Weight training supplements such as protein are a very important part of your diet when you start bodybuilding. This is because when you do workout with weights, you create tiny micro tears in your muscles (this is the pain that you feel after). Muscle is made out of protein and so in order to repair the muscle you need more protein.
Everyone eats protein as part of their daily diet whether it is from meat, fish, nuts, eggs; everything contains a small amount of protein. This is usually sufficient for most people where the most strenuous exercise they get is walking to work.
However when you start weight training, your protein intake will need to increase in order for your body to be able to repair the large numbers of tears in your muscles. This means you can either eat a lot more meat, fish, nuts and eggs or you can take protein supplements.
They should not be considered a meal in the day, ie: do not sacrifice lunch to have a protein shake. These are supplements and should be taken in addition to the food you would normally eat.
Whey is made as a by-product in the production of cheese from milk. It is an abundant source of branched chain amino acid, which not only help to fuel the muscles, but also promote protein synthesis (or the building of muscle). It is a very popular supplement, because it is digested so quickly and so can get right to work rebuilding and growing your muscle.
Whey should be taken in 30g doses with 200-300ml of water, 3 times a day (one with breakfast, one post work out and one with dinner) on workout days and 2 times a day (one with breakfast and one with dinner) on non-workout days to maximise benefits and minimise costs, but remember to check the label.
I have yet to see much difference in the use of the differently priced Whey products. In fact most of the time it seems you are paying for the marketing spiel, so I would go for the cheapest with the highest protein content per 30g (typically £20-£30 - $30-$40).
The above is the best way to build a base on which to grow on later.
You need to start taking Creatine weight training supplements to boost your energy levels during your workout. It naturally occurs in the body and helps to supply energy to all the cells in the body, primarily skeletal muscles. The most common form of the supplement is in a form called Creatine Monohydrate, which is ingested in the form powder mixed with a high glycaemic index drink such as an energy drink or orange juice.
Studies have proven Creatine to help high intensity anaerobic maximum power and performance by 5% to 15%. Conversely, it was shown to have little or no effect on aerobic exercise such as running and rowing. It should only be used in conjunction with exercises in which there are periods of work and rest.
Creatine should be taken 4 times a day (20g) for the first week of use (called the loading phase) and then twice a day thereafter. On workout days take it 30-45 minutes before your workout and immediately post work out and on rest days take alongside your whey protein with your breakfast and dinner.
Typically costs much less than whey protein, but with a smaller number of doses. Serving size is usually 5g with 100ml of water, but remember to check the label.