If you’re spending hundreds of dollars on supplements every month and still not seeing the results you want to see, then you might just want to read this article. Truth is, the vast majority of “muscle building supplements” do nearly nothing when it comes down to muscle growth.
Although there are supplements that can help you achieve your ideal physique, none of them are absolutely necessary, but as a natural weightlifter, every little bit helps, because these little advantages all add up to something more significant. If you want to look at some studies showing their effects, they are linked down below.
While a majority of workout supplements are ineffective (most are underdosed or don’t have the research to back them up), there are some out there worth taking. Here’s a list of the top supplements you should be taking.
Creatine is probably one of the best workout supplements you can take. There are rumours going around that creatine is bad for your kidneys, but don’t worry, this claim has been disproven. Creatine has lots of research behind it and has been shown to increase muscular strength and endurance, and it can even reduce post-workout soreness. No need for the loading phase either, just take a steady 5g per day and you’ll be all set.
Whey Protein Powder
Now, it’s usually best to get the majority of your protein from food, but having protein powder has plenty of benefits. For one, it’s extremely convenient (just put it in a shaker and go), and it’s also very cost effective (most are less than 1 dollar per scoop, but some go a bit higher). Also, whey protein is a great form of pre and post workout protein, due to its rapid digestion which will elevate your protein synthesis levels during your workout. In addition, whey is a good source of leucine, which directly stimulates protein synthesis. It’s generally a good idea to find a whey protein with added leucine, and Whey Protein Isolate is generally the best among hydrolysate and whey concentrate. You don’t need protein powder, but it makes it easier to hit your daily protein requirements.
Casein Protein Powder
As mentioned before, you don’t absolutely need protein powder… but it can make it easier to hit your daily requirements. Casein protein is a form of dairy protein and is much slower digesting, making it ideal for a nighttime snack to feed those muscles all night long. Casein can also help with muscle recovery if taken before bed.
BCAAs are probably the most overhyped supplement out there. As long as you are eating enough protein every day, there is no reason to buy BCAAs. However, they are useful for one thing: fasted training. Fasted training can speed up fat loss, due to lower insulin levels, but can also cause you to lose more muscle. BCAAs counteract this and help with muscle preservation. If your primary goal is fat loss, take 5 to 10g of BCAAs before your morning workout.
This one is kind of self-explanatory. Caffeine can help you lose fat by ramping up your daily energy expenditure (burning more calories). Caffeine has also shown to increase muscular strength when taken before a workout. Myprotein has an excellent pre-workout that provides 400mg caffeine per two scoops. If you want to go the natural way, drink some black coffee (which has lots of health benefits).
Fish Oil and Spirulina
Okay, so technically these last two aren’t huge for muscle building, but they are extremely important for joint health. If you want to be lifting as long as possible, it’s generally smart to invest in some joint supplements to keep your body as healthy and limber as possible. These two are my favorite, Fish Oil and Spirulina. Both have anti-inflammatory effects and can help keep your joints healthy and fresh.
The Takeaway on Supplements That Actually Work
If you want to maximize your results and not spend hundreds of dollars on worthless supplements each month, then give some of these a shot. Not only will you build more muscle, but you can also use the extra money that you saved on things that you love. Stay safe, and get strong.