So your New Year’s Resolution was to get in the gym and put on some muscle. You went out and got the gym membership, new work-out clothes, and all the latest accessories. Now you find yourself inside a large supplement / vitamin retail chain and feel completely overwhelmed by all the “miracle’s in a bottle” that surround you, asking yourself, “What do I need? What works? What is safe to use? How much will all of this cost???” Relax, regardless of whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, every muscle building supplement program consists of three key ingredients: Protein, Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s), and multi-vitamins.
Protein is referred to as “The Building Blocks of Muscle.” Every cell in the human body requires a continuous supply of protein to survive. If you are attempting to build new muscle mass, you have to increase your protein intake, typically consuming 1g – 1 ½ g per pound of body weight (150lb bodyweight = 150g – 225g of protein per day). Consuming high amounts of protein via your whole food diet can be both challenging and expensive; often the easiest way to do this is by adding a protein supplement to your diet. There are many different protein supplement options on the market, but in general, whey is the most effective. The average protein supplement contains roughly 20g – 25g of protein per serving, so by adding 2 – 3 servings to your daily diet, you can effectively meet your protein needs for the day.
Branch-Chain Amino Acids, or BCAA’s, refers to three of the nine essential Amino Acids, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAA’s play a vital role in both building and repairing muscle and therefore should be consumed both before and after your workout. Consuming 10g of BCAA’s prior to a training session can provide needed fuel to get you through your workout. 10g of BCAA supplementation post-workout can help jumpstart muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown, leading to faster recovery.
Multivitamins consist of many highly important daily nutrients your body needs in general, but they are even more important when trying to add muscle. It can be very challenging to keep up with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, a good multivitamin can solve this problem, serving as a safe and cost effective platform for achieving your fitness goals. With multivitamins, I generally recommend a generic brand; they are typically less expensive and provide the same quality as the high priced brand names. To ensure you are purchasing a high quality product, always look for the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) symbol on the bottle.
Now you’re ready to get started. Eat healthy, supplement properly, work hard, get plenty of rest, and you’ll be growing in no time!