Best Supplements for Building Lean Muscle
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Do you work out on a regular basis?
If so, it can be frustrating to put in the effort and still not see the results you want. If you’re looking to gain lean muscle, you might think that the answer is simply spending more time in the weight room.
However, did you know that adding more weight to the machine isn’t always the answer? Your body might need a little boost to get it where it needs to be. With the best supplements, you can supercharge your time at the gym and see the change you deserve.
What should you be taking and how can you find it? Today, we’re sharing all of the answers that you need to know.
What Your Body Needs to Make Lean Muscle
You already know that exercise delivers a host of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. When you break a sweat, you gain muscle and keep your body strong.
When you have an adequate amount of muscle, you can reach peak performance during your workouts. Plus, the quality of your everyday life improves as you become stronger. However, you may not know how to build on the muscle you already have.
How can you bulk up and feel your best?
The answer isn’t overly complicated. In general, there are three main elements that your body needs to produce more muscle. To get there, you’ll need to:
- Eat more calories than you burn
- Consume more protein than your body can break down
- Find an exercise regimen that challenges and engages your muscles
Sounds simple, right? While it can be for some people, others may find that they need a little support to reach their goals. This is where supplements come in.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the best supplements on the market, designed to help you reach your muscle-building potential as quickly and safely as possible.
The Best Supplements For Lean Muscle Growth
When you start diving into the world of weight gainers and workout supplements, you may find that the array of options is a little dizzying. What should you try first and how does it work?
To make things as easy as possible, we’ll keep this list to the best of the best. Let’s take a look at five of the best supplements to implement into your workout regimen.
While it’s most commonly referred to in its supplement form, did you know that your body actually produces creatine on its own? This molecule is essential providing your muscles and body tissues with the energy they need.
When you want to see more lean muscle mass, it’s usually smart to add more creatine into your daily diet. When you do so, you’ll deliver more nutrients and energy to your muscle cells, which can help you work out at top capacity. In turn, both actions help promote muscle gain.
Whether you’re working on your upper body or gearing up for leg day, creatine is a great supplement to reach for. In fact, researchers have found a direct correlation between creatine consumption and upper/lower limb strength performance.
In addition to stimulating your muscle cells, creatine also increases their water content. This can create a slight amount of inflammation, which also signals your muscles to grow. One of the most-studied and universally respected supplements on the market, creatine is a great place to start when you want to improve your workout performance.
2. Weight Gainers
If you find it difficult to grow and maintain new muscle, then weight gainer supplements can prove useful. With these, you don’t have to consume a ton of calories and spend an exorbitant amount of time at the gym just to bulk up.
As there are many different types of weight gainers on the market, it’s important to do your due diligence when comparing brands.
Be sure to check out the calories that each one contains and make sure it’s appropriate for your use. Some can contain more than 1,000 calories per serving! While some of those calories come from protein, a greater number will usually come from carbs.
For this reason, it isn’t usually as easy as taking a weight gainer and seeing results. If you’re already weight-training, you might not notice much of a difference simply by adding a weight gainer shake to your routine. However, if you find it difficult to consume enough calories to meet your daily intake needs, then these could be a smart option to try.
3. Protein Supplements
You can’t make muscle without protein, period. Knowing this, many people turn to protein supplements to help increase the level of this nutrient in their bodies.
This can help, as we’ve already mentioned that gaining muscle requires consuming more protein than your body can naturally break down. However, research shows that 46% of U.S. adults age 50 and above do not consume enough protein on a daily basis.
Ideally, you could turn to protein-rich foods to fill this demand. However, that’s often easier said than done. Many people find it difficult to meet their recommended daily intake, but protein supplements can help.
Where does the protein in these supplements come from? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but a few of the most common sources include:
- Soy protein
- Protein isolated from natural sources (eggs, chicken, beef)
Of these, whey protein powder is typically the most common and most effective. A milk protein with significant quantities of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), whey works overtime to catalyze protein synthesis in your body. It also contains peptides, which are small proteins that help increase blood flow to your muscles.
If supplemental peptides are something you’re interested in pursuing, then you can check out this extensive collection.
Naturally, the people who will notice the effects of a protein supplement the most are those who are already deficient in it. If your diet already contains ample amounts of the nutrient, then you might not notice as much of a difference in your performance or appearance.
As always, it’s important to take this supplement in addition to working out, rather than in lieu of it. Researchers explain that combining this step with a strong resistance-training program can help you change your body composition quicker.
4. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain acids are critical for muscle tissue repair and rebuilding. When we refer to BCAAs, we’re really talking about these three essential amino acids:
While Leucine can stimulate protein synthesis on its own, these nutrients are the most powerful when they work in conjunction with one another. For the most part, your body obtains BCAAs from the protein found in food. Key sources include dairy products, meat, and legumes.
However, supplemental BCAAs can deliver a wide range of benefits that can help you build lean muscle mass, among other results. These include:
- More energy and concentration during workouts
- Decreased or delayed-onset muscle soreness
- Blunting of cortisol, which breaks down muscle and inhibits testosterone production
You can add BCAAs into your food or take them as pre-workout or post-workout shake. As you browse the options, look for ones that contain a larger quantity of leucine than the other two amino acids. Specially, a 2:1 dosage ratio is preferred.
Put simply beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid. Your body uses it to push through difficult workouts and resist fatigue. Internally, it combines with another amino acid, called histidine.
Together, they form a molecule called carnosine. The greater the amount of carnosine in your muscles, the more powerful they can grow. This is because carnosine helps the fibers in your muscles contract more forcefully, and sustain this movement without becoming fatigued.
When taken in conjunction with an established exercise program, beta-alanine can help increase your lean muscle mass.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one great regimen that pairs well with beta-alanine. Studies show that continuous supplementation may improve the overall effects of HIIT, which can increase your muscle mass and build your endurance. In addition, certain gym-goers may find that they see more results when they take beta-alanine alongside creatine, rather than taking the two supplements individually.
Find the Best Supplements Today
If you’re going to take the time to focus on building lean muscle mass, then you deserve to get the most out of every workout. While you may be able to see some results by simply eating more protein and pushing a little harder at the gym, this isn’t always the case.
When you want to expedite your progress, it pays to research the best supplements available. While the list above isn’t exhaustive, it can help set you on the right path.
For more health and fitness news, be sure to check out the rest of our posts, like this one on the 10 benefits of strength training for women!