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What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?

What are the best supplements for muscle building? The following is a review of supplements for building muscle and those you should avoid. Learn more - our forum members have put together a great piece of information & recommendations.

By: Topic Of The Week


TOPIC: What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?

The Question:

Most bodybuilders would love to keep gaining mass and stay ahead of the pack. Even if you follow a very strict training & diet program you may not get that edge many are hoping to achieve - this is where supplements might be able to offer some help.

What are the best supplements for muscle building?

What are the worst supplements for muscle building?

What is a good daily/weekly plan for including those muscle building products?

Bonus Question: Have you used this plan in the past/present and what success did you have with it? Would you have changed anything?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - xucardsfan08
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

The bullets for each question list the category of supplements. A brief description of the supplement is given followed by a list of the current variations of that supplement and the dosage.

The ranking of importance of supplements:


Best Supplements
What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?

Protein Supplements:

    Protein is a term for a combination of amino acids.

    That is why when you supplement with protein, you are supplementing amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. Without ample protein, the body cannot grow and muscle atrophy will occur. There are essential and non-essential amino acids.

    Essential amino acids (EAA's) cannot be produced by the body and must be digested (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, histidine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine), while all other amino acids can be produced by the body.

    While nearly every food contains protein, protein supplements come from four main sources: whey, casein, soy, and egg. They differ in terms of composition, cost, source, and most importantly, digestion rate. Whey is a fast acting protein and on the other end of the spectrum, casein is the slowest in absorption. Glutamine supplements are usually overkill as glutamine precursor amino acids are abundant in whey shakes.

    Whey Protein:

      Whey protein supplements are the most popular and well-documented protein supplements. Whey protein is derived from dairy sources but is lactose-free or nearly lactose free. It provides a complete spectrum of amino acids, including both essential and non-essential amino acids. Whey protein is a fast-acting protein that is best taken 10-15 minutes after your workout.

      View Whey Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Casein Protein:

      Similar to whey in their dairy source, micellar casein protein is the undenatured (protein still intact) protein found in milk. It is a much slower digesting protein and is therefore best used in the day (for a constant supply of amino acids for the body) and before bed (when most muscle reconstruction occurs).

      View Micellar Casein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Soy Protein:

      Soy protein is derived entirely from plant sources and is a medium digesting protein. Best suited for vegetarians.

      View Soy Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Egg Protein:

      Egg proteins are usually just dehydrated (dried) egg whites and/or egg whites with yolk.

      Protein supplementation is necessary for bodybuilders because even a good, balanced diet may be insufficient in protein. Whole food sources that are rich in protein include chicken, steak, eggs, black beans, and milk.

      Most bodybuilders try to get most of their protein from "real food" sources listed above and try not to rely on protein shakes for most of their protein. Opinions vary, but by and far the most popular guideline for protein intake is 1g/lb of body weight. A 175lb man would then get 175g of protein each day.

      View Egg Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

RELATED ARTICLE
Protein: Too Many Choices. Protein: Too Many Choices.
With so many protein supplements on the market today, knowing what to look for is half the battle. I've put together these choices and descriptions to shed some more light on the subject.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Creatine:

    Creatine Monohydrate:

      Creatine monohydrate is the most popular supplement among bodybuilders. It is completely safe, has no adverse side effects, and is the most reputable supplement available. The energy source of the body is adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

      Creatine monohydrate becomes creatine phosphate in the body and provides another phosphate group for energy. The normal dosage is 5g/day mixed with Gatorade to allow the dextrose to shuttle the creatine into the muscles. A "loading phase" of 10-20g is recommended for the first few days to max out the muscle's store of creatine and then the 5g/day for maintenance.

      View Creatine Monohydrate Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Creatine Ethyl Ester:

      This is an altered form of creatine, with an ester group attached to the creatine molecule. The ester substituent attached makes the molecule more lipophilic (fat loving) and able to cross the phospholipid bilayer of the cell. This allows a smaller dosage (1-2g) to be used. Creatine ethyl ester is also more expensive and thus any creatine "saved" is lost in the money spent to purchase it.

      View Creatine Ethyl Ester Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Multivitamins:

    Vitamins and minerals are essential to the body. Deficiencies in these can result in severe diseases and conditions (scurvy because of Vitamin C deficiency).

    In addition, even with a balanced diet, some vitamins and/or minerals might not make its way into their body. This is where multivitamins come in. Although sometimes mistaken for a "magic pill", these multivitamins cannot replace a healthy diet and do not allow people to eat a garbage diet simply because they take a multivitamin.

    The complete list of Vitamins and Minerals is extensive and will not be listed here. Instead, brand discussion will be discussed. Unfortunately, there are thousands of choices for multivitamins. The cost ranges from $6 for 300 Centrum tablets to ~$1.50/pill choices.

    Adding fuel to the fire, there is also insufficient scientific evidence in this category so much information is mostly, if not entirely, anecdotal. My opinion is that the Centrum tablets are perfectly find and provides 100% of nearly every vitamin and mineral and the more expensive brands are a simple waste of money.

