If you want to get big, then it is best that you eat a lot. However, food alone isn’t enough to help you gain the size that you’re looking for. In order to speed up your body’s ability to build muscle mass, it would be best if you’d take advantage of supplements.
These supplements can best be described as “muscle building supplements,” but you might also hear them referred to as bodybuilding supplements. Whatever the case, these products are definitely useful for anyone that is serious about working out.
Creatine is a popular supplement within the bodybuilding community. It is a naturally occurring substance in the human body, and works as an energy source for your muscles. When creatine is taken as a dietary supplement, it can increase muscle mass over time by increasing the production of ATP, which supplies energy to power muscle contractions.
Creatine works to increase strength and lean mass by increasing the availability of creatine phosphate in muscle cells. When lifting weights, ATP is broken down into ADP, which supplies energy to contract the muscles.
In order to produce more ATP, creatine phosphate donates a phosphate molecule to ADP, forming new ATP and freeing its former self up to do the same. The process is repeated, and more ATP becomes available to the muscles, allowing them to contract for longer periods of time.
Over time, the effect is cumulative; lean muscle mass is steadily built up through several months or years of creatine supplementation. This makes it a popular supplement for bodybuilders who engage in many hours of weightlifting each week.
Though creatine is generally safe, it can cause a number of side effects when taken in large doses. Most commonly, these include stomach cramps and water retention, causing an increase in body weight, although I have taken creatine for years and have never experienced any side effects.
This is my go-to supplement for muscle and strength building, no question.
We are currently recommending StrengthSeries Creapure HMB as the best creatine supplement on the market today. To learn more about this supplement and creatine, check out our article Best Creatine Supplements on the Market.
Without question, the single most important thing that you must be doing to build muscle faster is creating the hormonal environment to do so.
One supplement that does this extremely well is Testogen.
This natural testosterone booster has been clinically proven to increase free serum testosterone levels by up to 42%. This means it can help you pack on muscle mass at an accelerated rate, as more testosterone results in greater strength and enhanced recovery. It also makes your workouts feel easier so you can push yourself harder than ever before!
For best results, take one capsule 30-45 minutes prior to working out with a full glass of water for optimal absorption into the bloodstream. And if building leaner muscles is what you’re after, don’t worry; there’s even evidence showing that it helps burn fat too!
Since testosterone is what makes you a man, it’s not a hormone to take lightly.
Testogen has a blend of proven ingredients to increase testosterone levels including zinc, magnesium, oyster extract, and Fenugreek to name just a few. As the most powerful testosterone booster on the market, it’s one you’ll want on your side.
Pre-workout is more than just energy for the gym. Most all pre-workout supplements contain some kind of proven muscle builder like creatine as we already discussed or Citrulline Malate, which has been shown to increase muscle volume and strength. Another good muscle-building ingredient you will find in pre-workouts is Beta-Alanine.
Beta-Alanine is good for reducing muscle fatigue and studies have shown it to increase lean muscle mass and decrease fat in wrestlers significantly. They also contain ingredients like caffeine to give you more energy for your workouts as well as Betaine Anhydrous, which does many things, including lowering fatigue, increasing strength and HGH and also lowering cortisol levels.
We currently recommend Preseries BULK as our top muscle-building pre-workout for muscle building.
For more information on this supplement and other pre-workout supplements, check out our article Best Muscle Building Pre-Workout Supplements on the Market.
Mass Gainer Protein
When it comes to building muscle, gaining weight is key. This means you will need to take in additional calories than you are burning on a daily basis. If you don’t do this, adding more muscle mass will be nigh on impossible because your body simply can’t supply enough fuel (nutrients) for the extra size and lack of rest.
A good mass gainer supplement is high in protein, carbs and calories with very little fat added. The focus of the supplement is to supply your body with all the fuel that is needed to recover from workouts, build new muscle tissue and increase in size.
The best mass gainers will be high in protein because this provides the building blocks for muscle growth. Some include creatine which helps deliver energy to working muscles so you can train harder for longer periods of time. They also often feature ingredients like glutamine which is thought to help promote recovery after particularly grueling workouts or mass gainer ingredients like BCAAs.
Mass gainers are on the expensive side, but they can deliver the highest concentration of nutrients and calories per serving, making them particularly useful as a post-workout shake or as a meal replacement.
We are currently recommending ProteinSeries Mass Gainer as the top mass gainer on the market today. Not only does it have 53 grams of organic whey protein per serving, on top of that, it also features 3 grams of creatine monohydrate in each serving, making it a superior muscle builder. To learn more about this supplement and mass gainers check out our article Best Mass Gainers for Muscle.
Post Workout Supplements
A post-workout supplement is a post-workout recovery drink mixed with essential nutrients that are proven to speed up recovery time. This can be anything from protein powder, creatine, amino acids, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, glutamine, etc… Anything that will aid in post-workout recovery is considered a post-workout supplement.
A post-workout supplement can also help increase muscle mass by speeding up the recovery process so that your muscles have more time to repair themselves between workouts. Supplementing with post-workout supplements can increase strength and endurance during future workouts as well because of this increased ability for the muscles to repair themselves faster post-workout. Taking a post-workout supplement can keep you from losing muscle mass post-workout due to the increased protein synthesis you will be experiencing post-workout by supplementing with post-workout supplements.
