Are Sports Supplements Necessary for Strength Training?

May 06 2020
Sports Supplements Are They Essential For Strength Training?
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This question is so common amongst gym-goers, people training for strength and muscle and those of us that have built their own home gym, that I had to have a go at answering it. First, to determine if supplements are necessary, we will examine them and their benefits. And also take a look at types of supplements that facilitate great results in strength training. 

What are supplements? 

Many supplements include necessary ingredients such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, herbs and enzymes that come in the form of powders, soft gels, capsules, tablets, liquids, and gel-caps. They provide nutrients extracted from food sources and are consumed to support health, and supplement diets. They are however not medicines and should not be substituted for food. 

In regards to bodybuilding, supplements function as a catalyst. They help to speed up the process of bodybuilding, weight gain, and strength training. However, they are not the key ingredients for strength training. Just like they are called, they only supplement the whole process.

The key elements for strength training are “a balanced, rich protein diet and the right workout” So, muscle strength can be built with or without supplements. The only difference is without supplements; the whole process can be slower. But the question is how slow the muscle building pace will be without supplement?

A protein rich diet taken with the right workout routines is the primary determinant for strength gains. Supplements only increase the process by approximately 0-10%. This means that the importance of a healthy diet cannot be overemphasized. 

Since nutrition sometimes cannot cover everything, it is necessary to fill up every nutrition gap – hence, the need for supplements. The quality and nutrient offering of supplements have significantly advanced in recent times such that it has become an essential part of every successful strength training. Supplements have proved to be useful for effective weight loss, muscle gain, and workout performance.

For bodybuilders to get the most out of supplements, there is a need to have an already existing and balanced nutrition plan. No matter the brand and amount of supplements you consume, without protein-rich nutrition which is the primary ingredient for strength training, you would be wasting money on supplements because they would not work.

However, because the entire process of strength training and weight gains are prolonged for a natural lifter, combining the right meal plan with workouts and supplements will put you some steps forward and help you maximize your results. 

The following supplements have been used by different bodybuilders and have proven effective in speeding up the process of strength training.

Body Building and Strength Training Supplements

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Fish Oils

Fish oils are a phenomenal wellspring of omega-3 unsaturated fats, which gives a heap of advantages to the body – their anti-inflammatory and cell reinforcement properties will increase your recovery time after workout and boost the effects of exercise.

Because intense resistance training can cause severe tears to muscle strands which causes muscle harm and irritation, it has been observed that fish oils help diminish post-practice muscle soreness and accelerate recuperation process. Furthermore, the omega-3 can also build protein production rates, prompting a significant increase in muscle mass when mixed with carbs and branched chain amino acids.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Muscle development is a standout benefit of BCCAs. BCCAs are delicious components not produced by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements. They help in building muscles, enhance recovery, repair of muscle strains after an intense workout and reduce muscle fatigue.

The BCAA contains leucine which creates a specific pathway in the body that maintains muscle protein combination. This supplement is mostly used by bodybuilders and athletes to enhance strength training, boost muscle repair and build body mass.

Whey Protein

Whey is individually applied to help improve muscle protein development and growth of slim muscle mass. Milk is made up of two proteins, casein, and whey. Whey protein can be isolated from the casein in milk or derived from cheese making. Whey protein is viewed as a total protein as it contains each of the nine organic amino acids. It is low in lactose content.

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Whey protein has proved more effective than soy-based protein in improving muscle hypertrophy and has remained a true friend to all levels of bodybuilders. 

The different types of whey proteins include:


Whey protein hydrolysate delivers enhanced performance. It includes active components that stimulate muscle protein synthesis and initiates translation.


Whey concentrate contains about 80% of protein and lesser quantity of fat and lactose than whey isolate. It includes the sort of sugar found in milk items and bioactive mixes. It proves beneficial for maximizing muscle hypertrophy goals and helps in swift muscle recovery.


Whey secludes have their base segment (water) expelled and are commonly considered nearly lactose and cholesterol free — they usually are in any event 90% protein. It is easily assimilated into the body system, and it fixes the body after strenuous exercise from muscle-wasting to muscle-building form. -

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Citrulline Malate (CM)

Citrulline is likewise a by-product of the body's transformation of the amino acid arginine into nitric oxide (NO). It has been reported that an abundance of citrulline expands the measure of arginine in the blood, prompting expanded NO creation.

In fact, the more NO in the bloodstream the more the movement of blood to muscles amid exercise, which enables them to last longer under coercion—and produce greater muscle siphons to weightlifters. Malate is a salt compound that often finds application not just as a preservative, but can also be used as a supplement when mixed with citrulline and other various supplements to enhance their half-life in the body.

Malate is additionally thought to have weariness battling capacities of its own, by supporting the body's own ability to generate energy through the reuse of work out produced lactic acid.

Furthermore, CM improves maximal strength and is useful in enhancing activity execution during upper-and lower-body resistance exercise for strength training.


Glutamine is the most abundant acid in the skeletal muscle. The skeletal muscle represents a vast mass of tissue; therefore, it is the quantitatively most important site of glutamine production. As a supplement, it plays an essential role in the repair and recovery of the muscle. It works by getting rid of excess ammonia that accumulates during intense exercise; more so, it also helps to balance the acid-base concentration of the body system.


The most generally utilized stimulant on the planet is caffeine. Hence, it is considered as an effective ergogenic aid in both perseverance exercise and high-power movement. It has been observed that caffeine helps in replenishing glycogen – a primary fuel source – rapidly during exercise and delays fatigue.

Nitric Oxide (NO) Boosters

The support given by nitrate-rich substances – such as beets, radishes, to mention a few – to the production of NO is incredible. These supplements increase NO, which results in vasodilation and a massive increase in blood flow which increases exercise performance and muscle recovery.

Reasons To Use Nitric Oxide Boosters

Creatine Monohydrate

Research has shown that supplementing workout with creatine monohydrate can substantially double body strength and muscle gain when compared to the effect of exercise alone. It has proven to be the most effective supplement for strength training and building body mass. More so, it has been marked as benign with no detrimental effect. It increases the water content of muscle cells, which increases muscle mass; and results in significant weight gain. Creatine monohydrate reduces muscle breakdown, allows bodybuilders to retain more strength and perform several sets of heavy workouts in one session. It is also very beneficial for general well being and exercises execution.

So are Supplements Worth it?

All the supplements mentioned above, when properly used can speed up the process of strength training. Irrespective of the fact that muscle gain can be effectively achieved without supplementation, as bodybuilders, we cannot overlook the fact that supplements play a very crucial role in strength training. Supplements increase energy, improve the process of muscle recovery and enhance athletic performance. So train hard, rest well and stay at making your home workout a habit!

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