What Supplements Work to Build Muscle? - The Must-Haves and the Please-Avoids
There are so many sports supplements on the market nowadays, it can be hard to know what to buy with your hard earned cash.
With grand promises belting out from every label and advertisement, promising you lean gains, energy, vitality, and decreased body fat, can they all really work?
The answer is, no.
If a product promises something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t lose twenty-five pounds of fat in two weeks, and you can’t gain twenty pounds of muscle in one month. You have to work for your gains, you have to sweat and grind for strength and muscle increases.
It is that grind that makes the gains all the sweeter when they do come.
So, are all supplements phoney?
There are a few rules to stick to,
as well as a little science you need to bear in mind. You can be well on your way to boosting your performance with the right supplements, in no time at all.
Following are the most important points to bear in mind when trying to gain muscle:
1. Fuel Your Muscles
You have to feed your muscles
the right pre-workout and intra-workout nutrients and supplements in order for you to get the most out of your training.
The last thing you want is to crash and burn halfway through, or even worse, for your workout
to break down hard earned muscle in order to gain fuel!
2. Feed Your Muscles For Recovery and Growth
Following your workouts, you have to saturate your muscles with the correct nutrients and supplements.
This allows them to recover
for the next session, and above all, grow!
Remember you don’t grow when you’re in the gym, you grow when you rest and recover.
So make sure you get plenty of quality nutrition
to keep the muscles stocked with building blocks. Eat, eat, EAT!
3. Set Up the Right Anabolic Environment
Here is the key point. Without a good anabolic environment, you will have no gains.
If you think of the workout as the building site, and proper nutrition as the bricks, you still have no workers to piece the puzzle together. These workers come in the form of hormones. Natural testosterone
and human growth hormone
) are the main anabolic hormones for both males and females.
Lowering stress, getting good rest, and smashing seriously intense workouts
will see you well on the way to boosting your anabolic hormone levels. But there are also some very good supplements out there that can push those levels through the roof.
Yep, rest. It’s no secret that most of your growing comes when your body is at rest.
You should be aiming for at least eight hours of quality, unbroken sleep per night, as well as naps if possible. Above all, listen to your body. If it asks for rest, do it.
Pre-workout can be the most complex time for taking supplements and nutrition. You should have three aims at this point:
- Provide energy and motivation to see you through an intense workout with maximum effect.
- Set the muscles up for optimum training capacity.
- Fuel your muscles with all the nutrients they need for an effective workout.
Creatine has been around for a long time now, and its effectiveness is no longer in question.
Although there are many forms of creatine available, studies always fall back to the original and best, creatine monohydrate, such as Sheer Strength Labs Creatine
, as the best bang for your buck.
Put simply, creatine works, and it does this by two distinct methods:
The creatine-phosphate energy system. Without getting too scientific here, the human body runs on a substance called ATP. During intense exercise, such as lifting weights, the body struggles to replenish its ATP stock, resulting in tiredness, and ultimately, failure. This is where creatine’s role begins. Creatine rushes about like relay runners, ferrying the molecules needed to get the ATP levels re-stocked while pushing you for that extra rep or two. Creatine increases strength endurance.
Creatine also causes rapid initial weight gain in many people. As well as a gain in muscle, due to the shock to the system, the creatine molecules are absorbed by the body and draw with them water and glucose. This results in fuller muscles, which have a larger surface area and, therefore, can push heavier weights.
Arginine is a great little supplement.
It is one of the 22 amino acids that make up proteins. It is found in most protein-containing foodstuffs, but when it is taken in large amounts, as a supplement, such as Sheer Strength NO2
, it takes on a whole new persona.
Arginine, especially as the form L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), relaxes the blood vessels
by elevating nitric oxide levels. When nitric oxide levels elevate, blood flow to the muscles increases, and gives you huge pumps. Arginine has also been shown to be good for the cardiovascular system and elevating HGH levels.
