If you’re looking to gain muscle mass quickly, you might be considering dropping some money on one of the many powders and pills advertised on television and sold in the aisles of nutrition stores.
While many workout supplements advertise themselves as essential elements of any weightlifting or strength training regimen, it’s important that you start with a solid base of nutrition and training.
No single substance is going to make you gain muscle; you’ve got to view your weight training program holistically. That’s why supplements have that name: they exist to enhance a solid program, not create one.
If you’re ready to start augmenting your diet and workout with supplements, here are five to consider and when to incorporate them in your routine.
Your body needs proteins and the amino acids they contain to build muscle, and one of the most popular options is whey protein, derived from milk.
If you’re looking for lean gains, increasing muscle mass without gaining a ton of the excess fat that accompanies many high-protein meals, loading up on whey is one way to get protein in without adding excess flab.
The amino acids it contains reach the bloodstream after about an hour, meaning you should take the protein within a half hour of your workout and again 30 minutes after.
Creatine increases your lean body mass and effectively powers you through workouts, helping you push further and recover quicker. Creatine fuels muscle contractions during workouts, and it occurs naturally within muscle cells. While creatine does suck water into your muscle cells, this eventually triggers permanent muscle growth.
Like whey protein, you should take it before and after your workouts (as many people report feeling extra-drained after working out using creatine).
The burning that accompanies a real muscular effort is the main physical phenomenon that leads us to end our set or workout early.
Beta-alanine counteracts that sensation, known as muscle acidosis, so you can work out longer without getting exhausted. You can take beta alanine anytime throughout your off days and 30 minutes prior to working out to help kill the burn.
The other protein in milk, aside from whey, is casein, and in contrast to whey’s quick digestibility and fast shot of muscle-building amino acids, casein takes a long time to digest, delivering its acids to the muscles at a much slower rate.
This makes it a great bedtime snack, but you should also take it after your workout-it will decrease the protein muscle breakdown that usually occurs after you finish exercising.
Fish oil is a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory, meaning it can serve the same purpose as ibuprofen but with fewer side effects.
It’s a great source of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, nutrients lacking in most people’s diets. Be careful: it can cause heartburn and mild nausea in some people, so it’s best taken with a meal.
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