Beginner’s Guide to Bodybuilding Supplements or ‘Dabba’


‘Dabba” is a very fancy word among gym goers in India. A synonym for bodybuilding supplements, we Indian workout freaks just cannot get over this cult of referring to our protein powders as ‘Dabba’ or ‘Maal’. “Dabba le raha” is a commonly heard phrase which translates to “whether you’re taking a protein powder”. For our non-Indian friends, the term ‘Dabba’ means a box and hence denotes the protein powder box.

People with lack of knowledge consider the use of these bodybuilding supplements as somewhat a sin, thinking that they instantly make the user muscular and hence lead to hollow and fake physiques. Guys at my gym often come and ask me – “Are you taking supplements?” I give these naïve people a fun reply – “Yeah! Lots of them! ;)”.

The purpose of this article is to give beginners a basic insight into the world of bodybuilding supplements. This article will explain to you the essentials regarding the different types of supplements.


What are bodybuilding supplements?

In a nutshell, bodybuilding supplements are just an addition to your normal diet and help ensure that your body gets the required nutrition. Supplements give you the power to lift more weight, help you build muscles and assist your body in recovery after your workouts.

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by people engaged in bodybuilding and athletics. Bodybuilding supplements can be used as meal replacements to help gain weight, promote weight loss or improve athletic performance.

Commonly used bodybuilding supplements

  1. Protein Powder: This is most popular and important supplement and should form a part of your daily exercise routine. Since protein helps prevent muscle breakdown and aids in muscle building, it is important that you have an adequate amount of protein. After a workout, our body needs a quick digesting protein like whey in order to repair the muscle tissues that we have just worked out. It’s also fairly possible that our regular diet doesn’t fulfill our protein requirements. And this is exactly where protein supplements fit in. They provide you the necessary amount of protein in an easy to have liquid shake form. This protein powder is derived from a variety of different food sources like milk, cheese, eggs, soya etc. Whey and Casein are the two most popular protein types.
  1. Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine helps improve physical performance by increasing energy levels and thus, delaying or minimizing fatigue and adding to the amount of time you spend training or working out. Creatine is able to do this by increasing the availability of cellular ATP and adenosine triphosphate. Muscular contractions take place in the presence of ATP, thus an increase in creatine levels is thought to increase the force of muscle contractions, thereby making you lift more.
  1. BCAAs: BCAAs are a group of three amino acids (building blocks for proteins), namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They effectively stimulate protein synthesis to cause muscle growth. These are essential amino acids, meaning that they are required for muscle growth, although they are not produced in the body. These amino acids also boost insulin release, which creates the ideal post workout environment for muscle growth.
  1. Glutamine: Glutamine is an amino acid found naturally in the body and it actually makes up about 2/3 of the amino acids found in our muscle tissues. Though it is a non-essential amino acid (meaning the body can produce it on its own), it becomes conditionally essential under periods of high stress. Glutamine helps increase protein synthesis and also strengthens the immune system post workouts. It is further associated with increasing growth hormone secretion and replenishing post workout glycogen levels.

Though it’s beneficial to take the required bodybuilding supplements, but make sure that you don’t overuse them and end up replacing your natural diet with supplements. Natural diet has its own place and supplements are just an addition to fulfill your nutritional requirements. Another thing to keep in mind is to purchase bodybuilding supplements from genuine sources as there are a lot of counterfeits available in the market, which’ll end up harming your body instead of benefiting it, so make sure you buy from a branded store or a reliable source.

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