Protein supplements, pre-workout supplements, fat loss supplements, muscle-building supplements… The majority of workout supplements, especially those who should aid in muscle growth, are helping with absolutely nothing.
We can say that, in scientific terms, some of these supplements are just expensive placebos, totally not worth your money. You should be skeptic about all supplements that claim to help you build muscle faster. Muscles don’t happen overnight, using overpriced sups. Good supplements help out, sure, but they don’t work alone. You achieve a well-rounded, muscular physique due to your dedication to proper training and nutrition, first and foremost.
If you understand this and set realistic expectations, the right supplements can help you out. But what supplements are the right ones?
We researched the best-known and most popular sups on the market today. Some seem to be dangerous, and others don’t work as well as we were made to believe. That being said, we came up with the 3 best muscle-building supplements. Keep in mind that these aren’t magical either, but paired up with hard work in the gym and doing the right thing in the kitchen, they can help you get more out of the time and effort you’re dedicating into building the body you wish for.
Creatine supplements are highly popular among athletes and bodybuilders, and also the number one supplement you can use for improving your performance in the gym, enhancing your strength and increasing fat-free mass.
There are numerous studies proving that Creatine increased muscle mass when put together with a good exercise regimen.
Creatine can improve your health and athletic performance in many ways, but specifically for muscle growth, it can:
- Maximize muscle gains
- Increase cell hydration: increases the water content in muscle cells, action that causes a cell volumization effect that plays an important role in muscle growth.
- Improve maximal strength
- Boost workload: it increases the workout volume in a single training session, also helping a lot in the muscle growth process.
- Improve maximal endurance
- Enhance strength and power
- Improve cell signaling: Creatine supplementation increases satellite cell signaling – muscle signaling helps with repair and new muscle growth
- Reduce protein breakdown: increase muscle mass by reducing protein breakdown
- Lead to the formation of new proteins
- Lower myostatin levels: increase muscle growth potential by lowering myostatin levels that can slow or totally inhibit new muscle growth.
- Increase fat-free mass
- Increase anaerobic power and performance: including jump squats, knee extensions, continuous jumping and sprints
You can read all about Creatine and the effects it has on muscle development in our article here: Why do you need to take Creatine for muscles?
You’ve probably heard about protein shakes or protein powder, and how these products can miraculously help you increase your muscular mass. Protein powder is a large product category, which means that there are several options for bodybuilders to choose from. It can be consumed as such or made into a shake, depending on your own preferences.
Bodybuilders, as well as athletes, can benefit from using protein powder because it represents a source of high-quality protein, necessary for their bodies in order to support muscle growth.
There are two types of protein used in protein powder: vegetable source proteins and animal source proteins. If you’re a vegan, then you should use proteins coming from vegetables such as rice, grain, soy, pea, hemp etc. However, if you prefer animal source proteins, you can choose from milk protein derivatives such as casein or whey, but also egg and beef proteins. The most desirable ones are milk, egg and pea proteins.
If you’re not sure what type of protein is more suitable for your training program, don’t hesitate to ask a nutritionist. A specialist can tell you when and how much protein powder to consume, without affecting your health or bodybuilding results.
Beta-alanine is a highly efficacious supplement that can boost the synthesis of Carnosine and help bodybuilders increase their muscular mass and training endurance.
Scientifically, beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid found within the skeletal muscle and it gets converted into Carnosine, which then helps muscles increase in size. Although it is a relative newcomer to the muscle building and sports area, it has already gained popularity among practitioners, and it’s a matter of high interest for scientists.
First of all, you should understand that beta-alanine can be naturally produced by our bodies, which means this kind of amino acid isn’t necessary for the human diet. However, due to its significant effects on muscle growth, beta-alanine is one of the favorite supplements used in bodybuilding. Here are some of the most important benefits of this amino acid that you should know:
- It increases power output and intensifies muscular growth
- It reduces the symptoms of fatigue
- It increases muscular endurance
- It enhances the benefits of Creatine
- It helps you achieve your goals faster
How long will it take until you notice the first effects? Generally, individuals using beta-alanine will start noticing its benefits within two or three weeks, but there are cases when performance results can be seen no later than one week. When Carnosine levels increase, your muscles are stimulated and they start growing.
Results are also influenced by the intake of beta-alanine. Studies have shown that the most effective dose of beta- alanine is 4 or 5 grams per day. However, vegetarians may need a special dose, because they usually have lower Carnosine levels. You should always discuss this matter with a specialist in order to avoid side effects and continue your training without unexpected health problems.
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