When you’re trying to bulk up, your body needs extra nutrients to create new muscle and repair the tissues that get damaged when you lift weights. That’s why most bodybuilders and athletes chug protein powder before and after a workout. But with thousands of unique protein supplements on the market—not to mention creatine, BCAAs, and others—how do you know which ones do the best job of building up that muscle mass fast?
If you’ve been lifting for a while, it probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that there are many great supplements for muscle growth. Your best bet is to start with a high-quality whey protein and then work in creatine, BCAAs, and glutamine as you see fit. Here are a few key supplements that will be helpful in your bulking quest, no matter if you’re going for no-holds-barred gains or a clean bulk with the goal of toning.
Whey Protein Isolate
First up: protein. You already know that protein is necessary for muscle-building because it contains small chains of amino acids that your body turns into muscle fibers. Without it, the body wouldn’t have the materials it needs to create muscle from scratch. It’s a good idea to incorporate a whey protein powder into your routine either 15 to 20 minutes before you work out or within a half-hour after you’re done.
But not all protein is created equal. Whey protein isolate is one of the purest forms of whey protein you can find, offering more protein for lower calories compared to other kinds, such as whey protein concentrate. If you’re trying to clean bulk or cut while still toning up and creating some muscle mass, then you’re going to want to consider a whey protein supplement like Isomorph 28 Pure Whey Isolate by APS.
Creatine is the second most important supplement you need when you’re working on gaining lean muscle mass. This substance—which is made from the three amino acids glycine, methionine, and arginine—is a molecule that’s naturally produced by the body, providing energy for your muscles and tissues to grow. Bodybuilders like to supplement with creatine because taking it in supplement form can increase the body’s creatine content by as much as 40 percent.
Mesomorph by APS Nutrition contains creatine nitrate.
Creatine is vital to those who spend time in the weight room because it increases the amount of energy available in your muscles, helping you push yourself further at the gym. On top of that, creatine also boosts your muscles’ water content, swelling them and kickstarting the body’s muscle-production phase. There have been multiple studies proving that creatine leads to muscle gains, so it’s definitely not something you want to skip if you’re trying to gain lean mass.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs for short, are a group of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are essential amino acids, meaning that the body cannot produce them so they must be obtained through food or supplements. These heavy-lifting acids are amazing because they stimulate muscle synthesis (the process of making muscles), preparing the body to make big gains.
Off the Chain features essential amino acids, including BCAAs.
Not only that, but BCAA supplements can aid in muscle recovery and decrease soreness, so you can push yourself further at the gym. Interestingly, studies have also shown that taking BCAA supplements can prevent protein from breaking down (wasting), so they can help maintain and protect the muscle mass you’ve worked so hard to build up over time.
Glutamine is an amino acid that delivers fuel to the muscles to help grow tissue faster. Studies show that taking glutamine can help improve physical performance and boost muscle growth, so it’s worth a try if you find that you’ve hit a plateau or are slowing down at the gym. Your body uses a lot of glutamine when you work out, so you’re going to need a little extra when you’re aiming for big gains.
The Best Muscle Building Supplements
There are so many different supplements you can take to provide the body with all the essentials it needs to build muscle fast. Be sure to explore all of our strength and muscle supplements to discover some powerful new formulas that are tailored to your unique fitness goals.