5 minutes spent online on almost health and fitness website will have you overwhelmed with enticing ads telling you that they have found a “dirty little trick” to building lean muscle. Controversial steroid alternatives, celebrity secrets, and newly discovered supplements all bombard us and claim to be able to give us real and drastic results, but what is the truth? There are a small handful of supplements that have been supported heavily by research over time, and these are present in almost all “muscle building” formulas to some extent. Cut out the middleman and go directly to the source, learn what really works.
1). Whey Protein- Whey is basically the major supplement used for almost all athletes and bodybuilders. Whey protein is heavily used, heavily supported, safe (except for some mercury contamination in certain brands), and its highly effective. It helps muscles repair and grow, provide calories, encourages muscle building and fat loss, and can even boost the immune system. If you are working out, you should be drinking a whey protein shake right after your workout. Look to get 20-40 grams of protein per serving within 30 minutes of your workout.
2). Glutamine- Glutamine is an amino acid that is present in its largest amounts within your muscles themselves. Many studies have shown that glutamine can help prevent muscle breakdown and speed recovery after workouts. Glutamine is also very good for the immune system and is used heavily by the digestive tract in its own lining. Glutamine should be taken before or after workouts in doses of anywhere between 3-10 grams.
3). Creatine- Creatine is a highly effective, highly studied, and highly utilized supplement for building muscle or strength. There are many different forms of creatine, the most heavily studied and heavily used form is creatine monohydrate. Creatine can allow you to make powerful increases in your strength and endurance, will allow you to maintain muscle mass while losing fat, can help increase fat loss, and can speed recovery. There are some minor side effects of creatine, but it is considered safe within the recommended doses, and it is also a natural compound found in the body. If you are interested in creatine you should check the specific dosing instructions on the label of your package.
4). Arginine- Arginine is precursor to nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide). Nitric oxide is a powerful compound in the body that causes smooth muscle relaxation. Smooth muscle is a type of muscle that is present in the arteries, and nitric acid allows blood vessels to dilate and contract to regulate blood flow to the tissues. Arginine teams up with nitric oxide synthase to increase blood flow to muscles, which can translate into: increased endurance, increased strength and recovery, and increased lactic threshold. Arginine can be purchased in many different forms and doses are around 9 grams per day, in divided doses three times daily taken on an empty stomach.
Taking these four supplements along with a healthy diet, weight lifting, and a caloric excess will ensure that you are able to gain muscle and mass. As with any supplements I ever recommend, supplements are not meant to take the place of diet and exercise, they are meant to “supplement” what you are already doing to build muscle. You can’t take these supplements every day and work out once per week and expect to grow huge rock solid muscles, you must first aim to lift weights, eat healthy foods, take in a lot of calories, and do it all almost every day, only after you have these things in place will you truly be able to build lean muscle mass and get the body of your dreams.