Supplements to Build Muscle – The Ultimate Starter’s Guide

by Riley Daye

Once you’ve got a great training and diet program in place, you may start experimenting with supplements to build muscle. There are a ton of products on the market that promise everything under the sun.  The truth is no supplement, pill, vitamin, or concoction is going to take the place of putting in the hard work!  The term supplement is exactly what it implies – it is a supplement to a healthy lifestyle and nutritional program.   Remember the commericals from the 80′s and 90′s from a well known Brand promising quick weight loss simply by substituting “a quick shake” in place of a meal?  Those meal replacements are now being marketed as supplements.  The reality is they are one in the same.

Let’s review some common supplements to build muscle:


1. Creatine

I begin with Creatine because it is arguably the most studied supplements to hit the market.  It’s also one of the only supplements to have viable proof of it’s effectiveness.  Don’t get too excited thinking a quick swig with help you build muscle mass.  It will give you some bulk pretty quickly, however that’s do to the increase in the amount of water or fluid in the muscle cells.  The longterm gain of increase in muscle size comes from the muscle protein synthesis that is triggered by the stretch on the cell membranes. How much Creatine should you take?  I recommend consulting a Personal Trainer, but the usual dosage is 1-5 grams before and after workouts.



2. Whey Protein

The richest source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) of all the nutritional proteins is Whey Protein.  No other protein digests as quickly as whey, and it’s muscle building amino acids are delivered through the bloodstream within 60-90 minutes.  The best time to take whey protein is before and after your workouts.  Studies have shown that when subjects consumed whey protein, creatine, and glucose immediately before and after training.. they experienced an 80% gain in muscle mass over a 10 week period.  Those looking for a basic supplements to build muscle.. whey is a staple!



3. BCAAs

In one of my earlier articles, I explored BCAAs for fat loss and muscle building.  The power house of the BCAAs is by far leucine, and it’s crucial for muscle growth.  It turns on muscle-protein synthesis in the muscle cells which means the potential for muscle growth. The three BCAAs are important because muscles can use them as a direct source of energy, which means this is a good supplement to use during workouts.  Take about 5 grams of BCAAs when you wake up, and within 30 minutes before and after your workouts.



These are the top three supplements to build muscle that I recommend to clients.  I’ll follow up with a review of a couple more muscle building fat blasting supplements for those who are more advanced!

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Riley Daye

About Riley Daye

Riley Daye is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle and Weightloss Consultant.  He is a Los Angeles Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Consultant who specializes in Weight Loss and Sport Specific Training.  Contact Riley to schedule a private consultation.

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