Putting on weight, especially when you want that weight to be as much muscle as possible, can be a hard and slow task at the best of times. If you are new to training then you my very well benefit from “newbie gains” due to the new stimulus placed upon your muscles, but for more seasoned gym goers, gains don’t come so easy -which is where supplements can help us on our muscle building journey .
When it comes to building muscle there is of course a few non negotiables we have to make sure we are doing before we start looking at what supplements are going to benefit us. Without the below in place first, supplements will have little to no effect on results.
First things first
When it comes to packing on pounds of muscle, we need to ensure we have got these three things in place
- Structured training programme
- Nutritious and calorie focused diet
Structured training programme
When the goal is to build muscle then your first point of call is a training programme that complements this goal. This means ensuring you are focusing on achieving progressive overload with each and every session, either through increasing weights, reducing rest periods, increasing reps or increasing the muscles time under tension or a mixture of the four.
Your training programme also needs to be specific to you. If your serious about building muscle then picking random exercises out of thin air just won’t cut. Find out which exercises work best for you and your body mechanics and make sure they are the focus of your programme .
Nutritious and calorie focused diet
Next up on the agenda is making sure you are fuelling your body with the right nutrients and sufficient calories to enable the muscle building process to take place. First you will need to calculate your calorie requirements that will have you in a daily calorie surplus (easily done through and online calorie calculator).
Once you have your calorie target, you then need to hit this number through a combination of nutrient dense whole foods, giving you sufficient amounts of protein, carbs, fats and the micro nutrients needed to fuel your body effectively.
Last but not least is consistency. You can have the best training plan and muscle building diet in the world, but if you cant be consistent with it then they are totally useless. Choose a training style and diet plan that you will enjoy and make sure you stick with it long term to see the results from all your hard work.
The finishing touches
Now that you have the above in place, it’s time to look at what supplements can aid in your bulking phase and have you building muscle in no time.
When the goal is to build muscle, you should aim to consume 1.2-2g of protein per KG of bodyweight. Of course, as you got through your bulk, this number will only increase and become increasingly harder to achieve through whole food alone. Being easy and convenient to consume, this is where protein powders can play a vital role in helping your muscled building goals. (1)
One of the most researched supplements on the market, creatine is a must have for those looking to build mass. It’s easy to digest and absorbed into the muscles cells, helping improve muscle recovery, increases strength and boost the muscle building effects of resistance training (2)
Made up from the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, BCAA’s play an important role in helping reduce fatigue during exercise and reducing the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), both of which will help you in training harder for longer and being able to train more frequently (3)
As mentioned above, a wholefoods nutritious diet, should be your focus when it comes to diet, but having a super greens shake is a great insurance policy to have to ensure you are getting all the micronutrients your body needs to help it recover fully from strenuous training and ensure you have all the nutrients required for your muscle to function properly.
- Stark M, Lukaszuk J, Prawitz A, Salacinski A. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1)
- Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1)
- Shimomura 1 Y, Inaguma A, Watanabe S, Yamamoto Y, Muramatsu Y, Bajotto G, Sato J, Shimomura N, Kobayashi H, Mawatari K.. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness.. International journal of sports nutrition and exercise metabolism . 3 (10), p236-234.