You’re ready to put in the hard work it takes to build muscle and get that well-defined look you want, but it doesn’t hurt to enjoy a little assistance in the form of supplements, right? Proper workout supplements can give you more energy during your workouts, provide your muscles with the building blocks they need to grow, and help you recover more quickly so that you feel fresher each time you’re at the gym. Sounds good?
Sometimes it can be confusing and difficult to identify the best workout supplements. Visit any health store, and you’ll find rows of powders, pills, and drinks, all claiming to be the best pre-workout supplements, the best post-workout supplements, the best workout supplements for women, etc. How can you cut through all the noise and choose the right supplements that can help you build muscle?
We’re getting down to basics, identifying supplements that have been scientifically shown to support better energy, muscle growth, and recovery. Here’s what you need to know about the best workout supplements for muscle growth.
THE ROLE OF MUSCLE BUILDING SUPPLEMENTS IN YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY
Before diving into the list of workout supplements, you need to understand exactly what supplements can and can’t do, as well as their place in your overall fitness routine. Supplements are not a magic shortcut to six-pack abs, bulging biceps, or shredded quads. Supplements are, well, supplements. They’re designed to supplement your workout and nutrition.
You also need to make sure you’re eating healthy, complex carbs, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Exercise and diet play the biggest role in muscle development and fat loss. Only after you’ve dialed in your health, fitness, and nutrition routines should you consider adding in supplements to continue to support your goals.
If you only take one workout supplement for muscle growth, start with creatine. This supplement has the most scientific research behind it that points to a clear and quantifiable benefit related to muscle growth. Creatine is a high-energy phosphate that helps muscles make a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides your body with energy.
Your body naturally produces creatine, but supplemental creatine can increase the amount of creatine in your muscles. Studies have shown that creatine can improve muscle strength, which allows you to lift more and build more muscle mass.
Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscles. When you begin training, you’ll likely need to increase your protein intake so that you have enough amino acids to repair and grow your muscles. In fact, in order to build muscle, you’ll need to put in more protein than your body breaks down. You can do this by adding more protein to your diet, such as chicken, beef, fish, eggs, almonds, oats, quinoa, lentils, and more. (Or, try these 10 high-protein smoothie recipes to build muscle.)
However, if you have trouble getting enough protein in your diet, you can use protein supplements. The most popular protein supplements are whey, casein, and soy. Casein and whey are both proteins derived from milk, and both contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own. Your body absorbs whey much more quickly than casein, making it one of the best post-workout supplements to drink right after a workout. Casein takes a long time to absorb, which is why many consider taking it before bed to allow the body to digest it while you sleep.
Protein supplements have been shown in studies to be associated with muscle gains, though they may offer the best results to individuals who aren’t able to consume enough protein in their diet. Many protein supplements come in powders and can easily be mixed with water or added to a tasty post-workout smoothie.
-BCAAS (BRANCH-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS)
Branch-chain amino acids are composed of three crucial amino acids called leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are considered by many to be one of the best post-workout supplements available. They are believed to help your muscles recover after a tough workout, assisting in the repair process and even cutting down on soreness. When you feel less sore, you can return to the gym more quickly to continue your training, which will lead to better results. A randomized, double-blind study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition put participants on an eight-week resistance-training program while giving them BCCAs, whey protein, or carbohydrates. The BCAA group saw greater muscular growth while also losing more body fat than the other two groups.
You can get BCAAs naturally in the food you eat, but if you are struggling to recover from challenging weightlifting sessions, a BCAA supplement might be worth trying.
One often overlooked supplement is beta-alanine, an amino acid that is thought to help combat muscle fatigue. It’s believed to work by helping your body produce more carnosine. Carnosine is a special molecule that can help prevent the buildup of acids in your muscles that can lead to muscle strain and fatigue. The more beta-alanine in your system, the more carnosine you can get. Some research has suggested that beta-alanine can increase muscle mass, including this study, which found that college wrestlers and football players who took beta-alanine gained more lean muscle mass compared to a placebo group.
Yes, you read this correctly. Carbs can actually help you build muscle. Carbohydrates are often considered public enemy number one when it comes to losing fat. Not only is this a big over-simplification (since complex carbs should be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet), but those looking to build muscle ultimately want to gain weight in the form of muscle. Performing a tough resistance workout will drain your muscles of glycogen and glucose. The best way to refuel your muscles is by consuming carbs. In fact, carbs may be one of the best pre-workout supplements around. (Check out these other fitness tips for pre-workout nutrition.) Several hours before your workout, you may want to take carbohydrate supplements to fuel your muscles. Carbs can also be considered a good post-workout recovery supplement. Taking another helping of the supplement after your workout can help to replenish your muscles and start your muscle recovery process.
