Muscle Building Supplements

Muscle building supplements fit into 3 different categories:

  • those that work for almost everyone
  • those that work for some people
  • those that work for no one

There are certain supplements that can help almost anyone gain muscle mass and increase strength. I will cover many of these here.

(I learned a lot about supplements and much more by reading bodybuilding expert Will Brink’s BodyBuilding Revealed. It's really an excellent resource and I highly recommend it. Check it out here)

The following IS NOT a complete list of all the "muscle supplements" being sold. IT IS a short list of some of the ones proven to be effective.

Foundational Supplements

If your basic bodily needs aren’t taken care of, using supplements will be a waste of your dollars. The following supplements will help you stay healthy and influence your muscle building efforts.

Muti vitamin-minerals. “A good multi vitamin/mineral is the cornerstone of a supplementation program.”

- Tom Venuto, author of Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle.

Let’s get something straight: vitamin and mineral supplements will not build more muscle.

So why take them? Good question.

If you are deficient in certain nutrients you will definitely see a decrease in your health, performance, and your recovery from workouts will be slower.

Vitamins can help fill in gaps that may be left by your nutrition habits.

Antioxidants. Antioxidants - muscle building supplements?? Yep, they can help.

Free radicals have been blamed for a broad range of diseases.

For wannabe bodybuilders, free radicals cause inflammation, muscle fiber damage, fatigue, and probably decreased immune strength.

Antioxidants are important because they neutralize free radicals.

You can either take a multi vitamin full of antioxidants (vitamin E and C are two antioxidants) or take an antioxidant formula in addition to a multi vitamin.

Essential Fatty Acids. Essential fatty acids (or EFAs) can help you lose fat, gain muscle mass, increase energy and maintain good health.

EFAs support many functions in your body including:

  • immune system function
  • energy production
  • hormone production
  • absorption of fat soluble vitamins

The effects of EFAs in helping you lose fat and build muscle are direct. For one, they help protect your joints and connective tissue from training related injuries. Two, EFAs help prevent muscle from being broken down into glucose and used for energy.

Performance & Muscle Building Supplements

Whey protein. Whey is one of the best types of protein. It has one of the highest biological values and utilization rates of all the different types of proteins. You’ll get great benefits by using whey post workout.

Creatine monohydrate. Creatine is arguably the best muscle building supplement. Research has shown that creatine monohydrate is both safe and effective for anyone that wants to build muscle mass.

Creatine regenerates ATP. ATP is the chemical that supplies energy for muscle contraction. Numerous studies have proven creatine’s effectiveness. Benefits include increased strength, muscle mass and decreased recovery time.

Creating loading can potentially help you build muscle fast.

Optional - These Can Be Useful In A Muscle Building Program

Meal Replacements (MRPs). Eating small meals five to six times a day speeds up your metabolism and allows your body to process more protein and nutrients for muscle growth.

Meal replacements are especially useful if your schedule makes it difficult for you to eat a balanced whole food meal every few hours.

What I like about MRPs is they are usually low fat and high in protein.

MET-RX, Myoplex, and Labrada's Lean Body are some of the more popular brands.

Protein Powders. If you’re trying to gain weight, you probably know that you need lots of protein. The problem is that it can be expensive if you plan on getting all your protein needs from food alone.

Protein powders can be useful muscle building supplements. They are a cheap and convenient way to get in extra protein.

Post Workout Drinks. A good post workout meal includes quickly digesting protein and carbohydrates. The right amounts and types of protein and carbs is debatable, but studies have shown that post workout nutrition enhances recovery and muscle growth.

Your post-workout meal refuels your muscles and gives them raw materials they need to rebuild.

You can eat a whole food meal post workout, but a shake is convenient and may give you a slight edge because shakes are digested faster.

Glutamine. Dosage: 5-20 grams a day (usually post-workout) Glutamine can help maintain muscle mass, aid in new muscle growth and enhance your ability to stay healthy while you're training hard.

Weight Gainers. A good weight gainer powder can be a great muscle building supplement if you need to eat a lot of calories.

Many weight gainer powders are very high sugar, and others are high in fat. Avoid them. Read the labels and make sure the sugar content is low and the number of fat grams isn't too high.

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