There are dozens of bodybuilding supplements available that tout their superior ability to build lean muscle, while also helping the body recover after a tough workout. While it is true that most of these supplements do work well for people, not all supplements are necessarily effective for every person due to the unique nature of every athlete’s body. Even when considering these differences, there are several supplements that demonstrate the greatest benefits and tend to give you the best results overall. Here are my thoughts on the top five supplements for faster muscle gain and muscle growth, in no particular order.
Beta-alanine (BA) is a non-essential amino acid that is naturally occurring and enters the body through foods high in protein, such as poultry. BA’s performance enhancing abilities are the result of its ability to enhance the levels of carnosine intra-muscularly. Increasing BA through supplementation indicates that carnosine levels rise by more than 60% in as little as six weeks.
The reason this is so important is related to the accumulation of a significant amount of hydrogen in the body during periods of strenuous exercise, which results in our pH dropping (causing us to become acidic). T1he acidification (lactic acid) can cause decreased muscle performance, extreme fatigue, and shut down the neural drive, leading the body into muscle failure. The increased levels of carnosine, thanks to the BA supplementation, allow bodybuilders to put off the buildup of hydrogen and the subsequent acidity.
Other benefits associated with beta-alanine include:
- Enhanced repeated sprint ability
- Increased endurance
- Delay in fatigue
- Increased force output
- Works in tandem with creatine
Suggested Dose: 2-6 grams taken in smaller doses over the course of 24 hours to decrease any sensation of skin-tingling for faster muscle growth.
Glutamine has developed a well-deserved reputation for its ability to slow down muscle-tissue breakdown throughout periods of strenuous exercise. This has the potential to improve endurance and enhance strength thresholds. For weight trainers, this means you can lift heavier weights for longer periods of time and train more frequently. When you push your muscles’ limits, the body is inspired to produce more lean muscle in an effort to compensate.
Additional benefits associated with glutamine include:
- Studies indicate that individuals who take glutamine supplements tend to also see an improvement in their immune system’s functioning . This is crucial because your immune system is stressed, along with your muscles, during periods of intense training. At the same time glutamine helps rebuild muscle tissue, meaning the whole body is able to recover more rapidly.
- It helps preserve muscle tissue, which gives your body the opportunity to burn extra fat. This is important because the more lean muscle you have, the more effective your metabolism is. When you are working to lose weight, your body gets rid of muscle mass at the same time. Obviously, you want to slow down muscle loss.
- Studies indicate that glutamine can increase the levels of plasma growth hormone in the body . This is of particular importance for anyone who is focused on building muscle. One study suggests that a mere 2 grams of glutamine supplementation a day can enhance growth hormone levels.
Suggested Dose: 5 gram when you wake up, 5 grams after working out, and 5 grams before going to bed if you wish to gain muscle faster.
A metabolite that occurs naturally in the muscle cells, creatine is used for the production and modulation of cellular energy. Approximately 95% of the body’s creatine can be found in the skeletal muscle tissue, while the rest of it is stored throughout the remainder of the body. For the purposes of dietary supplementation, creatine is reproduced as creatine monohydrate. It is one of the best supplements for muscle gain.
Benefits associated with creatine include:
- Quicker recovery post-workout
- Enhanced glycogen storage
- Increased high intensity muscle performance
- Promotion of lean muscle mass
- Improved muscle cell volume
Most bodybuilders and weight trainers prefer creatine because of how quickly it helps build muscle mass. On the other hand, it is easy to stop taking because the body naturally produces it. When someone stops taking the supplement, their body’s creatine levels usually return to normal range in 3 to 4 weeks.
Suggested Dose: 5-10 grams per day; Half should be taken with your pre-workout meal, while the other half should be consumed with your post-workout shake.
4. Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
Three of the body’s 20 amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, and valine) are known as BCAAs, which bodybuilders often turn to because of the enhanced workout results they produce. This is because of their ability to stimulate protein synthesis and assist in the regulation of protein metabolism.
Similar to whey protein supplements, BCAAs direct nutrients to the muscle tissue, which helps the muscles recover after working out. While in the muscle, BCAAs act as an energy source during exercise, which is why a supplement can help restore those nutrients lost during strenuous exercise. In addition, it enhances metabolic recovery and decreases pain related to muscle fatigue.
Additionally, there is some degree of proof that BCAAs help enhance endurance by ensuring the muscles stay fueled, which is of particular interest for long-distance workouts, including marathons, backpacking, distance swimming, or any other lengthy workout.
Suggested Dose: 3-5 grams after waking up, as well as 3-5 grams before and after a workout if you wish to build muscle fast.
5. Whey Protein
Whey protein is one of the best supplements for muscle gain. It provides the body with high amounts of protein that helps stimulate the process of muscle growth. Numerous studies have proven that bodybuilders and trainers can gain muscle mass and enhance their performance when drinking whey protein shakes or taking supplements.
In most cases, whey is consumed pre and post-workout to enhance protein synthesis, while also improving muscle restoration and recovery. Adding a whey protein supplements to your workout can help speed up the process of gaining lean muscle and losing excess body fat. Due to whey being a fast-digesting milk protein, it helps deliver amino acids to the skeletal muscles.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to supplement with whey protein isolate, which is almost entirely free of lactose and contains a higher percent of pure protein. This will prevent the GI distress that is likely to occur when taking a regular whey protein supplement.
Benefits of whey protein include:
- It acts as a natural appetite suppressant, which means it can be used as a in between meals snack or a meal replacement.
- It triggers a quick muscle recovery when consumed immediately after a workout.
- It acts as a great energy source when it is consumed throughout the day, which can lead to an enhanced metabolism and a greater number of calories being burned.
Suggested Dose: It is suggested that you consume between 20 and 30 grams of whey protein before and after a workout. While whey protein shakes are a convenient way to consume plenty of protein when a complete meal is not an option, you should make every effort to get most of your daily protein from whole food sources.
I hope you enjoyed this article on top supplements for faster muscle gain, make sure to reach out to me at Krush Fitness Twitter or Krush Fitness Facebook and I will be more than happy to answer your questions if you have any!