You are what you eat, undoubtedly. Your muscle tissue is no exception. Muscle is comprised of nutrients such as creatine, amino acids, and proteins that we get from the foods that we eat. So certainly, there are vitamins, minerals, and compounds that can help encourage lean muscle gains.
I like ones that boost muscle gains and promote a healthy metabolism as well–but I want solid nutritional supplements that help build muscle through enhancing health—not supplements promising (falsely) to boost testosterone or making empty promises of quick steroid bulk.
These supplements below will boost health and help you carve the body into a lean, mean, muscle machine.
Whey Protein Powder
There is no better supplement on earth for helping you boost muscle gains that whey protein. The reason whey protein shakes before or after strength training help enhance muscle gains is that compounds within whey protein enhance the anabolic effects of weight training by pushing amino acids to all the skeletal muscle tissue. This helps your muscles get larger and stronger in less time than if you weren’t supplementing with the whey protein.
Chromium is an important supplement for all of us today who are trying to enhance insulin sensitivity, especially if you feel you’re still consuming too much sugar or sweeteners. When your blood sugar is spiked, you catabolize muscle tissue, because you’re running on sugar and, thus, burning muscle tissue, not burning fat. Chromium helps keep blood sugar stable, ensuring that you’re protecting and retaining all your precious muscle tissue while you’re tapping into your fat stores instead.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
Conjugated Linoleic Acid also stabilizes blood sugar, encourages fat burning, helps you build muscle tissue, and helps prevent type II diabetes. Studies have found CLA effectively helps you tap into your fat stores for energy use instead of glucose, which means you protect muscle tissue while whittling off the fat. CLA is actually a healthy fat that your body needs. In studies, CLA has proven to decrease body fat while increasing lean body mass.
It’s hard to get enough creatine in the diet to help boost muscle growth, which it very much can when you get enough of in the body to spark lean muscle mass gains. Creatine is found in red meats, lamb, Cornish game hens, and some kinds of fish but it is hard to get enough of through nutrition alone. Even a pound of red meat wouldn’t give you enough creatine, because the compound is completely destroyed when you heat or cook foods. So although I’m all for getting supplements naturally through nutritious shakes and foods, with creatine you must look to a high quality supplement.
Creatine is well reputed for both boosting athletic performance and enhancing muscle growth. It does this in two ways. First, it boosts intracellular water retention and stimulates the production of ATP. Water swells the muscles, adding bulk and creatine stays in the body and builds with each supplementation. This water retention within the muscle cells boost strength and gives the appearance of fuller muscles, which is why bodybuilders always begin front loading creatine before a competition. Creatine also boosts recovery time by enhancing ATP production, allowing for more workouts closer together and faster muscle gains. So creatine is a win-win for strength training and bodybuilding gains.
Spirulina is an algae that is extremely nutritious. I like using a green drink powder rich in spirulina before any weight building exercise because these drinks boost energy, curb the raging appetite I develop while working out that can lead to a diet slip, and it enhances fat burning. Spirulina is also super-rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and all kinds of healthy compounds that super fortify the body with the kind of energy and stamina it takes to power through increasingly heavier lifts.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs have become a favorite supplement in the resistance training community and for good reason. BCAAs help to increase muscle mass building because, like whey protein powder, BCAAs help to drive nutrients to the skeletal muscle tissue, improving workout recovery times and enhancing muscle growth. The body contains three branched chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are the amino acids the body needs to stimulate protein synthesis and, thus, muscle acquisition in the body.
Healthy nutrients and compounds like the ones I discussed today can help fortify the muscle tissue, help the muscles recover faster from training, and help keep the body energized and healthy enough to keep you working out and effectively burning fat and calories. A healthy body rewards you with healthy effects, and the supplements I suggested today yield results because they get the body healthy enough to acquire fast muscle tissue and burn more adipose tissue and excess fat off the body.
Good luck, fortify, and keep training. We lose muscle as we age. Developing as much muscle as we can is one way to keep the body well, the metabolism revving, and plus, nothing looks better on the body than toned muscles.
Author Bio: Gerry Morton is the CEO of EnergyFirst, holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in 30+ marathons and 4 Ironman triathlons. Gerry is an excellent source of information on nutrition, supplementation and exercise. http://www.energyfirst.com is known for offering the world’s best tasting, highest quality, all natural, premium nutrition products such as pure whey protein powder, energy bar, green drinks etc. Read his blog at http://blog.energyfirst.com. Twitter: @EnergyFirst