There are hundreds of workouts and diet plans aimed at muscle mass growth. If you have tried at least half of the existing techniques and still don’t see the result you was expecting for, it is time for you to change something.
Of course, you still have to go to the gym and perform your workout. You still have to eat nutritious food to bulk up muscle mass. You already know that. You are here because you need some help, most probably, you need supplements.
What are those supplements ? Keep reading my post as I will further explain what are the best supplements for muscle growth.
To make things simplier, I will structure these supplements according to their importance: from basic supplements to performance supplements that are required for athletes.
To make things simpler, I will structure these supplements according to their importance: from basic supplements to performance supplements that are required for athletes.
Supplements For Beginners – Establishing a Foundation
If you want to obtain a well-defined and toned body, you are going to establish a solid foundation. The following supplements will offer you this foundation, on which basis you are going to build your muscle mass.
Minerals and Multivitamins
When you eat daily a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, you give your body the necessary vitamins and minerals. However, when you perform intensive workout, your body uses almost all vitamins and minerals during the workout and after in order to recover.
Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in production of energy, shortening the recovery time after workouts. They contribute a lot to growth and development of the muscular system, the maintenance of the immune system and the development and recovery of the brain, heart and hormonal functions.
That is why you want to consolidate the ability of your body to function at its highest capacity with the help of quality multivitamins and minerals.
My advice is to not be fooled by everything you find in pharmacies. Choose quality products when it comes to your body. In addition, prices of pharmacies may be higher than those of specialized companies in sports nutrition.
The best time to take your multivitamins is in the morning, when you are eating your breakfast. Many multivitamins have two servings per day, so you can take the second one during your lunch or evening dinner.
Protein powder – A Must-Have Nutrient for Bodybuilders
One of the most important nutrients are proteins. Your body uses protein in order to repair and reconstruct muscle fibers.
Animal products are complete proteins, which means that they contain all of the essential amino acids. Protein is found in animal-sourced foods like milk (whey and casein), meat, eggs. Some plants are also complete proteins (like soya or quinoa) while others are incomplete proteins.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Please, note that this is the estimated amount of a nutrient a person needs to avoid a deficiency. However, this is too low to support muscle recovery and growth.
The amount of protein intake will differ greatly from person to person according to body weight and effort intensity. Generally speaking, it has to be at least double of RDA, meaning 1,6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Let’s say your body weight is 68 kilograms. You will need an average of 109 grams of protein per day. Of course, you don’t have to take this amount all at once. For optimum results, divide this amount into 4-5 servings throughout the day.
Whey protein is obtained as a result of milk processing during cheese production. It contains the highest amount of milk protein (80%) and the essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) that our body can’t produce.
Whey protein proved to be the most efficient for muscle building because it contains the leucine amino acid. While all amino acids are important for muscle building, this amino acid is responsible for kicking up the process of protein synthesis into your muscles.
Whey protein is easily digested and rapidly absorbed by your muscles, that is why it is recommended to take this protein immediately after you have finished your workout. Some studies show that the amount of time should not exceed two hours after your training.
Whey Protein Versus Casein Protein
Casein protein is also a by-product of cheese making process, but the concentration of protein in this case is lower (20%) than in whey protein. Casein protein is digested and absorbed much more slowly than whey protein.
Casein protein is also a source of essential amino acids, that are not part of whey protein: histidine, methionine, phenylalanine.
When it interacts with stomach acid, casein forms a gel and thus, slowing down stomach emptying and delaying absorption of amino acids into bloodstream.
That is why it is much better to take casein protein before bedtime. This way, you provide your muscles with enough fuel for a good recovering during your night sleep.
Beef Protein Versus Whey Protein
Beef protein may be a good alternative to whey protein if you have lactose intolerance and thus, are not able to consume milk-derived protein.
You know, that not all of what we consume is 100% assimilated by our body. According to Food-Info.net, beef has a biological value of up to 74,3 %, which is slightly less than milk (84.5%).
Beef protein’s digestion takes place in the stomach, unlike whey, that is digested in the intestine. Therefore, you will avoid the sensation of swelling that is commonly associated with whey consumption.
Most beef protein formulas are enriched with vitamins and minerals, therefore improving their nutritional value.
Egg is the protein source with the highest biological value, since the body is able to use up to 94% of the amino acids that are found in this food source. You may want to consider eggs proteins if you want to have vitamins and minerals in your supplement.
There are different forms in which protein supplements are being produced. You can go for protein bars, protein shakes or even protein tablets.
Protein bars and protein tablets are easy to use as you don’t have to do anything additionally in order to make them ready to take. Protein shakes needs to be mixed with water or milk and are perfect for those who want to replace or complement meals with protein solutions.
If you are looking for a natural way of bodybuilding, please don’t think that by taking supplements you are no longer going for natural style of working out your body. Food supplements are safe to use, because they are being made from all of that whole-food that we consume in our daily life. The only difference from regular food is that they represent a highly-concentrated extraction and for this reason, have to be taken in the right dose.
A Small Step Out. Back to My Life Story
It may sound funny to you, but I have met people that only due to the fact that saw me taking something from strange bottles, were thinking and saying to me that I am taking this “something” and that is why I am no longer natural bodybuilder. I have been taking nutrient supplements, but they believed that I am taking some sort of forbidden substances that allow me to look the way I am looking.
In fact, I want to say that, throughout my life, I have heard this thing quite often and normally, from people who didn’t know me before or my recent acquaintances. People who didn’t know my life story, how I began this route and how I achieved my goal, were often telling me straightforward: “Come on, man ! Tell me frankly, you are taken steroids, aren’t you ? ;)”.