    View Multivitamins Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Antioxidants:

    Antioxidants are compounds that "absorb" free radicals in the body. Free radicals are compounds with an unpaired electron and are highly unstable. Their high reactivity is due to this unpaired electron.

    Free radical oxidation can cause serious damage to the body. Many health problems are caused by, or antagonized by free radical oxidation..

    Polyphenols:

      Found in most juices, but in highest concentration in teas. Green tea is the best source of polyphenols and they can often be found in high concentration in pill form.

        Resveratrol ??" Found mainly red wines and grapes, this recently interesting compound is one of the most powerful antioxidants available. It is also the reason for the highly debated "French Paradox" where the French have a high diet in saturated fat and red wine. Not as available as others because of its recent discovery.

      View Antioxidants Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Vitamin C, E:

      Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants, albeit not as powerful as the previous two.

      View Vitamin C Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
      View Vitamin E Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Carotenoids:

      Found mostly in vegetables, carotenes (Vitamin A/Beta-Carotene) and lycopenes (lycopene ??" found in tomatoes), these are another group of popular antioxidants.

      View Vitamin A Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
      View Lycopene Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Essential Fatty Acids:

    These essential fatty acids (Omega-3-6-9 fatty acids) are found mainly in fish sources and in flax seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are the most important as they are rarer in nature (peanut butter is rich in Omega-6's) and found only in fish.

    They include a-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in marine sources and ALA is found in flax seed. ALA must be converted in the body to DHA and EPA and is thus not as good as straight DHA/EPA supplements (Fish Oil Tablets).

    There is numerous data to show that a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is an important part of a healthy diet. Some data has also shown nootropic effects from Omega-3 supplementation.

    View EFA Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.


Worst Supplements
What Are The Worst Supplements For Muscle Building?

Steroids:

    Steroids are by far the worst supplement for muscle building. Anabolic steroids have a long list of negative side effects. Acne is just one of many side effects; including aggressiveness ('roid rage).

    Liver function and many other functions of the body are effected. Their appeal lies in the fact that you can build a ton of muscle in a short amount of time.

    Unfortunately, this "quick result" feature traps many of the "I want to be big NOW!" people into purchasing them. Muscle growth this quickly wreaks havoc on the tendons and ligaments as they struggle to support the muscles that are growing rapidly. Thus, injury rate increases dramatically with steroid users.

Growth Hormones:

    Any growth hormone products are also dangerous. They pose dangers near steroids, but not as quite as dangerous. Hormone therapy is always dangerous and unless supervised by a physician, it is highly recommended against hormone therapy.

Non-Supplements:


Neutral Supplements?

Caffeine:

    Caffeine is a supplement that is neither the worst, nor the best. The reasoning is that you have to be careful with it to be effective. The side effects of caffeine supplementation include dehydration (caffeine is a diuretic), nervousness, jitters, and upset stomach.

    On the other hand, caffeine is a great energy booster and can provide your workout with some extra pumps due to the energy increase.

    • An important note concerns creatine and caffeine. Although there is scientific evidence demonstrating both points, it is better to be safe than sorry. Caffeine can interfere with creatine and reduces the effectiveness of it. Therefore, it is best to separate slightly when you consume both. For instance, take your creatine supplement 40minutes before your workout, then your caffeine supplement 5-10minutes before your workout.
    • Dosage: 100mg-400mg per dose. Try not to exceed 400mg (~4 cups of coffee) at one time. This can increase the chance for the negative side effects. Typical caffeine pills are 200mg/pill, coffee is 120mg-150mg/cup, espresso shots are ~80mg, and Coke is ~50mg/12oz.

    If you are taking caffeine supplements, be mindful of the side effects. Talk to your physician as well to discuss potential effects on blood pressure and heart rate. STAY HYDRATED, especially if you are taking creatine as well.

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Caffeine is a stimulant/diuretic drug contained in coffee, tea and kola nuts. This is the stuff that makes coffee so addictive.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


Daily/Weekly Plan
What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Muscle-Building Products?

Daily:

    Protein:

      Dosage varies depending on diet. The recommended intake of dietary protein is 1g/lb of bodyweight. If your diet provides 100g of protein and you weigh 150lb, you would be recommended to consume 50g from whey sources. Another option would be a single 25g shake consumed after your workout and a 25g casein shake before bedtime.

    Creatine:

      First 3 days: 5g creatine monohydrate mixed with a high dextrose liquid (i.e. fruit punch/Gatorade) four times daily. After loading phase, 5g creatine monohydrate with liquid consumed approximately 30-45min before your workout.

    Multivitamin:

      Take single multivitamin with your morning breakfast. Be sure to take with a meal to allow for better absorption of the vitamins and minerals. Be also cautious to make sure that minerals contained in the pill do not interfere with any prescribed medication (Calcium/magnesium are the biggest offenders of interactions).

    Antioxidants:

      Vitamins A, C, &E will be found in the multivitamin as well as any fruit/vegetable consumed throughout the day. Polyphenols can be obtained in Green Tea Extract supplements, Resveratrol supplements, and in brewed green tea. Consume the pills with a meal and the green tea can be enjoyed whenever, although it does contain caffeine (1/2 that of a can of Coke), so do not drink before bed!

