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Supplementation is generally ideal for anyone getting into bodybuilding as well as those who simply want to gain an edge in their workouts. But with so many choices available, one could easily become confused by all the types and their doses. So, what’s a beginner to do? Well, learning the essentials for getting started then experimenting with others later on would help.

First, a caveat: The term supplement can be defined as ‘in addition to’. As such, it shouldn’t be taken that supplements are meant to replace diet. Adhering to a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and fiber is absolutely crucial. Without a solid nutritional foundation in place, you will not attain your goals any quicker.

Whey Protein

This has been established as the cornerstone to any supplementation plan. Being a fast acting protein that’s absorbed quickly thanks to the small molecular composition, whey protein is mostly used in pre and post-workout supplements. It is readily availed to starving muscle cells, especially when one takes it after intense training. It’s abundant with amino acids, especially the BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) like valine and isoleucine. These are vital in protein synthesis, which is the process involved in building new muscle tissue.

Fish Oil

Although this may appear superfluous, its benefits are vital and long term to a fit body. But these benefits aren’t specific; the main advantage is the reduction of inflammation in muscle tissue. Inflammation has been pointed out as the cause of a myriad of health issues, including heart disease. As far as bodybuilding is concerned, it inhibits proper recovery and utilization of macro and micronutrients. Fish oil contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids which could help boost performance during workout.


This is another supplement that most people see as boring and unnecessary. The benefits of certain amounts of vital micronutrients prove essential for fitness. These are essential for numerous bodily processes and maintaining overall balance. For instance, zinc is used in muscle repair while magnesium helps the body recover properly during rest. A simple multivitamin/mineral supplement will work just fine in most cases. Your best bet would be one with the most essential vitamins and minerals.

When and How Much?

For multivitamins, the dose should be taken at night so that the body gets the rest it needs to recover. With Fish oil, a moderate supplementation plan is advisable since it serves as a preventative agent rather than a performance enhancer. Taking excess amounts could lead to a higher risk of stroke. For whey protein, the prime times are post-workout and whenever consuming an entire meal proves daunting. People who train in the morning could take whey protein after waking up because it digests quickly.