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Case Study: Dietary Supplements I Used to Build Muscle

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I have almost thirteen years of experience using dietary supplements. If for any reason one has a deficient diet, I think dietary supplements are a must.

In my case, not only my diet was deficient, but I’m a vegetarian; my diet was deficient even at the vegetarian level.

ABSTRACT

This case study will look at the use of dietary supplements from the point of view of a vegetarian athlete.

Most supplements I used were either to supply something I was missing due to my deficient diet, or something that I took that helped me to perform the different kinds of exercise I train, in an always evolving, more efficient way.

KEYWORDS

Dietary Supplement, Best Supplements, Whey Protein, Vitamin D

DESCRIPTION

I will analyze the powders and pills I began to take when I started training with weights.

When supplementing my goal is to keep evolving physically. That’s hard when one is a vegetarian, and I knew it from day one of weight-lifting.

I supplemented my diet for my objective, to evolve physically. To continuously gain muscle and to shed fat, while maintaining or increasing my weight, while keeping my optimal body-mass index.

When I take supplements the scheme is something like this:

  1. Spirulina just after waking up
  2. A micro-dose of royal jelly. or orange juice with brewer's yeast, while fixing up breakfast
  3. Vitamines with breakfast
  4. Sometimes taking a supplement with me to drink in the gym, like glutamine
  5. Protein shake after workouts. Same food, with an apple as a light meal

Some of the supplements can be chosen and picked up with a little research from one’s part.

Others, like the vitamins, are more dangerous and they need to be prescribed by a professional.

It isn’t a bad idea to tell one’s physician about all the supplements one takes because they can have a more complete picture of our health’s state knowing everything we eat and supplement with.

Many variables factor into a balanced and supplemented diet, and if you aren’t the DIY type I suggest you consult not just your general physician, but also a nutritionist.

Weight Gainer Powders

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I must have taken weight gainers four to six months, when I started training with weights, thirteen years ago. I never took them again.

They helped me to gain weight, but I wouldn’t recommend the one I took to anyone. It made me gain mostly fat. I don’t even remember the brand.

Maybe the one I used was very low quality calorie gainer instead of a protein-based one. Its components were anything but healthy. I remember it had common sugar instead of something healthier and of higher nutritional value, like maltodextrin.

Creatine Powder

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I tried this nutritional supplement and it didn’t work for me. It helps to workout harder. It’s supposed to protect against dehydration and give the muscles more water than what they can hold normally.

Pure creatine had a dehydrating effect that I didn’t like, that’s why I stopped taking it.

Not long ago, I experimented with lower doses and using it together with protein. It didn’t have the dehydrating effect of taking it alone.

I didn’t take the non-dehydrating dose for long as to be able to say that it worked for me, but at least I didn’t lose muscle while taking it.

Glutamine Powder

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Micronized L-Glutamine powder was my top dietary supplement for years. When I used to eat a very poor, unbalanced diet, I couldn’t function without frequent micronized glutamine supplementation.

The function of this supplement is to improve one's recovery. It is not much about reducing the soreness I feel after a workout. It also helps with digestion.

I took it because it had an effect on me of canceling I’d say 70-90% of the feeling of tiredness I get the days after I work out.

I used to take a lot of this until I realized that maybe I was wasting it. I used to take the recommended daily dosage.

When I tapered my glutamine intake down, I first stopped taking the whole spoon that comes with it. I took half. Then I started taking just a coffee spoon of it daily. It still worked for me at such a lower dosage.

Fat Burners

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This might sound biased, but I think fat burners are snake oil. I think that eating in the wrong way and expecting a pill to burn the fat is wishful thinking. I took one for a while, but it didn’t work as expected. The effects were marginal at best. I don't remember which brand I took, but I guess it was like in the case of weight gainers, I took the one I found. Now, the product in the picture, Animal Cuts, must work, because it has an above-average popularity with users.

Vitamins

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As I see it, vitamins should be taken on a need-to basis, and that only after having a physician see a complete checkup of our organism and prescribe only what we exactly need.