    EFA's:

      Take 2 Fish Oil pills (~1g/pill) 2x-3x period, whichever suits you. Best taken with a meal, although not entirely necessary.


Bonus
Have You Used This Plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It? Would You Have Changed Anything?

I currently follow the above guideline for supplements. The protein and creatine supplements aid in recovery and have reduced my muscle soreness the following day after lifting. The antioxidants and green tea gives me an energy boost and is my main source of caffeine (not too much, not too little). The Centrum multivitamin replenishes any vitamin that I was no able to obtain through my diet. Below is a list of my recommended brands for each of the aforementioned supplements:


2nd Place - VietHulk4
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Most bodybuilders would love to keep gaining mass and stay ahead of the pack. Even if you follow a very strict training & diet program you may not get that edge many are hoping to achieve - this is where supplements might be able to offer some help.


Best Supplements
What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?

In the bodybuilding world, you can't turn a corner without hearing about this "revolutionary" new supplement that can make you build "10 pounds of muscle in a month" or "break plateau." But what supplements actually do help build muscle. The answers in order of best to worse:

Protein:

    Protein is no doubt the best supplement for building muscle. The word protein even mean important. It comes from the Greek word "portas" which means of primary importance. 60- 70% of your body protein is in your muscle. You can't build muscle without protein, protein is what builds muscles. With the help of protein supplements, muscle can recover and grow when broken down.

    But there are many types of proteins, but out of five type of protein supplements (Whey, Casein, Soy, Egg, and Milk), overall, whey protein ranks supreme.

    Whey Protein:

      Whey protein is very high in BCAA (Which we will discuss later) and is thought to contain the perfect combination of muscle-building amino-acids. It also has a biological value (BV) of 159, which basically means it will take 2 hours for your body to digest.

      Compare to other types of protein like egg protein which takes 3 hours to digest and casein which takes 5- 7 hours to digest. And your body will absorb 80- 90% of whey protein, 99% of whey protein isolate compare to the 50- 80% absorption rate of casein and the 80- 90% absorption rate from soy (Note, some people can only absorb 50%).

      And if you are wondering if whey protein absorb so fast, would it be smart to take it at night. It can be smart if you take in some peanut-butter with it to slow down the digestion. So whey protein has every advantage, good quality and good absorption. It is easy to understand why whey protein is the best selling protein.

      Recommend Using: Optimum 100% Whey Protein

        2 Lbs. $16.99
        5 Lbs. $34.99
        10 Lbs. $67.99

Inferior Types Of Protein:

    Casein Protein:

      Casein protein is not a bad supplement for building muscle. But it does not work the same way Whey Protein does, Casein protein is a slow digesting protein. It may take 5- 7 hours to digest casein protein. But because casein digests so slowly, there are many benefits. During the full 5- 7 hours that the casein protein are digesting, it sustain a steady amino acid elevation. Keeping your muscle from breaking down. Casein protein is best taken before bed.

    Soy Protein:

      Soy Protein is a protein deprived from a plant. Soy protein benefits are: that they are high is Arginine and glutamine. But Soy protein is not good for bodybuilder; studies have shown that soy protein can lower the level of testosterone. Which is one of the useful hormones in the body to build muscle?

    Egg Protein:

      Egg Protein powder is a more trouble-free way and safe way of getting egg protein. Raw eggs have aviden, which bonds with biotin in your body making it useless. Biotin is also a supplement in your body which helps gain muscle. But getting all your protein from supplement is not healthy, nor is it smart. I suggest cook your eggs white well, to destroy all the aviden, and get your egg protein that way.

    Milk Protein:

      Whey and Casein protein are both deprived from milk. But that does not make milk a superior protein. Milk only contains 3.3% protein, which means the protein in milk is being diluted.

      Studies have shown that a post work-out protein shake help build muscle and stop your body from entering a catabolic state. Lack of protein can cause a host of health problems. So make sure you take your PROTEIN!!!

Creatine Monohydrate:

    Creatine Monohydrate hit the stage about 15 years ago, and since then has revolutionized the supplements world. Creatine is the best selling supplement out there. Creatine is a compound made of three amino acids: Arginine, Glycine and Methionine.

    Although Creatine can be found in food like steak and chicken, the only way to get all the benefit of Creatine is by taking supplements. Creatine has shown that creatine can pull water into muscle cell, increasing their volume and size. This results in your muscle looking more round and fuller.

    Creatine doesn't just make your muscle bigger either - creatine puts your body in a more anabolic state (muscle building) by increasing protein synthesis. The more protein synthesis, the more the muscles gain.

    Some studies have even shown that creatine can also delay the build up of lactic acid, which causes the sore feelings in your muscle. And if that wasn't enough, Creatine can actually give you an energy boost by changing ADP (Adenosine di-phosphate used up energy) to ATP (Adenosine tri-phosphate, new energy). So that you can get more reps, more weight, more endurance, and overall, more muscular growth.