As with many of the supplements listed in this article, you can consume carbs as part of your diet. Adding beans, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, and other complex carbs to your diet can help you keep your muscles fueled naturally. However, if you struggle to eat enough carbs to balance out your training, supplements could be the answer.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS
Now that you have an idea of some of the best workout supplements, how do you actually find the right products for you? You can always purchase single supplements, but you may notice different products marketed as pre-workout supplements, post-workout recovery supplements, or supplements specifically for muscle growth and bodybuilding. Many of these products include multiple ingredients. For example, a pre-workout supplement may contain carbs, caffeine, and beetroot juice, just to name a few.
When choosing a supplement, do your research. Look for legitimate reviews or products sold by brands you trust. The Nutrition 2 Go® line of supplements was developed by a Ph.D. scientist & industry-leading manufacturer and delivers the highest quality ingredients. You can also ask a Personal Trainer at EōS, about the supplements they would recommend. EōS Fitness offers N2G high-quality supplements, including BCAAs, whey protein, plant protein, and pre-workout supplement blends. These powders can be mixed with water or added to a shake for a muscle-building treat.
7 SUPPLEMENTS FOR GAINING MUSCLE
The lemonade flavor N2G BCAA supplement contains a mineral blend essential for hydration. It also helps to reduce muscle soreness after exercise. If you’re interested in building lean muscle mass and improving both your recovery and protein synthesis, give this a try.
N2G Kre-Alkalyn is a multi-patented pH-corrected creatine monohydrate that remains fully stable so your body assimilates and utilizes it efficiently. This supplement helps you increase your gains without the bloat and increases strength and cellular volume; and for an added kick, it also improves vasodilation for better pumps.
This supplement offers a great-tasting plant-based protein blend for fitness enthusiasts looking to add protein to their diet to aid in muscle recovery.
The blue raspberry N2G Pre-Workout delivers the perfect combination of ingredients to increase energy, improve strength, and increase blood flow while training. As a supplement, it helps decrease muscle fatigue to enhance performance, increase strength and cellular volume, and improve your mental focus and energy.
The N2G Super V&M daily vitamin was formulated to deliver all the key vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle and support a healthy diet and training regimen. Improve your energy, get the nutrients you need, and improve your metabolic processes with a single supplement.
Scientifically formulated with science-backed ingredients, N2G Thermo can help increase energy, burn stored fat, and curb unwanted cravings. Also helps reduce muscle fatigue after working out, improves vasodilation, and increases your mental focus and energy.
With 24g of protein per serving, snickerdoodle N2G Whey Protein is a soy-free supplement that delivers a time-released protein blend that helps you maintain a positive nitrogen balance. Ideal for post-workout to improve your recovery, this supplement is non-GMO and rBGH free! Plus, why protein is one of the best protein supplements for muscle gain.
Do You Need Supplements for muscle growth?
It’s more important to have a high protein intake along with a calorie surplus and a consistent weight training regimen. However, if you find it challenging to meet these nutritional needs through food alone, supplements can be a beneficial addition to help you in these areas, especially for muscle growth.
Is it worth taking supplements for muscle gain?
The short answer is yes, but no matter what your fitness goals are, you’re more likely to succeed by following a structured and consistent workout routine in combination with a well-balanced diet. Supplements are intended to supplement your nutrition plan.
Is protein powder better than protein from food?
While protein powder has more protein per serving than other food, it lacks the nutrients found in the likes of fish, meat, dairy, or whole grain products. Foods with protein also offer vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and carbohydrates that protein powder just doesn’t have.
How much protein powder should I use?
Always follow the serving instructions on the protein powder packaging, but a commonly recommended dosage is 1-2 scoops, which is around 25-50g, per day. Ideally after workouts. It’s also important to remember that if your protein intake is already high, using a protein powder may be unnecessary.
Aren’t workout supplements only for bodybuilders and athletes?
Not at all! Many fitness enthusiasts enjoy the use of supplements and find them helpful in supplementing their nutrition plans to ensure proper workout performance.
What supplements should I take to build muscle?
The most popular supplements that build muscle include whey protein powder, Creatine Monohydrate, Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB), Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), and Beta-Alanine. If you’re looking to build muscle, try any of these to supplement your workout routine and nutrition plan.
START BUILDING MUSCLE AT AN EōS FITNESS NEAR YOU
Eager to elevate your muscle growth with the right supplements? Of course, to build muscles, you need to put in the work! To start your muscle-building journey, join the EōS Fitness family by signing up for a Complimentary 7-Day Pass or finding a gym near you. It’s time to unleash your full potential with the right blend of training, nutrition, and supplements.