Are you getting the right nutrition to support your exercise routine? Exercise is necessary for building muscle strength, but your nutrient intake is almost just as important. Although getting your nutrient needs met by the foods you eat is always the goal, supplements can be strategic partners in attaining specific health goals.
Everybody is different and may not experience the same benefits from supplements, such as testosterone boosters, but many find supplements helpful for supporting their strength training progress. iwi life is here to help, breaking down some of the most popular strength supplements and their benefits.
How Does Muscle Growth Work?
Building strength relies on muscle gain, so understanding how muscle growth works is important for getting stronger. Muscle growth is more complex than just lifting some weights, and a few important factors support muscle tissue growth.
Muscle gain requires a stringent exercise routine that puts your muscles to work — if you don’t use them, you won’t build them. Some muscle-building exercises include weightlifting, resistance training, and high-intensity bodyweight exercises, like push-ups or lunges.
Regular endurance exercises like running or biking can also build muscle in the engaged areas. Occasional exercise will help you maintain muscle, but it is important to exercise several times a week in order to keep building muscle mass and maintain athletic performance.
Getting the right nutrients is an important part of the muscle growth process. Muscle growth is supported largely by fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
Protein is the foundational building block of muscles and is made up of chains of amino acids. Other nutrients can also support your muscle growth by supporting your body’s ability to absorb and use protein.
Generally, it is ideal to get the majority of your nutrients through your diet, but dietary supplements can be a helpful addition to your daily nutrient intake, especially for nutrients that may be harder to come by in your daily diet. Many frequent gym-goers have their preferred supplements to help them build muscle and strength.
To build muscle, your body needs to obtain enough energy. Calories give your body the energy to have an effective workout as well as the energy to support muscle repair and growth. To gain muscle, you should obtain more calories than you burn daily.
Calories can come from protein, carbohydrates, or healthy fats. However, getting enough protein in addition to calories is crucial for effectively building muscles and strength.
What Are the Best Supplements for Muscle Growth?
Whether you are bodybuilding or just trying to improve your muscle mass, supplements can be very helpful in supporting your progress. The following are some effective supplements for building strength and supporting muscle growth.
Creatine helps your body make energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and helps keep your muscles hydrated. The body produces this nutrient, but it is also found in foods like meat and dairy. As a supplement, it can support natural creatine levels in your muscles and potentially support growth.
Creatine supplements are popular pre-workout supplements taken by many weightlifters to provide additional energy to their muscles. These supplements are especially helpful for people who do not receive enough creatine through their diet, like vegetarians, as well as people who want to increase their creatine levels.
There is considerable research that supports the benefits of creatine for building strength. Increased muscle creatine content can support energy levels and improve exercise performance. Creatine monohydrate may also help support healthy movement and muscle recovery.
Taking about 20 grams of creatine daily, either before or after your workout, may help support your muscles and performance.
Protein is crucial for muscle gain. Ingesting protein supplements like casein and whey protein powder can provide both protein and essential amino acids, which work together to support muscle protein synthesis.
The recommended daily protein intake is about 0.37g per pound of bodyweight, but when strength training, that number rises to between 0.5 and 0.8g. As a result, protein supplements can help you reach that amount.
Protein supplements can come in various forms, like energy bars, protein powders, and even protein shakes. The protein in these supplements is often sourced from whey protein or some other isolated form of protein.
Whey protein, the most popular protein supplement, is a group of eight proteins found in milk. Whey is also a complete protein source, which means it has all of the essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own.
Since whey comes from animal products, those on a plant-based diet must look elsewhere. Fortunately, there are alternatives like soy protein isolate, brown rice protein, and pea protein.
Consider taking a high-quality protein supplement post-workout to provide extra support to your muscles as they repair and grow. When looking for a protein supplement, try to avoid artificial flavors and excess sugar as they can have a negative impact on your health.
Building strength requires a high number of calories. In order to build muscle, you need to obtain more calories than you burn each day.
For some people, this is harder than for others. If your metabolism works very quickly and you burn more calories than the average person, you may have difficulty gaining weight. When you struggle to gain weight, you may struggle to increase muscle mass.
To overcome this problem, you need to consume a large number of calories. A mass gainer supplement is an excellent way to help you do that.
These supplements can contain as many as 1,000 calories per serving, which can help those who struggle with gaining weight start to build lean muscle mass. When paired with protein, these supplements support muscle gain.
Of course, as with any strength-building routine, you need to ensure you are working out regularly. Taking a very high-calorie supplement without any activity can cause you to gain body fat instead of muscle. Mass gainer supplements are primarily for those who need extra support and struggle to get enough calories through food.
Essential Amino Acids
When your body creates muscle, protein plays a key role, and protein is made up of 20 different amino acids. However, nine specific amino acids cannot be created by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) account for three of the nine essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Taking amino acids can be a great way to support muscle growth and help you build strength. BCAA supplements can support several functions that influence muscle growth. For example, leucine helps promote muscle protein synthesis. Other amino acids, like beta-alanine, play a role in preventing acid buildup in muscles.
BCAAs and other amino acids like glutamine, citrulline, arginine, and l-carnitine can be particularly helpful as they may help reduce feelings of fatigue from exercise, promote better endurance, and support the development of lean body mass.
Dietary BCAAs may also improve exercise performance by supporting healthy muscle function during exercise, supporting a quick recovery after a workout, and minimizing muscle fatigue and muscle soreness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent supplement to support your overall health and strength, as they provide support for more than just your muscles. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, can help support several systems, including your heart, bones, immune system, and joints. If you are focused on strength training, neglecting your joints and bones could hinder your ability to perform repeated reps.
Omega-3 fatty acids may also directly help with building muscle, as these nutrients can help support proper muscle protein synthesis and help minimize muscle breakdown. The research suggests that in combination with a protein-rich diet, omega-3s may support amino acid transport in the body, ultimately promoting muscle growth.
There are several options for omega-3 supplements. The most popular options are often fish or krill oil, as they are the most widely available and are rich sources of DHA and EPA fatty acids. However, another great option is algae-based omega-3 supplements, as fish obtain their omega-3s from this nutrient-rich source.
Research shows that iwi life algae-based supplements provide omega-3s absorbed by the body at least 1.7X better than other sources. Algae also offers two other notable benefits. It is completely plant-based, making it a great option for anyone on a plant-based diet, and it gives you omega-3 without any fishy aftertaste.
Since omega-3s are an important nutrient for overall health and not just muscle growth, consider taking a supplement on a daily basis.
Find the Right Supplements To Build Muscle
Everyone is different and may benefit from different supplements, but in general, these targeted nutrition products, available in supplement stores, health food stores, and online, have the potential to provide support for an exercise routine. If you are looking to build strength and want to determine which supplements would work best for you, consider discussing your options with a nutritionist.
Building muscular strength is even more valuable when you build strong joints and bones to support it. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. To build holistic strength, you need to take a holistic approach.
iwi life’s joint supplement provides a great way to support your bone and joint health. Powered by algae, iwi life’s supplement gives you helpful DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids as well as glucosamine. Try our joint supplement for yourself and experience the benefits of omega-3s.
Protein Intake for Optimal Muscle Maintenance | American College of Sports Medicine