There are many people who are building muscles who are not really aware of how to choose the best muscle building supplements for their needs. The market is flooded with supplements that promise to make you bigger, stronger, and lose stubborn body fat. There is, however, the truth that most supplements are actually not necessary and will cost you more money than you will receive in return. You should consider taking a few key supplements following your workouts that actually dramatically improve your results. We will cover today the only supplements you really need if you wish to see faster progress. These supplements have been scientifically proven.
Let’s begin with a supplement that many of you don’t take: magnesium citrate. Magnesium is only consumed by 15 to 50% of Americans who maintain a high level of activity. In such cases, you are more likely to be deficient in this mineral since the situation is even more serious. The reason for this is that magnesium is lost through sweat and urine. Athletes need more magnesium because it is critical for muscle repair. Therefore, they have naturally higher magnesium needs than the average sedentary individual.
A study published in the journal of magnesium research can provide us with some insight into this topic. According to this study, strenuous exercise can result in significant increases in urinary and sweat losses. Furthermore, it can result in an increase in magnesium requirements of approximately 10% to 20%, which is a significant increase. In addition to replenishing magnesium lost during exercise, magnesium citrate supplements will also assist in muscle recovery following exercise.
Avoid Magnesium Oxide
A supplement such as this suppresses the sympathetic nervous system. This is essential for the recovery process after a workout. The sympathetic nervous system and all the cortisol it releases are detrimental.
As a result, it creates stress rather than helping. Although magnesium oxide is the most common form of supplementation containing this micronutrient, I do not recommend it because it does not absorb very much of it. This is not only a waste, but it can also cause stomach irritation.
Magnesium citrate is a much better option than calcium carbonate because it has a higher rate of absorption and does not cause digestive side effects. As part of your post-workout shake, you should also take 200 to 400 milligrams of magnesium citrate. If magnesium citrate is not available, you can also try magnesium chloride, lactate, gluconate, or aspartate.
Several studies indicate that carnitine supplementation improves muscle repair and decreases exercise-induced muscle damage. In addition to this, several studies indicate that L-carnitine can be a beneficial supplement to the recovery process after a workout as well.
According to one of the studies, L-carnitine has the ability to relieve muscle injuries, reduce free radical formation, as well as reduce muscle soreness and markers of cellular damage.
It contains 2000 milligrams or two grams of l-carnitine l-tartrate, a supplement known to enhance blood flow. It’s recommended to take it after a workout to boost blood flow and oxygen.
Creatine, of course, cannot be overlooked. Despite creatine’s well-known benefits, most people do not realize that it also reduces the soreness and damage caused by exercise, which actually aids in the recovery and growth of the muscles. Thus, creatine should be taken after your workout in order to enhance performance.
Research indicates that creatine taken post-workout is more effective than creatine taken before working out. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis in which creatine supplementation was compared before and after exercise in order to demonstrate that creatine supplementation is effective.
The recommended amount of creatine is typically 5 grams per day, preferably after a workout. Within a few weeks, you can probably reduce the amount to only 3 grams a day so that your muscle creatine stores remain fully saturated. To fill maximum muscle creatine stores faster, some people take 20 grams per day for the first week.
However, since your muscles become saturated with creatine over time, you can obtain the same results by taking 5 grams per day. You can also avoid potential stomach discomfort by taking less creatine per day, even though there are many forms of creatine available.
It has been shown that creatine monohydrate is the most well-researched form and is based on the scientific evidence available. It is also the most effective form of creatine, so you don’t have to buy another, more expensive, or buffered form of creatine. As well as Ashwagandha, you may also want to consider taking it after a workout. After an intense workout, you are experiencing a high level of activity in your sympathetic nervous system, sometimes called the fight or flight nervous system.
In spite of the fact that these are good things from an exercise perspective since they help you perform well, it stimulates things such as an increase in heart rate, adrenaline, and cortisol. It is not ideal to be in this fight-or-flight state when recovering. Ashwagandha helps you achieve this by activating your parasynthetic nervous system or resting and digesting the nervous system. Ayurvedic medicine uses this herb for its many beneficial properties, including the reduction of cortisol.
According to one study, taking 300 milligrams of high-concentration ashwagandha extract for 60 days decreased cortisol levels by up to almost 28 percent. Participants in this study also experienced significant reductions in anxiety and mental stress as well. According to another study, ashwagandha root powder reduced cortisol levels by 14 in regular men and by 32 in men with stress-related infertility by taking 5 grams of root powder.
Further, Ashwagandha supplementation has been shown to improve exercise-induced muscle damage and improve recovery in sedentary individuals. In order to verify this, scientists measured blood and plasma creatine kinase levels. As such, you should consume 600 milligrams of Ashwagandha root extract after your workout to experience its recovery benefits.
