Winter Mass Part 3 is here and your go to supplements are revealed. With these in your diet, you’re going to build your best body ever!
As with the training and nutrition, it’s important to focus on your specific goal and narrow down your choices. Make sure you use mass gaining supplements when on a mass gaining training plan. You don’t want to use fat loss supplements. If your goal is to gain muscle, then, of course, you’ll be on a diet and training plan designed to enhance your strength and put on more weight. Choose supplements that are suited to that target. It’s surprising how many people are actually using fat loss supplements when on a mass gaining program!
Choose The Right Supplement
Fat loss supplements work well on a fat loss training plan and diet. On a mass gain plan, you’ll rarely lose any fat. That’s not the goal. Mass gain diets require higher calories. Fat loss plans call for lower calories. You won’t gain much weight on a low-calorie diet, and you won’t lose much fat on a high-calorie diet. It’s as simple as that! Many think that by simply buying supplements they’ll achieve a perfectly sculpted body as if by magic. Sorry, but this is not the case. You must weight train! Remember, supplements alone won’t give you the desired effect. You can’t buy a good body. It has to be earned! Many old-school trainers and nutritionists believe that supplements are a complete waste of money. This generalization may deprive you of the benefits to be gained from nutritional supplements. As with all things, there are many products that don’t work. But, studies have shown that there are also many that can help enhance your body’s ability to build muscle and improve your overall health.
Eat More To Gain Muscle Mass
To gain weight, you must eat! My previous article on mass gain in the kitchen addresses this issue further. To recap, to gain quality muscle weight, you must eat more than the average person. Eating a meal with plenty of high-quality protein every three hours would be ideal. The average person would find this very difficult. Cooking and eating five or six meals a day wouldn’t be possible. Trying to get enough high-quality protein such as chicken, beef, fish and eggs in large quantities at every meal wouldn’t be an easy task. Your stomach is small, and you may not have the appetite for so many big meals.
Whey Protein and Meal Replacements
Protein builds muscle and weight-gain diets need plenty of protein. To get enough protein and calories you could use a quality meal replacement powder (MRP). MRPs are food supplement powders that have large amounts of whey protein, fewer amounts of carbs and small amounts of fat. Whey protein is used because it’s the ideal muscle-building protein. MRPs are meant to take the place of a meal. They are food. One MRP often has over 40 grams of whey protein and 300 calories. It’s very easy to drink when you are on the go and leading a busy life. Drink two to three MRP shakes a day and have two to three real-food meals per day. This may be an easier way to get the nutrients you require. If you’re able to get enough protein from real food, you don’t need a protein supplement. But, this isn’t likely for most of us.
So Many Options To Choose From
Together with MRPs in different flavors, there are pre-mixed ready-to-drink products and great tasting, calorie dense protein bars. These seem to too tasty to be good for you! There’s no excuse for missing meals. Whey protein powder is another product you might want to try. It doesn’t have any carbs and only has very small amounts of fat. It’s pure whey protein. There are a whole host of great products that’ll let you add more protein to specific meals. If your meal has lots of carbs, but not enough protein, you can add a scoop of pure whey. It’ll ensure that your meal has enough protein. When choosing protein supplements, watch the sugar content. By needlessly eating lots of sugar, you could gain more body fat. Always check the carb content when buying protein bars or MRPs. Look for products that have more protein than carbs. The protein should be mainly whey protein. Get in the habit of reading the nutrition label and the ingredients listed so that you’ll know exactly what you’re consuming.
These Are The Benefits Of Whey
While whey is a very common supplement, some don’t actually know its three main benefits. First, it builds muscle. You need at least 1 gram of protein to 1 pounds to build muscle. One scoop of whey is about 25 grams of protein. If you struggle to get your 1g/lbs daily protein, 1 or 2 scoops daily will help. Second, whey is easy to use. Just put one scoop in your shaker, mix it with milk or water and drink. Nothing is easier when you’re short on time! Third, it works out to be a cheap form of protein. If you take one scoop a day, a tub of 10 pounds will often last for five months. I wouldn’t recommend weight-gaining products, as they are high-calorie drinks. These have lots of sugar and small amounts of protein. Any weight gaining diets should be centered on high-quality protein. Sugar intake should be minimized. Most weight gaining drinks contain more sugar than anything else. They will cause you to gain fat, not muscle!
