With so many types of products on the market, it becomes increasingly difficult to figure out what to take first. There are hundreds of varieties, each with its role. Below are the main bodybuilding supplements to look for:

Amino acids and branched chain amino acids (BCAA)

Amino acids are the “blocks” which stack up proteins. They are of two kinds:

– essential amino acids which can not be synthesized by the human body (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, and tryptophan), and that must be present in the diet at all times.

– non-essential amino acids (alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine) which the body may produce itself.

Among the essential amino acids, 3 are of great importance for athletes. These are leucine, isoleucine and valine and they are so important because they are not metabolized in the skeletal muscle and the liver, as happens with other amino acids. Thus, the proteins digested with branched chain amino acids may be used for the construction of other proteins, as a source of energy or as precursors to the formation of other amino acids.

Creatine

Creatine is naturally present in the body, especially in skeletal muscle. Creatine sources are chicken, cow or fish. Creatine is destroyed, however, through cooking, so supplements remain the best source of it.

Creatine is very effective for increasing muscle mass and boosting the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate – the main source of energy for muscles' explosive power). Thus, it allows you to perform more repetitions and sets with higher weights, which in turn help you gain bigger and stronger muscles.

Creatine should be cycled. Many athletes have been very successful when taking creatine for 4 weeks, followed by two weeks of rest. There are many types of creatine such as creatine monohydrate, pure liquid creatine, micronized creatine and many others. Of creatine-based supplements, the best ones containing containing dextrose, amino acids and other ingredients. However, a cheaper alternative such as micronized creatine taken with fruit juice is not a bad choice. Whatever the chosen supplement is, creatine should be taken after training.

Glutamine

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue. Prevents muscle cell damage and improvements recovery. Glutamine can be taken through the year. Glutamine should not be taken simultaneously with creatine as compete with one another for the receptors to be absorbed. Therefore, glutamine and creatine should be taken before and after the training, respectively.

Nitrogen Monoxide (Nitric Oxide / NO)

Nitric Oxide is a colorless gas produced by the body and acts as a neurotransmitter. NO stimulates blood circulation and facilitates that the transport of nutrients to the muscles. Those who used nitrous oxide supplementation have reportedly achieved a better muscle pump.

Multivitamins

Do not neglect them. If your body lacks one mineral or vitamin, your physical progress can be seriously affected. Therefore, a multivitamin supplement is mandatory for gaining muscle mass and maintaining a positive health state in general.

Those who go the gym need higher amounts of vitamins minerals than sedentary individuals, and may not be able to find gain them all through fruits and regular foods.

Protein Powders

Protein powder shakes are a very convenient solution to assure yourself quality protein. Proteins are made of amino acids, also called “the building blocks” that construct core muscles. Thus, proteins are of utmost importance in enhancing muscle mass. A bodybuilder should ensure 1.5-2 g of protein per body kg. Thus, a sportsman weighing 100 kg should ideally consume 150-200g of protein per day. The problem is finding a large amount of protein but with minimum calories from fat. That's where supplements come in, all tailor for the needs of each athlete.

The main sources of protein powders are whey, soy, eggs, and casein, each with its specific characteristics.

Whey – Whey protein is the ideal post-workout supplement, because that is the time when the body needs most protein and whey is digested very quickly (in about 30 minutes). Whey protein powders is presented in three main forms:
Whey protein isolate (WPI) – has a high protein content (90%) is low in fat and carbohydrates.
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) – it contains the less protein (29% -89%) and more fat and carbohydrates from whey protein isolate.
Hydrolysed whey protein – protein are “predigested” and therefore have the fastest absorption rate. More than half of hydrolysed protein consumed quickly pass through the stomach and are absorbed directly into the small intestine

Casein – is digested slowly (2-7 hours). It is a very good supplement taken before bedtime. At night, when you sleep, the body receives nutrients and is a constant source of casein protein in this period due to slow absorption.

These are the most important sports nutrition supplements to consider. Keep in mind that every individual's needs are different, so if you're just making your way through bodybuilding you might need more than one supplement to match your food time.