If you’re new to intensive strength training and muscle building, or if you’ve been at it for a while and are looking to enhance your gains, you’ve probably given some thought to trying out dietary supplements to help boost your attempts to increase your muscle mass. There are a lot of options out there on the market, and you may be wondering which ones would actually work for you, or if any of them are hoaxes, or even outright dangerous to take. Well, you’ll be glad to know that there are many tried and true supplements out there that can help you reach your goals.
However, remember that you must still put in the work into your workouts and routines and, if you have any preexisting health conditions or are on any medications, always consult your doctor regarding any new supplements you’re considering taking to double check they won’t interact with anything else you may have going, on or medications that you may be taking.
Benefits Of Taking Supplements
The wonderful thing about the best supplements is that they help augment chemicals that already exist in your body. As the name implies, supplements are simply supplementing what’s already in you and the food you eat. Now, because of this, there is an incredibly wide range of options available to you, so it can be a little intimidating to first step into the world of vitamins and supplements. After all, how is the average consumer to know what something like magnesium or amino acids is good for? In your case, you’re working with a specific focus in mind, which helps narrow down your options.
So, what can these supplements do for you? Well, supplements can come with many benefits, including:
1. Increase Muscle Mass
The standard supplement that comes to mind for those focused on strength training are likely protein powders. Protein powders allow you to maximize the amount of protein you’re putting into your body, even if you’re already on a protein-rich diet, and any extra protein is just more protein your body can put to use in the construction of more muscle.
It’s worth noting that some folks will see more obvious benefits than others depending on how much protein they already had incorporated into their diet, and how much muscle mass they had already built before beginning supplements. Regardless, by focusing on nutrition, you can maximize the amount of mass you’re gaining through your hard work.
2. Increase The Rate Of Muscle Gain
Supplements such as Serious Mass Optimum Nutrition can not only increase the amount of muscle you gain, but also the rate at which you develop it. As seasoned muscle builders know, a key step in building muscle that is oft-neglected by those new to the process is resting your muscles. New muscle fiber does not develop during the workouts themselves, but during the time between workouts.
During workouts, you’re creating micro-tears in the muscle fiber of whichever muscle groups you’re targeting and then, as your muscles are at rest, your body is working to fill in those micro-tears with new muscle fiber. What supplements can do is make that process more efficient so that while you have your well-earned rest days in between a few days of intensive strength-building, your body is able to build more muscle fiber at a faster rate than it had been previously.
3. Increase Your Energy Levels
Many supplements, both those marketed for muscle gain and those marketed for general health and well-being, can increase the energy you experience day-to-day. When it comes to muscle gain, the more energy you have, the harder you can work out and the greater the results of your workouts. Apart from the benefits for your muscle gain goals, you may be able to experience greater levels of energy throughout your day and throughout all you do.
4. Increase Muscle Strength
While we often presume muscle bulk automatically correlates with muscle strength, not all muscle operates equally. You will still have increased strength overall with more muscle fiber, but the muscles themselves can go through periods of weakness or strength. Luckily, studies show that some supplements, like creatine, can increase the strength of the muscles themselves, which means increased endurance and, consequently, greater future muscle mass as you’ll be able to go harder for longer.
5. Compensates For Any Nutritional Holes In Your Diet
For many of us, when we go in to our primary care physicians for our annual check-ups and physicals, our doctors will often tell us that some of our vitamin levels are lower than they would like. That’s not to say our vitamin levels are dangerously low, but it can mean that we experience symptoms such as fatigue. Despite the care many of us take with what we eat, sometimes stuff still fall through the gaps—after all, bodies are complicated machines and there are a lot of bits and pieces that most of us will never really know are going on. That’s why there’s such a big market for vitamin supplements and why it’s worth considering adding them to your healthcare routine, especially if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Vitamin supplements can help us reach our peak forms and holistically improve our physical health.
Things To Remember
In order to increase your muscle mass and muscle strength, you obviously have to put in the work. This means going hard at home or the gym, pushing yourself past your old limits, and setting graduating goals in order to see tangible progress over time. Taking supplements is not a substitute for the actual work but they can be an excellent addition to your preexisting routine and support not only your goals for muscle gains, but also your overall health.
It would be a lie to say that there aren’t some sketchy companies out there promoting products that either don’t deliver on their promises or may be outright harmful, but those products are vastly outnumbered by all of the legitimate supplements out there that are just waiting for you.
When in doubt, consider consulting your primary care physician, a fitness trainer or a nutritional specialist before incorporating any supplements into your diet and routine. These experts can help you figure out which supplements would work best for you based on your goals, your current diet, and your current state of health. Once you’re armed with any advice or information you need, you can begin your journey into the world of supplements and start getting those gains.