Gone were the days when pre-workout/ post-workout or protein supplements were considered for bodybuilders, to enhance their muscle mass. Today, any fitness enthusiast and mildly obsessed with the gym are dependant upon supplements. Workout supplements mainly help them to reach their goals faster and achieve a perfect muscular body in less time.
It may really seem attractive to get a toned body or to achieve the goals using workout supplements, but the shortcuts aren’t always the best way to proceed. We have the impression that these supplements can be good for us, thanks to the athletes endorsing the products.
Today, these workout supplements claim increased muscle gain, getting a lean body, stimulating fat loss, slimming, and enhanced athletic performance. What we forget amongst the chaos is that these are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is difficult to distinguish between what really is beneficial and what is not.
Here are some pros and cons of using workout supplements-
PROS of Workout Supplements
Provide Energy During Workout
Supplements have Creatine, and it helps to increase anaerobic energy in the body. This helps in lifting heavy weights.
Increases Muscle Strength
We know that workout supplements are helpful in enhancing muscular strength. Studies show that when this is combined with resistance training gives a greater benefit.
Workout supplements Increase Fat Burning
Workout supplements use branch chained amino acids (BCAA) which are the building block of protein and help in muscle building. This also helps in increased fat oxidation and thus fat loss during workout sessions.
Increased Muscle Mass
Workout supplements may stimulate muscle gain but the effects can only be seen when it is complemented well with proper diet and nutrient rich meals.
Improved Blood Flow
Pre workout supplements consist of arginine which promotes Nitric Oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide increases blood flow which helps in increasing the effective movement of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body during workouts.
Workout supplements Enhance Recovery Post Workout
Glutamine is known to effectively decrease the recovery time required post a workout session.
CONS of Workout Supplements
Regular use of protein supplements especially ones rich in creatine can cause kidney stones or damage in kidneys, leading to renal failure.
Most workout supplements have known to cause various gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and can disrupt bowel movements. This may also decrease a person’s overall health.
A person who is lactose intolerant may suffer from nausea, cramps and bloating if he intakes diary products such as whey.
Workout supplements result in Insomnia
The use of products rich in caffeine helps in a better workout session. But if taken regularly and in high amounts, it may lead to restlessness and anxiety.
Coffee and creatine have known to cause dehydration in the body during the workout. This may lead to unconsciousness after a heavy workout session and may also result in declining overall health of a person.
HERE ARE SOME COMMON INGREDIENTS USED IN WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS, AND HERE’S HOW THEY AFFECT YOU!
Creatine is a substance that provides the body with Adenosine Triphosphates i.e ATP, that is the energy source for the body.
Benefits: The benefits of creatine is that it is used to increase athletic performance, also provides energy to perform High-intensity training, and may elevate resting testosterone levels in the body.
Side effects: Creatine can also cause diarrhoea, upset stomach, nausea, cramps and temporary weight gain.
The most common protein powders used are casein, soy, and whey. They provide high-quality protein and fulfill our daily dietary requirements for protein.
Benefits: If Protein powder is taken on a regular basis, as advised, it can help in increasing cellular functions in the body, that increase fat burn, also may lead to weight loss.
Side effects: If high dose is taken then it may can cause reduced appetite, cramps, muscular fatigue etc.
Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid produced by our body. It enhances our immune system and clears the waste of our bodies. It also plays a necessary role in the digestion and normal functioning of our brain.
Benefits: Gutamine, if we take properly, it speeds up our body recovery post workouts.
Side effects: Glutamine sometimes can worsen the condition of people who suffer from seizures, mania, and cirrhosis. Cause cough, increased bowel movement, and strain while passing stool.
Prohormone boosters, as the name suggests, are precursors of various hormones and stimulate the body to release certain hormones. It promotes the production of various hormones such as testosterone, androstenedione, androstenediol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and are basically steroids.
Benefits: increased energy for workouts
Side effects: these hormones/steroids may cause acne, hair loss, liver damage, infertility, etc.
It is a gas produced in the body that quickly transfers the nutrients to all the cells. This increases cellular communication of the entire body.
Benefits: known to increase blood flow by vasodilatation
Side effects: can cause diarrhoea, allergies, blood abnormalities, airway inflammation, low blood pressure etc.