If you are looking for optimal muscle mass gain, you are surely doing everything you can to achieve your goals. Three main criteria must be met for maximum muscle gain: eating more calories than you burn, consuming more protein than you break down, and having an exercise program that challenges your muscles.
While it is possible to meet all of these criteria without taking a dietary supplement, there are some supplements that can help you achieve your goals.
The 6 supplements listed below can help you gain more muscle.
Creatine is a molecule that occurs naturally in your body. Provides energy to your muscles and other tissues.
However, taking this dietary supplement can increase the creatine content of your muscles by up to 40% above its normal levels. This affects muscle cells and exercise performance, which promotes muscle gain. Much research shows that creatine improves muscle strength.
This is good news if you are trying to gain volume. Greater strength allows you to perform better during exercise, resulting in a greater increase in muscle mass over time.
Creatine can also increase the water content of muscle cells. This can cause muscle cells to swell slightly and produce signals for muscle growth.
Also, this supplement can increase the levels of hormones involved in muscle growth, such as IGF-1.
Getting enough protein is essential for gaining muscle. Specifically, to gain mass, you need to consume more protein than your body breaks down through natural processes.
While it is possible to get all the protein you need from high-protein foods, some people find it difficult to do so. If this sounds like you, you may consider taking a protein supplement.
There are many different protein supplements, but the most popular are whey, casein, and soy protein. Other dietary supplements contain protein isolated from eggs, beef, chicken, or other sources.
Research shows that adding extra protein through supplements results in slightly more muscle gain in exercisers than adding extra carbohydrates.
However, the effects are likely to be greater in people who do not get enough protein in their normal diet.
There is a lot of research showing that consuming large amounts of dietary supplements does not help build muscle mass if you are already following a high protein diet.
Gainers are supplements designed to help you get more calories and protein. They are generally used by people struggling to gain muscle. Some people find it difficult to gain muscle, even when consuming large amounts of calories and lifting weights.
Although the calorie content of the winners varies, it is not uncommon for them to contain more than 1,000 calories per serving. Many athletes believe that these calories come from protein, as it is very important for building muscle. However, most of the calories come from carbohydrates.
Often there are 75 to 300 grams of carbohydrates and 20 to 60 grams of protein per serving of these high calorie supplements.
While these products can help you consume more calories, it is important to realize that there is nothing magical about weight gain supplements.
Some research with physically inactive adults has shown that a drastic increase in calories can increase lean mass like muscle, provided you get enough protein.
However, research of adults who have had strength training has indicated that taking a supplement for weight gain may not be effective in increasing lean mass.
In general, these dietary supplements are only recommended if you find it difficult to eat enough and it is easier for you to drink a weight loss shake than to eat real food.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that reduces fatigue and can increase performance during exercise. Also, beta-alanine can help build muscle mass if you follow a special exercise program to build mass.
One study showed that taking 4 grams of beta-alanine per day for eight weeks increased muscle mass.
Another study found that adding a beta-alanine supplement to a six-week high-intensity interval training program increased muscle mass by about 0.45 kg more than a placebo.
While more research is needed on beta-alanine and muscle gain, this supplement can help support muscle gain when combined with a training program.
Branched Side Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are made up of three individual amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. They are found in most protein sources, especially those of animal origin such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fish.
BCAAs are extremely important for muscle growth and make up about 14% of the amino acids in muscles.
Almost everyone gets BCAAs from their diet on a daily basis, but taking BCAAs as a supplement is also very popular. Some research has shown that BCAAs can improve muscle gain or reduce muscle loss.
However, other research shows that BCAAs may not produce greater muscle gain in people following a training program.
BCAA supplements are likely to only benefit you if you don’t get enough high-quality protein in your diet.
While they can be beneficial if your diet is inadequate, more research is needed before recommending BCAAs as a supplement for muscle gain.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a molecule made when your body processes the amino acid leucine. HMB is responsible for some of the beneficial effects of protein and leucine in the diet.
It can be especially helpful in reducing muscle protein breakdown during strength training. Although the body produces HMB naturally, taking it as a supplement increases the levels and can benefit the muscles.
Several studies with never-trained adults have shown that taking 3-6 grams of HMB per day can improve muscle mass gains achieved through weight training.
However, other research shows that similar doses of HMB are unlikely to be effective for building muscle mass in adults who already engage in high-intensity weight training on a daily basis.
This may mean that HMB is more effective for those who are beginning to exercise or increasing the intensity of their workouts.
Dietary supplements cannot give you maximum muscle gain if your diet and exercise programs are not optimal.
To gain mass, you need to eat enough calories and protein, as well as exercise, ideally with weights. Once your diets and exercise programs are up to date, you may want to consider supplementation.
Creatine and protein supplements are probably the most effective options for gaining muscle, but other supplements may be beneficial for some people.