Although having a balanced diet and the right regimen are the keys to personal fitness, sometimes it is still not enough. Maybe life is hectic, and the motivation to go to the gym just is not always there. Perhaps you went on vacation and wanted to enjoy local dishes even if that means ignoring your macros, or it could be that you are a hard-gainer and simply struggle to build muscle; this is where supplements can be a great help.
Supplements do not refer to steroids or HGH. There are a variety of useful powders or pills that can promote muscle growth, improve post-workout recovery, and provide pre-workout energy. The following are three types of supplements that can help you build muscle:
Protein powder can be a boon to any workout. The key is to find the right powder for what you are trying to accomplish. There are six major types:
Whey Concentrate – This is an essential protein. It’s useful for beginners, excellent all-around choice; this is a great supplement for pre-workout and post-workout as well as meals/snacks, and it is inexpensive.
Casein – This is a protein that breaks down slowly, and makes you feel full. Casein protein is good for keeping a constant supply of protein in the body; it can also be ideal for weight-loss programs. Casein and Whey also work in contrast in creating a balance between protein breakdown and synthesis, though this is an advanced approach.
Whey Isolate – This protein is a fast absorbing form of whey and tends to be more expensive with fewer carbs.
Hydrolysate – This is a high-quality and high cost Whey Protein. Hydrolysate digests better than other types of Whey and absorbs at a higher rate.
Soy Protein – This is an excellent alternative protein for vegetarians/vegans. It helps with recovery and can speed up metabolism. Soy Protein is one of the cheapest proteins available.
Milk Protein Isolate – This is not a great source of protein on its own, but is good to mix with other proteins. Milk Protein Isolate is comprised primarily of amino acids.
Note: Some also consider egg whites to be a useful form of protein supplement. However, it is not found in powder form; this is why it not included in the list.
Each type of powder has its merits, and some have great synergy with others. Consider what sort of powder supplement would best support your regimen. If you’re having trouble selecting a brand, Top 10 Supps has several lists that rank the best available protein powders on the market.
Creatine is a compound that can help to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides energy for muscle contractions. Some studies, such as this one by the University of Maryland, suggests that creatine improves strength, promotes increased muscle mass, provides short-term energy boosts, and increases power during workouts. Other research counters that creatine may cause a long list of side effects, or that there is not enough evidence to support any conclusions about the benefits. Creatine has also been shown to have no effect on certain individuals. Creatine can be beneficial, but consider the risks before you start to use it.
While it does not necessarily have specific effects on muscle, pre-workout provides benefits like increased energy and improved focus while working out. It helps to push you, so you get the most out of each workout and improve the quality of your performance. Pre-Workout does not always refer to a powder or pill; this could also be a special drink or even a specifically-prepared meal. Despite their benefits, Pre-workout supplements can cause detrimental side effects. Labdoor provides a top list of pre-workout powder brands that offer the right blend of safety and performance.
While supplements can be a great addition to your fitness approach, it is important to remember that these substances do not require FDA approval. Some supplements are made with questionable substances, while others have blends that may interact negatively to cause damage to your body. Researching the brand and ingredients is paramount before making any supplement purchase.