I’m not including multivitamins, because they aren’t specific. Besides, it’s presupposed that those who take them are eating a balanced, complete diet already.

As I see it, vitamins should be taken on a need-to basis, and that only after having a physician see a complete checkup of our organism and prescribe only what we exactly need.

I’m not including multivitamins, because they aren’t specific. Besides, it’s presupposed that those who take them are eating a balanced, complete diet already.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a big subject. It always interested me to get my daily share of sunlight, to synthesize D vitamin, but that kind of became incompatible with my work schedule.

The best times, I was able to go outside and exercise in the sun from four to six pm. I thought that it was enough for vitamin D synthesis, but in fact, it was far from the truth.

Truth is, vitamin D only gets synthesized naturally if these conditions are met:

  1. Vitamin-D-rich diet
  2. The correct approach, i.e., more than 50% skin exposed to the sun, daily
  3. Correct timing, i.e., sunlight intake between ten A.M. and four P.M.

Now, everybody knows that the sun becomes the most dangerous between eleven and four so that leaves us with only one hour to do the sunbathing, from ten to eleven in the morning.

That isn’t practical for the great majority, and that’s why vitamin D supplementation is so important.

Still, it’s something that one can’t self-medicate. They’re tricky and potentially dangerous and must be supervised by a physician.

B Vitamins Complex

I was prescribed by a physician a complex of B vitamins. The combination I take is B12, B1, B6.

The doctor said, after seeing the results of a checkup, that I had a deficiency of these vitamins, like most vegetarians, who can’t get enough them from their diets.

Vitamin A

This one is for the eyes and bones. It’s another one that’s tricky like vitamin D. It can’t be taken indefinitely and must be supervised.

Spirulina

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Spirulina is an alga that provides many of the essential amino acids required for building muscle. It also can be consumed in powder form.

I recommend this supplement to vegetarians that aren’t getting their daily intake of micro-nutrients. Even more so if they happen to be weight trainers, like me.

In my case, supplementing spirulina makes all the difference. It makes all the difference between being able to reach a corporal weight objective, and be able to maintain it or not.

I’d suggest that those that have a hard time gaining weight try this supplement before resorting to any kind of weight gaining powder.

Fish Oil Capsules

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Many persons that train with weights adore taking some kind of supplemental oil. Fatty acids are important when one does exercise since they are building blocks of muscle. Goes without saying that vegetarian and vegan diets should benefit from supplementing omega-3 fatty acids.

I took fish oil capsules for a few months, but in my case, it was to support my intake of noopept. Since I ate scads of egg whites when I was taking noopept, the fish oil pills might have been overkill. I don't take fatty acid supplements since I calibrated my diet.

RESULTS

I think one can live to eat a poor diet, but that would be a sorry replacement for how we are supposed to treat the body.

Still, if one does any kind of exercise, then a poor diet is not living, but mere survival. It’s an overtaxing of the body that it shouldn’t be subjected to.

There are many more reasons to take dietary supplements, even if one’s day-to-day diet is complete. One, for instance, would be if one is serious about bodybuilding.

For cases like mine’s, that I’m a vegetarian and do weight-lifting workouts, even if I’m not what one would call a bodybuilding man, the convenience and help they provide was and still is invaluable.

TAKEAWAYS

I try to take nutritional supplements constantly. Still, I take care of rotating them. I rotate them not only by brand but also by type. I never take the same supplement for more than one month in a row.

Even if I discover a particular formula that works better than others for me, I don’t take it constantly. At the very least I try to find another brand that is manufactured with more or less the same components.

When I’m taking vitamins, I try not to overdo it, and if possible, go back to the physician before beginning a new cycle of the ones that can cause problems, like vitamin D and vitamin A.

Overall dietary supplements have helped me, if not to gain muscle downright, at least to keep my body-mass index balanced and to keep my weight if I missed one or two meals, during two or three days of a bad week.

Photo Attributions

Clean Wal-Mart
Marie Tucker
Brett Jordan
Chris F
Autumn Henderson
Ethel Franklin

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