May 24, 2013
If you’re looking to build some serious muscle or simply trying to make the most out of your workouts, then muscle-building supplements can be a great tool for packing on the pounds and sculpting a better body.
However, with so many different supplements for muscle gain on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one is best suited for your individual needs. To help you out, we’ve broken down the best supplements for muscle gain so you can make the smart decision.
Types of Muscle-Building Supplements
Protein Powders: Your muscles are made primarily out of protein, which is why it’s so important that you give your body an ample supply of protein to grow bigger, stronger muscles. With extra protein, your muscles will be able to repair themselves after each and every workout while stimulating the production of new muscle cells.
Protein powders are typically derived from casein and whey (both are milk products) and are designed to complement your diet rather than replace a meal. The best protein powder supplements contain BCAAs (Branched-Chain amino acids) and have high concentrations of protein.
Creatine Powders: Creatine is a naturally produced compound that is one of the best supplements for muscle gain. It offers a myriad of benefits, including rapid muscle recovery, increased mental and physical performance, and enhanced muscle volume and strength.
Creatine powders are generally vegetarian friendly and can be combined with juice to increase absorption. When used correctly, creatine causes muscle cells to inflate, triggering a rush of water and other nutrients to the muscles to dramatically increase size and strength.
You can read more about the benefits and effects of creatine here.
Weight Gainers: If you’re looking to pack on a few more pounds of muscle through rigorous strength training and exercise, then sometimes it can be difficult to meet your daily caloric needs. This is where weight gainers come in. These supplements are usually a mix of protein and carbohydrates, blended to give you extra energy throughout the day.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get the exact dosage to fit your individual needs. Too much of these carbohydrates will result in the storage of fat, while too little will leave you feeling tired and exhausted after every workout. Also, be cautious of weight gaining supplements that contain too much sugar, as it does not to build muscle and may even make it more difficult to decrease your BMI.
Pre-Workout Shakes: You may have seen gym regulars chugging down pre-workout shakes right before they hit the weights, and supposedly, these shakes provide your muscles with an immediate rush of ingredients specifically chosen to give energy and nutrients to your muscles for explosive gains in strength and performance.
Pre-workout shake ingredients are extremely varied, making it difficult to say which of them qualifies as the best supplements for muscle gain. However, keep in mind that many pre-workout shakes contain high concentrations of caffeine, which can give you a temporary boost in performance and energy but at the cost of a “crash” after a few hours. If you plan on being in the gym all day, then you should avoid caffeine at all costs.
Post-Workout Shakes: Similar to the pre-workout shake, the post-workout shake is designed to give your muscles the nutrients they need after they’ve burned away their fuel stores during intense exercise. Post Workout shakes come in a variety of forms, including powders that you can mix with water or other beverages. Most of these workout shakes contain a combination of protein, carbs, and even creatine to speed muscle recovery and decrease downtime.
Studies have shown that one hour after an intense workout, the metabolism is heightened and the muscles start absorbing all the nutrients they need to repair and restore themselves. If your body lacks the nutrients it needs, it will break down muscle protein to be burned as fuel, halting your progress. A good post-workout shake can prevent this catabolic breakdown and give you that extra boost you need.
Each of these muscle-building supplements can be considered the best supplements for weight gain, but keep in mind that they are not a replacement for a healthy diet. Your muscles need a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbs, and even fats to stay in the best possible shape, and though these supplements have a great deal of potential, they should be used as a complement to your current health regimen.