Greens supplements and greens powders are some of the most rapidly expanding nutritional supplements on the market today. There are many reasons for this: the primary reason being the convenience of getting all your essential daily nutrients in 1 or 2 scoops a day. The convenience lure is not to be underestimated, especially with the fast-paced lifestyle most of us lead.
As with any supplement on the market, discretion is advised; some manufacturers make outlandish unfounded claims in regards to their products. They use catchy phrases like “magic pill” or “silver bullet” to help sell and market their products. That’s why it’s imperative to spend time researching brands that offer high-quality products.
Things to look for in quality greens supplements are:
- Third-party tested
- Made in the USA
- 100% natural
- No additives
- No sugars, only natural sweeteners
- Great refreshing taste
However, if utilized accurately, greens powders supplements can support your nutritional well-being, but they may destroy insulin responsiveness and decrease muscle mass if misused (1).
In this article, we will look at some areas where greens supplements may help develop muscles. We’ll also delve into some common myths in the hope of separating fact from fiction to better educate you, the reader.
What Is Bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is a prevalent sport that has been around for nearly 100 years. It utilizes constant and consistent resistance training that manages, grows, and strengthens the muscles by creating hypertrophy.
It is often seen as entirely dissimilar from comparable activities like powerlifting because those competing in bodybuilding do so to benefit from physical appearance instead of gaining strength. This is why the sport is referred to as “bodybuilding.”
Bodybuilders themselves view it as similar to sculpting a piece of clay into the shape you desire. The participants line up on stage and perform several specific poses, individualized routines, then follow that. The contestants are judged on symmetry, stage presence, muscle size, and conditioning.
Excellent nutrition plays an absolutely critical role in the outcome of a bodybuilder’s success. Although massive, bodybuilders are also incredibly “ripped” with body fat levels as low as 3% when it comes to size. They eliminate all unnecessary fat from their diets, leading up to competitions.
Greens supplements and the consumption of fruits and vegetables are an integral part of the nutritional food choices they make partly because of their low fat and low carb count;
However, as we all know, greens supplements and greens, in general, offer numerous benefits aside from low calories that make them a vital food choice for not only bodybuilders but the general population.
Unfortunately, many bodybuilders, not all, resort to using anabolic steroids in the hope of recovering from training much quicker. The faster you can recover, the more you can train, and the more you can train, the more muscle you can build.
Can Greens Powders Substitute For Vitamins?
Most people struggle to eat the number of fruits and vegetables that are needed to fortify their body with the essential nutrients it needs. Multi-vitamins offer the convenience of popping a pill, and, walla, you’re done, all your nutrients in one go, but is that really the case?
Many multi-vitamins, even well-known brands, do not contain enough minerals such as zinc and magnesium; these two nutrients, particularly for those undergoing strength training, are essential.
High-quality greens supplements contain adequate amounts of zinc and magnesium, and this is something you should definitely look for when purchasing greens powders to build muscle mass. The most reputable brands will have their ingredients listed that correspond to the recommended daily value.
Greens May Return Your PH Balance
The human body desires to sustain a state of homeostasis, and things are no different when it comes to your body’s pH levels. Most people don’t understand that the food choices you make can significantly alter your pH level.
This is when greens supplements really come to the fore and provide several benefits that help build muscle and cut fat. Many foods, such as proteins, dairy, and grains, can be overly acidic. Dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, however, are alkaline.
One of the primary benefits of greens supplements is that they have the capacity to enhance the body’s acid-base balance.
Many athletes create complete nutritional plans around trying to optimize pH levels. Although this kind of diet does seem a bit excessive to some, there is some reasoning behind it. An unstable pH may negatively affect muscle growth and reduce bone health, diminished thyroid, and extreme cortisol.
Consuming greens supplements help keep the body balanced in check, making sense to add greens into our regular daily diet.
Research published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” demonstrated that supplementing with greens for 14 days led to notable improvements in urinary pH levels (2). The majority of participants went from having acidic levels to levels that were seen as optimal.
Greens And Their Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity
A collection of USDA scientists generated oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) to quantify foods’ antioxidant capacity. The primary reason for this system’s development was to create a level playing field for consumers to rank and compare supplements in terms of antioxidant potential effectively.
Greens supplements have always been known to have incredibly high levels of antioxidants or ORAC values, and as such, have been popular in bodybuilding circles for some time (3).
The antioxidant properties promote muscle growth by strengthening the body’s immune system, allowing the body to recover and effectively build muscle much more rapidly.
Timing Greens Supplements For Bodybuilding
Timing, as with many things, is incredibly important in life, and when it comes to consuming nutritional supplements, timing plays a vital role in the outcome of your success.
Bodybuilding puts an incredible amount of stress on the body physiologically, and because of this, it, unfortunately, brings with it inflammation and the ever harmful oxidation.
As we’ve mentioned, greens supplements contain incredibly high amounts of antioxidants, which at first look would seem to be highly beneficial, and they are. The timing, on the other hand, is up for debate. Because bodybuilding puts stress on the muscles, the body must continually undergo recovery and rehabilitation phases.
Research has suggested that consuming high amounts of antioxidants can interfere with the body’s ability to build muscle effectively. This is because strenuous training, like bodybuilding, produces elements and compounds known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). In most medical circles, ROS is considered harmful. However, when talking about building muscle, ROS may help promote or even speed up the process.
Heightened insulin sensitivity is one of the most significant advantages of sports training; however, using greens supplement directly after exercise can also decrease insulin sensitivity.
What does this mean?
