Building bigger muscles is the main reason that most guys go into the gym in the first place. As we soon find out, though, it’s no easy task and we can use all the help we can get.
Luckily, science provides us with many options for boosting our growth with a minimum of side effects thanks to modern supplements.
Here are 15 vitamins and supplements that will help you get bigger muscles.
Creatine is the most well-studied supplement of all time, and nearly all of the results are positive. Creatine can help you build muscle and strength like nothing else, and it’s even used in the treatment of a wide array of medical disorders.
Of all the types of creatine available, creatine monohydrate is the best choice for the majority of lifters when it comes to results and cost.
Whey protein is the gold-standard of all proteins in regards to how quickly and completely it is absorbed in the body. Whey has been shown to accelerate protein synthesis and is an easy, convenient way to boost protein intake. There are now several varieties available that include only natural flavors and sweeteners, making them good choices for just about all lifters.
Casein is the slower-digesting of two milk proteins (whey being the other), and is perfect to use when you’re more concerned about keeping your muscles fed over a long period than about quick uptake. That makes casein perfect as part of a bedtime snack, especially since the protein can slow down muscle breakdown.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps protect you from the free radicals you produce during training. It also helps you produce collagen to build strong connective tissue and support big lifts in the gym.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and the benefits of calcium go beyond building strong bones. In particular, calcium is essential to producing intense muscular contractions.
Vitamin B Complex
The vitamin B complex consists of eight separate and distinct B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12. While they each have different properties all of them help your body produce energy from the food you eat.
Calcium is essential for building strong bones and helping your muscles contract. While you can get lots of calcium from dairy and dark leafy greens, some lifters may need to supplement their intake.
Similar to calcium, potassium is important for muscular contractions. It also works with sodium to keep a balance between water inside your cells and water outside your cells. Potassium pulls water and nutrients into your muscles and helps keep them full.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are three of the eight essential amino acids and collectively make up the group know as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The BCAAs can improve both muscle synthesis and fat-burning, making them a boon to bodybuilders.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in skeletal muscle. While your body can manufacture it from other substances, it’s easy to fall into a deficit during periods of intense training. Supplemental forms can aid your recovery and keep your gym intensity high.
Nitric Oxide Boosters
Nitric oxide in your bloodstream helps to dilate blood vessels, which increases blood flow and can lower your blood pressure in the short term. Increased blood flow means bigger pumps in the gym. Popular NO boosters include amino acids such as arginine and citrulline.
ZMA is a composite supplement consisting of zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6. This combination of compounds can help you recover from workouts and sleep more soundly at night.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Linoleic acid (LA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in dairy and meat products. Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a generic term for slightly altered forms of LA, mostly consisting of geometric and position isomers. CLA is an antioxidant with potential anti-carcinogen properties and may enhance muscle growth, metabolism, and immune system function.
Fish oil is an important source of fatty acids, particular omega-3s called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats can aid in protein synthesis and may work with other nutrients to improve overall body composition.
Carnitine is an amino acid that is a potent fat burner and helps elevate your energy levels. These effects are amplified when carnitine is combined with fish oil.
There are certainly lots of other supplements available, but these 15 will help you get the most out of your gym time. As always, check with your doctor before using any of them, and then pick the ones that best match your muscle-building goals.