If you work out regularly, you most probably want to get the most out of it.
The 3 natural supplements (Creatine, Protein Powder and Pre Workout) listed below in no particular order may help you maximize muscle growth with your exercise program.
What is it?
Creatine is a molecule that’s created naturally in your body. It provides energy for your muscles and other tissues. It combines with ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) to form ATP. ATP is used to power the movement of contraction in working muscles, allowing you to maximize your performance (Burke et. al)
When you eat food you do not get enough creatine to have the dramatic effect that it can give. Therefore, a supplement has been made specifically for creatine.
Taking it as a dietary supplement can increase your muscle creatine content. This affects your muscle cells and exercise performance, promoting muscle strength and lessening muscle fatigue.
Creatine ultimately allows you to get that extra rep giving you more opportunity to grow. For example, if you have been doing 10 reps, you will most likely get 11 after consuming the supplement for a while.
Creatine has been around for over 20 years and it is the most researched and tested product in the supplement industry. It has constantly been proven to be effective and is safe for teenagers and the elderly.
5 grams of creatine a day is enough for optimal effect.
2. PROTEIN POWDER
Getting enough protein is essential for muscle growth. 1 gram per bodyweight (lbs) is ideal. However, you can get away with only 0.5 gram per body weight (lbs) if you are taking in enough carbohydrates and fat as they are going to have protein-sparing effects. This is not ideal, though, for those who are in a caloric deficit (McLellan, 2015).
Which one? Casein or Whey?
Whey: Digests quicker and so it will quickly be available for muscle growth.
So if you finished a workout and haven't had protein for a long time. Then whey is the one.
Also, if you would like to use a protein supplement before sleep, then whey is ideal as its fast digestion characteristic will not disrupt your sleep.
Casein: digests slower than whey. If you will go a long time without eating, then it is good to have casein beforehand.
Isolate: It is similar to ordinary protein powder but instead some carbohydrates and fats are removed. This makes it a lower calorie option (mostly down by 10-20 kcal), but it does not make a significant difference.
Many complain that it does not taste as good as the normal protein powder.
3. PRE WORKOUT
What is it?
Pre Workout supplements typically contains the following ingredients to help you lessen fatigue and train harder:
Beta Alanine - a naturally occurring beta amino acid that improves performance by increasing exercise capacity and decreasing muscle fatigue.
Creatine Monohydrate - explained above.
Caffeine - has energy boosting properties, as well as increased cognitive performance.
All ingredients combined equates to a Pre Workout supplement. It does not directly build muscle. However, by consuming Pre Workout before training, it can help you progressive overload as you can train longer with more intensity and effort. These are all factors to gaining more muscle (Harty, 2018).
Do not overdo it though as excessive doses can cause health issues.
This article does not take the place of advice by a qualified health professional. What’s appropriate for one individual may be counterproductive or unsafe for another. If you are suspicious of an illness, injury and/or are in constant pain the author encourages you to see a doctor, dietician, and/or a therapist to get a proper diagnosis and rule out illness.
Burke DG;Candow DG;Chilibeck PD;MacNeil LG;Roy BD;Tarnopolsky MA;Ziegenfuss T; “Effect of Creatine Supplementation and Resistance-Exercise Training on Muscle Insulin-like Growth Factor in Young Adults.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18708688/.
HR;, Pasiakos SM; McLellan TM;Lieberman. “The Effects of Protein Supplements on Muscle Mass, Strength, and Aerobic and Anaerobic Power in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review.” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Jan. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25169440/.
Harty PS; Zabriskie HA;Erickson JL; Molling PE; Kerksick CM; Jagim AR; “Multi-Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplements, Safety Implications, and Performance Outcomes: A Brief Review.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 Aug. 2018, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30089501/.