Sports supplements are a big business. They promise to build muscle and improve performance, strength, and speed. Some of these products have been used for years and have evidence supporting their use, while others are new and relatively unknown. In this article, I really feel for newbie lifters. It’s such a common thing to see a young person (Sometimes not so young) who is really keen on building muscle mass, but to be absolutely confused about a few things. And so often it is supplements that they are confused about. And this is fair enough. There is so much rubbish out there on supplements that it’s really hard to gauge what is correct and what is hype.
So I’m going to outline my philosophy when it comes to supplements and list a couple of supplements that I use myself and can personally recommend to you too.
Think about the word supplement for a moment. Most people don’t actually realise what a supplement is and then feel robbed when they realise they got what they should’ve expected. You see, a supplement is just that. It supplements your diet and training regime. While supplements for building muscle mass can definitely help, they will only work if the rest of your program is great.
I like to call this phenomenon the magic pill phenomenon. People think that by just popping a pill or drinking a special shake that their problems will go away or they will instantly skyrocket their results. A great example is my dad. He takes fish oil every day because he read that it helps prevent heart disease. Now, this is true, fish oil has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease. However, if my dad was serious about his health, he would improve his diet and exercise more. But by taking a pill each day, he is satisfied that his health is fine and so he goes along with his normal daily routine.
And the sad thing is that lots of people do this with supplements for building muscle mass. Taking creatine and not working out is not going to make you more muscular. What you need to do instead is first educate yourself. Once you have done this step, you will be on your road to success.
By educating yourself properly, you will learn how to construct a proper diet regime and you will also learn how to train. Once you have these two things in place, you can then start to worry about supplements.
I guess now you’ve heard my little rant about when to use supplements, you actually want to know which supplements to use and which to stay away from. I’m going to give you my 3 favourite supplements. The 3 supplements for building muscle mass that I use myself.
First up is whey protein powder. It’s great for convenience sake and for getting some extra protein into you before and after a workout. Second comes creatine, it’s cheap and is pretty handy for getting a couple of extra percent of results for you. And finally, fish oil is a great way to get your daily fats in you. Since they come in capsule, they are easy to take, so you can monitor how much fat you are getting in your body.
Lipoic acid is also known as alpha-lipoic acid. It is found naturally in the body. One of the things lipoic acid does is to turn blood sugar into energy for the bodys needs. This may help to build muscle glycogen, which is the reason why athletes use lipoic acid. More studies are needed in this area.
It is also an antioxidant that neutralizes harmful free radicals. Unlike other antioxidants, it works in both fat and water, giving it a broad spectrum of action.
Some other muscle building supplements include various amino acids, protein bars, growth hormone, and a huge selection of multi vitamins, all with varying ingredients used to help promote muscle growth. Growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland and is responsible for our growth, particularly during our teenage years when we hit puberty. In time, this hormone slows down, but by if we supplement with it, we can see a large increase in growth in both muscles and sometimes in bone growth as well. This is a popular choice for muscle building supplements, since the results are very stunning and often surprise people with repeated use. Protein bars are a safe and delicious way to help promote muscle growth. So that’s it for this article. By now you should understand how to properly use supplements and which ones get my personal stamp of approval.