Citrulline Malate is also found in the super nitric oxide (NO) boosting supplement, Sheer Strength NO2
, as well as Sheer Strength Labs Pre-Workout powder
, and is a fairly new wonder supplement
on the market. It is a by-product of arginine breakdown, but taken on its own, can add dramatic benefits to your lifting.
Like arginine, citrulline boosts NO to add to your powerful pump.
Citrulline has also been shown to clear waste products, such as lactic acid, much faster. And it speeds up the creatine system
Ornithine is another amino acid, that works perfectly with the two ingredients mentioned above, and is found in Sheer Strength Labs Pre-Workout powder
. Ornithine partners with arginine effectively, and gives a huge boost to HGH levels, as well as insulin. During a workout, insulin is the hormone responsible for pushing energy into the cells. Ornithine is an extremely potent muscle builder.
Found in Sheer Strength Labs Pre-Workout powder
, beta alanine has a huge reputation
in the gym world. This is for two reasons.
it gives you a huge boost. Beta alanine raises carnosine levels in the muscles, which in turn prevents acid build up, allowing you to lift harder and for longer. Second,
this ingredient has potent physical effects. Beta alanine causes a caffeine-like buzz along with a tingling sensation throughout the entire body. This can be strange at first, but you learn to use it to improve your workouts.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
When you lift weights, your muscles may make use of certain amino acids for energy.
The easiest way for these to be obtained is from the muscles. This situation MUST be avoided!
Supplementing with BCAA’s, such as Sheer Strength BCAA capsules
will help prevent this. BCAA’s may also be taken during and directly after your workout for maximum effectiveness.
you have a window of around 45 minutes
during which your body absorbs nutrients like a sponge. The most important nutrients
to be ingesting at this time are protein and rapidly absorbed carbohydrates, such as maize starch and fruit sugars.
It is highly recommended that you split your Sheer Strength Labs Creatine
monohydrate dose evenly between pre- and post-workout for maximum effectiveness.
Now to Get the Builders In!!!
Now you’ve laid the foundations and supplied the building materials, it’s time to get the workers onto the building site to kick up the gains.
Testosterone is the premier anabolic sex hormone
in the body for both males and females, but it is the main reason men are much larger.
Testosterone increases protein synthesis, equaling muscle growth
, as well as promoting fat burning.
Sheer Strength Labs Testosterone
is an excellent testosterone booster,
packed full of top quality ingredients.
And it’s no secret that zinc is a potent aphrodisiac and sex hormone booster. However, when combined with magnesium and vitamin D, zinc becomes a whole new animal.
This combination dramatically increases testosterone production, giving you more energy for the daytime, more aggression for your lifting, and a better nights sleep for rest and recovery.
Eurycoma Longifolia, or Longjack, is a rare herb, found in Indonesian rainforests, and has been shown to hugely boost libido and associated hormone levels. Longjack is the new Tribulus!
D-Aspartic acid (DAA) is perhaps the most potent testosterone booster
found in Sheer Strength Labs Testosterone
. DAA is an amino acid and has been shown to promote rapid muscle gains, as well as a huge libido boost.
Testosterone boosters should be spread throughout the day
to achieve stable hormone levels.
Burn That Fat!!!
Sheer Strength Labs produces an extremely potent fat burner
in Sheer Strength Thermogenic
What does burning fat have to do with increased muscle?
I hear you ask.
Well, that’s simple, the lower your body fat percentage, the more readily your body will produce testosterone.
That’s right, it’s a beautiful circle, testosterone burns fat, and the reduced fat levels produce more testosterone.
Sheer Strength Thermogenic contains a multitude of high quality ingredients,
such as caffeine, synephrine, yohimbine and forskolin, to strip the fat from your muscles, without giving you any nasty side effects. The carefully thought out balance of ingredients contains substances that actually lower your blood pressure, unlike other fat burners that just leave you feeling wired and edgy. Fat burners should be taken between meals.
So get stuck into the proven Sheer Strength range
today and give your training a boost from all angles.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.