Supplements are often overrated and overused.
However, some supplements are proven to be beneficial. The important thing is choosing the right supplement, used correctly, and for the right reasons.
When it comes to building muscle and recovering your muscles, real food is key. Supplements, however, can be the cherry on top of the sundae when all other things are working like clockwork.
In this blog post, I break down 5 supplements that may be able to help you level up your muscle-building potential and aid in some sweet recovery.
Supplements are supplementary!
It is in the name. They are not to be relied on as the primary or sole strategy when it comes to your nutrition and getting the physique results you want.
Whenever we talk supplements, it is important to keep in mind this fact.
As well as keeping in mind that you should always focus on food first and getting your training ducks in order before you even worry about the supplement game.
With all that said, let’s explore some supplements that could pull some weight behind them and provide some help in the right context.
Here are 4 supplements that can be leveraged to help build you some muscle!
If there is one supplement that should always be on the list of muscle building optimisation tools, it is Creatine.
Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most well researched supplements and the research shows that it is works and can help you build muscle.
The way it works is essentially Creatine Monohydrate helps with power output so you can train harder and longer (therefore creating a better muscle stimulus) as well as having some role in helping with speeding up recovery.
While Creatine won’t in of itself build muscle, it will act as a trigger of sorts to help create an environment that is more conducive to muscle gain. It does this by helping you train better, reduce protein breakdown (aka muscle breakdown), and signalling muscle protein building.
This supplement goes without saying. Protein powder is essentially powdered food that is used as a protein source in the diet.
Since protein is crucial for building muscle, it is clear that protein powder is a supplement that can directly be linked to helping promote muscle gain.
You need adequate protein to build muscle, so protein powder can help one achieve adequacy. However, I do always recommend you start with food and then use protein powder as needed/desired.
Beta-Alanine has risen in popularity and has established itself as a worthwhile supplement to consider in the fitness and sporting space.
The way it works is it helps boost Carnosine levels in the muscle which in turns helps regulate acid accumulation (lactic acid) during exercise and in turn helps athletic performance.
By doing it’s role, B-Alanine can help achieve better exercise stimulus levels by increasing time to exhaustion, and improving exercise volume.
Better stimulus = better muscle growth potential. Simples.
Caffeine is not just a wake me up in the morning. In fact, caffeine does not provide energy. It is fundamentally an ergogenic aid.
This means it acts by reducing perception of exertion so will make you feel more awake. In the realm of exercise and muscle building, this means it can help you train harder for longer.
So while not a different nutrient or fuelling pillar, caffeine can help by making you increase the likelihood that you train more effectively.
So there you go!
You now know about 4 supplements that in some way or another, can help you build muscle more effectively.
Or if not directly, at least put you into a position where your nutrition and training can reach the right levels in order to optimise the muscle building process.
However, remember that calories and protein coupled with the right training regimen to initiate the correct stimulus, are the fundamental keys to truly putting on muscle mass. Supplements can’t do anything if your real food nutrition and training is lacking.
Once the fundamental pillars are in place, then you can consider supplements to improve your results further.
Before I leave you….
I have a couple of questions for you.
Do you feel you need expert guidance when it comes to your fuelling, recovery, and nourishment?
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In this program, I'll personally coach you using my flexible nutrition system to help you harness the power of calories and macro strategy to regain your competitive edge - think of it as a bespoke nutrition solution that empowers you to eat better to achieve better.
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Brisbane Sports Dietitian and Nutritionist
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Sports Dietitian & Brisbane Sports Nutritionist. I have 7+ years experience in providing professional nutrition consulting and want to help you learn about the power of flexible nutrition.