Muscle BuildingSupplements

Best Supplements for Muscle Growth

You work hard in the gym to meet your muscle and strength training goals. You lift regularly, eat nutritiously to support your workouts, and give your fitness routines your best. But sometimes you’ll find that you need a little extra boost to support your desired muscle growth; this is where supplements come in to help you maximize your muscle workouts.

When you’ve decided to incorporate supplements into your workout routine, you’ll find there are a lot of options on the market; this can prove a little overwhelming. To help make your decision easier, we’ve compiled the information below on the different types of supplements and their individual benefits.

Beta-Alanine Supplements

Some studies have shown that the amino acid beta-alanine can help to increase muscle mass when used with a regular exercise program. By incorporating four grams of beta-alanine each day for eight weeks while maintaining a workout schedule, it’s been shown that the amount of lean body mass can be potentially increased. You can purchase powdered or pill-form beta-alanine supplements. Still, you can also increase your intake naturally through the consumption of foods such as:

  • Lean meats
  • Lean poultry
  • Fish

Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplements

Amino acids leucine, valine, and isoleucine make up branch-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements. There are conflicting reports on the effectiveness of taking BCAA to support muscle growth; however, this supplement remains popular in strength training. While some studies show BCAA can help increase muscle mass, there are also some studies that show it as ineffective. You can easily consume BCAA supplements through:

  • Dairy
  • Lean poultry
  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs

BCAA can also be purchased in-store in the form of whey powder.

Creatine Supplements

Creatine is one of the most popular forms of supplements. Your body naturally produces creatine, which is used to support your muscle’s energy needs. When taking creatine as a supplement, a lot of research shows that muscle gain can be increased significantly. You can purchase manufactured creatine supplements in-store or seek to gain more creatine naturally through foods such as:

  • Fish
  • Lean poultry
  • Dairy
  • Lean meats

Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplements

There is still a lot of studying that needs to be done on the use of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as a muscle-building supplement; however, some believe that, through the increase of the omega-6 fatty acids present in CLA, improved muscle growth can be seen. You can find CLA naturally in:

  • Lean meats
  • Dairy

Carnitine and Glutamine Supplements

While studies are still being conducted on the use of carnitine and glutamine supplements for muscle building, it is thought that they aren’t as effective with younger strength trainers. Seniors may find more benefits from taking carnitine or glutamine, according to studies. If you’re interested in taking these supplements, you can purchase them at many health food stores.

HMB Supplements

When your body works the amino acid leucine through its system, it produces beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). HMB has been shown to help reduce the process of muscle protein breakdown. Studies of HMB’s effect on muscle growth are conflicting. However, some research has concluded that the use of HMB may have little impact on muscle growth progress. If you choose to use HMB supplements, you can purchase manufactured powder versions in-store or seek to gain more HMB naturally through:

  • Lean poultry
  • Lean meats
  • Greek yogurt
  • Soybeans

Protein Supplements

As is well-known, protein is key to any muscle-building program. Increasing your protein intake significantly while working out has been shown in research to help with muscle gain. Protein powders are available at most stores, but if you are looking to supplement naturally, you can gain protein by increasing your intake of foods such as:

  • Almonds
  • Eggs
  • Oats
  • Lean poultry
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Shrimp
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts

Weight Gaining Supplements

Calorie intake and muscle growth are directly correlated. By taking supplements seeking to help with weight gain, you can help increase your calorie intake and potentially increase muscle growth. If you choose this supplement route, it’s essential to monitor how the increased calorie intake is affecting your body. Some weight gain supplements can contain up to 1,000 extra calories with each serving consumed.

When to Take Muscle Growth Supplements

Once you’ve determined which supplement works best for your muscle-building goals, it’s important to put yourself on a schedule for when and how often the supplements are taken. Consider these tips when developing your supplement schedule:

  • Some fitness experts recommend taking supplement doses about 30 minutes before beginning a workout session.
  • Once you’ve finished with your muscle training workout, you should take another supplement dose. This step is taken to help your muscles maximize the work you just put into them.

Watch for These Supplement Side Effects

Research suggests that supplements can often help muscle and strength-building. However, certain side effects have been reported from taking store-bought manufactured supplements. Watch for the following while implementing your supplement routine:

  • Indigestion – Some supplements can lead to an upset stomach. Elements such as magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, and creatine have been shown to cause diarrhea with some users.
  • Water Retention – While often shown to be an effective muscle building supplement, creatine has also been reported to cause weight gain, bloating, and water retention.
  • Caffeine Jitters – Many muscle building supplements contain caffeine. While caffeine has been shown to help with energy and fatigue reduction while weight training, it can also lead to side effects such as jitteriness, anxiety, heart rate changes, insomnia, and more.
  • Headaches – Headaches are a commonly reported side effect from taking muscle-building supplements; this can be due to the consumption of the amino acid citurlline. Citurlline is intended to help with blood flow; however, some users have reported experiencing headaches due to the change in blood flow in the brain.
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