    Recommend Using: Higher Power Micronized Creatine 1000

      500 Grams - $12.95
      1000 Grams - $19.99

BCAA:

    Branch Chain Amino Acids are a combination of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine which all have a branched-chain molecular structure. Hence the name, Branch Chain Amino Acid. Essential amino acids mean that your body can't produce it on its own and needs to be taken in by means of food or supplements.

    The combination of leucine, isoleucine, and valine are especially important because they metabolized in the muscle, rather than the liver. BCAA can be used to build new protein or used as energy. Muscles are particularly high in branched-chain amino acids. BCAA can help build muscle and reduce the risk of overtraining.

    Recommend Using: Optimum BCAA Caps

      200 Capsules - $12.99
      400 Capsules - $21.79

Glutamine:

    Glutamine can be found in food and whey protein. But to harness the real power of glutamine, it has to be free-form. But what are the benefits of glutamine, you say?

    Glutamine is very important in protein metabolism and can reduce the amount of muscle deterioration that occurs when other tissue in your body need glutamine.

    So it is important to "re stock" your body full of glutamine to help keep your body satisfied. And glutamine level can decrease by much as 50% during a hard workout.

    Recommend Using: Higher Power Micronized Glutamine 1000

      1000 Grams - $29.99

Multi-Vitamin/Multi-Mineral:

    Multi-vitamin/Multi-mineral is one of the most important supplements that can be consumed by bodybuilders. For a body to work to properly and to its fullest, bodies need heaps of vitamins and minerals.

    Multi vitamins provide you all the vitamins you need like Vitamin B, which support digestion and absorption of carbs, protein, and fat. Which keeps your digestion system clean and your body at max potential.

    Vitamin C supports many health functions. Vitamin E can help your body make collagen. And many vitamins can serve as an anti-oxidant. These also fight free radicals, which destroy your body's cell. Multi-vitamin/Multi-mineral has many more benefits, too much to explain.

    Recommend Using: AST Multi-Pro 32X

      100 Caplets - $14.99


Worst Supplements
What Are The Worst Supplements For Muscle Building?

Caffeine:

    Caffeine is a great supplement; caffeine can increase energy, make you more alert and keep you awake. But a disadvantage of caffeine is that it doesn't build muscle. In now way does caffeine build muscle.

Dietary Supplements:

    Supplement that are meant to help you lose weights are obviously not your friend if you're trying to build muscle. Some dietary supplements contain ingredients that can put your body in a catabolic state, or at the very least, prevent you from gaining any more muscle.


Daily/Weekly Plan
What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Muscle Building Products?

Workout Day:

    9 A.M.

    • Protein Shake (1 Scoop) mixed with pack of oatmeal
    • Multi-Vitamin

    10 A.M.

    • 6 ounces of beef
    • 3 Eggs white
    • Baked potatoes
    • 2 cups of rice

    12 Workout

      (Levels of testosterone are highest in morning, best to workout early)

    Post-workout

    • BCAA Caps (Take immediately after work-out)
    • Protein Shake (1 Scoop) with Creatine and Glutamine mixed (take shake 20 min after)

    2:30 P.M.

    • 2 Cups of rice
    • 1 cup of asparagus
    • 10 ounces of beef

    5 P.M.

    • 6 Eggs white
    • Pack of oatmeal

    6 P.M.

    • 4 tuna sushi
    • 7 ounces turkey
    • Multi-Vitamin

    9 P.M.

    • Protein Shake (1 Scoop) with pack of oatmeal and Glutamine

Non-Workout Day:

    9 A.M.

    • Protein Shake (1 Scoop) with pack of oatmeal and Glutamine
    • Multi-Vitamin
    • BCAA

    10 A.M.

      6 ounces of beef
    • 4 Eggs White
    • Baked potatoes
    • 1 cup of asparagus

    12 Noon

    • Protein Shake (Half Scoop)
    • 8 ounces of steak

    2:30 P.M.

    • 2 Cups of Rice
    • 1 cup of asparagus
    • 10 ounces of beef

    5 P.M.

    • 6 Eggs whites
    • Brown Rice

    6 P.M.

    • 4 Tuna Sushi
    • 7 ounces turkey
    • Multi-Vitamin

    9 P.M.

    • Protein Shake (1 Scoop) with pack of oatmeal
    • 2 teaspoon of peanut-butter
    • Glutamine


Bonus
Have You Used This Plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It? Would You Have Changed Anything?

I used a similar program like this, and got great success. I made the adjusted changes in the plan, like adding some greens for a source of fiber, and adding some fruit juice with the creatine. A body needs simple carbs, like from fruit juice or white rice to be able to absorb creatine. Adjust plan if needed. I gained about 20 pounds of muscle within 6 months, and kept fat gain to a minimum.

Good Luck Bodybuilders


3rd Place - mivi320
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Sometimes a strict muscle building diet and workout routine fail to give you that extra edge we're all looking for -- this is where muscle building supplements come into play!

Chances are, you have come across a muscle building supplement that offers "steroid like results." Sure, the product gets tons of attention at first, but why is it that all the hype for the product slowly dwindles with time?

Because these products fail to match the claims they suggest!


