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Supplements alone not enough for a six-pack

Update: August, 30/2017 - 09:00
To grow muscle, bodybuilders have to combine suitable training plans with healthy diets. – Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM City – Many young people are sacrificing their health for a desirable body, using supplements for muscle growth.

Live-streaming on Facebook, N, an online shop owner introduces muscle building supplements and answers questions from her customers on how to get a fit body after just one or two weeks using the products.

On another Facebook page, another shop owner posts photos showing famous imported supplements and advertises that “we sell authentic goods, order now to have your dream body!”

Social networks are often inundated with articles and pictures of body transformations. From skinny to muscle-bound in a short period of time, it is a common advertisement used by online shops to encourage young people to buy muscle building products.

However, according to experts, rapid muscle growth is impossible, and some of the supplements contain harmful chemicals.

There are three types of bodybuilding supplements on the market.

The most popular is affordable natural grains, but people who want to rapidly grow muscle mass usually do not choose this type as the nutrient uptake happens slowly.

The second type is protein supplements such as tablets, pills or powder coming from the US, UK or France.  Their prices fluctuate from VNĐ300,000 to 5 million (US$15-250) for 2-3 months worth (for normal people) or 10-20 days (for athletes).

The last sis steroid, drugs which mimic male hormones. These drugs help rapidly gain weight, reduce and transform fat to muscle. However, many steroids contain testosterone which can interfere with the endocrine system, damage the heart and liver and cause mental health issues.

Using supplements instead of exercises to build muscle doesn’t work.

ND, a popular body coach in HCMC and also a supplement retailer, said that he frequently received questions of how to get a six pack quickly. “There’s no way you can grow muscle by eating and using protein supplements. Protein is just a material for rapid muscle-building, to be used alongside intensive exercise,” he said.

Experts’ advices

According to Dr Phạm Minh Toàn, fitness is the result of a healthy diet and a suitable training plan. Simple exercises at home such as push-ups can help improve health and physique. If you want a fit body, exercises with tools for different muscle groups are necessary.

Trần Hữu Thuận, a body coach, said that for a proper bodybuilding plan, young people should seek reliable gyms with professional trainers who can help with basic exercises.

A common mistake among beginners is that they search for tutorials online without distinguishing basic and advanced exercises. There are also cases in which unclear online instructions lead to injury. Additionally, some people use supplements as cure-alls while disregarding nutrition plans.

Đào Thị Yến Thủy, a nutritionist of Hạnh Phúc Hospital in HCM City said that a diet plan should be based on a person’s condition, aiming to reduce fat and increase muscle. The general principle is to supply enough protein, vegetables and carbohydrates and decrease fat.

“The usage of supplements and grains has to be balanced. People should consult nutritionists for specialised diets,” said Thủy.

In addition, Thuận emphasised the importance of good sleeping habits in training. Diet plans should also differ from person to person. For example, a 70kg person needs less protein than a 100kg one, while some people can eat two or three eggs a day, people with liver diseases can’t.

A diet plan should be balanced to avoid causing digestive disorders, obesity and liver and kidney diseases.

“Do not use muscle growth supplements without a doctor’s prescription. Also, improper exercises in bodybuilding may harm your health,” Thuận added. – VNS


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