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12 Mar 2004

Nutritional supplements, do they realy work?
I would like to increase my mass and someone advised me to use supplements. I am currently weighing 74kg and would like to push my weight up to 80kg. Can I use supplements to achieve this goal?
Answer 339 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi there

I do think that there is a place for supplementation, but too many people turn to them too easily. There are only really two occasions where I would condone or accept the use of supplements. The one is when a person is sure that their diet is inadequate. Here, a vitamin supplement is usually adequate, because we in the western world are never deficient in nutrients like protein. So, someone wanting a protein shake just to be sure that they are eating enough protein is probably wasting their money, unless they are really eating very poorly/inadequately.

The other possible exception is someone who is trying to gain weight, and doesn't have the access to the food that is needed - again, here a protein shake may help to add to the protein stores in the body, and this is probably a safe practice. But, other mass builders, creatine, steroids, fat burners etc. I would not find any reason to recommend. So, if you are very sure and willing, then a protein shake is probably the best way to go. If you buy a reputable name, or a product from one of the established companies, the risk of contamination goes down as well.

So, a supplement can help with weight gain if used appropriately. I generally suggest that one turn to supplements only when the other options are exhausted - by this I mean training - whether or not you are taking supplements, you have to be training at the same time, and so that is perhaps what I would encourage you to do first. At this stage, your weight is not that great, and you are aiming for only 6 kg, and I do think that you could do this on training alone, if you did it right.

You need to make sure that you are eating a well-balanced diet that contains enough carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You also need to plan your training carefully so that you get the most benefit out of the least volume of training.

You must make sure that for building mass and especially muscle mass, that you are eating enough proteins and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important as the body's main source of energy during exercise. Feelings of fatigue, lack of energy, tiredness are all indications of a lack of carbohydrates in the diet. Foods that contain carbohydrates include rice, potatoes, pasta, bread etc. Any starchy food is a good bet.

Then, in terms of proteins, you must try to eat meats, fish, eggs etc. as good sources of proteins. Ideally, these types of foods should make up 30% of your diet, with carbohydrates about 60 to 70%. Fats should be kept to a minimum of about 10 to 20%.
Then finally, keep in mind that you must train properly to increase mass, and eating well is not enough on its own.

If your aim were to build muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
• Perform 6-10 reps at a high intensity - use a weight that you could lift 12 to 15 times
• Perform 3-4 sets
• Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
• Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
• Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

If your aim were to tone muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
• Perform 10-15 reps but at a much lower intensity - use a weight that would allow you to lift the weight at least 25 times.
• Perform 4-6 sets
• Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
• Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
• Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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