Bodybuilding might seem straightforward enough, right? Lift heavy, take a multi and max out on protein is the most common piece of advice dished out by gym veterans to new guys.
Unfortunately this is a huge oversimplification of the process and all too often people who only focus on those three things find themselves hitting plateaus. Supplements are a great way to give yourself the nutrients you are missing from your diet but it’s important to know what you are getting yourself into. All too often new guys stroll into supplement stores and get their credit cards out ready to buy whatever the dude at the front desk tells them they need – after all, they are the experts right? While they may know a thing or two, it’s important to do your own research and where better to start than your muscles themselves and just how exactly they work.
There are two types of muscle fibers in your body. The first kind, cleverly named type-I fibers or slow-twitch assist your body in the performance of endurance training. The second kind are, you guessed it, type-II fibers (or fast-twitch) and these are the ones responsible for strength when weight training. To really work the type-II fibers you need to lift weights and maximize your time under tension. This will help utilize the maximum number of satellite cells.
Satellite cells are the ones that rest on the surface of your muscles and help them repair after being broken down following an intense training session. If no heavy lifting is performed these cells can sit unutilized for extended periods of time. They take the proteins adsorbed from your diet and use them to rebuild and strengthen your muscle so that they will be better to handle the stress next time. This is why it is important to constantly be increasing your weight as your muscles will only repair just enough to make the current workload easier on your body.
Fortunately for us there has been a lore more scientific research into the field of bodybuilding over the last 25 years which has vastly increased our understanding of the sport. As a result, a plethora of supplements have hit the market (don’t you love capitalism?) to help make the entire process easier for those of us that aren’t extremely genetically gifted. Check out the list below for a list of some of our best muscle building supplements for bodybuilding.
And btw. don’t miss our FREE muscle building meal plan found below our top 5 list.
Best Muscle Building Supplements – Top 5 to Bulk Up
1. TestoFuel – Natural Testosterone Booster
Testosterone is hands-down the most important hormone in your body when it comes to building muscle. Since men naturally have higher levels than women they have a much easier time packing on muscle – on the flip side, men with low testosterone WILL have a harder time building muscle than those with higher levels, all other factors being equal. So before going crazy with supplements the first thing you are going to want to do is make sure you get those testosterone levels to their ideal level.
TestoFuel has been on the market for 2012 and has quickly become a popular choice by those who are serious about putting on mass. The product has been shown to accelerate muscle growth, improve recovery and repair times (when the real muscle growth happens), increase your strength to help progressively lift more and improve your mood so you feel better and are more committed to you targets.
It works by improving the rate of protein synthesis, boosting red blood cell count which allows more oxygen to be carried to your muscles and adds to your endurance. It also helps you recover faster and keeps your body from putting on fat. Some of the ingredients include D-Aspartic acid, Vitamin D and Oyster Extract as well as others that have been clinically proven to boost testosterone levels in the body. – You can read more about all these ingredients on our detailed testosterone boosting guide.
Update: We’ve now tried and tested this product for few months. Read our review and results here.
2. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Ok, this one isn’t quite so well known. BCAAs for short, this term refers to leucine, isoleucine and valine – the most important amino acids for bodybuilders. Leucine in particular has been clinically shown to stimulate protein synthesis by itself! Nonetheless we recommend taking all of them together so they can work synergistically to provide you with the maximum benefit. Benefits of taking this product include improved muscle growth, higher energy levels, less cortisol production (a nasty hormone that reduces testosterone production and breaks muscles down – in other words it steals dem gains) and last but not least it will reduce DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness.
Recommended dosage is 5-10 grams in the morning with breakfast or in your pre/post-workout shakes. The Leucine to isoleucine and valine ratio of 2:1 – less than that means you are not getting a top-notch product.
3. Creapure HMB (Creatine monohydrate)
Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that’s found naturally within our bodies mainly around the skeletal muscle tissue. By the powers of science this metabolite has been created in supplement-form and provides a number of benefits to users including
- higher volumes of muscle cell
- faster recovery times
- increased glycogen storage
- better muscle performance.
- decrease fat mass
Athletes of all backgrounds use this supplement for the great benefits it provides.
Our recommended Creatine monohydrate at this moment is the StrengthSeries Creapure HMB from Transparent Labs. A new company dedicated to transparency with their customers (which is much appreciated).
One of Creapure’s best benefits is that unlike with most creatine products, you don’t need to cycle it on-and-off! So you can experience all the benefits that come with supplementing with creatine all day every day.
Read more about Creapure on their official website: http://TransparentLabs.com
4. Protein Powder
More specifically Whey Protein Isolate and even better if it’s 100% grass-fed!
Protein is essential to building muscle and if you aren’t getting enough of it from your diet you simply won’t see the types of gains you want. Forget about Conan the Barbarian getting huge from living on a slave’s diet and working all day – in real life Conan would be a skinny guy because he simply wouldn’t have been getting the protein intake he needed to get his muscles to grow.
The great thing about 100% grass-fed whey protein powder is that it will digest very quickly and is easy to transport making it an ideal choice immediately after your workout session.
There are not a lot of 100% grass-fed products out there but when searching the web one came up with great reviews. It’s also from Transparent Labs (which didn’t surprise us since they’ve dedicated their company to only use the highest quality of ingredients in their products).
Introducing ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate. Our #1 recommended choice for protein powder.
Read more about it on their official website http://TransparentLabs.com
5. Omega Fatty Acid Supplements
Although the name suggests otherwise, this supplement will have you looking shredded as fuaaaaark. As you train and put wear and tear on your body you start to accumulate internal inflammation. This inflammation is actually not so great for your overall health and certainly won’t help with your Mr. Olympia aspirations. Fortunately, Omega Fatty Acids save the day, particularly those with a high epa/dha ratio. These products help reduce excessive cellular breakdown which is caused by the inflammation.
Additionally, Omega supplements help provide the body with more energy, improve fat oxidation and boost testosterone production. It should be no surprise then that this supplement has made it’s way into the cupboards of just about all serious bodybuilders.
Free sample muscle building meal plan
Everybody knows that supplements are just that, supplements to your decent muscle building diet. So, with our expert knowledge we’ve put together a muscle building meal plan sample.
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 slices turkey bacon
- 2 slices Ezekiel bread
- 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 banana
- 1 Testofuel pill
Meal 2 (pre workout)
- 2 scoops whey protein isolate
- ½ cup oatmeal
- 1 tbsp natural maple syrup
- 1 TestoFuel pill
- Creapure HMB, half of your daily serving
Meal 3 (intra workout
- 1 serving of BCAAs
Meal 4 (post workout)
- 1.5 cups jasmine rice
- 8oz. lean steak
- 1 cup mixed vegetables
- 1 TestoFuel pill
- Creapure HMB, half of you daily serving
- 3 whole eggs
- 150g sweet potatoe
- 1 tbsp extra virgin cocnut oil
- 1 scoop whey protein
- 1 TestoFuel pill
This meal plan is approximately a total of 3205 calories
There you have it – our top 5 most useful muscle building supplements. Take these products along with a clean diet and a solid resistance training routine and you will definitely make significant progress. It’s important to stay disciplined in bodybuilding and not cut corners. Settling for low-quality products will only hurt you in the long run so be smart and get it right the first time around.
Some of these products might not have a noticeable effect right away as it takes time to build up the levels in your body. All too often we see people stop taking products after 1 week because they don’t notice a difference when in reality they were still a couple weeks away from seeing the amazing benefits of these products. Remember if you eat fast food six days a week and eat a salad on day 7 you don’t suddenly become “healthy”. It takes time and consistency to change and supplements are no different.