You have your workout regimen down pat. When you walk into the gym, it's like Norm walking into Cheers: everyone knows your name. You try to eat the right foods in the right portions.
Yet you're still not gaining muscle. What gives?
It's time to look into taking supplements to build muscle mass. We're here to help, with a breakdown of the three most popular and effective supplements.
Three Supplements to Build Muscle in Men
Want to build muscle, get stronger, improve muscle recovery time, and increase your endurance? Try creatine. Creatine is one of the most established supplements to build muscle, with plenty of research to back up its effectiveness.
A molecule that the human body already produces, creatine is present in almost all cells. It's there to provide a reserve of energy. When you supplement with it, there's more creatine available — and that means more energy to power your workout.
But that's not all. Creatine also increases the water content in your muscles, improves glycogen storage, and improves high-intensity muscle performance.
Recommended Dose: Between 5-10 grams. Split the daily dosage equally between your pre- and post-workout meals or shakes.
When muscles contract repeatedly, they become increasingly acidic. This leads to muscle fatigue. Enter carnosine, a molecule which assists in the regulation of acidity levels in your muscles.
Carnosine is made up of two elements: a non-essential amino acid called beta alanine, and L-histidine, an essential amino acid. Our bodies produce plenty of L-histadine, but not beta-alanine.
So it should be added in, as one of the supplements to build muscle that can also improve endurance and delay fatigue. It also boosts the beneficial effects of creatine.
Recommended Dose: 2-6 grams per day. You may have to experiment with this one since it can cause a sensation of tingling in the skin. Taking beta alanine in smaller quantities throughout the day generally reduces this effect.
3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
There are 20 amino acids in the body. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the three known as branched-chain amino acids. They regulate protein metabolism and stimulate protein synthesis.
BCAAs are a source of energy during a workout, so supplementing with them helps increase endurance. Additionally, BCAAs provide the nutrients that aid in metabolic recovery and lower the possibility of fatigue-related muscle pain.
Of all the supplements available, BCAAs are among the most popular.
Recommended Dose: 15-10 grams each day. Take BCAAs either before or after your workout, or split the dose.
Bonus: Protein Supplements
The body requires extra protein in several situations, including when you're revving up your workout routine and when you want to improve muscle mass.
We're not including them in our list of supplements, however, because you may already get enough protein in your daily diet.
Recommended Dose: You should be consuming a total of between 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for building muscle. If your diet doesn't provide that, consider supplementing with a protein powder.
It can be difficult to make sense of the supplements that your body needs, and those that are just bunk. Now that you've got the scoop on three essential supplements to build muscle, we'll see you at the gym!