When you want to get the most out of your workout you need supplementation. It takes your workout and elevates it to the next level. For some, this isn’t a priority.
They go to the gym, get their workout in and go home. It’s about staying fit and keeping the body feeling great. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s important to know what your goals are when going to the gym.
As is the case with work, relationships and really everything else in life, what are your goals when going to the gym?
Do you want to get stronger?
Do you want to eventually compete professionally?
There is no such thing as a bad goal at the gym and there’s no such thing as something that’s too outlandish.
Even if you’re a skinny guy who wants to pack on weight and eventually compete, it’s a goal worth shooting for.
If you are interested in packing on muscle to become a bodybuilder, or at the very least just to put on muscle, there are supplements you need to consider.
Now, when you go to the supplements section of your local grocery store or fitness center, you’ll find all sorts of options.
But what is best for you?
As you’re looking to build muscle, there are some better than others. In fact, we’ve got the ultimate list for you right here. So make sure to stock up on all the best bodybuilding supplements.
The Best Bodybuilding Supplements
By far the best supplement. If there’s one item you take off the list it’s protein powder.
Because let’s face it, unless you’re chowing down on full chickens every single meal, chances are you’re not eating the kind of protein you need to put on muscle.
Protein powder not only makes this easier but it is one of the best calories to a gram of protein ratio you’re going to find.
You can easily find powders that give you around 30 grams of protein for 200 calories.
If you were to try and grab a 30-gram protein bar at the grocery store before heading to the gym you’d likely end up with double the calories.
Plus, here’s a little secret you can use with your protein powder to make it even more versatile.
Take a scoop and add just a small amount of water. Mix it up so it’s thick, like a peanut butter. You can now spread it over toast for a quick, energy filled sandwich.
Instead of a peanut butter sandwich, which likely contains 150-200 calories for the bread and another 200-300 calories for the peanut butter, you have a sandwich that drops the calories down to about 50 for the protein powder, saving you a full 100 to 150 calories per sandwich (not to mention it’s a cheap alternative with more protein).
There are a number of protein powders out there. You go to the grocery store and you’ll see dozens of brands. Much of what you’ll see is whey protein, but you’ll also see egg protein, soy protein, protein from peas, and all sorts of other options.
Which protein is right for you?
Well, if you have any kind of dietary restrictions make sure to go with whatever protein fits into your diet. Beyond this, though it is generally best to go with whey protein.
In terms of price point, whey protein is far less than the other options. It is also known as a complete protein. This means it has all the desirable amino acids found within the protein.
Most complete protein amino acids are found in muscle mass, or in other words, meats.
Plant-based proteins, such as soy and pea proteins, do not have the complete complex. Very few plants have the complete complex makeup (quinoa does, which is why it has become such a popular ingredient in diets as of late).
Plus, whey protein is easy on the stomach and is easy to digest, so you can have a scoop of protein powder before bed, which is highly recommended as it gives your body something to work with when rebuilding your muscles.
You need creatine in your body if you’re going to get bigger. You see, your body produces creatine naturally. It’s what your muscles use as quick twitch energy.
Quick twitch muscle fibers are used for explosive moves, such as jump shots in basketball, sprinting to steal second base in baseball, and exploding up with your lift in weightlifting. However, your body will burn through creatine quickly, especially over the course of a workout.
With creatine powder, you give your muscles extra energy.
This way, you’ll have more quick twitch muscle energy for lifting, which allows you to squeeze out more reps per set. It is with these sets that you’ll see the most improvements in strength and size.
There are plenty of creatine options out there. Our recommendation is to go with something that’s flavor free. This makes it so much easier to mix it in with your protein powders or other supplements.
BCAA Post Workout Supplement
Branch-Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, are critical to maximizing your efforts at the gym.
During a workout, you’ll tear your muscle fibers. When you tear your muscle fibers the body moves in to repair it. Your blood transports vital nutrients dedicated to repairing your muscle fibers. This includes the protein.
The protein is put to use during the repair, but there are times it isn’t the most efficient method of repairing. Some of the protein is not diverted to the muscles, or it is used up during non-repair activities in the body.
Due to this, your muscles may not receive anything you’re attempting to send its way.
Of course, you can’t just constantly increase the amount of protein you take in as this boosts the calories your consuming. It also puts extra strain on the kidneys to process the added protein, neither of which is desirable.
This is where the BCAAs come in.
