The Best Muscle Building Supplements
Working hard at the gym challenges your body’s metabolic systems. No matter what type of training you are doing – bodybuilding, trail running, the road cycling, or whatever your focus may be, you want the best and fastest results possible. For many people, the most recognized and scientifically validated supplements can work great to help improve your performance work well. However, due to the nature of our individual bodies and training demands, athletes will respond differently to the supplements.
From an applied science perspective, there are a number of expensive placebos on the market with no supporting evidence that many popular supplements even work. With that, not all supplements are worthless for natural athletes.
There are a handful of supplements that have been demonstrated to offer the greatest benefit and the most return across the board. They may not be as important as maintaining proper diet and training, but they will help your fitness journey and support your fitness goals.
And remember, supplements are expensive, can have little to no effect, so it’s important to get your money’s worth. We have listed the three best supplements (whey, creatine, beta-alanine), that if used properly, can bring improved performance no matter your sport.
Creatine is one of the most heavily researched supplements in the history of sports nutrition, and the impact of creatine on athletic performance cannot be denied. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance within our muscle cells, mostly found around the skeletal muscle tissue (about 95%). The remainder is stored throughout the rest of the body.
This naturally occurring metabolite is found as creatine monohydrate as a dietary supplement purposes where the body utilizes it for cellular energy production and modulation.
The perks of creatine supplementation:
- The promotion of lean body mass
- Increased muscle cell volume
- Faster post-workout recovery
- Increased glycogen storage
- Increase high-intensity muscle performance
How much to take: 5-10 grams. Take half of your daily supplementation with your pre-workout meal and the second half with your post-workout shake.
*Many athletes typically prefer creatine when weight training and bodybuilding it assists muscle mass development.
Beta-Alanine is another naturally occurring non-essential amino acid (your body can make it) that comes into the body through protein rich foods. The enhancement in beta-alanine (BA) is the results of its ability to increase significant levels of carnosine.
Why is this so important? During high-intensity exercise our bodies accumulate a large amount of hydrogen which causes our pH to drop (whereby our bodies more acidic). This acidification found with lactic acid causes severe fatigue, reduced muscle performance, and can slow or shut down the neural drive as it relates to premature muscle failure. With increased levels of carnosine through Beta-Alanine supplementation, athletes can delay the accumulation of acidic conditions, and the resulting acidity which can reduce muscle performance.
Additional benefits of beta-alanine supplementation:
- Elevated endurance
- Improved force output
- Delayed fatigue
- Improved repeated sprint ability
- Works synergistically with creatine
How much to take: 2-6 grams per day, taken in smaller doses throughout the day to reduce the common skin-tingling sensation.
Whey protein is one of the most effective supplements that can be used to improve performance, gain muscle mass and assist in body composition changes. Whey protein provides the body with a high amount of protein that helps activate the muscle-growing process.
Whey protein is commonly taken before and after a workout to increase protein synthesis and to improve muscle recovery and restoration. Whether you are trying to add lean mass or drop body fat, adding a whey protein supplement to an exercise routine can speed the gain and loss process.
Here are some key benefits to whey-protein supplementation:
- Easily digested- Whey is a fast-digesting milk protein that acts almost immediately to help deliver amino acids to the skeletal muscle.
- Lactose intolerant – Whey protein isolate, which contains a higher percentage of pure protein and can be nearly lactose-free.
- Improved muscle repair- Taken immediately after a workout, whey protein triggers rapid muscle recovery.
- Amino acids- Whey protein supplements contain very high concentrations of the essential quality amino acids that provide assistance during protein synthesis and muscle repair.
How much to take: Consume 20-30 grams of whey protein per serving. Research shows its best utilized for pre- and post-workout routines. It’s also a great way get in the necessary amount of your daily protein requirements when whole food meals are not available.
Most people can achieve the results they are reaching for without adding supplements. However, supplements can help reduce the time it requires to achieve them. To get the body you want, it is best to create a well-balanced diet, and then use supplements to help fill in the gaps. Results gained from supplementation will vary from person to person. Because all athletes will have different workouts (intensity, length, goals, etc.), first maximize your diet and then try these supplements to make additional progress.