Muscle building has so many benefits. Not only does it increase your strength, make you look good and boost your confidence, it also helps prevent injury. There are so many supplements out there claiming to help you build more muscle faster, but which ones are the best? Ready? Here we go.
What is Creatine?
What Does Creatine Do?
- Creatine increases lean muscle mass and strength when used in conjunction with lifting.
- Creatine may increase the amount of weight you’re able to put up and the reps you’re able to do.
Is Creatine Supplementation safe and does it have any Side Effects?
Creatine is generally well-tolerated and safe for most people. Young, developing teens should avoid it because further research is needed to confirm that it’s safe for them. There have been some reports of stomach pain and/or nausea when taking creatine, but these effects can be lessened or eliminated with proper dosing. Creatine slightly increases the level of creatinine in the blood. Elevated creatinine can be a marker for kidney disease, so taking creatine could potentially result in a false positive when screening for it. Don’t worry, creatine does not damage the kidneys when dosed properly, but those with pre-existing kidney disease should avoid supplementation.
What is the best form of Creatine to Take?
The most studied and popular form of creatine is creatine monohydrate. Stick with it because its safety has been tested rigorously and it’s well-absorbed.
The recommended dose for creatine is loading 20 grams per day for the first 5 days and then less than or equal to 3 grams per day moving forward. Be careful not to exceed this dose as it could potentially have a detrimental effect on the kidneys.
The Bottom Line on Creatine
Creatine is one of the most well-researched and effective muscle building supplements out there. It can increase lean muscle mass and help you lift more. Creatine been used for decades and is worth trying if you haven’t done so already. It doesn’t work for everyone, but creatine’s potential benefits, safety profile and price make it worth a shot.
What is Beta Alanine and what does it Do?
Beta Alanine is an amino acid that increases the levels of carnosine in muscle tissue. Carnosine helps neutralize the lactic acid released in your muscles when you lift. Increased acidity contributes to muscle fatigue, so supplementing Beta Alanine to reduce that acidity can help you push past your threshold and lead to bigger gains.
Is Beta Alanine safe and does it have any Side Effects?
Beta Alanine appears safe when dosed correctly. Some people have reported a tingling sensation in their extremities with bigger doses. Even if this happened to you, it would only be temporary. If you do notice a tingling sensation, cut and/or split up the dose or opt for an extended release supplement.
Beta Alanine Dosing
The recommended dose for Beta Alanine is 4-6 grams per day. If you experience tingling, you can divide your dose into 800 milligrams-1.6 grams and spread it out throughout the day.
The Bottom Line on Beta Alanine
Beta Alanine can reduce workout fatigue and allow you to put up more weight, which would help you build more muscle faster. Combining it with creatine could also enhance its muscle-building properties. Given Beta Alanine’s safe side effect profile, it’s worth a shot as it’s relatively inexpensive (especially when bought in bulk).
Protein is the building block of your cells and muscles. By lifting heavy weight, you’re basically tearing your muscle fibers with the intention of them bouncing back stronger. Feeding them enough protein through your diet is essential for this.
Is Whey Protein Really Necessary?
If you’re not getting adequate protein from your diet, it may be worth supplementing whey protein or something like pea protein if you don’t consume dairy. The recommended daily protein intake to maximize muscle protein synthesis is 1.3-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. So using an average weight of 195 pounds (89 kilograms), the optimal dose range would be from 115-160 grams of protein per day. Keep in mind that you need more protein when lifting than you do for just cardio by itself.
Do you Really need Protein Right After your Workout?
One school of thought is that the timing of supplemental protein is crucial and you should take it right after you lift. Many people believe in taking whey protein right after the gym for that reason – the protein is more rapidly absorbed when compared to say a chicken breast. If you workout in the morning or afternoon, then timing doesn’t matter and taking a scoop of whey protein right after your workout won’t make a difference. However, if you workout in the evening, take a scoop of whey (or pea) protein right after lifting (to help with overnight recovery) and another one when you wake up.
There are several other supplements on the market that claim to help build muscle. HMB is one in particular that’s showing promise, especially for athletes training in combat sports, but more testing needed to determine whether it and other supplements are safe and effective in terms of maximizing gains for people looking to improve their results in the gym.