When it comes to your workouts and building lean muscle, most of the best supplements aren’t really anything new and exciting.
Let’s face it, the vast majority of bodybuilding supplements, whether for building muscle mass or losing body fat, DO NOT WORK!
Most are a complete waste of your money. But there are definitely quality supplements that can help you build muscle quickly as long as your training program and nutrition are in order first.
They are also extremely important for preserving your lean muscle if you are trying to lose fat. So yes, ladies, even if you are trying to lose weight and lean out, you’ll want to use these supplements.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to supplements is that people are constantly searching for some magic bullet that will give them amazing results (usually without work) but this isn’t the case.
Supplements are supplements.
Supplements are NOT drugs!
They SUPPLEMENT proper weight training routines and muscle building nutrition programs.
Now that we have that taken care of, what are some of the best supplements for muscle gain?
The most important would be a high quality protein powder supplement. Protein drinks make it a lot easier for you to get enough good protein every day.
It’s tough to do from food alone because most ready made food is seriously lacking in protein and it takes time to constantly cook and prepare meails.
Protein powder makes this a lot easier. It’s a great supplement for building muscle.
Number two is another one that people pass over because it’s not new and sexy and more and that’s good old creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate may be the most scientifically researched sports performance enhancing supplement in history. And the studies show, time and time again, that creatine monohydrate WORKS!
Yes, good old fashioned caffeine is one of the best supplements for muscle gain.
Sure, too much caffeine can be a problem but in this case we’re talking about using caffeine as a pre-workout supplement to help boost your training performance.
Studies have shown that taking caffeine prior to exercise may have a powerful and positive boost to your performance. This is why caffein at a certain intake level is banned in the Olympic Games.
In fact, one study (J Int Soc Sports Nutrition 2010 Feb 15;7(1):10) took a look at the effects of a pre-workout supplement containing:
- whey protein powder,
- creatine monohydrate, and
- branch chain amino acids.
The subjects performed high intensity interval training for a 3 week period.
During that time, they consumed a combination of whey protein powder (9 g), branched chain amino acids (1 g), creatine (1.5 g), and caffeine (100 mg) 30 minutes before their workout.
One group took in this supplement formula while another received a placebo.
The group taking in the supplement allowed the athletes to train harder and measures of cardiovascular fitness were greater than the placebo group.
Most importantly for this discussion the supplement group was able to build lean muscle to the tune of 1.2 kg (2.64 lbs in 3 weeks) compared to the placebo group which actually lost 0.5 kg (1.1 pounds) over that time.
This study is promising. It would be nice to see a follow up study that had participants take in more whey protein powder (say 15 to 25 grams) and a higher dose of creatine (say the standard 5 gram dose) as well as the implementation of high intensity resistance training consisting of exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull ups and dips.
None of these supplements for building muscle are new, sexy or “steroid-like”, with exotic drug-sounding names, but they all work and work well and that’s what we want, right?