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Maximizing Muscle Growth with Supplements: A Guide to the Most Effective Options

Supplements can provide a powerful boost to your muscle growth during your building season, but with so many options available, it can be difficult to know which ones are truly worth your time. In this post, I will share the supplements that have proven to be the most effective and evidence-based for myself and my clients.

But before diving into the world of supplements, it's important to note that they cannot substitute for inadequate training or nutrition. They are not a shortcut to success. Even the strongest supplement, anabolic steroids, will not yield magical results without proper training and nutrition.

To achieve your fitness goals, it's essential to train hard, nourish your body sufficiently, and get enough sleep. Incorporating certain supplements can be helpful in supporting your progress. Each of the supplements I am sharing plays a unique and critical role in taking your fitness journey to the next level.

My personal favorite & most evidence-based supplement: CREATINE

Have you ever wondered how creatine works? It helps your body produce ATP at a faster rate, providing your muscles with enough energy to complete an extra rep. By increasing your muscle's energy levels, you can lift heavier weights, increase endurance, reduce fatigue, and improve recovery. Creatine has also been found to improve cognitive function and memory.

If you're new to taking creatine, there are two ways to get started. You can either start with a loading phase, taking 20 g for the first four days, and then drop down to 5 g per day for maintenance. Alternatively, you can take 5 g of creatine every day, and your cells will be saturated within a few weeks. However, it's essential to stay hydrated when taking creatine, as it will pull water into your cells and result in a small weight increase of 4-6 lbs. Don't worry; this is just water weight, not fat or muscle.

Creatine is a game-changer for anyone looking to maximize their workout regime. You can try the brand I use and recommend by clicking here.

Now this one may shock you: VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy skeletal muscle function, muscle repair, and muscle contractions. However, this crucial vitamin is often overlooked. For individuals living in the Northeast, vitamin D levels can be challenging to maintain during the winter months without a supplement. Nevertheless, vitamin D deficiency affects around 42% of Americans, and symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness, cramping, hair loss, bone loss, and mood changes - all detrimental to protein synthesis or muscle building.

Maintaining vitamin D at a level of 30 ng/mL is optimal for muscle health. If you're unsure about your vitamin D levels, it's best to speak with your doctor and request a vitamin D test.

For those considering vitamin D supplements, check your multivitamin first, as it may already contain vitamin D.

If you're looking to supplement with vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D, I recommend taking around 4,000 IU per day. Check out this third-party certified product by clicking here.

If you've watched my content for a while this one is a given: PROTEIN POWDER

When it comes to building muscle, proper repair and recovery after a heavy lifting session is crucial. Rest and sleep are essential, but post-workout nutrition, particularly adequate protein, is equally important. Unfortunately, most individuals are undereating protein, hindering their ability to achieve optimal muscle gains and recovery.

If you can consume enough protein through whole foods, then there's no need for supplementation. However, if you consistently fall short of your daily protein goal, this is where supplements come in. While I only take protein on days when I need it, it's a handy resource to help me hit my protein target on those busy and hectic days.

Getting enough protein in your diet can mean the difference between successful muscle growth and mediocre results. As such, I highly recommend a high-quality protein product I personally use and trust, to shop this product, click here.

The devil in the dose with this one: PRE-WORKOUT

Pre-workout supplements are a hot topic in the fitness industry, with many containing excessive additives and caffeine doses that surpass the daily recommended intake. The effects of pre-workout supplements can help or hinder your performance depending on their usage.

The two main benefits of pre-workouts are that they contain caffeine, which boosts energy levels and helps you push through challenging workouts. Secondly, they typically contain beta-alanine, which increases blood flow, leading to improved oxygenation of the muscles.

However, I personally have to use them sparingly for a few reasons. For one, I am sensitive to caffeine and try to limit my intake to prevent anxiety. Additionally, consuming high levels of caffeine before bed affects sleep quality, which can negatively impact recovery and hinder muscle growth.

Here are my recommendations for using pre-workout supplements:

  • Only use pre-workout when necessary, such as on days when you require an extra push to complete your workout.

  • Take pre-workout early in the day to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.

  • Start with a half scoop if you are new to pre-workout supplements.

Overall, pre-workout supplements can be an effective tool when used in moderation. If you are interested in trying out a product, here is a brand that I personally use. Click here.

This one is for my plant-based athletes: BCAAs

As an athlete following a plant-based diet, you may find it difficult to meet your leucine targets. Unlike animal-based protein sources that are complete proteins and contain all the amino acids, most plant-based protein sources do not. With the exception of some food sources such as soy and quinoa. Therefore, it's essential to pair your protein sources with other plant sources and consume foods such as pairing beans with rice, to ensure you get all the amino acids. Also, most plant-based sources of protein tend to be low in leucine content, which is critical for muscle growth.

BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, can help fill in dietary gaps for those following a plant-based diet. These supplements tend to have a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine, providing more leucine than other amino acids.

While BCAAs may be unnecessary for those who consume enough total protein from whole animal-based sources throughout the day, plant-based athletes may find them beneficial. As a former vegan and vegetarian, BCAAs are a supplement I use to use regularly.

If you're interested in trying this supplement, I highly recommend the product I've linked HERE. For optimal results, take it on days you lift after your workout.

With so many supplements available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to take. As someone who's passionate about fitness, I recommend the above supplements to help you along your journey. However, keep in mind that these are only a small piece of the puzzle, and without the proper training and nutrition, they may not produce significant results.


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