One of the first things ‘newbies’ do when wanting to add mass, is to look into supplements. Firstly, you need to remember that supplements are designed to supplement your diet, not replace it. Secondly, with so many supplements on the market today, you may well become overwhelmed and not sure which ones to use in order to build size and strength.
A good quality whey protein is a ‘must have’ supplement in any lifters stack. Whey protein is made by extraction from milk, with fats and carbs being removed, leaving only a pure form of whey protein left. Protein shakes can help to add vital protein in your diet and with its fast absorption rate, it’s perfect to aid recovery after tough workouts.
Whey protein contains a solid amino acid profile (BCAA’s), which aid recovery and trigger muscle protein synthesis. No matter what your budget is, whey protein should be in your supplement stack.
Dosage: Consume one scoop (30g) as a snack, pre or post workout.
Being one of the most popular supplements on the market, it’s no wonder why it’s included in many peoples stacks and supplement recommendations. Creatine is responsible for increasing ATP production, which can allow you to train harder for longer, therefore yielding greater results.
Creatine is similar to an energy source, giving you a boost of energy for short powerful outputs such as weight training, 100m sprints, and other similar activities.
Another effect of creatine is that it draws more water into the muscle, therefore triggering protein synthesis and greatly reduces muscle breakdown.
Dosage: There are two ways to use creatine – loading phase: 15-20g per day for 5 days, followed by 5g per day thereafter. The second way is you can simply take 5g per day.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) can be a fantastic addition to your supplement stack, due to their powerful muscle building abilities. BCAA’s consist of the 3 essential amino acids – Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. They are 3 out of 9 essential amino acids (which cannot be produced by the body) and make up around 35% of total muscle protein. BCAA’s increase the rate of protein synthesis, which is needed in order to gain mass.
Another factor that can affect muscle growth, is muscle breakdown itself, and BCAA’s help to avoid just that by reducing the ‘breakdown signal’.
Dosage: BCAA’s can be consumed whenever you need a boost – 5g per dose, 2-4 times per day. Consume pre-workout, intra-workout, post-workout and with a shake throughout the day.
Glutamine is best known for its ability to minimize muscle breakdown. Your skeletal muscle is made up of around 61% glutamine, so you can see how important this amino acid is. If muscle mass is your goal, then your training will need to be intense, which will greatly deplete glutamine levels. By supplementing with glutamine to keep those levels high, your training and recovery can be increased.
Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can minimize muscle breakdown and improve protein metabolism. Your whole body uses glutamine, from your small intestines to your immune system. Supplementing with glutamine could not only improve your conditioning, but could also help to avoid picking up any bugs or illnesses. If you’re looking to keep your body fat levels low whilst packing on a bit of size, then glutamine is a must have supplement.
Dosage: If you’re training correctly, then 5g, 2-3 times per day, taken in the mornings, post-workout and before bed.