There are two main components of bodybuilding:
- Training routine
- Feeding yourself the right nutrition.
Packing lean muscle mass does not depend on the amount of weight you lift at the gym but the food you feed it throughout the day. That’s the reason bodybuilders and powerlifters are always indulged in planning the right meal.
There are some supplements that have been scientifically proven to have positive effects on muscle health and the development of lean muscle tissues.
Before we start talking about the list of supplements that can actually help you gain lean muscle mass it's essential to understand this: Supplements are called supplement because they need to be “supplemented” with proper macronutrients and whole food.
7 Supplements That Will Help You Pack Lean Muscle Mass
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements that has been widely used by professional athletes at all levels.
Creatine is a natural supplement that is already present in our bodies, its primary role is to generate more ATP (a key molecule that muscle cells use for energy and all basic life functions).
Creatine is naturally found in red meat, pork, chicken, salmon, eggs, etc. but it’s not always possible to fulfill the body’s creatine requirement through dietary foods items, that’s when supplements come into play.
A meta-analysis of twenty-two studies with 721 participants to investigate the effectiveness of creatine supplementation on lean tissue mass and muscular strength found positive effects on the overall strength and muscle mass.
Another meta-study that reviewed 100 studies found positive benefits of creatine supplementation on exercise performance and lean body mass. Although analysis also suggests that supplementing with creatine was not helpful in improving the performance of running and swimming.
How does creatine assist in Muscle building?
- It improves power generation
- Improve high-intensity exercise performance
- Speeds muscle growth
No need to follow the creatine loading phase, sticking to 5 grams creatine per day is the best and reliable strategy.
Optimum dosage: 3-5 grams on a daily basis.
2# Whey Protein
When it comes to building lean muscle mass nothing can beat the effectiveness of whey protein supplement. Whey is an excellent source of high quality protein that has proven to be a reliable source of amino acids that is packed with all the essential, semi-essential, and non-essential amino blend.
Whey protein is a milk-based protein supplement that is easily absorbed, in fact, whey protein has got the best absorption rate when compared to other protein sources (egg protein, pea protein, soy protein, etc).
Another study conducted to investigate the effect of whey protein on body composition. It was found to be beneficial in promoting weight loss while increasing muscle mass.
How does whey protein improve lean muscle gain:
- It improves the protein synthesis and recovery process.
- It’s easy to digest which makes it one of the best sources of protein in the post-workout meal.
- Whey is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine. Leucine is the most growth-promoting (anabolic) amino acid.
- A protein shake at bedtime enhances your quality of sleep because of the presence of Tryptophan, it’s a neurotransmitter that regulates your appetite, sleep, and mood (4).
Optimum dosage: 20-30 grams twice a day.
BCAAs are said to be the cleanest lean muscle building supplement that has been used by athletes to preserve muscle mass while extensive workout sessions.
BCAA comprises three individual essential aminos: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAA is naturally present in our muscle tissues in a 2:1:1 ratio.
Our body doesn't have the ability to produce “Essential Amino Acids” on its own, that means we need to consume BCAAs through dietary foods or supplements.
Food items that are naturally rich in BCAAs: milk, beef, chicken, fish, soy protein, eggs, beans. Problem is these food items are not a clean source of BCAAs and contain other macronutrients too.
Multiple studies have found BCAAs an effective supplement to improve the body composition in a multidimensional way, it assists in improved muscle protein synthesis, fuels muscle tissues, supplies essential hydration and supports a quick recovery (7, 8, 9).
Dosage: 5 grams of BCAA while intense workout is a practical approach to prevent muscle catabolization.
10 grams of BCAA post-workout session can increase the rate of protein synthesis.
4# Testosterone boosters
Testosterone is one of the key hormones in the bodybuilding industry, it has got the ability to drastically improve body composition and muscle size.
We are not talking about illegal drugs, we are talking about natural herbs that have been proven effective to improve natural testosterone levels.
Mother earth has blessed us with few herbs that can dramatically improve the testosterone levels in men, that too without any side-effects. Some of these natural herbs are being used for thousands of years to improve testosterone and libido levels,
Some of the best natural test boosters herbs are:
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Horny goat weed
- Tongkat Ali
Using a good blend of these natural herbs might work wonders in increasing athletic performance and muscle gains.
5# Citrulline malate:
Any pre-workout supplement is incomplete with Citrulline malate.
Supplementing with citrulline malate increases the blood nitric oxide which acts as a vasodilator to deliver more oxygenated blood to the target muscle.
Increased levels of nitric oxide assist in the better supply of energy, muscle pump, recovery, and growth.
How does citrulline malate help in muscle building?
- It promotes vasodilation which has been proven to improve muscle size.
- Better blood flow means a better supply of nutrients to the muscle tissues.
- Better flow also allows you to complete those extra reps.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that has been proven beneficial for reducing fatigue by eliminating lactic buildup. It’s also one of the most common pre-workout ingredients that is known for its tingling effect.
The major function of beta-alanine is to trigger the production of Carnosine. Carnosine helps in flushing out the lactic buildup while intense training routines, it’s especially beneficial while HIIT and heavy lifting days.
Unlike other amino supplements that directly influence the muscle-building process, beta-alanine helps you get those extra reps that are crucial for growth.
Overall, it’s a clean supplement that will improve your exercise quality and endurance to gain that extra edge while workout.
Optimum dosage: 3-5 grams.
Gut health is something most of the people are neglecting but your gut microbiome can actually help in gaining lean muscle mass. Scientists from National Taiwan Sport University reported the benefits of Lactobacillus plantarum TWK10 Supplementation Improves Exercise Performance and Increases Muscle Mass.
Data indicated the beneficial effects of probiotic supplementation in improving strength and endurance.
Probiotics also helps in improving the nutrient absorption which has a direct impact on body composition.
Lean muscle building is a slow process that requires consistent training and nutrition planning. Supplements are designed to supplement additional nutrients that are hard to get through diet, they are not produced to replace natural food.
Choosing the right supplements can surely provide an edge to see accelerated results but you can’t expect them to do all the hard work for you.
Additional tips to gain lean muscle fast:
- Balancing the macronutrients is an essential part of experiencing accelerated results.
- The post-workout meal should contain a blend of simple carbs + high quality protein.
- A pre-workout meal should never be neglected, it’s a meal that is going to fuel your workout. A pre-workout meal should contain a mix of slow-digesting carbs with some protein to provide a sustained amount of energy.
- A casein protein shake before bed has been shown to support accelerated recovery, better sleep quality, and prevent muscle catabolization.
- Gut health should never be neglected, it’s where nutrients get absorbed. Supplementing with good probiotics can benefit lean muscle gains.
- High stress can trigger fat gain and muscle loss. Keeping stress under control is another variable that you should be taking care of.