Fish Oil And EFAs
Omega-3 fats have been hot supplements for years now. So many foods come with a label which reads contains omega-3. The benefits of adding them to your mass gain winter plan include reduced inflammation, less acne, and tendonitis, to name a few things. It’s also shown to help to keep your body fat under control when gaining weight. You should notice reduced soreness from weight training. If this wasn’t enough to encourage you to add it to your plan, it also lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease, cancer and depression. Whether you opt for capsules or liquid form, watch the EPA/DHA content. Some brands have low amounts of EPA/DHA. On average, 1 teaspoon has: Fish Oil: 4360mg Omega-3 EPA: 715mg Omega-3 DHA: 470mg
Good Fats To Consume
These can also help you to get good fats into your diet. Eating fat doesn’t have to make you fat! Certain fats are needed to gain optimal health and hormone levels and they can help you to gain weight with the added calories. Therefore, your goal should be to have the bulk of your fat intake from unsaturated fats. These are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Both of these fats will keep your testosterone levels high and help to keep your arteries and blood vessels clear. I’d recommend getting your good fat from sources such as coconut oil or flax seed oil. These products have essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. You can also use unprocessed oils such as sunflower oil and safflower oil or cod liver oil. I wouldn’t recommend using oil capsules as a substitute. I would recommend taking at least 1 tablespoon of oil up to three times a day. This would be over 30 grams, whereas most capsules only have 1,000 milligrams of oil. You’d need to take 30 capsules a day to get 30 grams! That wouldn’t be very economical. Flax seed oil can spoil easily when exposed to the sunlight and can go rancid. To avoid this, keep the oil in the fridge.
Creatine is a top strength-enhancing product, which I recommend. It works by increasing your strength output. The Best Creatine helps you to lift heavier weights for longer periods of time. Over time, lifting heavier than normal weight will increase muscle size and strength. This has a growing effect so the longer it takes, the more benefit you’ll gain from it. The most popular form of creatine is the powder form of creatine monohydrate. While there are many types of creatine on the market, I’d advise you to stick to monohydrate powder. It’s the least expensive type. Combine your monohydrate with simple sugar dextrose. This combo has been proven to boost the effectiveness of creatine absorption during loading, meaning that more creatine is pushed into the muscles. More creatine in the muscles means more strength. That means more muscle growth!
How Does It Work?
Creatine is stored in the muscle cells with water. When you first start loading, and the creatine is stored in the muscle cells, it’ll also bring additional water. The extra water increases the muscle size. This means many people will gain weight almost instantly when they begin loading with creatine. Don’t get confused with water retention, a term used when water is stored under the skin, not within the muscle cells. The water that’s stored within the muscle cells makes the muscles look larger and fuller with a more muscular appearance. If you stop taking creatine after a few days, your cellular water levels would return to normal and your weight would go back down. This is not muscle loss. If you stopped taking creatine after a few months, the weight gained during that time, apart from the water added within the cells, would be new muscle and wouldn’t be lost when you stop taking creatine. It takes time to grow muscle, and ending the use of creatine won’t lose it. When you start loading on creatine, you’ll load for five to six days. During that time your weight will rise about four pounds. After loading, continue to take your maintenance dose of creatine each day for the next four months. After this, you’ll gain about 22 pounds. At least 18 pounds of that weight gain is new muscle and it won’t be lost if you stop using creatine.
Should I Cycle Creatine?
It’s your choice as to whether or not you decide to cycle creatine. It’s always a good idea to take a break from supplements from time to time. Why? It gives your body a break from the product. It also avoids the possibility that the product will lose effectiveness. To gain maximum benefit from creatine, you should take it consistently for at least three months. Some believe you should take it for two or three weeks and take a break for two or three weeks. This wouldn’t do anything. Why? It doesn’t give you enough usage time for it to be of any benefit.
During periods of high stress (such as weight training), your body calls on glutamine to help maintain normal function. I recommend taking up to 15 grams per day. That’s only slightly higher than the suggested 5 grams on many products. With higher doses, you may notice decreased recovery time and enhanced glycogen storage. You should rarely get sick. Intense weight training can be very stressful on the immune system. I suggest that you opt for the powder form of this supplement for the simple reason of cost. In the long term, a 1000-gram container of glutamine powder should last for over two months if you take 15 grams per day. It’s a slightly more expensive supplement than creatine, but in my eyes is equally as important, if not more!
ZMA is a zinc and magnesium combo. It’s been shown in a recent study to naturally increase testosterone levels up to 45%. This increase in the muscle-building hormone also prevents muscle catabolism. It also has no harmful substances, which may affect the body’s natural hormone balance. It’s an optional supplement, not essential. But, it can really take your gains to the next level.
Vitamin C And Multivitamins
Perhaps not the most glamorous of the supplements, but a good multivitamin, and vitamin C in particular, is a great way to help optimize your muscles’ ability to recover, repair and grow. For this to take place, it’s important that your body isn’t deficient in any nutrient. Intense physical and mental stress (like weight training) can cause an increase in free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can destroy healthy cells. That includes muscle tissue! Vitamin C can really help to prevent this. Not only does it help to prevent free radical damage, it also speeds up the repair of the connective tissue damaged from your workouts. When choosing a multivitamin, I suggest that men find one that doesn’t have the added iron designed for women. Remember: Eat a healthy varied diet to get your vitamins. Veggies and/or fruits with every meal are a great start. And, get plenty of meats, fish and eggs. Some of the many benefits of multivitamins include: Better sleep. Why? Zinc helps promote quality sleep. You also suffer from less illness as vitamin C fortifies your immune system. As well, you’ll have a faster recovery. This is because calcium and iron help recovery from intense weight training.
For this mass gaining winter period, I’d advise you to take the time to make the correct choices when selecting your supplements. If you use them alongside a good diet and training program, you’ll get the best results and benefits from the products, and you won’t be throwing your money away! By Keith Cormican, RD