Strength training builds and tone muscles and shrinks fat. Seeing results may take a while, and you have to switch up your diet. Foods rich in protein, as well as protein shakes, help build muscle mass if you drink them right after a strength training session.
Here are 10 supplements for greater muscle gains when you need a little extra help.
A natural substance found in muscle cells that promotes lean body mass, creatine increases muscle cell volume, glycogen storage, and high-intensity muscle performance for faster post-workout recovery. "Creatine has been proven to be an excellent source of energy for your muscles and performance supplement," Relentless Gains reports. "It enhances protein synthesis (the process in which cells build proteins), energizes the metabolism, and increases muscle cell volume. In doing so, this supplement allows lifters to increase workout intensity and frequency." Taking five to 10 grams a day will enable your body to rapidly build muscle mass.
A nonessential amino acid found in foods rich in protein, beta-alanine increases performance and delays muscle fatigue and failure. What’s more, it elevates performance, improves force output, boosts repeated sprint ability, and works synergistically with creatine. The recommended dose is two to six grams a day.
3. Whey Protein
Whey protein shakes or supplements help improve performance and increase muscle mass gain. Why? Because whey protein supplies the body with a high amount of protein that encourages muscle growth. A solid source of amino acids, whey protein improves muscle repair, increases metabolism, and suppresses your appetite. Consuming 20 to 30 grams of whey protein per serving, especially after a workout, is recommended.
4. Branched-Chain Amino Acid
Branched-chain amino acids improve workout results by stimulating protein synthesis, helping to regulate protein metabolism. Branched-chain amino acids also help muscles recover by delivering nutrients to muscle tissue to supply them with energy during exercise. This supplement also reduces pain from muscle fatigue. You should take three to five grams on waking and three to five grams pre- and post-workout.
Glutamine slows muscle tissue breakdown during intensive exercise, improving strength thresholds and elevating endurance. Many people discover that with this supplement they can lift heavier weights for longer periods of time and train more frequently. Glutamine preserves muscle tissue, enables your body to burn additional fat, boosts the immune system, restores the health of muscle tissue, and enhances plasma growth hormone levels in the body. You should take five grams upon waking, after a workout, and before bed.
6. Fish Oil
Breaking Muscle reports that "omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are particularly beneficial because these essential fatty acids (EFAs) slow down, or even inhibit, muscle proteolysis, which is the breaking down of muscle proteins." A unique fatty acid that is rich in omega-3 vitamins, fish oil strengthens cell membranes, reduces inflammation, and increases blood flow to your brain. All of these things help you repair the damage done to your muscles during training.
Found in coffee and green tea, caffeine provides your body with more energy to help you work harder in the gym and build muscle. Caffeine also opens your airways and increases muscle blood flow. "By allowing you to perform exercise for longer periods of time and a sustained intensity level," LiveStrong reports, "caffeine may aid in muscle growth."
A combination of zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6, ZMA is essential to building muscle mass because it maintains healthy hormone levels and aids in sleep, effects which are crucial for muscle recovery. Stack notes that "if you are deficient in magnesium or zinc, taking ZMA can give you an uptick in performance, because it gets those important nutrients back where they need to be and helps your body operate more efficiently."You should take this supplement an hour before bedtime without any food or calcium.
A popular fat-loss supplement that enhances muscle growth, carnitine increases blood flow to muscles and increases testosterone levels post workout, both of which stimulate muscle growth. Take one to three grams of carnitine with breakfast, pre and post workout, and at night time.
A phytochemical found in spinach and other plants, beta-ecdysterone stimulates protein synthesis for promoting muscle growth. Take 100 mg of beta-ecdysterone in the morning, before and after workouts, and with dinner for a total of 400 to 500 mg per day.
Muscle in on peak fitness
For the most part, proper diet and weight training will get you the muscles you’re after. Yet supplements can deliver an edge when you want your physique to truly stand out. This means you have to know which supplements work, and which simply cause you to waste your money. Once you have your diet and supplementation at their optimal, you’ll find yourself on your way to your finest you.