Casein is another one of the best post-workout supplements. We all know that getting enough protein is very important, as you are surely aware. The reason is that it repairs your muscles, causing them to grow, and it also fills you up, reducing hunger cravings. In addition to aiding you in fat loss, the anabolic window, where you need to drink a shake immediately after your workout, also helps you maintain your gains. Otherwise, all of your gains will be lost. It’s imperative to note that there is no need for a shake immediately after your workout.
Increased Muscle Growth With Protein Following Workout
However, there is some research that indicates that protein should be consumed within 30 minutes to an hour of your workout. This is in order to reap the benefits that it promises. For example, a 2018 study published in the journal of strength and conditioning research found evidence that eating protein shortly after a workout improved muscle growth and strength development. There was a significant increase in the amount of protein consumed during the day by these people.
This is despite the fact that they already ate a lot of protein throughout the day. Protein post-workout helps you gain strength and muscle by maintaining a positive protein turnover rate in your muscles.
In muscle, the protein turnover rate is defined as the balance between muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown. When muscle builds up more protein than it breaks down, it will grow.
Whey vs Casein
The protein you consume and the supplements you take play a crucial role in creating a positive protein turnover rate. Most people believe that whey protein is superior to casein after a workout. However, this is only the case if you train on an empty stomach. This is because a faster absorption rate can be beneficial. However, if you have a protein source before your workout, then casein is actually the superior protein source post-workout. The reason for this is that whey is not as effective as casein.
Nevertheless, casein has been shown to be more effective at slowing down muscle protein breakdown. That is why studies have shown that casein is better for building strength and muscle compared to whey. However, even though casein is a better protein than whey, it does not mean that whey is not a perfectly acceptable alternative. It is possible that you may prefer whey protein mixes over casein simply because of the taste and consistency.
Although you can shake your protein bottle, it may still have an odd texture and taste like whey. They are much better with milk or water than with casein. Since whey is considered a waste product by the dairy industry, it is also typically cheaper than casein. Therefore, whey is a more affordable option than casein since they cannot – or won’t – turn it into high-priced products such as cheese.
In fact, whey protein was actually given to farm animals as a protein source before supplements became more popular. This does not leave you feeling bad after a workout in any way. You should only use whey isolate as opposed to whey concentrate to obtain protein.
There are some benefits to this supplement in some cases, but there are also some claims that may cause you to decide to skip out on it. Therefore, I will admit that it is one supplement on our list that I have a little bit of doubt about. First of all, let’s look at the positives of this product. Anthocyanins, which are considered flavonoids, are extremely high in tart cherries. The tart cherry extract contains high levels of anthocyanins, which have been found to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body, ultimately improving recovery after exercise.
It has been shown in a number of studies that tart cherry supplementation reduces muscle soreness. One particular study found it to be effective. The product helped weightlifters maintain their strength after their workouts as well as reducing muscle protein breakdown. Unfortunately, no research has been conducted on how tart cherries ultimately influence muscle growth. This would be very helpful to know since studies have shown that high levels of antioxidants consumed post-workout can actually reduce muscle growth.
After Workout: The Good, the Bad and the Tart
You will naturally experience a spike in inflammation after working out. While this may seem negative, it is actually a positive sign, since inflammation promotes muscle growth and recovery. Therefore, if you prevent inflammation, you could also reduce the muscle-building trigger, resulting in fewer gains.
However, tart cherries do not seem to have the same effect, as I mentioned earlier. Although it is an antioxidant, it is unlikely to impair muscle growth. Instead, it may assist muscle growth and recovery, even though it is an antioxidant. As we get more data on this old-school supplement, we’ll be able to say for sure. It is important to keep in mind that antioxidants appear to impair muscle growth only when consumed during, prior to, or following exercise.
In the absence of tart cherry juice powder or extract, these effects will not occur later. In order to maximize muscle growth and recovery and minimize muscle soreness, take tart cherry powder after a workout. Therefore, you will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Additionally, fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are often lacking in our diets. Unfortunately, research indicates that consuming more omega-3 fatty acids improves exercise performance, muscle growth, and lean body mass. You will be able to recover from your workouts and you will be able to grow muscles as omega-3s promote muscle anabolic signaling and protein synthesis after meals.
It has also been shown that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce chronic inflammation and cortisol, improve testosterone levels, and enhance nutrient partitioning. Moreover, omega-3s also increase fat oxidation, increasing the metabolic rate. As a result, we have evidence that increasing omega-3 intake decreases fat mass. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained if you eat at least 500 grams of fatty fish per week. If you do not consume that amount, you will not benefit from them.
It is recommended that you take one to two grams of fish oil containing combined DHA and EPA following your workout for optimal absorption. The best way to absorb fish oil is to take it with a meal, as research indicates that taking fish oil with a source of fat enhances the bioavailability and effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, you can also consider krill oil as an alternative to fish oil. As a result, you will require less of it to reap the benefits, and it scores higher on antioxidants when compared to other products. That said, you have to bear in mind that it is also more expensive.
You should only consider taking those supplements after your workout, the most important of which are creatine and protein.