Well, those hard-earned gains you just earned in the gym may potentially have just gone down a deep black hole, lost forever.
In terms of when to drink your greens powder, I recommend taking before training. This helps higher levels of performance and recovery and allows the body to build new muscle much quicker.
Whether you like to believe it or not, green supplements, vegetables, and fruits are just as imperative for helping to bid overall muscle as protein is. The unfortunate part of this equation is that most of us don’t include enough vegetables in our daily diets.
Ever since we were young, our parents (Mom in particular) told us about the importance of eating our vegetables. Over the last 5-10 years, there has been an increasing amount of literature sharing the benefits that consuming greens have on effectively building muscle.
So the good news here is that super greens supplements, vegetables, and fruits can play an essential role in improving your overall health; because of this, you can push harder, lift bigger and train more often, effectively building muscle much quicker.
Types of Vegetables And Their Role In Bodybuilding
Vegetables can be placed into five categories:
- Dark leafy greens
- Orange veggies
- Dry peas and beans
The dark greens are veggies such as spinach, kale, watercress, and broccoli. The orange category comprises food such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, and squash. Dry beans and peas include soybeans, black beans, and kidney beans. Starches are food like potato and corn, and finally, “others,” including eggplant, onions, beets, cucumbers, and asparagus.
Each category has its own unique features and characteristics that provide health benefits to everyone, but especially those exercising hard every day who need the extra nutritional boost.
How Vegetables Help
Vegetables and high-quality greens supplements have very high levels of antioxidants and are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, bodybuilders tend to neglect greens and vegetables and tend to focus more on meats, fish, and dairy.
The fact is the answer as to why they are so crucial in developing muscles is right in front of our face.
- Vegetables are incredibly low in calories, perfect for fat loss
- Vegetables are high in and fiber
- Vegetables are absolutely jam-packed with vitamins and pigments, promoting recovery from strenuous exercise
Vegetables are a fantastic way to lose fat due to their high levels of vitamins and minerals, essential for efficient and healthy metabolism.
Veggies contain high levels of fiber, which helps promote a feeling of fullness and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Because eating veggies tends to make you feel full and satiated, it results in a significant reduction in overall daily calories. This makes them perfect for bodybuilders looking to strip fat for an upcoming competition.
Simultaneously, vegetables enhance your energy levels; this is critical because having increased energy levels allows training longer and harder, resulting in extra muscle and fat loss.
Greens And Muscle Building
When it comes to foods that build muscle, most people, especially bodybuilders, think of steaks, chicken, turkey, and fish. These foods all contain high protein levels, which is essential for promoting muscle growth; However, the truth is, greens play a significant role in building muscle.
The reasons are many, but the primary reason is that the vitamins and minerals in veggies are abundant. Vitamin C, D, E, and A, along with minerals such as folate and calcium, are all present in high levels. These nutrients work synergistically to effectively and efficiently promote muscle contraction, reduce inflammation, promote red cell production, and synthesizing cholesterol.
As I’m sure, you’re aware, though, taking a greens supplement is only a piece of a much larger nutritional puzzle. Making sure you eat fresh vegetables in conjunction with your green supplements is the best way to ensure you reap the full muscle-building benefits greens have to offer.
Protein From Vegetables
By not consuming enough vegetables and greens, you’re putting your hard-earned gains in jeopardy.
The traditional idea that has dictated bodybuilding and other athletic pursuits is the idea that eating meat was the only way to achieve your daily protein intake.
However, we now know that eating a balanced diet that incorporates greens and greens supplements can build quality muscle mass without 500gram steaks.
If you plan effectively and do your research, numerous vegetables and grasses can provide quality protein such as legumes, soybeans, and nuts. Professional athletes often utilize these vegetables to provide them with the adequate levels of protein they need to perform. Coupled with high-quality greens supplements, bodybuilders and athletes alike can get all the protein they need.
However, when designing a diet for vegetarian athletes, the following considerations must be accounted for:
- VEGAN, The vegan diet eliminates all animal products like meats, dairy, fish, eggs, and poultry.
- Lactovegetarian is a vegetarian nutrition plan that omits meat, poultry, fish, and eggs but combines dairy products along with a protein source.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – this is a vegetarian plan that prohibits meat, poultry, and fish but incorporates eggs, dairy produce, and specific protein sources.
In particular, athletes and bodybuilders need to ensure they are getting small amounts of protein throughout the day, and many athletes consume anywhere from 6-8 small meals per day.
It’s also important to remember that every source of protein is not created equal, so where you get protein from is vitally important.
The conventional process of ascertaining protein quality is the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score. This score equates a protein’s amino acid nature based on both the amino acid demands of people and their capacity to absorb it.
For example, egg protein ranks highly, as it includes the ideal symmetry of the essential amino acids that are readily absorbable. This makes it an ideal protein source for vegetarians.
Additional vegetarian foods with high scores include dairy products like low-fat yogurt, whey, and soy, including Japanese staples tofu, edamame (Green Beans), and soy milk.
In closing, it’s easy to see the critical role of greens in building muscle and our overall health. They certainly provide numerous benefits that stoke the fire burning systems that allow us to lose fat.
When consuming your veggies, mix it up, and be sure to take servings from each of the five categories we discussed earlier. By eating across the five categories, you provide your body with the full benefits each of the vegetables and greens has to offer.
So please take advantage of high-quality greens supplements because they offer so much more than building muscle; they enhance focus, improve concentration, and boost energy levels. They can also help with sleep quality, reducing stress and anxiety, and dramatically strengthen your immune system.
All these benefits work together to help you build the muscle mass you’ve been looking for.