If you exercise regularly, you likely want to be sure you’re getting the most out of it.
One important benefit of exercise is gaining muscle and strength. Having a healthy amount of muscle allows to you to perform your best during exercise and daily life.
Three main criteria must be met for maximal muscle gain: eating more calories than you burn, consuming more protein than you break down and an exercise program that is challenging to your muscles (1, 2, 3).
While it’s possible to meet all these criteria without taking dietary supplements, certain supplements may help you meet your goals.
The 6 supplements listed below may help you gain more muscle with your exercise program.
Creatine is a molecule that’s produced naturally in your body. It provides energy for your muscles and other tissues.
This is good news if you’re trying to gain muscle. Greater strength allows you to perform better during exercise, leading to larger increases in muscle mass over time (10).
Creatine can also increase water content in your muscle cells. This may cause your muscle cells to swell slightly and produce signals for muscle growth (11).
Furthermore, this supplement may increase levels of the hormones involved in muscle growth, such as IGF-1 (12).
Moreover, some research shows that creatine could decrease the breakdown of proteins in your muscles (13).
Creatine has also been studied extensively and has an outstanding safety profile (14).
If you are looking for a supplement to help you gain muscle, consider creatine first.
Summary: Creatine is probably the single best supplement for muscle gain. Many studies have confirmed that it can help increase muscle mass.
2. Protein Supplements
Getting enough protein is critical for gaining muscle.
Specifically, to gain muscle, you need to consume more protein than your body breaks down through natural processes (16).
While it’s possible to get all the protein you need from protein-rich foods, some people struggle to do so.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider taking a protein supplement.
There are many different protein supplements available, but some of the most popular are whey, casein and soy protein. Other protein supplements contain protein isolated from eggs, beef, chicken or other sources (17).
However, the effects are probably largest for people who aren’t getting enough protein in their normal diet.
Many people wonder how much protein to eat daily. If you are an active individual trying to gain muscle, 0.5–0.9 grams of protein per pound (1.2–2.0 grams per kg) of body weight may be best (25, 26, 27).
Summary: Consuming enough protein is absolutely essential for optimal muscle gain. However, if you are getting enough protein in your diet, taking a protein supplement is unnecessary.
3. Weight Gainers
Weight gainers are supplements designed to conveniently help you get more calories and protein. They’re typically used by individuals who struggle to gain muscle.
Some people find it hard to gain muscle, even when consuming large amounts of calories and lifting weights (28).
Although the calorie contents of weight gainer supplements vary, it’s not uncommon for them to contain over 1,000 calories per serving.
Many people think these calories come from protein since it’s so important for muscle building. However, most of the calories actually come from carbs.
There are often 75–300 grams of carbs and 20–60 grams of protein per serving of these high-calorie supplements.
While these products can help you consume more calories, it’s important to realize that there is nothing magical about weight gainer supplements.
Some research in physically inactive adults has shown that drastically increasing calories can increase lean mass like muscle, as long as you eat enough protein (29).
However, research in adults who weight trained indicated that consuming a weight gainer supplement may not be effective for increasing lean mass (28).
Overall, weight gainers are only recommended if you are struggling to eat enough food and you find it easier to drink a weight gainer shake than eat more real food.
Summary: Weight gainers are high-calorie products designed to help you consume more calories and protein. However, they are only recommended if you struggle to get enough calories from food.
Additionally, beta-alanine may help increase muscle mass if you are following an exercise program.
One study showed that taking 4 grams of beta-alanine per day for eight weeks increased lean body mass more than a placebo in college wrestlers and football players (32).
Another study reported that adding a beta-alanine supplement to a six-week, high-intensity interval training program increased lean body mass by about 1 pound (0.45 kg) more than a placebo (33).
While more research on beta-alanine and muscle gain is needed, this supplement may help support muscle gain when combined with an exercise program.
Summary: Beta-alanine is an amino acid that can improve exercise performance. Some evidence shows that it may also help increase muscle mass in response to exercise, but more information is needed.
5. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of three individual amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
They are found in most protein sources, particularly those of animal origin like meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and fish.
Just about everyone consumes BCAAs from food every day, but it’s also very popular to take BCAAs as a supplement.
However, other research shows that BCAAs may not produce greater muscle gain in those following an exercise program (38).
It’s likely that BCAA supplements may only benefit you if you are not eating enough high-quality protein in your diet.
Although they may be beneficial if your diet is inadequate, more information is needed before BCAAs are recommended as a go-to supplement for muscle gain.
Summary: Branched-chain amino acids are important for muscle growth. They are found in many foods, and it is unclear if taking them as a supplement is helpful when you already consume enough protein.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a molecule that’s produced when your body processes the amino acid leucine.
HMB is responsible for some of the beneficial effects of protein and leucine in the diet (39).
It may be especially important for reducing the breakdown of muscle proteins (40).
This may mean that HMB is most effective for those who are getting started with exercise or increasing the intensity of their workouts.
Summary: HMB may help increase muscle mass in those who are beginning a weight training program, but it appears to be less effective for those with training experience.
Several other supplements claim to increase muscle mass. These include conjugated linoleic acid, testosterone boosters, glutamine and carnitine.
However, the evidence is mixed.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): CLA refers to a group of omega-6 fatty acids that exert several effects on the body. Studies on CLA for muscle gain have produced mixed results, and it isn’t clear if it’s beneficial (48, 49, 50, 51).
- Testosterone boosters: Testosterone-boosting supplements include D-aspartic acid, tribulus terrestris, fenugreek, DHEA and ashwagandha. It’s likely these compounds only benefit those with low testosterone (52, 53, 54, 55, 56).
- Glutamine and carnitine: These are probably not effective at increasing muscle mass in young or middle-aged active individuals. However, studies have shown carnitine can have some benefits for muscle mass in the elderly (57, 58, 59, 60).
Summary: Many types of supplements claim to increase muscle mass, but there is little evidence that they are effective for healthy, active individuals.
The Bottom Line
Supplements can’t provide you with maximal muscle gains if your nutrition and exercise programs are lacking.
To gain muscle, you need to eat enough calories and protein, as well as exercise, ideally with weights. Once your nutrition and exercise regimens are in check, you may want to consider dietary supplements.
Creatine and protein supplements are likely the most effective choices for muscle gain, but other supplements may be beneficial for certain people.
A quick note from our founder-
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Help us create more awareness! Please SHARE this article...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
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In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
Click the button only if you want to wear smaller clothes, breathe easier, move more freely and just plain feel better.
- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.