Here in Wisconsin, when the Summer dies down, the hoodies go on, and the grind continues. Most people aren't competitive bodybuilders or professional athletes, so their "off season" is usually in the colder months.
First things first...
You CANNOT and WILL NOT gain any significant amount of muscle mass with SUPPLEMENTS ALONE!
Supplements do just that...
They SUPPLEMENT diet and training.
That being said, most people reach a point a few months or years into training that they realize they could use some help recovering, some extra drive in the gym, or a few more hours of restful sleep at night.
When used correctly, proper supplementation can have a SYNERGISTIC effect on your results.
Here are our picks for the Top 5 Supplements for Gaining Muscle in 2021:
1. Protein Powder
Protein powders are designed to supplement your daily protein intake. However, when used for gaining muscle, they have many advantages over food. The first is that protein powders can be leveraged at two important times: First thing in the morning or upon waking, and post-workout within 30-60 minutes after you put the bar down.
These times are when the body is at it's most catabolic, which means the body is in a state of muscle breakdown - remember, when you train, you are breaking muscle down and asking it to be repaired and rebuilt stronger.
So, when you've gone a night of sleeping or a few hours of intense training - you have used up your muscles internal source of fuel - glycogen, as well as caused a negative nitrogen balance - this is the body's demand to be refueled and repaired - and if it doesn't get what it wants - it's going to start taking your gains!
Pro tip: If you want to supercharge your results, combine protein with a fast digesting carb like dextrose or even honey. This will spike insulin levels, causing nutrients to be driven into muscle cells. This will help you recover faster and make progress more quickly.
Many people think of pre-workout purely in terms of focus or energy. However, for me, pre-workout is one of my top "muscle building" recommendations and here's why:
Intensity is the single most important factor (besides adequate nutrition) in proper muscle growth. Pre-workout increases the intensity of my workouts, period.
What does this mean? It means that your mindset, energy level, and focus on each rep, and the nervous system connection between your brain and the muscle are the driving factors of intensity.
Combine intensity with many of the savory skin-splitting pump and endurance ingredients like beta alanine, citrulline malate, or glycerol and you have one of the best muscle building supplements.
The pump is not just cosmetic either - increasing bloodflow helps improve muscle recovery by driving nutrients into hungry muscle cells. Not only that, science proves that a hydrated and fed muscle cell has a much higher rate of protein synthesis (recovery)... so remember, when you have the sick pump, its for science.
Tried and true - Creatine Monohydrate is THE MOST STUDIED sports supplement in all of history. Yes, that means there is more scientific, empirical data on monohydrate than not only any other form of creatine but any supplement in general! There is a ton of supplement industry hype, broscience, and just plain bullshit floating around about creatine. "Water retention" is not a bad thing.
What does creatine actually do?
Creatine helps to supplement the creatine-phosphate system - which produces ATP. ATP is the form of energy our muscles use when we exert ourselves anaerobically - that means without oxygen - think throwing a punch, doing a max effort set, sprinting. ATP is short-term energy, so it must be recycled often so it can be reused. Creatine supplementation supercharges that recycling system, so you are ready to go faster for the next round.
A "side effect" of creatine is that it causes 'water retention'. This is a huge 'bro myth', and let me explain why. Most "water retention" creatine causes is on an intracellular level. That means the water is sucked inside the muscle cell. A muscle full of full muscle cells looks full, hard, and defined.
YES- if you are a competitive level bodybuilder you MAY want to lower creatine near show time, but for regular people, 'water retention' is not something you should worry about especially if you are looking to pack on the mass.
4. Mass Gainers
For some, gaining even one pound of muscle is nearly impossible. These types are ectomorphs - meaning they have a very hard metabolism, and no matter how much they eat - they still can't manage to gain weight.
For these types of 'hardgainers', a mass gainer powder can be the answer to their problem.
These powders are typically meal replacements that comprise of sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrates that help supplement total calories and macronutrient intake for the day.
A simply equation for mass gain is:
Multiply your goal bodyweight by 20, and shoot for that many calories. So if you are 180, and want to get to 190, You can start out at 3800 calories per day, and go until you stop gaining. Adding an extra 500-1000 calories from a properly timed mass gainer can help tremendously in hitting these numbers.
5. Test Boosters/Prohormones
The best for last, of course. At a certain point, some people just want that extra "edge". Maybe their genetics aren't perfect, or they are already doing all they can in the gym and the kitchen. If that's the case, it's time to look into test boosters or PH products. Here are our top recommendations for the best muscle gain supplements for 2021:
For any of these, a proper PCT protocol is recommended:
And that's it! Those are our picks for the Top 5 Muscle Building Supplements in 2021. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.