Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners
Are you the type of person who needs a clear, concise goal when it comes to making achievements? For example, maybe you’re interested in getting into fitness but have tried and failed several times after you join a gym and walk aimlessly around before heading home. Or perhaps, you’ve been in the gym for some time, but your typical routine has become mundane, and you need something new to focus on.
Most of us have heard about bodybuilding at some point; I mean, who doesn’t know and love Arnold Schwarzenegger? However, if you haven’t done more than admire the superhero-resembling athletes, bodybuilding might seem out of reach.
With a little research, you’ll soon see that bodybuilding is an umbrella term with subcategories achievable for everyone—the only necessities are access to weights and some focus and dedication.
While there are lots of articles out there about how and where to begin, we’d like to focus, in detail, on one crucial piece: bodybuilding supplements for beginners.
What is Bodybuilding?
First, let’s get specific. We mentioned that bodybuilding is an umbrella term for other subcategories, but what is it exactly?
Bodybuilding involves weightlifting, strength training, cardio, and any other means of exercising to enhance the physical body. Bodybuilding focuses on building and defining muscles and limiting excess body fat.
As a competitive sport, bodybuilding is preparing one’s body for a competition where athletes compete on stage for the title of the best physique.
Therefore, it is a sport about aesthetics, and the following factors are considered, regardless of subcategory:
- muscle mass
- muscle definition
- stage performance and poses
Who Can Partake in Bodybuilding?
Anyone! We encourage strength training and the pursuit of physical health and wellness for everyone, and after all, that’s what bodybuilding is.
Additionally, with a little hard work and a clear goal, anyone can make their dreams of competing in a bodybuilding competition a reality. There are categories suitable for everyone. While your end goal might be to achieve the muscle mass of a bikini or physique athlete, others may have a long-term goal of competing in a true “bodybuilding” category (think Arnold).
Where to Begin with Bodybuilding
If training for a competition sounds like something you’d like to try, you’re going to need to do a little research. You might consider hiring a professional bodybuilding trainer to guide you through the exercise and nutrition process and help with actual competition prep. On the other hand, if you want to go it alone, you certainly can.
The areas you will need to learn about include:
- bodybuilding organizations
- selecting a competition date and registering
- an exercise program designed to gain muscle and get lean
- bodybuilding supplements for beginners
- peak week
- uniform suit
- competition prep, including tanning, the day before and day of nutrition, shoes (or not), jewelry (if applicable), etc.
For this article, we’re going to help guide you specifically on bodybuilding supplements for beginners.
Do I Need Bodybuilding Supplements?
There are not many times when we say that you need supplements. Even as supplement lovers and users, we respect that you can get almost everything from food without the use of supplements.
However, supplements can make life for the average person easier and healthier when properly used, and the same is true (even more so) for beginner bodybuilders. When you change your nutrition drastically, even if it’s for the best, your body might require supplements to adjust.
Often (most) times, a bodybuilding training diet consists of super high protein, low carbs and calories, and not a whole lot of anything else. Some supplements become increasingly important to provide the growing body with necessary nutrients aside from what chicken breast can provide.
Below you’ll find the bodybuilding supplements we think are necessary, especially with regards to supplements for beginner bodybuilders. After that, we’ll touch on bodybuilding supplements that, while not necessary, can be extremely helpful in achieving a stage-ready physique, all while helping you feel your best.
Necessary Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners
First, the minimum bodybuilding supplements you should purchase and start taking before you begin training are:
- Whey Protein
- Pre-workout supplements
- Carb supplements
- Omega fatty acid supplements
The almighty whey protein—maybe the king of all supplements, definitely the king of protein supplements. A protein supplement is a key bodybuilding supplement for beginners because it will help you achieve the high protein requirements necessary. You will likely need to consume roughly 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 75 kg, you should consume about 150 grams of protein every day to support muscle growth.
We recommend whey protein for the following reasons:
- quick digestion
- concise nutrition
- high protein
- flavour and texture
However, whey protein is certainly not the only option for protein supplements. There is a source for everyone. If you have preferences, allergies, or intolerances, consider the following protein supplement sources: plant-based, beef, egg, etc.
Mass Gainer or Whey Protein Isolate
When it comes to selecting a whey protein, you have some options. For a simple whey protein supplement, you can choose from an isolate or a concentrate.
There are a few differences between the two, but the main consideration for a bodybuilding supplement for beginners is whether you need the additional nutrition that a concentrate provides.
Isolates are at least 90% pure whey protein, so there is very little fat and carbohydrates, and they’re lower in calories because of this.
Concentrates are anywhere from 35-80% pure whey protein. Carbs and fats make up the remaining portion, so there’s more nutritional density, along with more calories. While this might be handy for some, you more than likely want a whey protein isolate for the purity when it comes to bodybuilding supplements for beginners.
For protein bodybuilding supplements for beginners who need to gain significant weight and muscle, there may be a better option than whey protein concentrates or isolates—mass gainers.
Mass Gainers are whey protein supplements (or any other kind of protein) with additional nutrition. They have much more carbs, fat, and calories than a traditional whey protein powder and usually more protein as well. Therefore, mass gainers are a better option for only those looking for bodybuilding supplements for beginners who want to increase size significantly.
