No matter how hard you work your muscles, you can’t expect to get big in the gym if you’re not including the proper foods and supplements in your diet. The workouts you do are only part of the equation. You need to learn how to use wholesome foods and smart supplements to fuel your body and recover it properly.
Not sure how to do this?
Don’t worry – you don’t need to obsess over all the different kinds of workout supplements out there. Just focus on using the seven items listed below and keep pushing yourself in the gym.
1. Protein Powder
You probably already know how important protein is for muscle growth. But, the protein you get from meats, beans, or complimentary proteins isn’t always the best way to build your muscles.
Solid foods take time to process in the body. Using protein powder, though, allows your body to absorb this nutrient in a much faster manner. Not to mention, you can usually get more protein out of one protein shake than one meal with lean protein in it.
If you’re vegan/vegetarian, explore all the plant-based protein powders out there for you. Some of them come with additional workout supplements mixed in for faster recovery and growth. You can also checkout standard whey protein options if dietary restrictions don’t apply to you.
Just as you need to take protein as soon as you finish your workout, you should be drinking preworkout as you warm up and even before you walk into the gym.
Preworkout helps give your muscles a pump without you having to do any lifting. This makes your muscles work as hard as they can once you actually get to work.
You should still make time for stretching and warming up even when drinking preworkout. This protects your muscles and gets your mind focused on the workout of the day.
Also, keep in mind not all preworkout has caffeine in it. Some people love the caffeine while others would rather cut back on how much they drink.
Up next on the list is creatine. This is another workout supplement focused on aiding the recovery process.
Creatine occurs naturally in the body but at small doses. When you take a concentrated form of it, you’re basically putting the muscle repair process into overdrive. It’s a great way to recover when you’re on a heavy lifting routine day in and day out.
Glutamine also appears in the body on its own, but your natural production of this substance can’t do everything for you. You need a glutamine powder/liquid concentrate to help you maintain your current muscle mass and keep growing.
Your body uses its natural source of glutamine in stressful situations – i.e. when you’re working out and creating small tears in your muscles. So, replenishing your glutamine source with a workout supplement keeps the muscles from slowing down during recovery and it helps your long-term growth efforts, too.
If you really understand how proteins work, it should be easy to see the value of taking BCAAs after a workout. BCAAs are Branched-Chain Amino Acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
The more amino acids you have in your system, the less effort the body has to put into making enough for the proteins your muscles need after a workout. Drinking a protein shake with BCAAs is the best way to take both supplements. This allows your body to get full proteins right away and to make more in a shorter amount of time than normal.
Once you understand the basics of using workout supplements, you can start mixing in more advanced tools like beta-aline and nitric oxide boosters.
These aren’t absolutely necessary if you’re just going to the gym to support heart health and quality of life. But if you’re preparing for a figure show or want to become as buff as you possibly can, continue expanding your knowledge of the top workout supplements as well as what movements work best in the gym.
As far as beta-aline goes, this is a must-have supplement for fast recovery. It helps balance the acids that build up in your muscles when working out and protects them from reaching levels of acidity that are too high.
The acids your body creates when working out aren’t harmful to your overall health, but they can make you really sore. If you’ve ever used a foam roller, you know how this build-up can feel. Your muscles become tight and it takes a much longer time to recover, and the release of these toxins requires more effort, too.
The better thing to do is avoid that build-up altogether with beta-aline.
7. Nitric Oxide Boosters
Last but not least, nitric oxide boosters.
There are a handful of different nitric oxide boosters out there, and each has a slightly different effect on the body worth learning more about. In fact, you can see more here to discover how nitric oxide boosters benefit more than just your workouts.
The overall purpose of taking these workout supplements, though, is to increase satellite cell production. Satellite cells are basically the “first responders” when your muscles tear and need new proteins to grow. They kickstart the protein synthesis process to recover from a workout and gain more mass.
Discover What Workout Supplements Can Do for You
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the science behind how workout supplements benefit the body. As important as this information is, the best way to learn about workout supplements is to actually start taking them and see what they can do for yourself!
For other workout tips and tricks to get your body into its ideal shape, click here.