When you are focused on maximizing muscle mass and minimizing body fat, you tend to live your life a little different than most people. Bodybuilding is more than a hobby; it is a way of life. Lots of people first start to lift weights to get in shape or to improve their fitness level and soon find themselves immersed in a new way of living. They get bit by the bodybuilding bug, and life is never quite the same again. It's easy for this to happen once you see your body changing from the exercise and diet changes that bodybuilding requires.
Many people live their lives watching their fitness levels deteriorate. Those who take up the bodybuilding cause know that they can take steps to shape their body. No one is bound to be out of shape and overweight. That is the overeaching message of the bodybuilding lifestyle. Of course changing your body for the better and adding muscle mass does not come easily. There are things that have to be done the right way to get the most from your efforts. You have to work hard at the gym and change the way that you eat. Sports supplements are one of the things that bodybuilders add to their daily routine to make growing muscle and shedding fat easier.
What are Supplement Foods?
There are some people who say that supplements and foods are two different things. In a way they are right. The sports supplements that you buy are not technically considered food products by many governing bodies. For some supplements, this division really does make sense. Vitamins, stimulants, herbs and creatine bear very little resemblance to food and have a different effect on the body than whole food products. Vitamins, for example, give your body essential nutrients, but they do not have any calories, carbohydrates, fats, or protein. Vitamins perform a very specific and important function, but no one could confuse them for a food.
Protein powders are considered a supplement, but they are more of what should be considered supplements. Protein shakes contain calories, proteins and, sometimes, other nutrients. If your body is craving food, hunger can be staved off with a protein shake, while vitamins would have no effect at all. That is really where the difference between supplements and supplement foods occurs.
A supplement can satiate hunger and provide calories for energy, where a true supplement can not. This may seem like endless hair splitting, but it's important to understand the divisions between supplements, such as herbs, and supplement foods, such as meal replacement systems. Think about it like this, if you were stranded on a dessert island with no food sources and someone dropped a crate of vitamins, you would still starve to death, despite the proven health benefits of vitamins. If that same cargo plane were to drop a pallet of protein drinks, you would not starve to death. You would have a supply of supplement foods to sustain and nourish your body.
Supplement Foods to Supercharge Your Diet
One of the benefits of the best supplements is that they are really what could be called "super foods." Sports supplement companies spend a lot of money on research and development to put out supplement foods that offer cutting edge nutrition for athletes and bodybuilders. Supplements an do a great job sustaining muscles, preventing catabolic actions from taking place and introducing new muscle growth. All of these effects can be obtained by eating whole foods, but supplements re designed and manufactured strictly for these purposes. Protein supplements, for example, are designed to help prevent muscle wasting conditions and to provide adequate levels of readily digested protein for muscle growth. Supplement foods are designed with very specific jobs to do. The better sports supplement companies make sure that their products are of the highest quality and ready to do those jobs before they put them on the market. Supplement foods are to your diet what a turbo boost is to a car. When you need the extra nutrients that fuel muscle growth and tissue repair, supplements are the obvious and logical choice.
Supplement Foods Growing in Popularity
Bodybuilders and serious athletes are the people who usually consume supplement foods, but these products are gaining ground in other markets too. The bodybuilding lifestyle has proven to the world that diet and exercise can have radical end results on muscle mass and fat levels. Many diseases cause severe catabolic (muscle wasting) effects. Physicians who know the benefits of supplement foods have begun to prescribe these protein-rich, highly nutritious foods to their patients to prevent muscle loss and promote healing.
Protein drinks are beneficial for almost everyone. However, bodybuilders are, and will continue to be, the pioneers of the world of supplemental nutrition. If there is a way to tweak the diet to gain muscle and promote fat loss, you can be sure that it will be the bodybuilders and strength-based athletes of the world who are leading the way in providing the effectiveness of any new nutritional resources.