When training for muscle gain we push our bodies to places they haven’t been before. The structure of our routine changes – weights increase and the intensity of workouts increases too.
We understand that in order to build muscle and size we must create a stimulus that challenges us, causing our muscle fibres to breakdown, repair and adapt (grow). Training within our comfort zone will only allow us to maintain our existing level of strength and fitness. By placing more demand on our bodies, it becomes paramount that we are eating the correct foods and taking the right supplements to promote the process of recovery.
SUPPLEMENTS THAT AID MUSCLE GAIN
If you are increasing the intensity of your workouts with a view to pack on muscle and size, consider adding these supplements to your nutrition plan:
Protein is vital for protein synthesis, the process where our muscles grow and adapt. During exercise our muscle fibres break down and protein helps the body to repair these quickly, improving recovery times. Whey protein is also rapidly absorbed and digested making it perfect for post-workout consumption.
Instant BCAA’s are instantised Branched Chain Amino Acids, the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. BCAA’s are believed to help in the process of protein synthesis, as well as reducing muscle soreness and breakdown, making it a perfect supplement during intense muscle building workouts.
Creatine is one of the most ergogenic supplements available. The positive effects of Creatine in relation to increasing size, strength and performance are undisputable. Supplementation helps to increase the resynthesize of ATP, the body’s immediate energy source, enabling you to work at a higher intensity for longer, perfect for explosive sports such as Olympic Weightlifting, powerlifting, and Crossfit.
ZMA is a supplement containing Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 and is thought to help increase natural hormone levels, muscle strength, induce better sleep, aid the immune system and support recovery. When training intensity or frequency is increased, the body, and more specifically the CNS (central nervous system), comes under a lot of stress. Supplementing with ZMA can help to assist recovery and boost quality of sleep (sleep quality and duration is vital for proper muscle and CNS repair).
In addition to the 4 supplements outlined above, it is important to consider the role of carbohydrates. It is widely believed that supplementing with fast-carbohydrates post-workout can influence the uptake and transportation of nutrients to the site of the muscles, when they need it most.
Calories, and building a calorie surplus (where your body expends less calories than it consumes) is also important for size gains. Hard gainers can also benefit from carbohydrate supplements as they represent a quick and easy way to significantly increase calorie intake without having to consume a mountain of food.