As you get older building lean muscle and getting rid of belly fat are usually the things I get asked about most and are what I tend to concentrate on myself.
But for the younger blokes, it is a totally different ball game.
They are usually looking to bulk up and add some pretty noticeable muscle mass to their frame. To do this, you must first be following a good solid training and nutritional program.
Bulking up and building muscle is no easy feat, and it’s certainly not something you can do overnight. To build muscle, you need patience, hard work, dedication, and sound knowledge of the best exercise program for the job.
So once you have the diet and training aspects perfected, you can start to consider using supplements to help you reach your goals that little bit quicker.
The bodybuilding supplement industry is one of the most lucrative and competitive in the entire world so be careful of what you buy.
Don’t be blinded by the misleading marketing.
If it sounds too good, then it most probably is. You don’t get a front cover bikini body or a rippling six-pack just by downing a couple of scoops of protein powder a day.
There are a huge number of supplements on the market and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. It also pays to have some knowledge about the contents of the product you are purchasing. Most of it you don’t need.
Choosing the right supplements can help you gain more muscle mass and recover from your workouts faster, but which supplements should you choose?
4 of the most popular supplements to promote fast muscle growth.
1. Whey protein
Whey protein is the most popular bodybuilding supplement in the entire world and for good reason too. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Building muscle is impossible without an adequate protein intake (before and after a workout).
Whey protein is a very fast-digesting protein that is derived from milk and is actually a by-product of cheese. It can trigger fast protein synthesis for muscle growth and repair. Whey protein is relatively cheap and it’s available in a number of delicious flavours.
Read more about the use of protein here in an extract from ‘Men’s Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible’.
Creatine is a compound that is found in red meat and actually inside our own bodies, just in very small quantities. Creatine works by allowing the human body to create ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) much more efficiently within the muscle tissues. ATP is basically fuel and energy for our muscles.
So the more ATP the cells within your muscles can absorb, the more efficient your muscles will be. This will allow them to work harder and more effectively for longer, making your workouts more effective.
Fortunately, for those people looking to enhance their gains from working out, creatine is one of the world’s most tested supplements and has an outstanding safety profile but as with most supplements, research shows that a small percentage of people do not receive any benefit from using creatine so you will have to do your own due diligence to see if it works for you.
It is well worth your while reading this evidence-based article from Healthline Nutrition which confirms the reasons why I believe Creatine is the most effective supplement for increasing both strength and muscle mass plus also provides the research that shows supplementing with Creatine can double your strength and lean muscle gains when compared to training alone.
See this article I wrote a few months ago for a full rundown on Creatine – What is the Best Supplement for Low Body Fat and Lean Muscle Growth?
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are the building blocks of protein, making them absolutely essential when it comes to muscle recovery. Lifting weights doesn’t build muscle at all. It actually damages the tiny muscle fibers and tissues within the muscles themselves.
You build muscle when you rest.
That’s when your body repairs and rebuilds these damaged muscles, making them even bigger and stronger than they were beforehand. In order for your body to make these repairs, it needs nutrients and energy. BCAAs provide these nutrients much faster than other sources as they are metabolized directly in the muscle tissue.
Other nutrients are processed through the liver first. This means that BCAAs initiate protein synthesis much faster than other nutrient and energy sources.
Like to see some more info on BCAA’s? Then read this extract from the book ‘The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition’.
4. Casein protein
Your muscles constantly need energy and nutrients for your body to maintain them, which is why nutrition is so important to bodybuilding and building muscle. When you sleep though, you don’t eat or drink, so you can’t put any more nutrients inside your body.
Although you don’t need much energy while sleeping, your body still needs some. It will actually fall into a catabolic state and look for the closest available source of energy, which just so happens to be your muscle tissue. The last thing you want is for your body to eat away at your muscles while you sleep.
This is where casein protein comes into play.
You now know that protein is essential for muscles to grow, but what sets casein protein apart from whey protein is the fact that it’s a slow-digesting protein.
Whey is digested relatively quickly, so your body’s store of protein is rapidly depleted.
Casein protein is digested much slower, meaning it constantly releases a stream of nutrients throughout the night, keeping your body and your muscles well-fed and in an anabolic state.
See this extract from ‘Sports Nutrition: Enhancing Athletic Performance’ for more information on the use of proteins.
So there you have the four most essential supplements for fast muscle growth. Of course, there are many more supplements you can use, but unless you are a professional bodybuilder or elite athlete, most of them will probably be a gross waste of money.
With these four supplements, good hard training sessions and eight hours of sleep a night you should be well on your way to achieving the beach body you are hoping for.
And if you are looking for some more good evidence as to which supplements will help most with your muscle growth then I recommend you read this article……it could save you quite a few dollars as I feel the supplement industry is full of borderline claims as to the effectiveness of their products: Which Sports Supplements Actually Work.
Stay well – Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
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