What And When To Take Supplements For Muscle Building
Building muscle is not simply a matter of lifting heavy weights or doing physical activity several times a week.
Of course, muscles respond to stimuli. If you get stronger, it follows that your muscles should grow bigger.
But exercise is just one part of the muscle building equation.
If you want to build and maintain muscle, you must adopt a holistic approach that includes nutrition, rest and supplementation.
Of these, supplementation is regarded as the most controversial.
There are many studies that prove supplements work as well as research papers that debunk supplements as a waste of money.
But the fact remains that supplement manufacturing is a billion dollar industry.
In Australia, the supplement industry averages $1.5 Billion in revenues and has a stable annual growth rate of 6.7%.
This supports the contention that majority of Australians believe supplements work.
One of the most popular reasons for gym goers using supplements is to build muscle.
Keep in mind that the main purpose of supplements is to support a health and fitness program.
If you want to build muscle, your health and fitness program should be based on the following principles:
• Higher weight loads in terms of total kilos lifted or volume.
• High calorie count; 30 to 35 calories per kilogram of body weight.
• Macronutrient ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat.
Your nutrition will play a big role in accomplishing your goal of building muscle.
And while whole foods provide natural, organic sources to get your daily macros, supplements are an easier and more convenient way to ensure you stay on the ideal ratios.
There are also supplements that can enhance your performance at the gym which could lead to more strength and ultimately bigger muscles.
Before you start any supplement program, always get medical clearance from your doctor or a licensed health professional.
The Best Bodybuilding Supplements For Building Muscle
This is the mainstay for every muscle building program. Exercise breaks down muscle fibers and you need the amino acids from protein to start the re-building process.
Whey is the fastest acting protein source. Your body will assimilate whey a few minutes after ingesting it.
In addition to amino acids, whey contains important peptides which increase blood flow. And as you know, blood carries vital nutrients to your various organs.
Casein is a slow- burning protein because it carries more milk fat than whey. This makes casein valuable before bedtime because it releases amino acids at a much slower pace than whey.
Studies show that casein can sustain amino acid release within a seven to eight hour window.
Casein also makes you feel full. Thus, it can be an ideal meal replacement drink if you feel hungry during the day.
Supplement users love Creatine because it can result in immediate strength gains shortly after ingestion.
Creatine works by producing adenine tri-phosphate or ATP which acts as a quick energy source for your muscles.
Creatine creates a forceful contraction of muscle fibers which theoretically can help you lift more weight.
But there are people who do not respond to creatine because of the absence of another amino acid, glycocyamine.
Muscles grow when they are at rest and in the process of recovery. BCAA’s or branched chain amino acids refers to leucine, isoleucine and valine; the three most important aminos for recovery.
Leucine is the most important of the three as it can stimulate protein synthesis by itself.
Whey protein contains BCAA’s but not in enough quantities or specific doses to stimulate recovery as effectively as a BCAA supplement.
This is an amino acid that when combined with histidine produces carnosine which can improve strength and endurance.
Beta alanine has been shown by studies to have the ability to generate greater muscle contractions and stave off muscle fatigue.
The best known trademark of beta alanine is the tingling sensation you get almost immediately after taking it.
This is a molecule which has been found to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the muscle.
Increased blood flow means more efficient delivery of nutrients, oxygen and water resulting in more energy during workouts.
People who have taken nitric oxide also report greater focus during training.
Many people are deficient in zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6.
These are the primary components of ZMA which work to maintain hormone levels and provide restful sleep.
People who have taken ZMA claim the supplement can induce uninterrupted deep sleep which is crucial for recovery.
Although more popularly known as a fat burner, recent studies have shown carnitine can increase nitric oxide production and testosterone levels.
Having these two benefits along with its fat burning properties means carnitine may help you build quality muscle.
Should you use all of these at one time? Unless your profession requires it and you have the financial resources to support an extensive supplement program, the answer is “no”.
Some of these supplements have similar functions. For example, BCAA’s and ZMA are used for recovery.
Casein protein has its greatest value at night because it sustains the release of amino acids over a seven to eight hour time period.
But you can delay the absorption of whey protein for up to three hours by simply adding a fat source such as natural peanut butter or ground flaxseed.
You can get good results with a basic stack of whey protein, creatine and BCAA’s.
If you’re a creatine non-responder, you can switch to beta alanine or a nitric oxide supplement.
Keep in mind there are nitric oxide supplements that contain beta alanine.
The key to getting the most of supplements is knowing when to take them.
Here is a standard guideline on the best times of the day to take your bodybuilding supplements:
Upon Waking: Whey Protein
Before Exercise: Beta Alanine, Nitric Oxide, Carnitine
After Exercise: Whey Protein, Creatine, BCAA’s
Before Bedtime: Casein Protein, ZMA
Finally, read the supplement labels carefully and follow directions to the letter. Do not take more than the recommended dosage.
As a matter of fact, it would be advisable to take less than the minimum dosage to assess your tolerance.