One of the most common questions I get is, ‘What are the best supplements to build muscle? There's a ton of misinformation out there when it comes to the best supplements for muscle building and strength. In this video I'll share the 4 best supplements that are worth considering to build muscle faster.
There are 3 main reasons why whey protein powder can be considered one of the most effective muscle building supplements available. First off, it’s typically very low in fat and carbs and instead very high in protein content, which makes it very calorie and macro friendly when compared to other protein sources. Second, it’s convenient and can be used in many different ways to both save you time and add some more life into your diet. And lastly, it’s actually quite affordable when viewed at a price per gram basis, with the average cost of whey protein being comparable to that of chicken breast. This all just makes it easier for you to consistently reach the optimal daily protein intake that otherwise can be a struggle to hit, which is exactly how protein powder can indirectly speed up your growth.
Next is creatine, which, of all the supplements for muscle growth available, is probably the most well researched and science-backed one. Whenever we lift weights we use something called ATP, the main energy source for our muscles. As we lift, we deplete these ATP stores to the point where we can no longer perform anymore reps. This is where creatine comes in. It improves our strength and muscle endurance by facilitating a faster regeneration of ATP and enabling us to perform that extra rep or two or lift slightly more weight during our workouts. There does seem to be quite a bit of variation with regards to the response to creatine, though. Also, note that creatine doesn’t simply do the work for you. The benefits you get from supplementing with it only apply if you’re actually pushing yourself harder in your workouts as a result.
Next is caffeine (pre workout), arguably one of the best muscle building supplements. Caffeine ingestion prior to our workouts not only enhances our muscle contractions, but can also enable us to perform more reps by altering our pain thresholds and our perception of how hard we’re working. That said, those who consume caffeine on a regular basis tend to see somewhat of a blunted response to its ergogenic effects. So, what I’d recommend to avoid developing a caffeine tolerance too quickly. Reserve its use for workouts where you’ll reap the most benefit from it. For example, lower body workouts, early morning workouts, or days where you just need that extra kick.
For the final of the top supplements for building muscle, internationally renowned fitness expert and researcher Dr. Brad Schoenfeld adds beta-alanine to the list. When supplemented, beta-alanine facilitates increases in muscle carnosine levels. Carnosine acts as a hydrogen ion buffer. This is important for activities such as resistance training, sprinting, and other anaerobic forms of exercise, as there is a substantial buildup of lactic acid that occurs, which ultimately impairs performance. The buffering action of carnosine can help to delay fatigue from the associated hydrogen ion accumulation (acidosis) and thus enable performance of additional work (e.g. reps during lifting). It can, therefore, ultimately enhance muscle-building capacity. However, there is a fairly large degree of inter-individual variability.
So, hopefully you now know the answer to ‘What are the best supplements to build muscle?’ and you were able to see that supplements are not magic. You still need to put in the work and even then, they aren’t extremely effective. But, the little boosts you do get from each of these supplements can add up to a meaningful difference overtime, especially when you then pair this with the right training and nutrition program. And for a step-by-step program that uses science to guide you week after week with your training, your nutrition, and even your supplementation, so that you can truly maximize your results, then simply take the analysis quiz to discover which science-based program would be best for you and where your body is currently at below:
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Filmed by: Bruno Martin Del Campo