5 Muscle Building Supplements I Swear by and How to Get The Best Out of Them
Let’s say you’re looking to lose some flab and put on some lean muscle. You’ve already got a solid diet and a rigorous weight-training routine, but now you want to start supplementing for that additional edge.
The variety of muscle building supplements in the market is overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin. You know choosing the right product can be critical to your gains and you want a product that is worth your hard-earned money.
Here I’m listing four supplements you should strongly think about to adding to your stack in order to reach your maximum potential.
How can a supplement help?
A dietary supplement is meant to provide nutrients to add further nutritional value to the diet.
Supplements don’t build muscle and supplements will not cause you to build muscle. Supplements are just what they are called, supplements!
To get those gains you have to do some serious lifting and eat right.
Muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) takes place as an adaptive response of your body. This is a result of strength & resistance training which stimulates activity in muscle fibers causing them to grow.
This adaptation does not happen while you are training, but while you are at rest. Sleep tight!
Your muscles grow faster if you create enough stimuli and provide your body with all the essential nutrients for it to recover and adapt itself. Here supplements come into play, as they aid in recovery. The quicker you recover and train; the faster you grow.
The supplement industry is full of liars, cheats, and thieves. Bodybuilders who are on TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), inject all kind of anabolic steroids, PED’s (performance enhancing drugs), growth hormones, insulin, thyroid hormones and promote supplements that don’t do shit.
Muscle Building Supplements I Absolutely Recommend
1. Whey Protein
Whey protein powder is the handiest form of protein. It aids in muscle growth when used in conjunction with weight training.
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Adding protein to your diet is like buying an insurance policy from most ailments as it largely helps in boosting body’s immunity.
- You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells, tissues and make new ones.
- It’s important for your bones, cartilage, and all the connecting tissues, skin, muscles, etc.
- Your body needs it to make enzymes, hormones and other essential chemicals.
- It also aids in fat loss, boosts immune function and acts as an antioxidant.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is – 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
DRI is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. It’s not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.
For a 30-year-old sedentary man who weighs about 155 pounds (70 Kilogram), it translates into 56 grams of protein a day.
Protein is essential to good health. And if you ask me – I’d suggest any individual to aim for up to twice the DRI which is 80-100gms of daily protein intake.
The potential side-effects of higher protein intake might include preserving lean muscle, healthy aging, better brain functions and weight management.
There is simply no way you get enough protein from natural food. Whey protein powder is a good source for that protein boost with less overall calories.
And for a weight lifter, it almost seems impossible to eat so much of protein everyday to build those muscles (1-1.5gms/ pound of body weight) unless you literally eat 6-7 times a day.
Timing is Crucial
The best time to take whey protein is before and after a grueling weight training session. That is the time your body puts that surplus protein to the best possible use – which is to prevent excessive muscle breakdown and for much higher muscle protein synthesis.
Hitting the gym at 6 pm? Gulp down a shake at 5 pm and another just after you finish your workout, say like 7-7.30pm. This will create an improved anabolic window because of efficient amino acid delivery and uptake by muscles.
It will also help in keeping cortisol (stress hormone) at bay and increase fat oxidation.
Rely more on whole foods at other times of the day. As a general rule, a minimum of 60% of your protein should come from whole foods.
2. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which provide a wide variety of health benefits.
If you don’t regularly eat fatty fish like salmon, tuna or sardines, then supplementing with fish oil every day is a pretty good idea. Fish oil is a superior source of omega-3 compared to plant-based flaxseed oil, chia seeds, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in reducing tissue inflammation, brain function- memory and focus, assisting & maintenance of superior body growth. They also fight against cardiovascular diseases and improve immunity.
Various studies suggest fish oil supplements might reduce the risk of certain cancers like prostate cancer. It also has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, making it potentially helpful to your muscle building goals.
They’re incredibly useful and can be beneficial for everyone from sedentary individuals to athletes.
It’s debatable to take fish oil post-workout but I prefer to take a small dose after my training session as it is good for joints and connective tissues(anti-inflammatory).
Take a few grams of fish oil every day for lunch and dinner. Your body will thank you for it.
My recommended brands in order of preference:
Your digestive system breaks protein into individual amino acids, which your cells then recombine and link together to form a new protein within your body.
Out of these 20 something amino acids that have been discovered so far, 9 are considered to be essential (you get them through food; your body doesn’t produce them).
BCAA’S are a set of 3 essential amino acids -Leucine, Valine, and Isoleucine, which are directly responsible for muscle synthesis.
They don’t need digestion unlike whey protein and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
- When taken during a training session, it delays fatigue thus allowing you to push much harder and longer.
- BCAA’s are anti-catabolic; they can help prevent protein breakdown and muscle loss during intense weight lifting sessions.
Tip – Mastering the Insulin
I keep BCAA’ for post-workout. I make sure to add Watermelon juice to it most of the times. It offers several health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity and reduced muscle soreness. Though watermelon is a high GI (glycemic index) food but it actually has a negligible effect on glucose levels.
It releases insulin which promotes amino acid uptake by the muscle, thus creating conducive anabolic conditions. And muscle building is all about recovery.
5. Multivitamin – Animal Pak
Friend: How long does it take to build muscles? Me: It takes as long as it takes. Friend: What if there's a supplement that gets you jacked up in 24 hours, will you still get your ass to the gym consistently? Me: Absolutely!
Most muscle building supplements are marketing gimmicks. Iron is a great teacher. There’s no substitute to hard work and dedication. You have to lift and eat properly and building a great body takes a long time.
Learn to find pleasure in hard work and enjoy the journey. Short-cuts never lead to long term success.
If you have question about any other supplement feel free to ask. Do not throw your money on supplements that are worthless.
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Good luck and have a nice day,