Proven Supplements
What Muscle Building Supplements Are Proven To Work?

The tried and true supplements - protein, a multi-vitamin, and creatine. Nope, nothing fancy about these supplements, but nonetheless, proven over time to compliment a sound nutrition and workout plan.

Protein:

    Protein supplementation aids in recovery from intense training and keeps a constant flow of amino acids in the bloodstream to repair and rebuild broken down muscle fibers.

    Eating six meals a day isn't easy, but with the addition of protein powder supplementation, getting enough calories and protein in your body is made convenient!

    Here are some protein shake suggestions that you can drink in between meals to kick start muscle building!

    Reese's Peanut Butter Protein Shake:

    • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
    • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
    • 12 oz. skim milk
    • 2 Splenda packets
    • 3 ice cubes
    • Directions: Place all the ingredients to blender, blend, and serve!

    Berry Blast Protein Shake:

    • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
    • 1 banana
    • 8-12 berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc)
    • 3-6 ice cubs
    • 12 oz. low fat milk
    • Directions: Place all the ingredients to blender, blend, and serve!

    Chocolate-Mocha Shake:

    • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 5-8 ice cubes
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1 tablespoon instant coffee mix
    • Directions: Place all the ingredients to blender, blend, and serve!

RELATED ARTICLE
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[ Click here to learn more. ]

Protein Products For Muscle Building:

    Whey Protein:

      Whey protein is the most popular protein product. Whey protein is absorbed and digested within 30 minutes of ingestion, which makes it ideal for post-workout supplementation.

      Optimum Nutrition 100% whey protein is the writer's recommendation.

    Casein Protein:

      Casein protein, unlike whey, is digested at a slower pace (up to 7 hours in some cases). This makes casein protein ideal to supplement with before bed to keep a constant supply of amino acids during sleep where one does not eat for several hours. My recommendation: CytoSport Muscle Milk.

    Weight Gainer:

      Weight gainers are great products for individuals who have trouble putting on weight, despite sound nutrition and a proper workout routine. I highly recommend Prolab N-large II.

    Reminder: With intense weight training, it is imperative you should eat a minimum of 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight for recovery and repair from your workouts!

PROTEIN CALCULATOR
Weight
Results
Protein

Multi-Vitamin:

    In order for the human body to perform at its peak potential, a large supply of vital minerals and vitamins must be supplied to the body. A deficiency in vitamins and minerals can drastically decrease performance. Therefore, supplementing with a multi-vitamin guarantees that there is always a presence of vitamins and minerals in your body!

    It is among common belief that since multi-vitamins cannot directly cause an increase in muscle mass, it is useless to take them. False. Here's what many athletes and bodybuilders don't know -- a plethora of chemical and enzymatic processes in the human body could be endangered if there is an occurring deficiency in just one of the many essential vitamins and minerals.

    Every last vitamin and mineral has a role in the body, some of which are responsible for hormone production.

    Point blank: Your performance will suffer tremendously if you fail to supplement to with a multi-vitamin. I guess mom was always right when she made me take my Flintstone vitamins at breakfast.

    Multi-Vitamin Products:

    To view multi-vitamin products available at the Bodybuilding.com store, click here.

Creatine:

    Creatine works very well for increasing muscle mass. Creatine is naturally occurring in the body and in the foods in we eat (mostly in meat). Even if you have never used creatine before, it is safe and effective to use!

    Creatine works to replace the phosphate in ATP lost during intense muscle activity, such as lifting. Technically, the greater supply of creatine the more energy for brief high-intensity activity.

    In turn, more energy for high-intensity activity means more reps, more weight, more endurance, all translating into more muscular growth!

    Creatine Products:

    There are so many creatine products and different forms of creatine on the market right now, so here is a link for the creatines that have been have had gotten good feedback from consumers and are available at the Bodybuilding.com cyberstore.


Worst Supplements
What Are The Worst Supplements For Muscle Building?

Soy Protein:

    Soy protein has many adverse effects on health regarding its phytoestrogens which can mimic the effects of estrogen, a female hormone. When muscle building is one's priority, increasing natural testosterone production is favorable, not producing estrogen. However, do not avoid soy completely unless you are allergic to soy. A little soy here and there is going to hurt you, but just don't overdo it.

Fat Burners:

    Fat burners and muscle building don't belong in the same sentence. Fat burners give those who are dieting that extra edge to shed off that stubborn fat tissue. The key here is that the individuals using fat burners are in a caloric deficit, so weight loss is bound to happen.

    When muscle building, a caloric surplus is created, so throwing a fat burner in the mix is simply stupid and pointless. In other words, you cannot "burn fat" with a fat burner when taking in 4,000 calories.

Alcohol:

    Alcohol and bodybuilding flat out don't mix. I know alcohol is not a "supplement," but it is used so much today and many athletes do not realize just how detrimental it is to their progress - especially muscle building.

    Alcohol consumption can lead to hangovers, which in turn lower your workout intensity and interestingly enough, alcohol actually lowers protein synthesis by 20%. A drink here and there is fine and everything in moderation is fine. It just depends on your goals and how you would like to progress.

