If your goal is to gain muscle, your daily workout is only half the challenge. You have to make sure to eat a lot of protein, carbs, and even healthy fats if you want to bulk up. However, regular foods may not even be enough to give you the results you want. In many cases, you’ll need to add a few supplements to your diet. Here are the best supplements to gain muscle quickly and efficiently:
Protein is, by far, the most important of the supplements to gain muscle effectively. Not only does it fuel your body’s muscle growth, but it can stop the breakdown of muscle tissue caused by low intensity, steady state aerobics (jogging, cycling, etc.). Protein powder delivers a hefty dose of amino acids at once, ensuring your body has what it needs to produce ATP energy for your muscles and make repairs after an intense workout. Whey protein is ideal for a post-workout supplement, while egg, soy, and casein protein are slower-acting and thus require more time to work. Whatever protein you take, make sure that you’re having at least one protein shake/smoothie per day!
Many experts will argue that creatine is more important than protein, and it definitely deserves a place at the head of the table. Taking creatine supplements can increase muscle gain by 40%, as it enhances muscular cell performance and promotes muscle gain. Creatine helps your body to store more water in your muscle cells, signaling to your body that the muscles need to grow. It can also increase IGF-1, a growth factor that plays a huge role in muscle growth. Pair creatine with your protein powder to see visible, effective results!
Also known as “weight gainers”, these are supplements designed to give you a high dose of calories all at once. This may sound like a bad idea, but they’re useful for people who struggle to gain weight and muscle mass. By providing a lot of calories all at once (upwards of 1,000 calories in some products), they give your body a hefty dose of energy to use for your workouts. By increasing energy availability, they prevent your body from tapping into muscle mass for energy. They can also provide more protein and carbs, leading to weight gain—weight you can then turn into muscle mass through your workout.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are made up of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the three most important amino acids. These three amino acids make up 66% of your total protein intake for the day, and they’re the most necessary for muscle growth. By getting a concentrated dose of these BCAAs, you can encourage muscle growth and prevent muscle breakdown. They’re usually included in protein supplements, but it’s not a bad idea to take a dedicated BCAA supplement if you want to speed up results of your workout above and beyond those offered by your protein powder.
Beta alanine is one of the important amino acids required by your body, but it’s not an “essential” amino acid used to build muscle. What it will do is increase muscle mass, enhance exercise performance, and reduce muscular fatigue. It can help to boost lean body mass and keep you working harder and longer at the gym. It’s not the most effective supplements on the market, but adding it into your daily supplementation (along with the others listed here) can give you faster results. You may find it’s the helpful pre-workout supplement that keeps you pushing your body to its limits during your workout.