You want it all: greater performance, greater fat loss, and explosive growth. Supplements are the answer!

People are always looking for that magic supplement that will let them put on slabs of muscle without needing to train with intensity or have a proper diet.Sorry to burst your bubble folks, but there is no such thing as magic supplements for muscle gain. The supplement companies would want you to believe otherwise, but the harsh reality is that supplements are just supplements. They play a secondary role in your muscle building efforts and come after your dieting and training.

Only when you have your diet and training set in place, is it appropriate to start experimenting with supplements for muscle gain and even then, they will probably make a minimal difference.

While training intensity can be accomplished through a targeted training program and an ability to adequately stimulate our muscles is something the motivated and determined bodybuilder often has no problem doing, muscle recovery is another issue. It is especially important at a time of the year when social demands and incorrect eating combine to stifle our progress.

This is why it is particularly important to fill any nutritional gaps with quality supplements a practice that can be done all year round for maximal results in muscle size and strength.

In recent times, however, it has become clear with advancements in supplement quality, purity, and what they can offer, that whole food nutrition simply cannot cover everything. Rather than being an optional extra to boost bodybuilding success, supplement use is a crucial aspect for fat loss, muscle building, and performance.

So now you’re probably wondering which the best supplements for muscle gain, that are actually worth your money?
Without further ado, here’s a list of top 5 supplements you should be integrating into your diet.

WHEY PROTEIN

As a foundation for muscle gains, quality protein supplementation is without equal. And the best-absorbed form – often used specifically post-workout, and with meals to round out one’s protein balance – is whey protein. Whey protein has a high biological value and is extremely convenient to take.

While protein obtained from food sources can provide more sustained protein levels (especially prior to bed to offset the fasting period that usually occurs during sleep), whey is rapidly shuttled into the muscles where it can exert its powerful anabolic effects.

I usually use whey protein twice a day – directly after training and first thing in the morning upon rising before breakfast to ensure a rapid uptake of protein to restore the drop in nitrogen levels from the previous night’s sleeping/fasting state.

It is worth noting here that to fully preclude this 8-10 hour fast one would need to wake once or twice throughout the night to consume protein. Thus, taking protein immediately upon waking is essential, and whey is, in my experience, the best form to take at this time.

BCAA – Branched Chain Amino Acids

The BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They’re essential because our bodies can’t produce them so we need to ingest them through the food we eat.
BCAAs are primarily used in the skeletal muscle as a fuel source under heavy loading. Besides being used as a fuel source BCAAs are also used for the following metabolic purposes (Silveira, 2010):
• Substrate for energy production,
• Substrate for protein synthesis,
• Precursor for the formation of other amino acids,
• Primarily alanine and glutamine,
• Metabolic signaler of protein synthesis (Primarily Leucine),
• Stimulates protein synthesis through insulin secretion/activation of the PI3K pathway,
• Stimulates leptin expression in adipocytes through activation of mTOR.

Basically BCAAs are important because they prevent the breakdown of your muscle cells during high intensity exercises.

The best time to use BCAAs is 10 grams 10-15 minutes before your workout, if training on an empty stomach, or 5 grams 10-15 minutes before each meal. Since the amino acids don’t need to be broken down by our digestive system, they get quickly transported into the muscles where they’ll be needed the most.

When buying BCAAs make sure (if available) to buy BCAA with the ratio 4:1:1 instead of 2:1:1 (industry standard). The 4:1:1 ratio describes the composition of the three ingredients of the BCAA which are leucine:isoleucine:valine.
You want to make sure that you get a higher percentage of leucine in your BCAA since this is the amino acid that gives you the biggest anabolic effect.

CREATINE

When creatine hit the shelves in the early ’90s, it quickly became the supplement of choice for athletes the world over.

A supplement that can support increases in size and strength – as attested to by countless scientific studies –Creatine monohydrate the version that, despite many new revolutionary forms, still seems to work best in the long run) will, for most, boost lean muscle mass and amplify strength gains.

Naturally produced in the kidneys, pancreas and liver, creatine is transported to muscle tissue where it is transformed into creatine phosphate, from which the energy molecule ATP is produced to regenerate the muscles’ ability to contract and generate power during short-burst (anaerobic) activity. This translates to more productive workouts and faster muscle growth.