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Bodybuilding & Alcohol: Do They Mix? Bodybuilding & Alcohol: Do They Mix?
This article is not intended to dissuade people from using alcohol moderately, for recreational purposes, but will point out, from an athlete and a researchers point of view, its significant shortcomings.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


Daily/Weekly Plan
What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Muscle Building Products?

Protein:

    Protein powder can be supplemented at any time of the day. However, whey protein is best absorbed immediately after your workout along with carbohydrates to replace depleted glycogen. Whey is also ideal pre-workout to guarantee a steady flow of amino acids in the bloodstream and provide an anabolic environment before lifting.

    Casein protein is best before bed as nutrients will be not given to the body during sleep. Drinking a casein protein shake before bed will establish a muscle building environment while you sleep!

    Casein protein is also ideal to supplement with when you know you will go several hours without food, such as a long shift at work. Drink a casein protein shake before and couple it with some good fat such as peanut butter to further slow the digestion process!

Weight Gainer:

    Weight gainer is best to drink in between meals if you have trouble eating actual food and have a hard time gaining weight. Weight gainer can also be supplemented with post-workout.

Multi-Vitamin:

    A multi-vitamin could be taken anytime of the day. However, it is standard for most people to take their vitamin with breakfast.

Creatine:

    Creatine should be taken post-workout along with your whey protein and carbohydrate shake, as the creatine will replace the phosphate in ATP depleted during intense exercise.

    It is up to you if you would like to "load" your creatine the first week of taking it. Loading creatine entails taking in 15-20g creatine a day (spread evenly throughout the day) for the first week to guarantee a maximum cell volumizing and muscle building effect from creatine without much gastric distress.

    This cycle is followed by a maintenance phase of just 5-10g then a period of cycling off of it. It is the writer's opinion, that creatine loading is ideal for muscle building as it is common among individuals to report a gain of anywhere from 3-8 pounds from loading the first week!


Bonus
Have You Used This Plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It? Would You Have Changed Anything?

Yes, I have used all 3 of these muscle building supplements with the same exact set-up outlined above with great success. I have been using this supplement protocol since the first week of my current muscle building phase and have gained visible lean body mass and my strength is sky rocketing. I wouldn't change a thing.

Along with a proper diet and workout routine, this supplement protocol should set you on your way to making massive gains!

Good luck with all your goals,
Mike


3rd Place - NoNameNecessary
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

You wake up before everyone else and saunter into the kitchen. You crack open your eggs before most people even open your eyes. You sacrifice in the gym while your friends party at the clubs.

When your diet and training simply isn't enough, you turn to supplements for that extra edge, for the extra step ahead of your competitor. You need to be sure that you are taking the right supplements and avoiding the wrong ones.


Best Supplements
What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?

Protein:

    Protein is the main facilitator for muscle growth and repair. It is the solution for everyone's mass building predicaments. Obviously, the easiest way to increase muscle mass would be to increase the amount of protein one was consuming.

    This would provide the body with the most important aspect of building new muscle, protein. However, there are many various forms of protein and the effects can vary greatly between the different types. These effects must be manipulated in order to provide greater muscle building results.

    Whey Protein Concentrate:

    Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey

      Whey protein concentrate was the first form of whey introduced to the market. It has since undergone many various processes to increase the amount of protein one would yield from ingesting WPC. WPC is usually inexpensive and is the most widely used form of whey.

      Recommend Product: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey

    Whey Protein Isolate:

    Syntrax Nectar

      Whey protein isolate is put through a chemical process that removes the lactose and fats and leaves it with a very high percentage of protein per serving. It has a very high biological value and is optimized to contain the best combinations of amino acids to help improve athletic performance and body composition. It is absorbed faster than the other forms of protein and is best used post-workout.

      Recommended Product: Whey Protein Isolate Product Listing

    Micellar Casein:

    Xtreme Formulations Ultra Peptide

      Micellar casein is casein in its undenatured form. Micellar casein is digested very slowly and is absorbed by the body over time. Casein, like whey, has a great amino acid profile. One of the greatest benefits of casein is that is releases these amino acids into your muscles over a prolonged period of time for a sustained growth.

      Recommended Product: Xtreme Formulations Ultra Peptide

Creatine:

    Creatine is the most commonly used sports supplement and for good reason. There are many studies, both scientific and anecdotal, supporting the efficacy of creatine. Creatine supplementation increases both creatine and creatine phosphate within the muscle. This allows for further regeneration of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. (Think of ATP as your car's engine.) As a result, supplementation with creatine allows for a great power output during exercise.

    There are many, many various forms of creatine. If you have not supplemented with creatine before, I recommend you begin with the original and time-tested creatine product, creatine monohydrate.

    Recommended Products: Creatine Product Listing

Beta-Alanine:

    Beta-Alanine increases intramuscular concentrations of carnosine. During intense exercise, the muscle undergoes a change in its pH balance. As fuel is broken down to power your exercise, ions of hydrogen accumulate and lower the levels of pH.

