There is a major difference between tested supplements that can have a positive effect and those that simply offer marketing excitement when it comes to finding the right muscle building supplements.
Science indicates that the total amount of muscle you can legally cram into your body is about half a pound of muscle per week (read: no steroids). Can you build more than that? Sure. Of course. But, to push beyond average, it requires the correct combination of consistent workouts, healthy diet, and targeted supplementation.
What are the best supplements for building muscles? You can be shocked to find that the list of components that function unequivocally is shorter than you would expect. But, if your target is high efficiency, supplementation can make a real difference here.
What protein supplement is the best for muscle gain?
The base of your muscle-building pyramid is protein powder. Although it is possible to ignore a “food” as having such a significant effect, the findings are undeniable. Weight lifting causes muscle damage and protein is required to help the body heal and repair itself (a process known as muscle protein synthesis or MPS). When you fix broken muscle fibres, they will grow as they grow.
That’s why protein powder of high quality is so beneficial. It’s not about being bulky; it’s about supplying the nutrients you need for your body to help lean muscle growth.
All proteins are composed of amino acids, and some of them are more important for muscle development, including leucine (one of the three BCAAs).
But once you have all the necessary amino acids (there are 9 of them), your body can’t put the amino acids that are “growth” to work. For example, the best option for muscle acquisition would not be collagen, which is a 3-amino acid protein. It’s not so much a matter of “is collagen healthy or not” because it can be, but it’s incomplete on its own and hence unable to use the protein.
You want to eat about 0.8 to 1 gramme of protein per pound of your target body weight in general (so if you want to weigh 180 pounds, you should eat about 150-180 grams of protein per day). This is why the cornerstone of your muscle-building strategy is protein powders; they give a concentrated protein dose that is easy to take. It would be the equivalent of shovelling down 6 chicken breasts a day if you tried to eat 150 grammes of protein.
Whey, casein, milk, or protein from peas are your best choices. Whey is the quickest digesting and casein is slower. You can use milk protein isolates to get the best of both worlds, fast and slow digesting protein (which is what’s found in Ladder Whey), since both come from milk.
If you adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet, or if you are allergic to milk, then your best bet is pea protein. It has the amino acid profile similar to whey and is allergen-free. Most other plants are incomplete proteins and can be rough on your stomach, like rice or hemp. So, always go for the pea protein option if you have the choice between rice or pea protein.
If you have a pre-existing kidney condition, protein is perfectly healthy for your body. Otherwise, you should feel assured that you can comfortably supplement it and not encounter any problems.
How to take it: from any source, aim for about 20 to 40 grammes of protein per meal. Around 2 hours before or after your workout, protein powders are the most convenient. To help promote muscle development, you can also take a slow-digesting protein, such as casein or milk protein isolate, before you sleep.
What other supplements for muscle construction actually work?
Understanding your target is the best way to build a supplement strategy. Some supplements are specifically formulated for strength, endurance, concentration, or recovery to power your body. In each one of those groups, here are the top ingredients.