When you’re trying to gain muscle, there often comes a time where those gains begin to level out and you end up merely maintaining a particular size. It can sometimes feel like, no matter what you add to your diet, you just can’t seem to break through that barrier and that can be incredibly demotivating and exhausting. Changing your exercise routine may help slightly, or even increase the number of workouts you do, but your best bet is to start thinking about what types of things you can add to your diet to give you the boost you need, such as supplements.
This molecule is a very handy addition to your diet and is great for taking before a workout. This is because creatine, which we produce naturally, helps to boost our energy levels, specifically in our muscles. This means that you can use creatine to improve exercise performance, giving your muscles that extra bit of power when normally they would give up and fail. This improves exercise performance means that you have the ability to level up your workouts and increase those muscle gains further as you’ll be working much harder.
If you’re simply struggling to reach your calorie intake limit, which you need to bust through to actually gain weight, there are supplements out there that are used to help pump more calories into your diet. These weight gainers can add hundreds of calories per serving and can be added to meals and drinks, tipping your daily calorie intake over the line. But don’t forget, simply eating more calories isn’t going to help you gain muscle. This has to be part of a balanced and healthy diet including plenty of macro and micronutrients, especially proteins and helpful vitamins like vitamins D, A, and C.
As you’ll likely know, one of the main components to muscle growth is protein. Our bodies naturally break down protein for many different maintenance purposes, so for our body to have enough left over to repair and build up muscle, you’ll need to eat more than it uses for those essential tasks, similar to eating more calories than your intake limit. However, this can be just as difficult, as eating protein-dense foods can be a bit of a drag when done in excessive amounts due to their filling-nature.
Protein powders like whey and pea protein from respected companies like Ingredient Optimized can really help here. This protein selection can be added to your meals and drinks, increasing your protein intake significantly, reducing your need to force yourself to eat too much. Remember though, it’s important to add this to your diet as opposed to substitute anything with it. To gain muscle, you really need a balanced diet, no matter what supplements you take.
This amino acid can be used in a way that is similar to creatine, in that it can improve workout performance. Beta-alanine actually reduces tiredness but that it can also increase the amount of lean muscle gained from working out too. While it’s still not entirely known whether this amino acid specifically bolsters muscle growth or that the added energy it gives you simply allows you to complete some tougher workout sessions. It could also be both. Either way, this is a tried and tested supplement that is definitely worth checking out.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Often shorted to BCAAs, these are found in foods that are rich in protein like fish, meat, eggs, seeds, beans, and lentils. While it’s found in a majority of our diets, many people choose to take BCAAs as a supplement if they aren’t getting enough protein in their diets. Of course, this is similar to using whey protein powders, as it could improve our ability to gain muscle as well as combat loss of muscle too.
This hormone is naturally occurring, and it’s what drives libido within men, as well as create masculine features throughout puberty too. As a predominantly male hormone, testosterone actually helps to repair and build muscle mass and overall strength. There are lots of different effects of testosterone on the human body and sometimes these hormone levels can become unbalanced. As we age, for example, men naturally experience lower levels of testosterone production, which leads to things like muscle loss, making it more difficult to maintain muscle mass through exercise and diet.
Some men also naturally have reduced levels of testosterone production, and there are also certain things in our lives that can impact these levels too such as illness, poor diet, and lifestyle. Excessive consumption of alcohol, sugary and processed foods, and recreational drugs can all harm testosterone levels among other things. If you feel as though you’re having problems with your testosterone levels it’s worth speaking to your doctor as soon as possible for guidance. There are ways to treat this, including testosterone supplements as well as foods that naturally increase T levels.