You may have tried it all: eating right, getting enough sleep, and lifting heavy weights, but you’re still stuck in that same size and not gaining more muscles at your desired rate. It’s true that eating right and lifting heavy can help you increase muscle size, yet even the most ideal and efficient training and diet program may not be able to deliver that jacked body that you want.
This is where supplements come in the picture. Supplements can give you an extra boost to maximize your growth potential, giving you the needed push for that ideal muscle gain. Here are the must- haves when it comes to supplements that really deliver the needed results.
If you’re looking to add muscle mass and get the most out of your training, whey protein is just the thing for you. Whey protein is especially known due to its high leucine content, leucine being the key amino acid that triggers protein synthesis and helps repair and recover your muscles. Protein is essential to jump-start the process of making your muscles bigger and stronger, apart from its major role in enzyme and hormone production.
Whey protein supplementation resulted in significantly greater gains in lean body mass and strength compared to a placebo, based on the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A quality protein powder should be a staple supplement for any regular gym goer. Drinking a protein shake after your workout greatly helps as well. For better results, aim for a daily protein intake of 0.7-1.0 grams per pound of body weight.
Betaine increases the release of growth hormone and IGF-1 while blunting the exercise-induced release of catabolic hormones like cortisol. As a result, it increases muscle growth and decreases muscle breakdown after workout. Although betaine has been around for several years, it is only starting to get its deserved attention as a valuable part of pre-workout formulas.
A 2009 study reveals the remarkable difference betaine brings. Participants took 1.25 grams of betaine per day for 14 days while others took a placebo. The betaine group were able to do more reps, suggesting that betaine delays fatigue during high-intensity exercise. An increase in lifting volume at higher intensities will lead to increases in muscle mass over time. Betaine is suspected to stimulate muscle growth over the long term, much like creatine monohydrate, the supplement we’ll focus on next.
Your body relies primarily on stores of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and PCr (phospohocreatine) to provide energy during intense exercise. However, your body uses up these stores quickly, resulting to not being able to work out at maximal intensity for very long.
As little as 3-5 grams or creatine monohydrate per day has been shown to increase stores of creatine in the muscle. This implies longer access to ATP and PCr, which then paves the way for more reps per set, shorter rest periods, and increased training tolerance over time. In the short term, taking creatine monohydrate may help you achieve greater strength and power output. Over the long term, it stimulates greater muscle growth. Creatine monohydrate is simply the greatest when it comes to increasing muscle strength and size for a reasonable price.
Although citrulline malate is not as popular as L-citrulline and arginine, it is a powerful nitric-oxide booster that deserves respect. By helping remove metabolic byproducts that accumulate during intense exercise, CM boosts energy and reduces soreness. It also increases nitric-oxide levels, and consequently blood flow, better than L-citrulline or arginine on their own.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that you don’t even need to load up with citrulline malate to see the effects. A single dose of citrulline malate (8 grams) was enough to significantly increase the number of reps participants could complete in the bench press, and even made participants less sore afterward.
Be sure to follow a well-rounded diet before you look into buying any supplement. Once your dietary needs are met and you’re looking to gain some more mass, get ahold of the listed supplements to see your target effect materialize.
Look for supplements that have at least 20-25 grams of protein per serving, ideally with 3-5 grams of leucine when choosing a whey supplement. Since you don’t need much betaine to see the effects, whatever’s in your pre-workout will likely do the trick. With creatine, it’s best stick with the original creatine monohydrate and consume 5 grams per day. As for citrulline malate, look for a supplement that contains 6-8 grams per serving.