Though weight loss is a very common goal, many people actually want to gain weight. Some common reasons include improving daily functioning, looking more muscular and enhancing athleticism.
Typically, those who want to gain weight should focus on gaining muscle. It’s usually healthier to gain most of your weight as muscle rather than fat. While food and exercise are most important for gaining muscle, supplements may also help by providing calories and protein or by allowing you to exercise harder.
When choosing your supplements, you should take a target-driven approach:
- Decide on your goals, from fat loss and muscle gain to athletic performance and health.
- Determine which supplements will help you achieve them.
- Check your levels with your doctor to figure out if you actually need the boost.
- Here I’ve highlighted the supplements shown to be effective – and the ways to get the most out of them!
Any which whey?
Not all protein powders are created equal. Select the one that matches your goals:
For recovery, look for…isolate
Isolate is a powder containing more than 90% pure protein, whereas concentrate usually clocks up 75-80%.
For muscle, look for… Glutamine
This amino acid plays an important role in muscle tissue repair. Take it after training to boost recovery.
For fat loss, look for…Carnitine
This naturally produced compound aids the breakdown of fatty acids. Put it in your shake to help you shed your gut.
Here are 4 supplements that will help you gain muscle:
- Whey protein has been proven to help with athletic performance, muscle building and fat loss.
- The best natural sources are the whey and casein proteins in milk, which have more branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) than vegan sources.
- The key amino acid you want in your shake is leucine – it’s the most important one for protein synthesis.
- If possible, opt for protein that’s in isolate form, which is slightly purer than concentrate and hydrolysed.
- Pure creatine monohydrate is the most studied and the most beneficial supplement for building strength.
- It gives you the capacity to get through a few more reps in a workout, boosts your power output and increases water retention in your muscles, called cellular swelling, which can help with muscle growth.
- This naturally occurring beta amino acid can help with endurance and possibly building muscle, but it’s not as well studied as creatine.
- It helps you buffer lactic acid to resist fatigue and get through a few more reps.
- Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. If you have plenty of seeds, nuts, leafy green veg, dark chocolate and coffee in your diet you should be getting enough, but if you’re deficient it can affect energy, bone strength, the nervous system and blood sugar control.
- Magnesium supplements have been shown to help with recovery and muscle contraction and have a positive influence on blood pressure.
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