You are looking to become a bodybuilder, but you don’t want to use steroids or banned substances. Good for you. Natural bodybuilding is a healthier way to gain muscle mass. By using supplements like whey protein and leucine, you can achieve impressive results. Moreover, you won’t suffer the downside of steroid use, which can be harmful to your health in numerous ways. I have been working on building my muscles naturally for several years, and I’ll share what I know about taking the right supplements to help you achieve your goals. When you choose natural supplements, they help your body to build and maintain muscle through exercise and diet choices. You’ll be healthy, and you can even compete in natural bodybuilding competitions.
What supplements do natural bodybuilders use? Natural bodybuilders use several forms of protein, Omega 3, Glutamine, BCAAs, L-citrulline & L-arginine, and natural testosterone boosters along with Creatine, and multivitamins. Each of these supplements affects how your body acts and reacts to lifting weights and other strength training. However, each person has natural limitations. Moreover, some suggested supplements, like DHEA, remain unproven medically.
What is Considered Natural Bodybuilding
You can undoubtedly use supplements for more muscle mass and better definition. Unfortunately, the exact meaning of what ‘natural’ bodybuilding is depends on who is doing the regulating. In general, it means avoiding steroids and other questionable substances. Depending on which group is doing the oversight, the rules vary.
According to Kerry Dulin of Bodybuilding.com, “The term “natural” has undergone multiple revisions in the last few years. New and high tech supplements have blurred the distinction between legal supplementation and steroids.” Resultantly, it is up to you to decide what works for your body.
Competition bodybuilders must adhere to the exact rules set out for each contest, and there are many natural bodybuilding competitions run by different groups. These can vary widely. Furthermore, drug and supplement testing are not universal in bodybuilding competitions.
Thus natural bodybuilders may find themselves up against steroid users and other so-called ‘cheaters’ depending on what the oversight committee requires. If you are bulking up for personal reasons, then this won’t matter. However, it is at the discretion of individual ruling bodies as to whether taking any substance to enhance muscle growth is allowed.
Unless you plan to create your own bodybuilding competition, the standard for natural bodybuilding is entirely up to officials. Hence, you should always check to see if you’ll be up against people who take performance enhancers that are not in the natural family. A lack of testing means competitors can do as they please. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do about this is choosing to compete in events that require testing.
Best Supplements for Natural Bodybuilding
There are two phases to bodybuilding, and naturally, your diet will vary during the two stages. First comes the bulking stage, where you add muscle mass and often water weight to the muscles. Secondly is the cutting phase where you create definition and sharp lines.
Supplements are vital during both stages. When used correctly, they will help you look and feel your best. For example, creatine is excellent for building fast-twitch muscle fibers like those you use to sprint.
During the cutting portion, you are getting rid of any softness. Doing this means ditching the water weight and making those lines really stand out, so you don’t need supplements that add water to your proteins. While added water is useful for building, it does round out the lines.
Unfortunately, because creatine is hydrophilic, it pulls water into your muscles, giving a softer, yet bulkier appearance. So this is one supplement you would use during bulking but not while cutting. Improper use of supplements will negatively impact your physical appearance.
For pre and post-workout protein boosters, I recommend Rivalus Clean Gainer, Chocolate Peanut Butter from Amazon. This all-natural, incredibly healthy, multi-source protein supplement can help you get the gains you need without the crud you don’t want. Plenty of complex carbs will help you keep lifting and recover well afterward. Plus, it tastes great. Check out the reviews right here.
Take These for Natural Bodybuilding Success
Everyone should take a multivitamin. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, your diet is likely lacking in some of the essential vitamins and nutrients you need daily. Additionally, I recommend the rest of this list to build your best muscles.
- BCAA Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine)- These three aminos help reduce muscle fatigue and alleviate soreness along with aiding in muscle growth.
- Caffeine- Drinking a cup of coffee isn’t enough. However, three mg of caffeine, or about three times that much, will help produce better results while lifting.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) & Omega-3 Fish Oils- As little as four grams of fish oil per day increases protein synthesis. Likewise, CLA is a fatty acid derived from other meats, which increases resting metabolism.
- Creatine- Creatine provides more water to your muscle proteins and helps boost endurance while working out.
- Glutamine- Amino acids, such as glutamine, enhance protein synthesis. In short, they build muscle faster.
- L-citrulline & L-arginine- These two substances help ramp up your oxygenation by increasing nitric oxide production.
- Natural Testosterone Boosters- An excellent example of an acceptable form of testosterone boost is the Lions Mane Mushroom. You can find this in a powdered form to add to foods and pre or post-workout beverages.
- Proteins- Whey protein is one of the most popular choices, though there are lots of options. Choosing the right protein gives your body what it needs to make more muscle.
Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil is an excellent source of Omega-3s EPA, DHA, Astaxanthin, and Phospholipids. Not only is this good for bodybuilding, but it increases heart and joint health as well. With a trusted name since the nineteen sixties, and a one-year hassle-free satisfaction guarantee, it’s not hard to see why this is a top choice. Have yours delivered to your door by Amazon when you click here.
The Meaning of Anabolic
If you are a beginning natural bodybuilder, you will see the word ‘anabolic,’ often. When associated with steroids, it is absolutely an unhealthy thing. However, you’ll also notice this on ‘good’ supplements. Does that mean they’re secretly steroids too?