Though produced in the body, these levels are sufficient only for ongoing cellular function, not massive muscle growth, which in itself is not at all conducive for survival purposes. And relying on nutrition to significantly boost creatine is futile in that many pounds of raw meat would need to be eaten to extract five grams of Creatine ,the quantity provided in one teaspoon of creatine monohydrate powder. So supplementation is necessary to realize creatine’s full benefits.

Figuring out your ideal dose is no rocket science. Start by taking 5 grams per twice per day and see how it effects your training. If after a week or two you don’t see any strength increases, try upping the dose a little (+2 grams). Many bodybuilders will vouch for it as it works wonders as they noticed significant strength increases in all lifts just after a week of supplementation.

L-Glutamine

Considered a conditionally essential amino acid L-Glutamine comprises up to 60 percent of free-form amino acids circulating in muscle tissue and is critical for muscle recovery.

When other tissues need L-glutamine (for immune purposes, for example, of which L-glutamine is essential) they will often leach this amino from muscle stores, so supplementing it makes sense.

If the muscles and the rest of the bodily systems have an abundant supply of L-glutamine, muscle tissue will be less likely depleted under conditions of stress. After a hard training session L-glutamine levels will be reduced throughout the body by as much as 50 percent.

The best way to supplement L-glutamine is to take 5 grams 3-4 times per day so the body has a constant supply .Adding it to Protein Shake is an excellent way to include it in one’s diet.

Fish Oil

You want to consume fish oil every day, regardless if you’re training or not.The two main ingredients in fish oils are EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are long chain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies.
They’re essential because our bodies can’t produce them by themselves so it’s important that we eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Our bodies can greatly benefit from the consumption of essential fatty acids (EFA). Here’s how they benefit our health:
▪ They help prevent heart and cardiovascular diseases,
▪ Brain health (our brains are mostly made out of DHA),
▪ Eye health,
▪ Joint health
▪ Helps fight inflammation (like DOMS – delayed on set
muscle soreness)

The foods with the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, which swim in cold waters like. Fish like cod, salmon, tuna, etc. contain good amounts of EFAs, but due to water pollution, more and colder water fish are becoming contaminated with heavy metals like mercury thus making them unsuitable for our everyday diets.

The best way to get the recommended daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids, without the heavy metals, is to consume them as a supplement (soft gels or oils).

Recommended daily dose for an average person in 1,5-3 g/day. If you’re involved in some sorts of high-intensity activity like weight training then your requirements for EFAs are higher. If involved with weight training try to get at least 5 grams of fish oil every day.

Since fish oil is a poly-unsaturated fat, try to keep it in a dark, cool place (refrigerator) so it doesn’t go bad.

VITAMIN/MINERAL SUPPLEMENT

A multivitamin and mineral supplement is not purely a bodybuilding supplement in terms of directly targeting muscle growth the way Glutamine and Creatine do. Taking a high potency and high-quality vitamin/mineral product is a fundamental way in which to support the cellular conditions under which performance and muscle growth can occur.

Though certain compounds like Vitamin C ( with A & E also known as antioxidants ) are thought to be of greater importance for immune function, it is the synergistic effect of all key vitamins and minerals taken in a specific ratio that will support the best results in health and subsequent tissue growth and function. Though the best way to have Vitamins & minerals is to have plenty of Fruits & vegetables .

However, today’s soil conditions, various pollutants, and the over processing of foods make it all but impossible to achieve such a perfect ratio.

SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM TO BOOST BODYBUILDING PROGRESS

UPON RISING (FIRST THING IN THE MORNING)

▪ 30g Serving of Whey protein
▪ 5g of Creatine
▪ 1 Serving of Bcaas

WITH BREAKFAST

• 1 MultivitaminTablet
• 5g Serving of l-Glutamine
• 1 tsp (or Serving) of Fish Oil

BEFORE TRAINING

▪ 5g of Creatine
▪ 5g of L-Glutamine

DIRECTLY AFTER TRAINING

• 5g of L-Glutamine
• 30g of Whey protein

BEFORE BED

• 30g of Whey Protein
• 5g of Glutamine
• 1 Serving of Bcaas