    Beta-alanine can be used as a carnosine precursor and, when coupled with histidine, is resynthesized into carnosine. Supplementation with beta-alanine has been shown to increase intramuscular carnosine levels by 64%.

    Millenium Sport Carnage

    An increase in intramuscular carnosine levels can significantly increase the buffering capacity of a muscle. In doing so, one can expect an increase in working capacity and performance of the muscles.

    Recommended Products:


Worst Supplements
What Are The Worst Supplements For Muscle Building?

Alcohol:

    Alcohol is likely the most widely consumed drug on Earth. However, because it is legal, many people think very little of the dangers of this drug. Alcohol negatively effects many neurotransmitters, metabolic processes, and hormones. Alcohol lowers testosterone, increases appetite, loosens one's inhibitions, and can pose a serious threat to the stomach, liver, and kidneys.

    These may not only have a negative impact on your overall health but on your body composition, as well. While a few beers every now and again may be fine, limit your intake of alcohol or if possible, avoid it altogether.

Creatine Serum/Liquid Creatine:

    Over time, creatine degrades in water into its waste product, creatinine. Creatinine is useless in the body and will only be excreted. Any company who promises that they have stabilized creatine in a liquid solution is lying. Avoid liquid creatine.

Soy Protein:

    Soy protein, specifically isolates, have the highest concentrations of the isoflavones found in soy. Studies have shown that these isoflavones have a negative impact on muscle development. Soy has been shown to slow the rate of protein synthesis.

    Thus, it lowers the amount of protein accumulation and muscle growth. Soy has also been shown to inhibit myoblast production, maturation, and activity. Myoblasts are the foundation of new muscle tissue. While soy every once in a while is fine, I would not recommend making it a part of your daily diet.

RELATED ARTICLE
Soy Vs. Whey! Soy Vs. Whey!
Whey products have, for some time, maintained their position as the gold standard in protein supplementation. However, there is an alternative protein source considered to be equally as effective as whey: soy.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


Daily/Weekly Plan
What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Muscle Building Products?

Protein:

    Protein can be taken whenever necessary but certain types of protein, i.e. whey, casein, weight gainers, should be utilized at different times of the day. Whey protein is best used immediately upon waking, pre-workout, and post-workout. Whey is a necessity post-workout.

    Casein is best taken before bed. Weight gainers should be used for additional calories and if they have a proper profile, can be used to replace meals when whole foods are inconvenient.

Creatine/Beta-Alanine:

    There are many varying opinions on when these products should be taken. I recommend you follow the instructions found on the product you purchased unless these companies suggest that you load their products. If so, a simple search on the Bodybuilding.com forums will provide you with a better dosage plan.


Bonus
Have You Used This Plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It?

I have used all of the above products in the past and have enjoyed them. I recommend each person use a wide variety of supplements and routines to find what works best for them.

Each person has a health and body that is unique to the individual and as a result, they may not respond the same to a supplement and/or routine in the same manner as another individual. As a result, it is best that we all find what works best for us, what is most convenient for us, and lastly, what we most enjoy.

Supplements are only that: supplements. They are meant to supplement our diet. Do not become reliant upon them. Be sure to focus on constantly improving yourself in the gym and in the kitchen.

Good luck with your goals.

Until Next Time,
NoNameNecessary

For now, this is my entry. I am off to the movies and if I get back in time, I may add to or edit my entry. With that said, good luck to all of the entrants.


3rd Place - EAGLES56
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

A strict diet and training routine can only get one so far… In this scenario supplements provide that extra edge over the competition so that one can reach their goals. Keep in mind that there are no "magic pills" and supplements will only go so far on their own and should not be relied upon. Diet and training knowledge is still of utmost importance.


Best Supplements
What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?

Protein Powder:

    Protein powder should be a staple supplement in any mass diet. Protein powder provides the body with the essential building blocks for tissue formation and muscle growth. The body cannot produce every single amino acid and therefore they must be consumed through the diet.

    These amino acids are referred to as EAA's; Essential Amino Acids. Without a sufficient amount of protein the body will not grow. Under this circumstance, one runs the risk of atrophy. Consuming 1g+/lb of bodyweight is recommended (Ex. A 200lb man should aim for at least 200g of protein on a daily basis).

    There are multiple types of protein which vary in molecular composition, origin, cost, and bioavailability. The types of protein include:

    Whey Protein:

      Derived from milk during the cheese making process, whey has become the most popular protein supplement on the market. Whey protein has a high BV (Biological Value), meaning that it can be almost, if not, completely absorbed. Whey also has a fast digestion time of approximately 20-30minutes which is great to kick-start recovery post workout.

        View Whey Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Egg Protein:

      Formed from dried/dehydrated egg whites or whole eggs, egg protein has a high BV value. Prices range from mid-high as far as protein goes and buying in bulk is one's best option.

        View Egg Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Casein Protein:

      Also extracted from milk, casein is a very slow digesting protein. Casein has a good BV value and takes 5-7hrs before being completely absorbed. This source of protein is recommended at night when one won't be eating for an extended period of time.

