The High Performance Handbook
Muscle Supplements

Muscle Building Supplements – Which Are The Most Effective?

In the last article we looked at supplements that were either essential for optimal muscle growth or were at least a worthy option for gaining mass. We continue to look at more muscle building supplements..

Again, I want you to remember that these are still just supplements which means that they are in ‘addition to’, not ‘instead of’, your day to day nutrition and training. They won’t fill in the gaps if you aren’t living the lifestyle required to build muscle fast.

So with that in mind, let’s look at the first supplement …

Boost Testosterone Levels with Natural HGH

ZMA

ZMA is a vitamin and mineral formula used to increase your testosterone levels naturally. The vitamin and mineral formula used in ZMA is zinc monomethionine and magnesium apartate (a more absorbable form than you’d normally find in your standard zinc and magnesium supplements). Most research shows that people training to build muscle fast will be deficient in both of these minerals!

Taking a multivitamin and mineral formula is normally not enough because when the minerals are taken together they compete against each other for absorption. Supplemental ZMA will give a typical ratio of Zinc (30mg), magnesium (450mg) and vitamin B6 (11mg) that is perfect for maximum absorption.

Take ZMA just before bedtime on an empty stomach. Users and studies have also reported this supplement to have a beneficial effect on your sleep!

VERDICT

Boost Testosterone Levels with Natural HGH

= Worth a go. An increase in testosterone is always desirable to help build muscle fast. Try it and see how it works for you. If it doesn’t do much for you then no biggie – It’s cheap enough that you won’t lose sleep over it (excuse the pun!).

EFA’s

Stands for ‘Essential Fatty Acids’. Essential Fatty Acids are responsible for a number of benefits within the body including :-

  • Regulating insulin release
  • Regulates your mood
  • Regulate cholesterol levels
  • Helps to regulate inflammation (Great for preventing aches and pains in heavy lifters)
  • Increases Metabolism
  • Optimal nerve function
  • These are just some of the benefits of EFA’s. They consist of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. Ready for another fitness industry information conflict? There are different views about what the ideal ratio of Omega 3′s to Omega 6′s that you should be consuming is to get the perfect balance of EFAs. You can get both sources from either seeds, oils, foods or muscle building supplements.

    VERDICT

    = EFA’s are essential to your diet but not necessarily an essential ‘supplement’. If you’re a regular oily fish eater you should be ok. Similarly if you would prefer, you can buy seeds such as flax, sunflower, sesame etc and sprinkle them on to your cereal in the morning. Or if you prefer salads, buy the oils and drizzle a little bit on top.

    The options are endless but if you really are struggling to get enough, then you can purchase EFA’s cheaply in various capsule forms as muscle building supplements.

    Weight Gainer

    Most people use weight gainer in the hopes that they will add more quality calories to their diet which in turn will lead to more muscle mass. Although this works in theory, most weight gainers contain ingredients that aren’t of the best quality.

    Normally consisting of simple sugars and low quality protein (there are a couple of exceptions to the rule), weight gainers are generally a sure fire way to gain excessive fat if taken at the wrong times.

    VERDICT

    = The only use I see for the weight gainers you can buy in supplement stores is for post workout nutrition due to the simple sugar content. Even then you can make your own weight gainer that contains better quality ingredients, is far better tasting and for the fraction of the cost that the supplement companies are charging.

    In fact, if you make your own, you can make it with ingredients perfectly suited for whatever time of day it is (complex carbs like porridge oats during the day or simple sugars like Dextrose after a training session). The options are limitless for what you can use in your weight gainer. Some examples include oats, whey protein, dextrose, peanut butter and even ice cream! (only if you’re bulking). Not one of the essential weight lifting supplements – but you should most definitely make your own!

    BCAA’s

    Is short for ‘Branch Chain Amino Acids’ – Proteins are made up of smaller blocks called amino acids. Amino’s come in 2 types : essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids can’t be made by the body so we need to consume these in our diets. BCAA’s are made up of 3 essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine).

    These are the amino acids that are broken down during stressful exercise and are therefore recommended to be ingested during and/or after your workouts to stop the catabolic process (muscle wasting). To add to this, they may also increase protein synthesis which aids in building lean muscle tissue!

    VERDICT

    = Sounds awesome in theory but I didn’t get a whole lot from them. Some would argue that these are essential muscle building supplements and others would argue that they’re optional. The same trend is seen in studies. So again, this supplement is left out there for you to try for yourself and see what it does for you in conjunction with a good diet and the proper training. Another thing to consider is that they are also quite pricey.

    That concludes part 2 of the best muscle building supplements. I was going to leave it there but have decided to add a conclusive third part in which I am going to put all of the muscle building supplements together into various stacks depending on your situation and training phase.

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    Dave and Laura, the owners of the Planet Supplement Nutrition Info & Blog have both battled with weight loss issues until they finally found the plans and products that worked for them. On this website they share their experiences with you.