The benefits of taking a post-workout supplement include: increased energy and endurance, faster recovery time post-workout, and increased recovery time so that muscles have more time to repair post-workout. Post-workouts are beneficial in any post-workout regimen, but should not be used to replace pre-workout nutrition.
See our list of the 10 best post workout supplements for muscle building and see our top-rated post-workout supplements.
Nitric Oxide Booster
Nitric oxide boosters are supplements that help to increase synthesis of nitric oxide in the body. They also help with vasodilation, which means they relax your blood vessels, which allows more blood flow to muscles and other tissues while exercising. This is important because it delivers all the nutrients you need for muscles while working out so you can repair them faster. A little bit about how they do this:
Nitric oxide boosters work by causing an increase in L-Arginine production in the body. L-Arginine is an amino acid that our bodies need but cannot produce on its own; it has to be gotten through food or supplements like nitric oxide boosters.
The only problem with getting enough l-arginine from food sources is that the body has to break down proteins into amino acids, and since l-arginine is near the end of that process it doesn’t give us much at all.
This is where nitric oxide boosters come in because they supply your body with an easy source of L-Arginine so you get more out of what you eat and what you take in.
As we mentioned, nitric oxide relaxes and dilates your blood vessels, allowing for more oxygen to reach the muscles that need it most while exercising; this means better energy and stamina, which leads to better workouts and shorter recovery times.
Nitric oxide boosters also claim they can help boost muscle growth by increasing the amount of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) in muscle cells. This helps to increase endurance and stamina, so you can do more reps before getting tired which ultimately leads to bigger muscles!
Nitric oxide boosters are especially important if you have a hard time bulking up because they will ensure your muscles get the nutrients they need when you do eat. Many people find it very hard to add on weight, but with supplements, you will be able to ensure your gains are quality and efficiency.
These supplements come in a variety of forms, from powders that you mix into shakes for before workouts or throughout the day, to pills that you take catered to when you want. Take a look at our top 5 nitric oxide boosting supplements for some good options to consider.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched Chain Amino Acids, also known as BCAA’s, are great muscle-building supplements. BCAA’s are essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. BCAA’s are unique in that they can be used by the body for energy, making them especially beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders. BCAA’s are also known to help reduce fatigue and improve recovery time, making them an essential part of any workout regimen.
So how do Branched Chain Amino Acids build muscle? BCAA’s stimulate protein synthesis, which is how cells build proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, so by stimulating protein synthesis, BCAA’s help to build and repair muscle tissue. BCAA also help to reduce exercise-related muscle damage, making them an ideal supplement for those who are looking to gain strength and size.
If you’re looking for a way to boost muscle growth and improve your workout performance, BCAAs are a great option. Before starting any supplement regimen with muscle building pills, be sure to check with your doctor and always follow the recommended dosage. With regular use, you’ll see an increase in muscle mass and strength and improved recovery time and reduced fatigue.
Next up on our list of the best muscle building supplements we have protein powder.
As the name suggests, protein powder is a powdered form of protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps with muscle growth, tissue repair, and to create enzymes and hormones. Protein powder is a concentrated source of protein that is typically made from whey, casein, or soy.
Whey protein is easily the most popular form of protein powder as it is a fast-acting protein that is easily absorbed by the body. Whey protein is also rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which are essential for muscle growth and recovery. Casein protein is a slow-releasing protein that is perfect for taking before bed, as it will help to prevent muscle breakdown overnight. Soy protein is a vegan-friendly option that has all the essential amino acids the body needs to build muscle.
Protein powder can be used in a variety of ways to help with muscle growth. Protein shakes are the most popular way to take protein powder, as they are quick and easy to make and can be taken before or after workouts. Protein bars are another convenient option
Whey Protein powder is one of the most popular supplements for muscle growth because it is convenient and easy to use. Simply mix protein powder with water or milk and drink it before or after your workout. Protein powder can also be added to smoothies or baking recipes for an added protein boost.
Protein powder is an excellent choice for those who are looking to build muscle because it provides the body with a quick and easily digestible source.
Muscle Building Supplement to Avoid: Steroid Alternatives
I saw other websites actually recommending “Steroid Alternatives” of “Legal Steroids” so I figured I had to say something.
First off, let me say that there is NO muscle-building supplement that will give you the same results as anabolic steroids. If there were, everyone would be taking them and they’d be illegal.
That being said, there are plenty of supplements that can help you gain muscle mass and strength without the dangerous side effects of steroids.
If you’re looking for supplements that actually work, look at the list above and skip the silly steroid alternatives, they usually just contain a small amount a BCAAs and little more than that. They are designed to make your wallet lighter, that’s about it.
Sadly, articles pushing junky fake steroids rank at the top of Google when you search for “best muscle building supplement.” Don’t be fooled.
Do your research, read reviews (like this one), and make sure you’re taking quality supplements that have been proven to work. And always remember, there is no shortcut to hard work in the gym!
