedication. To do so, there are often many supplement brands who adamantly try to suggest that shortcuts are indeed possible. While some bodybuilding supplements like protein are generally considered positive, there are others that are highly questionable and make promises they can’t keep. They risk nothing by marketing their product that way, but you risk everything if your health takes a turn for the worst after committing to the wrong supplement.
If you are starting your muscle-building journey, these are the supplements you need to avoid when gyming.
Pre Workout is so popular nowadays that calling it out would be controversial in its own right. Pre-workout serves as an energy booster that will get you going for your entire workout; supposedly giving you extra energy that translates into strength and overall efficiency. It’s no surprise that caffeine is thrown into the mix, but an overload of that can be extremely harmful to the body.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are included as well and a surplus of this can lead to bloating and diarrhea. Ultimately, taking a pre-workout isn’t a nutritional supply agent per se, but more of being a “luxury” that gives you energy. With the correct meals, your body should have enough energy and strength to go about doing your workouts properly.
Test boosters aren’t for everyone as they truly only help those who generate a lower amount of testosterone than the average count. Having a surplus of testosterone can be very harmful to the body. Test boosters are seen as a cheap alternative to growth hormones that are supposed to be natural. While that may be true for some brands, the harms of a surplus of this hormone include prostate swelling, oily skin, decrease in sperm count, and fluid retention, just to name a few.
The consequences are difficult to identify short term, but these symptoms will show up gradually, and that’s when test boosters would have done more harm than good. There are plenty of natural ways of using a healthy amount of this hormone, and the side effects are not worth it for just a few extra points of muscle.
We get that cardio is a chore to most people; but if it was easy, more people would be in shape. Fat burner presents itself as a “shortcut” to traditional dieting by claiming to help the body metabolize faster. It’s common knowledge that fiber is healthy and is a primary nutrient that helps with metabolism, but fat burners don’t use fiber. Instead, the supplement relies on caffeine.
A regular cup of coffee increases metabolic rate between 3-4% every 2 hours, which amounts to about 12.5 calories burnt. Fat burners may dump a lot more caffeine into your body than a standard cup of coffee would, but your body has a capacity of the speed at which it can metabolize at its fastest. This supplement gets sold on the name itself, while the ingredients beyond caffeine do next to nothing with boosting metabolic activity. Definitely a hard pass on this; there are far cheaper alternatives that can provide caffeine to the body in safer quantities.
Protein Powder (Kind Of)
Protein powder is NOT bad in its own right but can be consumed poorly which will lead to severe consequences. Protein powder generally suggests one or two scoops of protein, mixed in with a bit of water - which is fine.
What is not fine, however, is how many consumers perceive this supplement. The keyword in supplement means to “supply”, not replace. This means that protein powder should never act as a replacement, but only to provide additional aid if your meals generally lack protein. This could be due to work, inconveniences, or cost; which is why this supplement is by far the most popular in the weight lifting industry.
While protein powder can be safe if you go for the traditional whey and soy options and adhere to the guidelines, problems can start to surface when your workouts do not optimize the added aid. If you do not have enough of a workout to let your body metabolize the protein, you could gain unnecessary weight.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
This supplement has been getting a lot of attention in the market recently and is known to have been advertised by professional athletes for its effectiveness. Ultimately, BCAA gives the body leucine, isoleucine, and valine - amino acids that trigger muscle growth; however, these amino acids can be acquired elsewhere and the actual BCAA formula does absolutely nothing.
The only added benefit of BCAA is the reduction of soreness which isn’t something worth spending on every month. Overall, BCAA doesn’t suffer from being bad for the body by any means, but its effectiveness has no scientific backing and could be a huge waste to spend on.
Glutamine is the same shtick as every other gym supplements out there, to help your body increase its muscle mass. This name hasn’t been used among regular gym goers recently, but it is good as it suffers from a similar problem as BCAA.
Athletes have used Glutamine to showcase the ability to gain healthy amino acids while keeping the immune system healthy and maintaining large muscles all at once. Even if there is some truth to Glutamine’s effect, it does not have enough advantages to warrant a regular commitment.
Ezra Gideon, UNB & Dhaka Courier Correspondent in Singapore.