There will be ups, but there will also be downs. That’s one of the biggest reasons bodybuilders, both amateur and veteran, are looking for supplements to complement their weight lifting journey and maintain good, linear progress.
However, not all muscle-building supplements are as effective as they’re marketed to be. If you’re looking for a good muscle-building supplement to take your fitness journey to the next level, here’s a list of the top nine legal alternatives ingredients to look for in those supplements.
Whey Protein Powder
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bodybuilder who doesn’t take whey protein powder. In fact, fitness enthusiasts of all levels, programs, and ages often use whey protein to supplement their muscle-building journey, even if they’re not purely focused on body-building.
In short, you won’t struggle to find bodybuilding supplements that contain whey protein powder, complex hydrolysates, or isolate in their ingredients. That’s because whey protein, which is actually a milk protein that’s high in branched-chain amino acid content, is one of the most crucial proteins used by the body to synthesize protein.
It’s easily digestible as well, so it speeds up the delivery of digested protein to the muscle fibers in record time, at the same time increasing the blood flow to the muscles.
Casein Protein Powder
Casein is another protein found in milk. It’s almost as good as whey protein, but the only drawback keeping it in second place, is its slow digestion rate. This characteristic of the powder, in no way makes it a product to be disregarded.
In fact, it’s this property that makes the casein supplement ideal to be taken right before bed to prevent the muscle catabolism that often happens overnight. Moreover, a lot of studies show that ingesting a shake of both whey and casein protein powder post-workout, enhances muscle growth more effectively than simply ingesting either protein powder on its own.
Creatine is another ingredient you’ve definitely come across before. It’s made up of three amino acids: methionine, glycine, and arginine. Creatine ranks right after protein on the list of top bodybuilding supplements, for a myriad of reasons, since it works in a number of ways.
For starters, it increases the energy reserves in the muscle fibers, allowing you to perform better at the gym. It also allows muscles to store more water, which, ultimately, gives them a more bulked-up and ripped shape.
A recent study also suggests that creatine increases the insulin-like growth factor levels in muscles, which is directly related to stimulating growth. Additionally, creatine is believed to provide the following benefits:
- Boosting muscle gain and enhancing strength
- Reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness and promoting muscle recovery
- Improving anaerobic endurance
- Preserving muscle mass during periods of restricted calories
Citrulline Malate (L-Citrulline)
Citrulline malate is composed of an amino acid, L-citrulline, and malic acid – a substance which is naturally found in fruits and plays an important role in cellular energy creation. As for L-citrulline, it is the precursor of the L-arginine amino acid – which is involved in a lot of vital processes on the cellular level as well.
It is one of the precursors of the human growth hormone (HGH), which does wonders in increasing the body’s fat-burning abilities and muscle-building processes. In fact, a lot of the bodybuilding supplements used in place of illegal HGH injections contain L-arginine and other HGH precursors. It also helps in increasing the production of nitric oxide – a gas that widens blood vessels and improves oxygen circulation in the blood.
Studies addressing citrulline malate have shown that its users can do 53% more bench-press reps than their peers. They also suffer 40% less muscle soreness, enjoying better aerobic performance.
Most of us take our coffee to shake off the cobwebs in the morning, help us focus at work, or give us an energy boost right before hitting the gym. While coffee, or, specifically – its caffeine content, is great in temporarily revving you up for the gym, its benefits go so much further than only that.
Diverse research shows that caffeine boosts a lot of vital fitness aspects, such as metabolism, strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic performance. As a result, sipping the right dose of caffeine before hitting the gym can do wonders in getting your head in the game, boosting your energy levels, improving your performance, and a special bonus on top of all these benefits, it helps you burn a good amount of extra calories.
Plant Protein Powder
No matter how much vegans argue, a plant-based diet is not a good source of protein. While plants can provide a number of essential amino acids, animal protein remains superior in the number and quality of essential amino acids it can provide for muscle building.
At the very least, animal proteins are both better absorbed and provide a larger number of essential amino acids, which directly translates into better muscle building. So what can vegans do? The answer is simple: they can up their intake of plant proteins, or just take plant protein powder to supplement their diet.
You’ll find that a blend of rice and pea protein is the most effective source of plant protein, whether you consume it as a whole food or in the form of powdered supplements. If you are a vegan on a bodybuilding program,you should ideally increase your intake of, seitan, tofu, legumes, and quinoa,
Beta-alanine naturally occurs in our bodies. It’s an amino acid responsible for regulating carnosine: another amino acid that reduces muscle acidity, thus increasing the work it can do before becoming too fatigued to do anymore work.
Naturally, beta-alanine became another favorite for bodybuilders, as it reduces fatigue and increases the workload a muscle can handle during a workout session.
When it comes to the fitness journey, there are no safe shortcuts to success. However, there are a few ways to make the most out of the journey – if you put it in different words, it’s working smartly, per se.
One of the best ways to do that is to supplement your diet with beneficial supplements that have been scientifically proven to enhance the muscle-building process.