When it comes to bodybuilding and building muscle, you don’t need us to tell you exactly how difficult and time consuming the entire process can actually be. People seem to think that in order to build muscle and improve your physique, you simply need to go to the gym, lift weights, and then repeat the process all over again two or three times more during the week.
The truth is however, that building muscle and improving your physique is so much more than just lifting weights, and that it requires a great deal of dedication, hard work, knowledge, motivation, and perhaps even stubbornness.
Getting your nutrition right is just as important as getting your training right, possibly even more so in fact. Many world class personal trainers and bodybuilders believe that bodybuilding and building muscle is around 20% training, and 80% nutrition.
Even if you get your nutrition right, there is only so far that your genetics can take you before you require a little outside help, and that’s where supplements become so beneficial.
Make no mistake about it, supplements are no substitute for real wholesome nutritious food, but if you get your training and diet just right, then muscle building supplements will give you that little bit of boost and could help you drastically improve your physique.
We’ll take a look at the five of the most effective muscle building supplements:
Whey protein should be the go-to supplement for anybody looking to build muscle and improve their physique. When we lift weights, we actually aren’t building muscle at all, we’re destroying muscle, or rather, the tiny fibers of which our muscles are made.
It’s when we rest that we build muscle, as our bodies rebuild and repair the damaged muscle, even bigger and stronger than they once were. In order to do so however, they need protein and and other nutrients to do so.
Protein is vital for the growth and repair of muscle tissue and the amino acids that it contains are often fondly referred to as the building blocks of muscle. Whey protein is a powdered form of protein that is easily absorbed by the body, allowing it to start repairing and rebuilding the damaged muscle fibers almost immediately.
One protein shake consisting of two scoops of whey protein, generally contains around 40-45 grams of protein, which is the optimal amount required by the body post workout.
After your workout, always consume a whey protein shake mixed with water, as the water is absorbed much faster than milk.
Whey protein is the number one supplement in regards to building muscle, but very close behind it is creatine. Creatine works by helping the body to actually produce more energy specifically used by the muscles. This energy is known as Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP for short.
Since creatine increases ATP stores in the body, this allows the muscles to work longer, before they begin to tire and fatigue.
The longer they can work, obviously, the more productive your workouts will be, and therefore, the more muscle you can build. Creatine also helps to pretty drastically increase your strength levels, as well as your energy and mental focus.
Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid. Unlike most amino acids, it is not used by your body to synthesize proteins. Instead, together with histidine, it produces carnosine, which is then stored in the fast twitch muscle fibers.
Carnosine can also be found in the heart as well as brain. This protein building block works by helping the muscles contract and tighten during exercise, which is basically how the muscle performs each and every rep.
Beta Alanine also works by stabilizing the PH levels inside the muscles, and helps in keeping lactic acid levels low. Lactic acid is what is formed when the muscles begin to fatigue and it’s what causes painful muscle cramps. The less lactic acid created, the longer the muscles can perform before fatiguing, and you get to keep cramps at bay too.
Glutamine is another fantastic muscle building supplement. It is an essential amino acid which works by providing fuel and energy for the cells inside the muscles.
Glutamine also boosts and strengthens the immune system. It works by replenishing glycogen stores inside the muscles, and helps to dramatically improve and increase the rate at which the body rebuilds after working out.
Simply put, glutamine is one of the best post-workout recovery amino acids. Combine a serving with your post-workout protein shake for the ultimate recovery meal.
Branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s)
Branch chain amino acids, or, BCAAs for short, are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential, meaning they can’t be produced by your body. These three amino acids are essential for protein synthesis and recovery of the muscles.
BCAAs can be taken and consumed before, during, and after a workout, and can improve your energy levels, boost your metabolism, and the rate at which your body recovers.
When BCAAs are consumed in food form, such as protein rich meats, they are first carried to the liver, where they are processed and broken down to be used either as fuel, or for muscle repair and recovery.
This process is time consuming and many of the essential nutrients are actually lost during this process. Consumed as a supplement, however, BCAAs skip the liver altogether, and instead go directly into the muscles, where they can begin the rebuilding and recovery process almost immediately.
Combined with a good nutrition strategy, these 5 muscle building supplements should put you on the right track to building muscle and strength.