Supplements For Muscle Mass

In order to grow muscle, you need to work hard and push your body to the limit. Your muscles need to be working on levels they have never experienced. The best way to build muscle is to creating a challenging stimulus. This tends to be lifting heavy weights as they activate muscles effectively. This causes muscles to break down, repair and grow.

If you are comfortable during your training, you will not improve fitness or strength, making it important to increase the demand on your body. But with this added demand comes the need for recovery from the correct foods and supplements.


Creatine produces naturally within the muscle cells and is one of the main sources of energy. It has been a popular supplement for over 20 years now and has gone through a number of studies to prove its effectiveness. You can find creatine in a number of forms, such as creatine monohydrate, but the research has shown that this is the most effective form of creatine. As an added bonus, it’s also the cheapest form.

Some of the benefits of taking creatine supplements include:

• Increased muscle strength
• Increased muscle mass
 Improved blood flow
 Decreased muscle soreness

The best way to use creatine supplements is through ‘loading’. This means taking around 25g for five days before taking a lower, steadier amount. There is also the option of taking 5g a day but it’ll take longer to get to the optimal level. However, you must be taking creatine every day to get the benefits.


Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are three individual amino acids, namely leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are naturally found in many protein sources, including meat, fish and eggs. Each amino acid plays a different role. Leucine activates the enzyme responsible for muscle cell growth, known as the mammalian target of rapamycin, ie mTOR.

Isoleucine also stimulates mTOR but not quite on the same level as leucine. Isoleucine also improves glucose metabolism and uptake in the muscle cells. Valine is important for the cognitive function and the nervous system.

BCAAs are very important for the production of lean muscle mass. In fact, they make up for nearly 15% of the entire number of amino acids in the body. It’s likely you will be getting BCAAs from most food sources but you may wish to supplement them to top up.

Here are the muscle building benefits of BCAAs:

• Improved muscle growth
 Decreased muscle soreness after the workout
 Reduced fatigue from exercise

Add BCAAs to your pre and post workout shakes. Include between 5-10 grams per serving.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is a naturally occurring source of protein from cow’s milk that provides the body with the vital amino acids to speed up the anabolic recovery process. According to Ghost Fitness experts,  strength gains don’t happen during your workout but rather during recovery.

Most people take whey protein after a workout. This is because it is easily absorbed during digestion and used to repair muscles quickly. However, there have been studies to show that taking whey protein before a workout can be just as effective.

The benefits of whey protein supplements are:

• Increased muscle mass
 Lots of leucine compared to most other supplements
 Improved control of appetite
 Fast digestion and easily absorbed

You should take between 20-30 grams of whey protein in each protein shake before or immediately after a workout. Combine it with milk for added nutrients and a better taste.

One thing to note about whey protein shakes: do not use them as replacement meals. Most of your protein intake must come from food.


It’s important to include beta-alanine (BA) as part of your supplement regime because, during high-intensity exercise, the body creates hydrogen ions, causing the pH of the blood to change. As blood becomes more acidic, they are less able to carry oxygen around, leading to increased fatigue and decreased muscle performance.

BA delays the build-up of these hydrogen ions, allowing for prolonged muscle performance. Some other benefits of BA supplements are:

• Improved training volume
 Increased muscle mass
 Better power generated during a workout
 Increased effectiveness of creatine

You should be looking to take between 4-6 grams of BA every day. However, don’t take it all in one dose as this will cause an unusual skin-tingling feeling. Spread the dose throughout the day.

As a side note, BA also stimulates increased production of carnosine in the body. Carnosine is responsible for fighting against illness and disease, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.


Beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate (HMB) is a naturally produced molecule when the body creates leucine amino acids.

HMB also has no effect on insulin levels, meaning that you will remain into a fully fasted state so during recovery.

The added benefits of taking HMB supplements are:

• Active role in protein synthesis for improved muscle mass
• Anti-catabolic for reduced muscle break down
• Allows for training at a higher intensity for longer

HMB is best for new trainers who are looking to increase their intensity. Studies have shown that the optimal amount of HMB require is around 3-6 grams a day.


In addition to the supplements listed above, it’s important to discuss the role carbohydrates play in the muscle building cycle. Supplementing with carbohydrates can increase the effectiveness of absorption, getting the nutrients into the body.

To improve muscle mass, you need to create a calorie surplus. This is particularly effective for hard gainers as they act as a quick and easy way to increase the number of calories consumed without needing to eat so much food.

Carbohydrates work well as part of a post-workout protein shake. One of the best carbohydrates to use is dextrose because the body doesn’t need to be digested – it can be absorbed straight into the bloodstream.

As soon as it’s ingested, it gets sent to your fatigued muscles as fast as possible. This will replenish glycogen levels quickly, maximising muscle mass.

Bonus: Caffeine

Caffeine works well as a pre-workout supplement. Not only does it get you ready and energised for a workout, but it also helps prevent soreness after the workout.
The boost in energy will help you bring more intensity to your workout, allowing you to build muscle rather than maintain it.

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