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Weightlifting and Supplements (Part 4)

by Jacob P. | May 29th, 2013 | Teen Perspective, Teens
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workout drinkFor those of you who have just started reading this series, I am discussing weightlifting supplements for teenagers. I’m a high school varsity athlete and a year-round weightlifter. While I greatly enjoy weightlifting, my advice should not be used in place of that of a trained professional (doctor, trainer, etc.).

In my last post, I discussed protein. Today, it’s non-protein supplements. I don’t actively use any of these products currently, but I’ve tried them before (and done a lot of research).

  • Pre-workout beverages. These are usually powders or pre-made drinks intended to be consumed before your workout to increase your energy levels, aid in focus, and amplify your results. Using ingredients such as caffeine and nitric oxide, they increase your energy levels and blood flow (within a healthy range). They also use ingredients such as creatine (which will come up later) to increase your returns and help muscle growth. I personally see no reason to use them. I find that I’m naturally energetic while I’m at the gym, without any caffeine. Also, you get tired after a workout for a reason, so don’t use supplements to push too hard and get hurt.
  • During-workout drinks. These are intended to help you power through a workout, by providing energy, aiding in recover, and maintaining focus. They also work to maintain your increased blood flow. Once again, I see no use for these. While you’re working out, you should be drinking water. Maybe Gatorade, if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • Recovery beverages. These are intended to be consumed after a workout … other than protein. They’re designed to aid in recovery by protecting against catabolism (the breakdown of muscle), increasing energy storage, and helping protein synthesis. While I don’t advise against these, I see nothing special about them either. Eating well after a workout can have the same effects.
  • Creatine. The big, bad wolf of the supplement world. Creatine increases your power and energy levels, while helping in recovery. Its biggest effect, though, is the swelling of muscles with water. This makes your muscles look bigger, adding to that post-workout look. Also, there is plenty of debate over the side effects of creatine. I avoid it, because I don’t see it being worth the hypothetical risks.
  • Mass-gainers. Mass-gainers are simply protein shakes on steroids (very punny). They’re protein shakes with increased levels of protein, lots of carbohydrates, and extra calories (900 or so). They’re designed to be used by those who want to gain a lot of muscle in a short period of time. Not for the weak of heart.
  • The other stuff. These are your fat-burners, vitamins, nutrients, steroids, etc. I avoid all of that like the plague. If it’s a pill, I don’t want it. Think about fat-burners: a pill that burns fat. Usually, we brush that off as a scam. So when a weightlifting guide tells you that taking Aspirin will burn fat, I wouldn’t suggest doing it. As for steroids: no. Just no.

This is the final installment of my weightlifting and supplements series. I hope you all enjoyed it, because I enjoyed writing it. Now, in two weeks, I will be back to my usual musing. Cheers!

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