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Supplements and Muscle Growth: A Guide for Fitness Freaks

Supplements and Muscle Growth: A Guide for Fitness Freaks

If you often wonder about what it takes to build muscle mass, then you are not alone. This is food for thought for a lot of people irrespective of age group and gender. While most people are aware that the body requires the right amount of protein to build muscles, there is comparatively less awareness about the whole picture. To gain good muscle mass and strength, one needs the right amount of water, calories and other nutrients. These components include amino acids, beta-alanine, magnesium, carbohydrates, and Vitamin D3.

Resistance-based training like weight lifting puts a high amount of strain on the muscles. With time, the muscles learn to adapt and gain strength. 

In this article, we have included important information about supplements and muscle growth in a simplified manner. 

Factors that lead to muscle gain

Before we list down the most ideal supplements for muscle growth, let's check out the factors that lead to muscle gain. 

  • Nutrition: They say healthy bodies are made in the kitchen. What one eats constitutes an essential part of one's bodybuilding routine. A balanced diet will aid your body while it trains and even while it recovers. 
  • Training: Adequate weight training aids the pushes one's body into an adaptive state. It creates new and stronger muscle tissue. Hence, it is important to ensure that one's exercise routine has a good amount of weight training in it. 
  • Recovery:  As much as training, recovery is equally important. Often people ignore the importance of recovery and that leads to fatigue and injuries that take a long time to heal. Giving your body the opportunity to rest and recuperate is significant in order to build muscles.

Why should one support muscle gain with the right supplements?  

The road to building muscles should begin with one's diet. It is important to ensure one's intake of protein with every meal. Also, one should meticulously include lean wholefood sources like seafood, fish, eggs, poultry and low-fat dairy in their diet to hit the right amount of protein. Quality sources of protein can bring a world of difference!   

What are the best supplements that help in muscle building? 

Here is a list of supplements that help in building muscles safely and effectively: 

Protein: 

Proteins are a wide group of large molecules. Amino acids mix with each other to form an array of protein structures that support the cells and perform different sets of functions throughout one's body. Protein is very important for the growth of muscles. Resistance exercise breaks the muscles and the body uses amino acids to repair this damage. Studies indicate that the effectiveness of protein supplements lead to mixed results. 

Protein supplementation when combined with weight training increased fat-free mass in adults but had no significant muscle strength. In the year 2018, the British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed data from more than 1,500 people who had taken up resistance training for at least a span of 6 weeks. These researchers concluded that dietary protein supplementation causes a noticeable increase in muscle strength and size.   

Overall, the study suggested that protein supplementation can help build muscle in people across ages. Dietary protein supplementation is far more effective. If in any case protein intake through meat and dairy is not possible, one can take care of their protein intake via various protein shakes and bars available in the market these days. For the growth of muscles, one needs to consume more than 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.


List of protein-rich food items

Here is a comprehensive list of food items that are rich in protein: 

  • Red meat 
  • Eggs 
  • Poultry including chicken, turkey and duck 
  • Beans
  • Tofu 
  • Dairy products like yoghurt, milk and cheese 

Creatine: 

Creatine is produced in the human body by kidneys, liver and pancreas. Muscles store creatine throughout the body. This aids several parts of the body like the muscles. It plays a vital role in physical performance and muscle growth. This compound is present in foods such as fish and meat and can be consumed orally. 

According to a study conducted by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine monohydrate, which is the most well-known form of creatine, is the most effective supplement for enhancing muscle mass and helping one exercise better. 

It is an ergogenic supplement that is a key indicator of its performance-enhancing abilities. Several studies have revealed that creatine performance can improve exercise performance over time including in resistance training. 

A review comprising 22 different studies have indicated that when compared to placebo, creatine supplementation led to an increase in the maximum amount of weight an individual could lift by 8%. The frequency had also risen by 14%.

Thus, creatine supplementation can lead to a better increase in muscle mass by improving exercise performance over time. While it is not compulsory to take more than 3-5 grams of creatine on a daily basis, some individuals find an "initial loading phase" helpful. This might mean taking around 0.3 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight every day for at least 3-4 days. 


        List of creatine-rich food items:

  • Salmon 
  • Chicken 
  • Milk 
  • Cranberries 
  • Cheese 
  • Pumpkin Seeds 
  • Eggs 
  • Walnuts 
  • Almonds 

Caffeine: 

Caffeine is one of the most popular natural stimulants that can be found in a variety of drinks including tea and coffee. Many people use caffeine for alertness and focus. It is a little-known fact that it can also help with enhancing exercise performance.  Caffeine is another example of an ergogenic supplement. Several studies have found that caffeine can help in increasing performance in a variety of sports like swimming. However, it is still a little unclear whether caffeine can help with weight training. A recent study has hinted that consuming around 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight can help one do some exercises better like bench press and squats.  

List of foods rich in caffeine: 

  • Coffee 
  • Tea 
  • Chocolates
  • Matcha 
  • Cereals
  • Protein Bars 
  • Mints 

Muscle building is a quite slow process. It requires consistent efforts in the form of training and diet. Maintaining a healthy and good lifestyle and adequate protein consumption adds to this process. Since there is not enough evidence that can prove the role of the supplements available in the market, one should be careful about claims that any supplement can have a significant or immediate effect on anybody's performance or muscle growth.

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