From the beginning, my first reaction was to say, hey, are you crazy ? Do you know what is a steroid ? Do you know how harmful can it be to your body ? Do you know that it is illegal? And so on, and so forth. And being young and inexperienced, I was trying to explain all this stuff to these people for a quite long period of time.
Nowadays, I am no longer doing this 🙂 I get tired and bored to give all these explanations to people who even don’t take a minute for themselves in order to read and get acquainted with some simple things. That is why, now, when I still meet this kind of people, I prefer to say, oh yeah, of course, I am taking steroids 🙂 How else could I build this kind of body ?
Protein Supplements – To Be Or Not To Be ?
It is really up to you whether to use protein supplements or to take all proteins from whole foods sources. If you are a gourmand, like me, you may not even need to take too much of these protein supplements.
However, for those who can’t eat large amounts of whole foods, and want to achieve a considerable growth in weight, size and strength, protein supplementation may be a good way to go.
The third supplements that is on my list is BCAA or branch-chain-amino-acids. If you are a beginner in bodybuilding, probably you are wondering, what are these BCAAs and why you should take them ?
The BCAAs are essential for our body, which means that if you don’t take them from food, your organism can’t survive. It is not hard to find them in whole food, however, if you are an athlete and your goal is to gain muscle mass, you are going to need an additional amount of BCAAs that you can take from supplements.
Moreover, these BCAAs help to prevent damage of muscle tissue during workout, maintain muscle mass with low fat and help a lot in the process of muscles recovery.
What makes these BCAAs so special is that they are not metabolized in the liver – while the other amino acids are. BCAAs are metabolized directly into the muscle, providing you with energy during exercise because of maintaining glycogen levels.
Supplements for Progression – When You are Ready for Another Level
Creatine is an organic acid which is found even in your body. You may think, if I have natural creatine, why should I take it from supplement ?
Well, the answer is simple: when you start to workout, your natural resources of creatine are wasted and you are going to need to supplement them.
If you have never taken creatine before, please note that there are several forms of creatine. Among them, Creatine monohydrate is the basic one and it helps your body in various ways, such as supporting muscle strength, strength, explosive power and recovery.
Practically, creatine monohydrate will give you the help you need to do some extra repetitions during your workout. Thus, it will help you get both the muscle mass and take you to another level. Creatine can be considered a basic supplement to muscle growth, but you should take into consideration the other three supplements we spoke above.
Some types of creatine, such as monohydrate, will need a loading phase. Make sure you read the label carefully, there you will find the necessary information.
This is another great supplement for recovery. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It prevents the destruction of muscle tissue that occurs in case of over-training. Glutamine also supports the immune system along with growth and development of muscle tissue.
Glutamine can be taken before, during or after exercise. You can also take it throughout the day. It is essential for hypertrophy (increase in muscle mass) and repair of damaged tissue. So if you have a muscular fever problem, take glutamine with confidence.
The longer your muscles are tired and are in the recovery stage, the longer time it will take you to grow your muscle mass.
Elite Supplements – The Advanced Level
You know that you can’t have confidence in all what you see in the advertising area. While some of pre-workouts are being actively advertised, some of them may really offer you what they are promising: a very welcomed increased energy before training and a performance that you can not believe you are capable of.
One of the advises you can get in terms of choosing a pre-workout is to see what opinions have those people that have used the product. Most of these pre-workout supplements have a “secret” mixture of ingredients, with non-specified quantities to not get the formula stolen. Although, the most part of pre-workouts contain caffeine, creatine, arginine, beta-alanine, l-carnitine, carbohydrates and sometimes, vitamins and minerals.
Tips for taking pre-workouts
Take a break in pre-workout administration. Thus, your body will get used to a certain stimulus before each workout. This means that you may not see the same effect in the long-term. Take a break of 3-4 days, once in 2-3 weeks.
Because most of pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, it is not recommended to take them in the evening, as you may encounter some problems with sleeping.
Carbohydrates are a very sensitive subject in the world of bodybuilding. Being the preferred source of energy for your your body, carbs are used immediately during a high intense workout.
If you want to bulk muscle mass, it is extremely important to refill reserves of carbohydrates both before workout for maximum performance, and after workout for help to recover muscle tissue.
Just like proteins, you can take carbohydrates from a multitude of foods. There are different products that contain complex carbohydrates, which can help you to charge your batteries fast and efficiently.
Carbohydrates also stabilize metabolism. You can use carbohydrate supplements before training together with a little protein to get energy or after training to help the recovery process.
Taking carbohydrates supplements is recommended for advanced bodybuilders. If you are just starting out to workout, I recommend you to start with the foundation supplements and grow slowly from there. Thus, you are going to see better results and are not going to waste money for all the things that are not necessary for the moment.
If You Are Beginner, Start With The Foundation
When you are a beginner and find yourself among advanced bodybuilders, sometimes it may be tempting to take the supplements they are taking. Do not make this mistake. First of all, you will not get too different results compared to taking basic supplements. Secondly, you get your body used to these “helpers”, which your body does not need at this stage.
My recommendation is to start with the foundation. When you feel that you have improved and have gained some muscle mass, you can proceed to another level.
Then, the transition from the second level to the last must be slow. The last two supplements are advanced, you will need them when your workouts are brutal, and I’m sure that day will come for you too. But until then, slowly pass through each level.
I hope, this article gave you some insight about the best supplements for muscle growth and how you can arrange your diet according to your level.
If you have any questions about this, leave me a comment below and I will get back to you asap.