        View Micellar Casein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Soy Protein:

      A vegetarian/vegan protein source alternative to meat and/or whey. Soy takes longer to digest than whey and contains substances that may increase estrogen levels and therefore isn't the most popular protein on the market.

      View Soy Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Multivitamin/Mineral:

    Multi's provide micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) which are essential in cellular function and growth. Athletes require additional micronutrients due to the stresses that athletes impose upon their bodies.

      View Multivitamins Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Creatine:

    Creatine is found and made naturally in the human body and is used to form the muscle energy (ATP; Adenosine triphosphate). Creatine can significantly increase lean muscle mass, improve performance, increase energy, and shorten recovery down-time. Creatine is for anybody who partakes in high-intensity physical activity and wants to see amazing results. There are multiple types of creatine:

    [Micronized] Creatine Monohydrate:

      The most popular and cheapest creatine product which has been used for decades and is proven to deliver what it promises.

        View Creatine Monohydrate Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    (CEE) Creatine Ethyl Ester:

      The same as creatine mono except there is an ester molecule applied. The theory is that this alcohol component will make creatine more lypophilic. This basically translates to a better absorption since regular creatine is poorly absorbed.

      CEE is supposed to pass through the phospholipids of a cell (fatty outside lining) which normal monohydrate sometimes struggles with. CEE costs more but since a lower dosage is required, in the long run it doesn't cost too much more than monohydrate.

      View Creatine Ethyl Ester Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

BCAA's:

    Branched-Chain-Amino-Acids cannot be produced by the body and must be digested through food in one's diet or supplemented. BCAA's have anti-catabolic (limiting muscle deterioration) and anabolic (muscle building) properties.

      View BCAA Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Glutamine:

    Glutamine composes roughly 60% of free-form amino acids found in skeletal muscle and is high demand throughout the body. It plays a key role in protein metabolism. Glutamine supplementation prevents the use of muscle-glutamine stores and will maintain optimal performance.

      View Glutamine Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

EFA's:

    Essential Fatty Acids such as Omega 3, 6, and 9 are vital for neurological as well as many other processes in the body including fat burning and muscle growth. Food sources of Omega Fatty Acids include fish, flax, certain eggs, and other omega enriched fats.

      View EFA Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

Optional: Weight Gainer:

    Weight gainers are chalked full of calories and combine different proteins as well as simple and complex carbohydrates, creatine(s), BCAA's, glutamine, EFA's and sometimes Taurine (an amino acid with similar volumizing characteristics as creatine).

    Weight gainers cost a little more in the long run than combining bulk ingredients but supply a lot of calories in one simple serving. Gaining weight and mass is all about calories. One must have a caloric surplus (in taking more than expending) to gain weight.

      View Weight Gainers Sorted By Top Sellers Here.


Worst Supplements
What Are The Worst Supplements For Muscle Building?

Steroids:

    AAS (Anabolic Androgenic Steroids) will help one pack on muscle and mass quickly but there are always consequences. Liver failure, 'roid rage, "shrinkages", acne, and an enlarged prostate are only a few of the misfortunes one could encounter while using steroids.

Caffeine:

    Most people use caffeine inappropriately which is why I've placed it in this category. Caffeine can be great for providing energy but one must remember that anything is "okay" provided it's a reasonable amount. Most people over-do it when it comes to caffeine and forget that it isn't the best thing for the body.

    Caffeine is a diuretic and if used one must drink more water to dilute it.

Fat Burners:

    Most fat burners contain chemicals that can be fatal. Fat burners inhibit normal bodily processes and interfere with normal function. These supplements should be avoided.


Daily/Weekly Plan
What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Muscle Building Products?

  • Be sure to get at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight every day.

PROTEIN CALCULATOR
Weight
Results
Protein

  • Take a multivitamin with a meal for improved absorption.
  • After the creatine monohydrate loading phase (4 days at 4-5 doses of 5g of creatine), one's body should be saturated and from then on out standard dosages of 5g/day (post workout on training days, in the morning on off days) are recommended. If using CEE, maintain 2-3g/day without a loading phase (follow the above for dosing times).
  • BCAA's should be taken 5g+ post workout.
  • Glutamine should also be taken post workout, ranging from 5g or more. As well as multiple doses of 5g or so evenly spaced throughout the day (Ex. morning, workout, night).
  • EFA's should be taken 3x/day with meals although it isn't entirely mandatory
  • Weight Gainer; taken as a meal replacement or post workout.
  • To gain mass one must have a caloric surplus as previously mentioned. Try eating at least 6 meals a day and getting more than 15 times your bodyweight in calories (Ex. A 200lb man should have at least 3000 calories assuming he's not active that day). I personally aim for 4000+ calories/day due to training as well as rugby (not to mention I'm bulking).


Bonus
Have You Used This plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It? Would You Have Changed Anything?

I do not use glutamine and BCAA's on a daily basis, however I follow the rest of the aforementioned and have made some amazing progress. I've transformed my body from a 150lb fat weakling to a solid 180lb guy who looks like he's in good shape and has packed on some serious muscle. Following the above will provide great results for anybody provided a solid training regimen and diet is in place.

EAGLES56


What Are The Best Supplements For Muscle Building?
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