First and foremost, when it comes to building muscle, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on supplements, if your diet and nutrition isn’t right, and if you aren’t training to the best of your abilities, you won’t make any gains. Supplements are designed to supplement a healthy diet and smart training regime. They most certainly are not designed to be used as a substitution for whole foods. If your budget will only allow for a tub of whey protein, or a pack of chicken breasts, it’s time to put the protein down because whole food should win every time. If used in conjunction with a healthy diet and effective training program however, supplements can really give you an edge. Here are 5 supplements for the ultimate bodybuilding stack.
Whey protein – This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anybody, really. After all, whey protein is the most popular fitness supplement in the world. Protein plays a crucial role in the growth and development of muscle tissue. Whey protein is derived from milk and is a rapid-absorbing protein which delivers amino acids to your skeletal muscle when you need them the most. Once in the muscles, it enables the body to perform a process known as protein synthesis, which is where your body generates new muscle protein tissues to replace those damaged during a workout. Whey protein can either be ‘concentrated’ whereby it provides around 80% protein per serving, or it can be an ‘isolate’ which can be as pure as 95 – 99% pure protein per serving. For post-workout recovery, whey protein is ideal because it is absorbed so quickly.
Casein protein – Casein protein is also derived from milk, yet it is very different to whey. Whereas whey is fast digesting, casein is a very slow digesting protein. Because of this, many bodybuilders will drink a casein protein shake before going to bed, as it provides a steady supply of proteins and amino acids to them as they sleep. Casein is very effective as it helps to prevent muscle catabolism (breakdown) as you sleep.
Creatine – If whey is the number 1 supplement, creatine is number 2. Creatine can be naturally synthesized in the human body. It enables the body to produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short. ATP is used by the muscles as a primary source of fuel. Specifically, it is used by your muscle cells. Creatine increases muscle cell volume and enhances ATP production, so your muscles have more energy and can work harder. The harder they work in the gym, the more beneficial your workouts will become.
BCAAs – BCAAs, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, are comprised of three essential amino acids. They are: Leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Each amino plays a key role in training, growth, and recovery. Leucine for example, promotes protein synthesis. As well as that, it, along with the other two amino acids, also helps to prevent muscle fatigue, increase endurance, and speed up recovery both during, and after a workout.
A multivitamin – Finally, for all around optimal health and wellness, a good quality multivitamin, preferably with added minerals, should also be included in your supplement stack.