The simple answer is no. Anabolism quite literally means promoting cell growth. In short, you want to be anabolic, but not because of steroids. Achieving that goal often involves using supplements. There are plenty of healthy and natural ways to reach an anabolic state.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can skip out on reading those labels. When in doubt, consult your trainer. Alternatively, you can send a specific inquiry to the governing body of any competitions in which you wish to participate.
Natural Anabolic Boosting
By consuming protein all day, rather than once or twice, you can promote an anabolic state. Opt for meals and snacks that always include some form of meat, nuts, or even dairy. The goal is not to exceed what you need, but rather to space out your intake so you can build muscle.
Sleep properly. Although it might seem unimportant, missing even an hour of sleep changes the way your body functions. Thus, aiming for a full eight hours a night will help your muscles grow.
Practice a low-stress lifestyle. All the ‘roid-raging’ steroid users are doing their body harm in some subtle ways. One of these is the stress of being agitated all the time when, in fact, your whole body including your natural anabolic state works better when you’re not stressing it out.
Bodybuilding is a naturally, physically stressful process. Add a little yoga or merely more ‘me time’ to your daily routine. Doing this will help you improve and maintain your muscles.
Don’t use alcohol to de-stress. Consuming alcohol at all will interfere with protein synthesis within your body. This leads to slower gains. While you’re at it, consider detoxing in other ways. Infra-red saunas can help you stay in an optimal metabolic state.
A good diet and a balanced life with plenty of downtime and some self-pampering will help your build muscles. While the workouts and supplements ‘do the heavy lifting,’ the rest of the process helps your body make the most of your workouts. Adding healthy supplements and meals will double down on that positive effect.
Eating for Natural Bodybuilding
In addition to taking high-quality supplements and working out, you need to follow a sensible diet if you want to become a natural bodybuilder. Depending on your gender, size, and weight, the exact number of calories you ingest daily will vary significantly. However, in general, you should eat the following proportions of calories.
- Carbohydrates 55–60%- Preferably, these should come from healthy sources like oatmeal and even cheese.
- Fats 15–20%- Choose healthy fats like those found in yogurt and avocados. Fat is not a bad word, but no one is gaining muscle from chocolate cake.
- Protein 30–35%- You might expect that more protein is always better, but you’d be wrong. Your body needs a variety to build muscle properly.
You should talk to your doctor and a nutritionist about what the right foods are for you. Vegans and vegetarians, for example, will need different meal plans than an omnivore. The proportions above are meant as a general reference rather than specific dietary advice, and you should always consult with health specialists before and during bodybuilding.
Add some Genius BCAA Powder to your meals for faster recovery and less soreness. This natural vegan formula helps boost your bodybuilding and your focus. Because they use fermentation created BCAAs instead of duck feathers and other common sources, you get a fantastic product with a source you can stomach. To find out more on Amazon, click here.
Banned Substances for Natural Bodybuilders
The list of banned substances for bodybuilders is extensive, and some supplements, like DHEA, are included. While there are always ways around this, I strongly suggest not cheating. It will do your body a disservice.
The International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation has a complete list of things you cannot take. Since there are possibly more than a hundred specific substances, you will need to be very careful about what goes into your body. The following are categories of drugs you cannot take.
Anabolic Steroids- Any form of anabolic steroid, by any name, is strictly forbidden.
- CBD- This is only forbidden during the day of any INBF/WNBF polygraph examinations.
- Diuretics & Masking Agents- These include prescription varieties. Anything that might skew a drug test is against the rules.
- Ephedrine, Ephedra, Psychomotor Stimulants, and Stimulants- These are well known ‘speedy’ enhancers. Don’t worry. You can have coffee and tea.
- Growth Hormones- The same hormones that make farm animals produce more meat along with others fall into this category.
- Pro-Hormones, Precursors and Metabolites, Derivatives, and Related Compounds including Pro Hormonal Fat Burners- This is a broad category with numerous inclusions
- Testosterone- Even if you are medically prescribed testosterone, you cannot compete in INBFF competitions. Other organizations may allow prescription use.
There is also a miscellaneous category. In short, anything the federation considers unnatural or unethical is off the list. Thus, you will need a knowledgeable trainer, dietitian, or doctor to help if you plan to compete in natural bodybuilding events.
Proto Steroids are Problematic
Protosteroids are frequently marketed as nutritional supplements. You’ll find that some competitions allow these, while others strictly forbid their use. Either way, most proto steroids behave like steroids in your body.
What does that mean? Well, you may see side effects just like those of anabolic steroids. Though you’ll probably see muscle mass gain as well, these additional effects can be quite alarming. On the less damaging end, oily skin, hair loss, acne, and irritability are common.
More dangerous side effects include estrogen production, aggressive behavior, plus kidney and heart problems. Sadly, this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the potential issues. Severe liver injuries and strokes, among other nasty health problems, have been reported to the FDA. Moreover, the FDA has issued warnings about these products to consumers. I strongly recommend avoiding any product that makes steroid-like claims.
With so many options on the market, it is vital for natural bodybuilders to read the labels very carefully before taking any supplements. Additionally, you should always talk to your doctor about changes in your diet and exercise routine. Maintaining your health is just as crucial as bulking up.
If you plan to enter competitions, get all the details first. You may find that moving from one contest to the next; the rules change substantially. Checking the briefs and sticking to the rules about allowable supplements is entirely up to you.
Natural bodybuilding is always easier with proper supplements. Like a great workout partner, they can help you push your physique and performance to the next level.