You should be aware that consuming excess calories, even in the name of building muscle, also leads to excess fat accumulation, which is typically not ideal for a bodybuilding competition. So, you should use whey protein mass gainers with caution.
The next necessary bodybuilding supplement for beginners is creatine. There are many variations of creatine supplements, but all the science that proves creatine is the safest and most effective supplement on the market is done on creatine monohydrate. Therefore, this is the version we recommend.
You get small amounts of creatine from the animal meats you eat daily. However, creatine supplementation can ensure that the phosphocreatine stores within your muscles are full.
This has many benefits, including:
- increase workload on muscles
- better recovery and repair
- more muscle mass
- increased strength
Additionally, beyond fitness, creatine supplementation is linked to other health benefits, like:
- improved brain function
- supported mental health
- lower risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s diseases
- better heart health
With very low risk, and such high reward, creatine supplements are a great supplement for beginners regardless of their goals, but it’s an especially great bodybuilding supplement for beginners.
Before, we specifically mentioned using supplements for beginners to support your body through the strict diet that bodybuilding requires. One way to provide your body with the micronutrients it needs when you have a limited diet is to include a multivitamin.
Multivitamins are another supplement for beginners that we recommend for most healthy adults, but it’s necessary for bodybuilders who are eating essentially the same things day in and day out.
Staying on top of your micronutrients is beneficial for:
- supported immune function
- hair, skin, and nail health
- heart, eye, and brain health
- supported recovery and reduced risk of injury
Omega Fatty Acid Supplement
Healthy omegas are another supplement for beginners that many people take advantage of for health benefits. They’re a helpful bodybuilding supplement for beginners. With a diet that’s typically relatively low in fats (because they’re typically calorie-restrictive), bodybuilders must place increased importance on this supplement.
Omega fatty acid supplements like fish oils and marine algae can support brain and body health. It’s a good bodybuilding supplement for beginners for anyone who doesn’t include healthy sources of fats in their diets, such as avocados and salmon or other fish.
Helpful Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners
Now that we’ve gone through the bodybuilding supplements for beginners that we feel are completely necessary, let’s talk about other bodybuilding supplements that, while not necessary, can make achieving the stage-ready appearance a little bit easier.
These supplements are:
- Pre-workout supplement
- BCAA supplements
- Casein protein
- Hormonal support supplements
- Collagen supplement
- Sleep support supplement
Pre-workout supplements are a great additional bodybuilding supplement for beginners because they are designed to allow you to push yourself harder in the gym. One of the main barriers to becoming stage-ready is gaining muscle. Of course, there’s more to it than just this, but gaining muscle relies heavily on how hard you can work your existing muscles.
You need to tell your body it needs to produce thicker muscle fibres, and you do this by lifting as heavy as you can with progressive overload. You can ensure you’re always lifting to your maximum abilities when you use pre-workout supplements roughly 15 minutes before you start your workout.
Look for a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine and an ingredient that supports nitric oxide production for an optimal pump.
Casein protein is the lesser-known counterpart to whey protein. When milk is heated and processed to extract the protein, it separates into whey protein and casein protein.
While whey protein remains superior for post-workout refueling, casein protein certainly has its place. We generally recommend casein protein for individuals looking for a meal replacement supplement or those looking to support muscle growth.
We recommend casein as a bodybuilding supplement (in addition to whey protein) because it offers improved muscle growth potential and recovery as a slower digesting protein. Use casein protein before bed, so your muscles are fed all night when they would otherwise be starved until morning.
Like multivitamins, greens supplements help support the body’s micronutrient requirements. Unfortunately, most people don’t consume the recommended five servings of fruits and five servings of veggies per day. As a result, it can become increasingly challenging to meet these requirements when you’re adhering to a strict bodybuilding diet.
Greens are a great substitution for helping get the benefits of all those servings of fruits and vegetables without actually having to eat them.
We typically recommend EAAs over BCAAs for amino acid supplements, but in the case of bodybuilding supplements (assuming you’re already meeting protein requirements with whey protein and casein protein), BCAAs are a better option.
This is because BCAAs offer that extra insurance on your muscle protection and development, as these are the subcategory of essential amino acids that have the most influence over muscle recovery and growth.
Hormonal Support Supplements
Our female bodybuilders should consider this supplement more than anyone because as your body fat percentage dips (sometimes even so low that it’s not technically considered healthy for a female), your hormones need some added support.
Hormonal support supplements can help to balance appropriate levels in the body to minimize the many unpleasant side effects that can occur in women when their body fat percentage temporarily dips too low.
Collagen supplements can be beneficial for not only supporting the physical appearance and health of the hair, skin, and nails but they are also proven effective in supporting joint health and reducing pain and injuries.
Sometimes injuries and joint pain are common with the heavy lifting program you’ll likely be doing as a bodybuilder. This is especially true for beginners.
Sleep Support Supplement
Lastly, supporting your rest and recovery is essential for making the muscle gains necessary for a bodybuilding competition. If rest and recovery are not something you’re particularly good at, consider a supplement that helps you sleep and supports the muscle repair process while you do it!
Bodybuilding is an extreme, competitive support where aesthetics rule and muscles are the name of the game. To support your body through the grueling workouts and strict diet, you’ll need bodybuilding supplements for beginners like whey protein and creatine, and with the addition of our optional supplements listed, you might have an easier time bringing your best package to the stage!