Bodybuilding Precontest Supplementation
by Justin Leonard

Question: What supplements should you take during competition and why?

Answer: Water is the most important supplement during competition. I can't emphasize enough how important it really is. It metabolizes every protein, carb, and nutrient in the body. It also enhances the effectiveness of the supplements you take.

When water becomes the primary competition beverage, you will notice increases in energy, strength, and muscle definition. You will be sharper mentally and have a good attitude all because of water. This is because it cleans out the system and basically fixes everything the way it should be. Water also keeps the kidneys clean, which is very important to bodybuilders since they consume such high amounts of protein.

During competition, you should drink as much of it as possible (gallons). It will do wonders for your body.

For all bodybuilders, especially natural bodybuilders, the amino acid L-glutamine should be number one on your list. This amino acid ranks just as high as Vitamin C does. It speeds up muscle recovery periods, preserves muscle during harsh dieting, and prevents muscle breakdown as a result of working out.

Another potentially beneficial precontest supplement is vanadyl sulfate. This supplement takes carbohydrates and produces an insulin-like function within the body. Its effect enables more carbs to be stored inside the muscles. The end result is a bigger and longer lasting muscle pump. Vanadyl also gives the muscles are hard and lean look. Note: Vanadyl may not benefit everyone! It may actually make you look flat on contest day. It works in different ways in different people. Be sure to experiment to see if this supplement is for you!

Meal replacement powders (MRPs) can probably join a competition diet list. No other supplement offers the essential and nonessential nutrients, protein, and the carbohydrates you get from a real meal like a meal replacement powder. Besides the caloric, protein, and carb ratios, the fact that it's convenient is what many like about it.

Just add water to pre-packaged servings and you're done. MRPs are usually used in between meals to supplement and add "good" calories to an existing diet regiment. They also taste like dessert. Everyone who has been through a competition diet knows that this is the closest you can get to actual cake mix.

A separate pure whey protein supplement should also be taken during competition dieting. Additional protein is primarily used to prevent muscle catabolism or breakdown of muscle tissue. Unlike meal replacement powders, pure protein supplements do not always taste good, but the effects they have on the body are phenomenal.

A multivitamin would have to be on the precontest supplementation list for obvious reasons. You basically want to ensure you have all the required nutrients during a precontest diet. You'll also feel better by adding a multivitamin to your diet.

Last but not least of supplements to take during competition is fat burner. This secret weapon comes in handy when you begin to lack energy as a result of competition dieting. It also helps to bring out muscular vascularity due to increased metabolism. Note: If used, fat burners should be completely eliminated within 1 - 2 weeks of actual contest day to prevent muscle loss.

The following is a summary of essential precontest supplements:

  • Fat burners

  • Whey protein

  • L-glutamine

  • Multivitamins

  • Vanadyl sulfate (experienced bodybuilders only)

  • Meal replacement shakes



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