We’ve all been there – the first time you go to the gym, and you’re amazed at the sight of the massive guys doing multiple sets of pullups on insanely on heavy bench presses with ease How, you may well ask, do those dudes get those bodies? They may well be taking supplements, but, especially if you’re skinny, working out hard and a healthy diet are the keys to gaining muscle mass. Supplements, while useful, are as their name suggests, optional addons.
Nevertheless, scientific studies have proven that protein supplements help boost muscle mass and exercise performance. For people who work out regularly, these supplements can also increase your power in both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
If you’re a naturally skinny guy, you should be aiming to gain lean muscle, not body fat. To achieve this, you could supplement your workouts with a whey- or casein-based protein powder, both of which contain all the essential amino acids for muscle growth and repair. If you’re a vegan or lactose-intolerant, there are other options available, such as soy powder, which also has all the essential amino acids.
Creatine is another favourite amongst athletes and professional lifters, as research indicates that creatine can increase both muscle mass and muscle fibre size, whether taken before or after workouts. Branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAAs, are also thought encourage greater muscle protein synthesis.
As important as dietary protein is, and as useful as supplements are, exercise is the vital component in the process of building muscle. Ideally, you should be obtaining high-quality protein from whole foods, and it is recommended that athletes building muscle mass eat about 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of their body weight.
However, not all amino acids ingested in the body are used for muscle mass, some being diverted to other bodily functions such as hormone formation, so supplements can be a quick and easy way to keep your intake up.
If you want to become muscular, obviously you have to hit the gym, and just because there are some big guys in the gym it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re using supplements . But, if on top of your training plan and your new healthy, balanced, protein-rich diet you still want to take supplements, you should discuss your choices with your doctor or a registered dietician.