There’s a wide variety of methods to increase muscle mass, some of which are better than others. One of the best ways is to eat a nutritionally rich functional food diet and lift some weights. On paper, this strategy seems easy enough, but the reality can be a lot different.
Here at SupplementDemand, we understand life can sometimes get in the way of gains. It happens to us all. So, to truly optimize peak muscle growth rates, you’re gonna need some help.
This is where supplements come in clutch.
On that note, we realize a majority of you don’t have limitless budgets for monthly stacks, which is why we link to our top 10 supplement rankings. There you’ll find up to date information on the best available supplements that are safe, pure, and cost-effective. Let’s get into it!
4 Best Supplements for Muscle Gain
Whey Protein Powder
To us, protein is arguably one of the most important supplements to have in a stack. Everyone- and we mean everyone– needs protein. After all, we’re beings quite literally made of the stuff.
You can look virtually everywhere in the body and find protein. It’s responsible for the growth and maintenance of all cells and tissue including muscles, skin, organs, eyes, and the brain .
While there’s a wide range of different proteins to choose from, Whey is our favorite (and the most popular) due to its naturally high levels of complete, fast-digesting amino acids.
Getting enough protein is vital- especially for athletes.
For the majority of (sedentary) people, this isn’t an issue. But, if you’re looking to gain muscle, your body will have to use much more protein, thus increasing the physiological need for more.
Here’s the best way to quickly increase protein intake.
Short answer: Supplement! It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, poor intake doesn’t discriminate- we’re all equally susceptible if we’re not careful enough. That said, we’ll always recommend first switching up dietary habits and opting for more protein-rich whole foods. But, if dietary intake isn’t enough, check out these 10 delicious whey protein powder supplements.
However, if you want something plant-based, you’ll like these 10 vegan protein supplements.
Creatine, the ultimate muscle aid
There are four main types of creatine: Monohydrate, Malate, a-ketoglutarate, and ethyl-ester. Creatine is, in a nutshell, a type of ‘fuel’ your muscles employ for sustained heavy power. The more phosphocreatine you have loaded in your muscles, the more you can lift before fatigue.
An easy way to think of it is like fuel in a car tank. The more fuel (phosphocreatine) you have in your vehicle’s tank (muscles), the farther your vehicle can travel (exercise) before exhaustion.
Basically, creatine is to lifters as spinach is to Popeye.
Moreover, creatine is the world’s most used supplement to build lean muscle mass. This should come as no surprise considering anyone can take it and benefit regardless of their fitness level. Oh, and did we mention that it’s incredibly cheap to produce high-quality creatine supplements?
Bonus points for the wallet!
What’s more, creatine has been found to increase certain growth factors in the body. The most notable of which is IGF-1, which is vital for proper muscle growth and strength development .
So, what’s the best creatine supplement?
Choosing the right creatine powder can be tricky. That said, we’ve personally tested countless brands and strongly suggest these 10 creatine powder supplements– and with good reason.
BCAAs, or Branched-chain amino acids, are made up of the three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids, in particular, can help improve athletic performance.
Of the bunch, leucine is generally considered the most important.
Like other amino acids, they’re the building blocks of protein. However, these three stand out because they help preserve muscle glycogen and minimize protein breakdown during exercise.
In short, they help you get more from your training.
In addition to its many performance-enhancing benefits, BCAAs have been found to decrease muscle soreness, too . This means longer, harder, and more frequent training sessions.
Supplements with the proper ratio of 2:1:1 leucine, iso-l, and valine are the best. Relative to the others, Leucine is doubled because it’s been seen to trigger muscle-protein synthesis by itself . But, when taken in conjunction with the others, its many benefits become unparalleled.
There’s only one way to get more BCAAs.
The best (and only possible way) to get more BCAAs is to consume them. The most natural approach is to get them from whole foods, like grains, nuts, meats, veggies, and other basic foodstuffs. The second, more popular option (especially in athletes) is to use a supplement.
Thing is, many BCAAs are derived from human hair and duck feathers, so getting the right powder is key. Because of this, we’ve ranked the 10 best BCAA supplements currently available.
Also referred to as ‘PWOs’, these specialty supplements are designed to provide a number of workout enhancing benefits. Some of these can be increased energy, strength, and endurance.
Generally speaking, most pre-workout supplements have varied formulas and dosages when compared to each other. Although, there are some exceptions. Two popular ingredients found in most pwo’s are caffeine for energy and focus and beta-alanine for exercise capacity [8, 9].
Essentially, taking a pre-workout can help push you farther.
Moreover, pre-workouts can help out with more than physical performance. Since proper mental concentration is equally as important as physical preparedness, most pre-workouts include one or more ingredients that help improve neural cognition and sharpen focus for optimal results.
That said, not all pre-workouts are created equally.
Unfortunately, many brands often underdose the ingredients in their supplement. This makes it difficult for consumers to know if what they’re getting is at clinically proven effective dosages.
To counter this, we’ve ranked what our 10 favorite pre-workout supplements currently available.
The Bottom Line on Muscle Gaining Supplements
In the end, how much lean muscle you gain ultimately boils down to your dedication. While supplements can help positively turn the tide of exercise-induced gains, factors like diet, personal habits, and other circumstantial factors are equally as impactful on your progress.
With that in mind, we do our best to consistently filter out sub-par supplements and provide you with the critical information and supplements you need to achieve noticeable results.
If you have any questions or thoughts, be sure to leave them down below!