Hey there! I’m Brett McNeil, the fitness consultant for FitMinutes. Throughout the month, I’ll be answering questions from our readers. This week, we’re chatting about my top 3 supplement recommendations for building muscle, why they’re effective and if it’s really worth it to spend the dough on them. Keep reading to get the (protein) scoop.
Q: Are there supplements that can help me build muscle? If so, can you recommend a few?
A: There are supplements that can help you build muscle, and I’m happy to tell you about the three I personally enjoy. Keep in mind these are my favorites, and what works for you can depend on your fitness goals, current health status, how active you are during the day and other factors. My favorites don’t make building muscle any easier, but they can certainly complement it very well.
- Whey and Casein Protein – Your muscles require an adequate amount of protein to help them build back up after the micro tears they acquire during a workout. If you don’t give them the amount of protein they need, they won’t be able to repair, grow and become stronger. Whey is a good choice close to training times (either before or after) and casein is best used before bed, as it is a slow release protein that helps keep protein circulating throughout your body while you’re at rest.
- Creatine – There are tons of studies showing creatine’s effectiveness, plus it’s super affordable. Creatine reduces fatigue while increasing your power output during a workout. It also increases muscle mass which in turn helps build strength. You only need to take about 5 grams a day, any more and it tends to be wasted and simply just excreted by the body.
- Beta–Alanine – Okay, this one is a little in depth, but stick with me. Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid, meaning our bodies can produce it. It’s so effective because it teams up with an essential amino acid called L-histidine, to form a molecule called carnosine. Carnosine is stored in our muscles and brain, and one of its many roles is to control the acidity levels in our muscles. Your muscles become more acidic when you work out, which is why things get harder and harder as you train. Supplementing with beta-alanine can increase the effective work you are able to do before running out of juice.
Q: Is it really worth it to spend all this money on supplements?
A: This is another one of those questions that depends on your goals both short and long term. If you’re not looking to do anything more than stay healthy through diet and exercise while keeping your muscle mass in a good spot, supplements might not be on top of the priority list for you. But, if you’re competing in strength sports, such as powerlifting or weightlifting, taking these supplements will more than likely be worth it. You can usually find a good sized tub of protein for a reasonable price, and both creatine and beta-alanine are also relatively cheap supplements for how many servings you get and how much daily you really need to take.
Looking for more articles starring supplements? Check out 5 Proven Health Benefits of Magnesium Supplements.