MUSCLE BUILDER SUPPLEMENTS
There is no shortage of supplements that claim to boost muscle gains, but truly elite physiques are built by hard training and serious nutrition first and foremost. Supplements are just the icing on the cake.
But when your training and nutrition are locked in, these four science-backed supplements can definitely help you get your new physique a little faster, boost the quality of your workouts, and help you recover. Those three things can definitely help you gain weight—the good kind!
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance within our muscle cells, and it is one of the primary sources of cellular energy. Whenever you blink your eyes, scratch your elbow, chew your food, or perform most other movements, it’s creatine—or rather, the creatine phosphate energy system—that’s powering you through it.
As a supplement, creatine has been popular since the 1990s and has been the subject of hundreds of studies since then. It comes in numerous forms, but none have been shown conclusively to be as effective as the cheapest and most popular variety, creatine monohydrate.
Benefits of Creatine Supplementation:
- Increased lean muscle mass, particularly with strength training
- Improved muscular strength
- Decreased muscle soreness and lower levels of exercise-induced inflammation
- Improved blood flow during training
- Improved performance during high-intensity training
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that comes into the body through foods that are rich in protein. The performance-enhancing aspect of beta-alanine is due to its ability to increase intra-muscular levels of carnosine. Increasing beta-alanine through supplementation may raise carnosine levels by over 60 percent in as quickly as four weeks.
This is significant because, during high-intensity exercise, our bodies accumulate a large number of hydrogen ions, which cause the blood pH to drop. This acidification can cause severe fatigue, decrease muscle performance, and shorten the time to muscular failure. What people chalk up to lactic acid is actually usually happening from hydrogen.
Beta-alanine is thought to “buffer” these ions, delaying the buildup in the blood and allowing you to knock out a few more reps, last longer in your workout, and increase your gains over the long term.
Benefits of Beta-Alanine Supplementation:
- Delayed fatigue during intense training
- Increased total training volume
- Improved power production
- Increased muscle building
- Improved endurance during hard training
- Increases effectiveness of creatine, and vice versa
Whey protein supplies the body with a high amount of protein and amino acids that help to jump-start the anabolic process. Whey is most often consumed after a workout to increase protein synthesis and to improve muscle recovery and restoration, although it can be equally effective when taken before training.
Benefits of Whey Protein Supplementation:
- Fast digesting and more easily absorbed than other protein sources
- Increased muscle mass, especially when taken post-workout
- Improved appetite control, and greater feelings of fullness when dieting
- Contains more leucine than any other protein source
Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
Another category of muscle-building supplements that lifters and bodybuilders use to improve their results are branched-chained amino acids (BCAAs), or BCAAs. Of the 20 amino acids that make up protein, just three are referred to as BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are the specific amino acids that have been shown to stimulate protein synthesis and help regulate protein metabolism.
Benefits of BCAA Supplementation:
- Increased levels of muscle protein synthesis
- Decreased levels of muscle damage during exercise
- Decreased muscle soreness from exercise
- Improved endurance during exercise