Supplementation may be the answer to breaking through that barrier if you’ve hit a wall with your muscle-building efforts. But which supplements are best for promoting muscle gain?
There are hundreds of different accessories on the market, and it can be challenging to determine which ones are effective at promoting muscle growth and which ones you should avoid.
For example, some supplements have been found to have anabolic (protein-like) effects in rats or mice by increasing nitrogen retention and protein synthesis. However, there is little evidence that those results apply to humans who respond differently physiologically than rodents. The following list contains the most valuable supplements for promoting muscle growth:
Although creatine is not a steroidal muscle builder, it is the most effective supplement for increasing muscle mass and strength. Several studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase muscle mass by 2-5 pounds for every 100 pounds of body weight in weeks.
The reason for creatine’s muscle-building effects is not entirely understood, but researchers theorize that creatine’s ability to increase muscle protein synthesis is the leading cause of these effects. Researchers have also noted that creatine may have a myotropic (stimulating the brain) product that can improve memory and cognition and promote muscle growth.
For best results, you should consume a loading dose of creatine monohydrate (20 grams per day) for one week, followed by a maintenance dose of 3-5 grams daily. For best results, combine creatine with whey protein and carbohydrates during and after your workout.
Casein is a slower-digesting protein that is less efficient for promoting muscle growth than whey protein. However, casein is an excellent supplement to consume before sleep as it can release amino acids over a long period. This can prevent you from experiencing intense hunger or cravings during the night and support muscle growth by providing amino acids.
A study in young adults showed that consuming casein protein before sleep increased muscle growth over eight days of resistance training compared to consuming whey protein. Furthermore, consuming casein before bed was more likely to improve sleep duration and quality.
With high-intensity bursts of activity interspersed with intervals of low-intensity movement or rest, this type of exercise is known as high-intensity interval training. Interval training is generally more efficient than traditional forms of exercise, like aerobic workouts, since you can get the same health benefits in less time.
While HIIT can benefit general health, it has also increased muscle protein synthesis and improved muscle growth compared to steady-state aerobic exercise. Interval training is the way to go if you’re looking for a quick and efficient way to gain muscle.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs account for about 35% of muscle protein. BCAAs have been found to reduce muscle breakdown, improve muscle protein synthesis, and prevent fatigue caused by exercise.
BCAAs are especially important for heavy activity, resistance training, or high-intensity aerobic workouts. BCAA supplements contain all three amino acids and promote muscle growth by preventing muscle breakdown and supporting protein synthesis.
BCAAs are naturally found in foods such as eggs, dairy, and legumes, but most people need more through their diet. BCAA supplements are an excellent way to ensure that you consume enough BCAAs to support muscle growth.
Beef protein (derived from hydrolyzed beef) is one of the most effective supplements for promoting muscle growth. A study in young adults found that consuming a hydrolyzed beef protein supplement for 12 weeks significantly increased muscle growth compared to drinking a whey protein supplement.
The hydrolyzed beef protein supplement was also more effective at increasing muscle strength. Another study found that consuming a hydrolyzed beef protein supplement for 12 weeks significantly increased muscle growth in elderly participants compared to drinking a whey protein supplement.
Unlike anabolic steroids, which increase muscle growth through various mechanisms, fat burners only have one minor mechanism of action: stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases hormones that mobilize stored energy, such as the breakdown of fat, for use.
Fat burners increase catecholamine release, which releases hormones responsible for that mobilization process. Catecholamine release can occur naturally through exercise, but fat burners can help initiate that process even if you aren’t working out. However, fat burners aren’t as effective at promoting muscle growth as other supplements on this list.
One review found that consuming a combination of BCAAs, whey protein, and caffeine (all effective muscle growth supplements) was more effective for increasing muscle and strength than consuming caffeine alone. A good fat burner can support muscle gain by reducing the amount of fat in your body, which can lead to excellent muscle definition. However, fat burners do not have a significant effect on muscle growth.
Remember that diet is the #1 thing you can do to burn fat. A nutrition plan based around whole foods high in protein and low in carbs is the best way to maximize your muscle growth while also burning fat.
The most effective ways to promote muscle growth are consuming a protein-rich diet, engaging in resistance training, and consuming supplements that support muscle growth. For best results, down 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per day for each pound of your body weight. Engage in resistance training at least 2-3 times per week. And lastly, consume BCAAs, whey protein, and a hydrolyzed beef protein supplement before and after working out.