Fat Burners Don’t Build Muscle
I also sow some pages actually trying to push fat burners as a muscle building supplement.
Let’s be clear; fat burners are NOT going to help you with muscle growth. They are made for weight loss and they work by increasing your metabolism and improving your fat burning abilities.
You take them to lose weight and it’s impossible to build muscle while losing weight. You might be able to hold on to the muscle you have while losing fat, but you’re not going to build muscle while taking a fat burner.
If you want to lose weight, by all means, take a fat burner. But don’t try to use it as a muscle building supplement because it’s not going to work.
If you see someone pushing a fat burner in an article about the best muscle building supplements, I would be very skeptical.
If you want to build muscle combined with getting in shape, we have you covered for that as well.
First of all, you should know that the most important things when building muscles are: weight training, enough rest and a balanced diet. Follow these three rules and your muscles will grow like hell.
Here we will go into the diet part; what you should eat and when.
When you work out, your muscle glycogen stores get broken down. When your body needs energy to keep going, it switches over to burning fat and even protein for energy instead of glycogen. Protein is broken down into amino acids, so when you run out of protein to burn, your body starts burning muscle. So if you want to gain muscle mass in the best way possible, it is crucial that you eat often and make sure your glycogen stores don’t get depleted.
The thing with eating a lot of food though is that it requires a lot of time to digest all the food. This takes energy that you could have spent on actual muscle building instead. The trick is eating foods that are easily digested but still contain enough calories and nutrients for your muscles.
Protein should always be a part of every meal because it gives muscles the material needed for growth. It also helps your muscles stay in an anabolic state, which means that your body is trying to build muscle instead of breaking it down. Getting enough protein can be difficult though, especially if you train hard and eat a lot of food every day. It’s also important to not get too much protein because your kidneys can’t handle it.
The three ideal energy-giving nutrients are carbohydrates, fat and fiber. Carbohydrates usually give the most energy for the least amount of calories whereas fat gives the most energy for the most amount of calories (fat has more than twice as many calories per gram compared to carbs or proteins). Fiber doesn’t contain any energy but speeds up digestion and makes you feel full. Both fiber and fat causes a slower release of energy though, which makes it harder to build muscle mass.
I’ve found two great sources for carbohydrate-rich foods containing enough protein and fiber; oats and rice. Oats contain plenty of carbs (almost as much as pasta) and some protein (pea/rice/hemp protein is a good addition), but the best part is the amount of fiber per calorie compared to other carbs such as bread.
Rice on the other hand has almost no fiber at all, but high amounts of carbs combined with some essential amino acids that rice lacks. It also contains vitamin B1 which speeds up your metabolism making your body burn more calories during the day. It absorbs your stomach’s contents slowly, making you feel full for a long time and not getting hungry as fast.
A Typical Bodybuilder’s Daily Menu
Below you’ll find a sample of a typical bodybuilder’s daily menu.
- ½ cup oats with a sliced banana
- ½ cup skim milk
- 2 scrambled eggs with 6 egg whites, scrambled in 1 tbsp. olive oil and diced vegetables
- ½ cups Greek yogurt topped with ¼ cup dry oats, 3 tbsp. dried cranberries, and ½ cup slivered almonds
- 2 cups brown rice
- 6 oz. grilled chicken breast
- 1 cup steamed broccoli drizzled with 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 apple on the side
- 1 large whole wheat pita
- 1 can tuna mixed with ½ mashed avocado and 2 tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- Any other diced vegetables as preferred
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 large baked sweet potato
- 5 oz. grilled salmon
- 1 side salad topped with 1 tbsp. olive oil dressing
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
3 oz. grilled chicken breast with 2 cups brown rice
2 scoops protein powder with 1 banana and ½ cup raw oats
If you pair this nutrition plan with the supplements listed above, you can feel confident that all the hard work you put in at the gym is not going to go to waste.
Best Muscle Building Exercises
Now that you have the best supplements for muscle growth and a solid diet let’s talk about some of the best muscle building exercises.
When it comes to exercises that will build the most muscle and give you the best bang for your buck you need to stay with compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once. These are the biggest muscle builders and should be a staple of your workout program. Dumbbell curls aren’t going to get the job done.
You can check out our Complete Guide to Building Muscle Quickly for a more detailed look. While this article is a detailed look at the top 5 exercises to get you jacked we are going to go for 10 exercises on this list.
Top 10 Muscle Building Exercises:
2 Back Squat
3 Clean and press
4 Bench Press
5 Overhead press
8 Heavy kettlebell swings
It is important to remember that no supplement will produce the desired results if it isn’t used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine.
When you use supplements, make sure they are from reputable brands that offer quality ingredients at an affordable price. Keep this article handy as we continue our journey together through the world of muscle-building supplements!
Nutritional Supplements To Increase Muscle Mass (1999). Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Volume 39, Issue 4. Vol. 39, Issue 4.
Lysecki, P.J. et al. (2007). Minimal whey protein with carbohydrate stimulates muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise in trained young men. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 32(6).
Araujo, A.B. et al. (2007). The Relative Contributions of Aging, Health, and Lifestyle Factors to Serum Testosterone Decline in Men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Volume 92, Issue 2.