Supplements for Lean Muscle
The most important part of any weight training program that has been designed to build lean muscle mass is nutrition, supplementation and rest. Although only part of the equation, knowing what supplements to take and how to stack them appropriately can be the difference between adding small amounts of muscle over an extended period of time and maximising muscle building ability over a short period of time.
Key Supplements for Lean Muscle
- Creatine: A nitrogenous and organic acid that is naturally found in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to the cells in the body by increasing Adenosine Tri-phosphate (ATP) production. By supplementing with Creatine, the muscles can be loaded with ATP. This assists with recovery, strength and a decrease in fatigue which allows more load to be lifted for a longer period of time.
- Protein: The building platform for muscle growth and repair. Muscles are made up of two proteins actin and myosin. In order for muscles to grow and repair, protein supplementation is an absolute must. Adequate amounts of protein must be consumed on a daily basis in order to maximise muscle growth and repair.
- BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids): Essential for muscle growth and repair, even debatably more important than protein itself. There are 3 Branched Chain Amino Acids, Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
The most important time to supplement during the day is pre workout, intra workout (during) and immediate post workout.
Typical Supplement Plan
- Pre workout: 1 Teaspoon of Creatine, mixed with 1 scoop of fast absorbing, high quality Whey protein or Hydrolysed Whey Protein. This should be consumed half an hour pre training with choice of skim milk or water depending on preference. High quality products include Elemental Nutrition’s Creapure and Hydropro.
- Intra Workout: Branched chain amino acids should be consumed during this period in order to prevent muscle catabolism. Always follow packaging directions. For an unflavoured BCAA powder, it is recommended it be mixed with a high carbohydrate sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade. Elemental Nutrition’s 4:1:1 BCAA powder only uses the highest quality ingredients and is a good starting point.
- Post workout: Post workout is when the body is most susceptible to nutrient uptake and it is in this time that a high quality protein source is absolutely crucial. Taking 1 scoop of high quality Whey Protein or Hydrolysed Protein mixed with skim milk is advised in this period. To increase the nutrient content, and depending on protein powder flavour, you may want to try adding additional ingredients such as 1 or 2 raw eggs, a banana or a teaspoon of natural peanut butter or honey.
Eat right, train hard, supplement and rest. Do these things right and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your bodybuilding and fitness goals!