BCAAs help your body absorb the protein and improve its utilization of it. This way, more protein is directed to the areas in need. This reduces the wasted protein and helps boost your body’s muscle recover.
Thanks to the BCAAs, you’ll see larger gains in terms of size .
This is a sneaky good addition to your best bodybuilding supplements. You may take it to improve circulation or for heart health.
All of that is good, and the improved circulation helps send more blood to your damaged muscles, allowing the protein to be better directed to the damaged muscles.
However, beyond all of this, the top benefit of including fish oil in your daily regimen is because of its impact on muscle inflammation.
Fish oil helps reduce muscle inflammation. This is how long your muscles remain damaged.
Yes, you want to tear down your muscles in order to build it back up. However, you don’t want the muscles to remain damaged for long periods of time. This reduces future gains.
If you’re lifting, for example, one muscle group per day, you’ll find that even though you’re targeting your chest, you’re still touching on your back and your biceps. If you’ve already worked these other areas the muscles will be in repair mode.
However, if you keep hitting your damaged muscles while working other groups of muscles you’ll prevent the body from fully repairing these damaged muscles (basically you’ll keep tearing down your chest muscles when you move to biceps, back or shoulders, preventing your chest from fully recovering).
With fish oil, you help cut down inflammation and improve recovery time.
By improving recovery time you help prevent the constant tear down of muscles you’re trying to recover.
Glutamine is an amino acid. You may find it in your BCAA supplement, but chances are it’s just a small amount.
The supplement itself, much like creatine, is something your body naturally produces. Your body uses it to help maintain muscle mass, especially during stress workouts.
However, if you’re lifting every day and even sprinkling in some cardio you’re going to use the body’s natural storage of this up quickly. When this happens your body may begin to break down some of the muscle mass.
Now, there are several different muscle breakdowns you need to know about.
First, there is what happens when you lift.
Your body’s muscle tissue tears, which is natural. You damaged your muscle fibers and now the incoming protein and other supplements will help repair and rebuild. That is good.
However, your body may begin to break down muscle fiber to use as energy. This is not good. You don’t want your body converting muscle mass to energy.
Your goal is to increase muscle size and definition, now see it consumed and melted down.
To help prevent your body from consuming the muscle mass for energy, you need to bump up your glutamine amino acid.
With this supplement, you’ll safeguard your muscles. This way, you maintain what you already have and then build on it as you continue to work out and increase your protein and supplement intake.
Glutamine is found in natural foods you may eat throughout the day. The major problem though is you probably don’t eat much of what it is found in. It comes in beans, nuts, and fish.
Many of these items are fatty foods (even if it’s considered healthy fat, you can still over consume these “healthy” fats).
You don’t want to start chowing down on pound after pound of nuts and beans, which leads to unnecessary calorie intakes. That’s why the glutamine supplement is a must.
Beta aline can be grouped with glutamine and creatine. It’s something your body creates naturally, but for a heavy lifter such as yourself, it just doesn’t have enough in it.
Your body produces beta alanine (another amino acid) to help prevent muscle fatigue.
Muscle fatigue is the point of which your muscles begin to fail and break down (whereas creatine is the energy used by these muscles and glutamine is used to maintain muscle size).
As you work out your body will begin to break down the muscles and you’ll begin to feel fatigued.
Once your body’s muscle tissue begins to break down you will see a downtick in the kind of lifting you’re able to accomplish throughout the rest of the day.
By increasing the level of beta-alanine found in your body you’ll be able to pump out more reps and avoid muscle fatigue.
It’s basically the yin to creatine’s yang. Put these together and you have fortified muscles that will be able to get through just about any workout.
When shopping around for these different supplements, try to find flavorless supplements whenever possible. You don’t really want to be mixing fruit punch with cookies and cream and lemonade flavors, all in the same mixer. That’s a taste profile your tongue probably will not enjoy. It’s alright if there’s one flavor you can mix with.
At the very least, if the supplements are powders and going to be flavored, try your best to match similar flavors so at least it’s drinkable.
There are all sorts of supplements out there. However, the right supplements for you heavily depend on your desired goals.
Each of the supplements listed here is designed to help your body improve in different areas. Some are capable of boosting your body’s energy level.
Other supplements assist your body in using protein, and of course, protein will help your muscles grow larger, to begin with.
All of this is helpful when it comes to improving your bodybuilding physique. So whether you’ve already been spending time at the gym or you’re only now beginning to get back into the swing of things, make sure to grab these different supplements to add to your daily regimen.