When you’re busting a gut in the gym to strip away the fat and build up muscle bulk and definition, you’d be forgiven for wondering if there are any shortcuts.
Just one glance at the health shops will reveal a dazzling array of supplements which promise to enhance your training regime but just how effective are they? Here’s a closer look at what’s available and the effect you can realistically expect.
Creatine is a substance which occurs naturally in everyone’s body and is one of the main sources of energy for every muscular action, from small to large. It’s easy to gain energy from food but if your muscles are likely to be under great stress, such as during training, a boost to your intake can be beneficial.
One of the most popular types of supplements, creatine has the potential to help in lots of different ways. As well as reducing post-exercise soreness and inflammation, creatinine improves performance during high-intensity training and increases blood flow. All of this leads to more efficient workouts, greater strength and increased lean muscle mass.
Another popular weight-lifting supplement, protein is at the very core of muscle gains. Traditionally whey protein has been taken post workout to speed up muscle recovery, there’s also an increasing number of athletes who take it pre-workout too.
Whey protein has the benefit of being far more easy for the body to absorb and digest, and also contains greater amounts of leucine (more about this below) than any other source of protein.
Taking whey protein can help to increase muscle mass, minimise work-out damage and also help with appetite control.
Branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAAs, are a type of amino acid which has an integral role in protein metabolism and protein synthesis.
There are just three BCAAs: leucine, valine and isoleucine. Taking a combination of two parts of leucine to one part of isoleucine and valine each appears to be the most effective dose.
As well as playing an important role in protein synthesis, BCAAs also reduce muscle damage and soreness allowing individuals to work out harder and for longer. This is complemented by the fact that BCAAs also improve endurance which is why they’re also popular with athletes from other disciplines such as runners and cyclists.
Can Supplements Really Help?
If you choose the right supplements, there is scientific evidence to back up the claims that they could help you to pack on the muscle more quickly. However, they come with a caveat: they’re not a magical solution and will only help if you’re prepared to put in the work yourself too.
If for example, you have regular sessions with your personal trainer Manchester, London or other location you will find that your workouts will be far more effective. If you continue to exercise hard and follow the advice of your personal trainer, supplements will take your muscle definition and mass to the next level.