If you exercise regularly, you likely want to be sure you’re getting the most out of it. There are three main things needed for maximal muscle gain, eat in a calorie surplus, consume more protein than you break down, and a workout program that challenges your muscles. While it’s possible to meet all these criteria without any supplements, certain supplements can help you reach your goals.
There are so many supplements out there, it’s hard to know which ones to use. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there but we’re here to set the record straight. Knowing what to take and when to take it will help you get the most out of your hard work. If your goal is to build muscle and improve your health, these products will help you do it.
Creatine is produced naturally in your body and provides energy for your muscles and other tissues. However, taking it as a supplement can increase your creatine content by up to 40% above its normal levels, promoting muscle gain.
Long-term creatine supplementation enhances the quality of resistance training, generally leading to 5-15 percent greater gains in strength and performance. Greater strength allows you to perform better leading to larger increases in muscle mass.
Creatine also increases the water content in your muscle cells, producing signals for muscle growth.
This supplement has an extremely high safety profile and lots of evidence to support its efficacy. One thing is clear from the many studies done on creatine and that is creatine can help increase muscle mass. It is probably the single best supplement for muscle gain.
Getting enough protein is critical for gaining muscle. You need to consume more protein than your body breaks down. It’s possible to get enough protein from protein-rich foods but many struggle to do so. A protein supplement makes this much easier and it’s very efficient. If you are in a rush you can just make a quick protein shake.
There are many different protein supplements, the most popular being whey, casein, and soy. Whey protein being the best as it digests fast and gets to your muscles rapidly to start building muscle. It also contains small proteins (peptides) that increase blood flow to the muscles. It is recommended to consume whey protein immediately after training.
Casein protein is just under whey due to its slow digestion rate, but this makes it ideal as a pre-bedtime snack. Casein also makes you feel less full which makes it great for a snack.
If you are unsure how much protein to consume and you are an active person trying to gain muscle, 0.6-0.9 grams of protein per pound, or 1.4-2 grams per kilogram of body weight may be best.
Weight gainers are supplements designed to help you get more calories and protein, typically used by people who struggle to gain muscle. The calorie content varies from each weight gainer supplement but it’s not uncommon for some to contain over 1,000 calories per serving.
There are often 75-300g of carbs, 20-60g of protein, and 0-15g of fat per serving in the high-calorie supplements. While these products help you consume more calories, keep in mind there is nothing magical about weight gainer supplements.
Overall, weight gainers are recommended for people who struggle to eat enough food or find it easier to drink a shake than eat more real food.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that reduces fatigue and may improve exercise performance. Some evidence shows that it may help increase muscle mass in response to exercise, but more research is needed. Some studies report an increase in muscle strength and power in athletes who took beta-alanine. A recent study has shown that subjects who took beta-alanine along with creatine gained more muscle and lost more body fat than those who only took creatine.
Branched-chain amino acids(BCAAs) consist of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are found in most protein sources, particularly those of animal origins such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish.
BCAAs are critical for muscle growth and make up around 35% of the amino acids in your muscles. Most consume BCAAS from food every day, but it’s also very popular to take as a supplement. They improve muscle gain and reduce muscle loss. However, they may not preserve lean body mass if you are following a weight loss program.
It’s important to keep in mind that supplements can’t provide you with maximal muscle growth if you have poor nutrition and a poor workout program. To gain muscle you need to eat enough calories and protein, as well as exercise. Once you have a good nutrition and exercise plan, you may want to consider dietary supplements.
Creatine and protein supplements are the most effective choices for muscle gain, but other supplements can also be beneficial.
Check out our wide selection of workout programs. Take our survey to get the best program for you.
Check out our wide selection of meal plans.