1. Multivitamin (2 per day/ 8 hours apart)
Basic vitamin consumption is key to developing a muscular physique. If you already consume a high amount of fruits and vegetables, then a multivitamin may not be needed every single day. For most of us however, daily doses of recommended vitamins and minerals will give us the extra nutrients we need, and will help keep us in tip-top shape from a nutritional standpoint.
2. ZMA’s (40mg zinc minimum)
ZMA supplements are a combination of the minerals Zinc and Magnesium, and the vitamin B-6. Most diets will be lacking in the zinc and magnesium department so it is important to include them in your daily regimen. From a muscle-building standpoint, Zinc plays a major role in testosterone production, which in turn produces greater amounts of muscle. The combinations of these three have been shown to increase by 46% in tested groups. That’s a pretty impressive figure…
3. Creatine Monohydrate (5-10 grams before/after workout)
If your main goal in the gym is muscle gain, the Creatine supplementation is a must. What most people fail to understand is that creatine is part of your energy system (ATP/Creatine Phosphate). It’s main purpose to provide the body with an extra boost of energy when the muscles are put in an anaerobic state. Some examples of this are weight lifting and sprinting. Even though creatine is not directly responsible for muscle gain, it will allow your body to push harder and longer durning your workouts, which equals more muscle fiber recruitment.
4. Whey Protein (pre/post workout – 40-50 grams)
The Mecca of nutritional supplementation! The amino acids that make up protein are responsible for many roles in the body, however our interest lies in the ability of protein to restore and recover our muscles. It does not act by itself, but is extremely important in the hypertrophy process. When muscle fibers are broken down during exercise, amino acids must be present in the bloodstream to help build up these fibers to a bigger and stronger state. Try to get a liquid-form of whey protein into your system within 30-45 minutes post workout. This anabolic window slowly starts to close, so it is important to get those nutrients in as fast as possible. (Tip: don’t chug your shake! Drink slowly over the course of this time to make sure that the majority of the aminos are absorbed into your system).
5. BCAA’s ( 1 serving intra workout/1 serving throughout day)
BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. The three amino acids that make up the BCAA supplement are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Throughout the industry, these guys are referred to as “the building blocks of muscle,” which is exactly right. One of BCAAs main roles is to combine other amino acids together to form a more complex muscle tissue. In a more simple definition, if these aminos are found in the blood stream during exercise, protein synthesis in the muscle cells is forced to continue onward, kick-starting your muscle recovery. So why wait till after your workout to get the process started? My advice is to sip on these during your workout. Try adding it to water or an electrolyte beverage like Gatorade or Powerade.
6. Beef Aminos (6 after first meal/ 6 before bed)
If your diet is lacking in the beef department, then Beef Aminos will help. The aminos in beef are slower digesting and will give your body a better variety of nutrients as compared to just eating chicken or fish. If you’re not a fan of red meat, but still want as much mass as possible, try taking a beef amino supplement with your meals or before bedtime.
7. Glutamine ( 15-20 grams post workout/before bed)
Glutamine is the most abundant and recently classified essential amino acid found in the body. It is dominant in the process of protein synthesis, which makes its use for muscle-building completely obvious. Like other amino acids, it helps in protein synthesis production and if a supply is readily available in the body, it will help to reduce catabolism (muscles being used as energy). Try adding 15 to 20 grams of Glutamine to your post workout shake.
8. DHEA (Support Hormone Production)
Put simply, DHEA is a hormone that is converted in the body into male and female hormones. For men, this supplement will be converted into testosterone, which is directly related to muscle growth. Natural DHEA levels in the body tend to peak in your 20’s so it is important to make sure that too much of this hormone is not taken. Physician consent is always a great idea before messing with hormonal products. On a positive note, DHEA when used correctly can have a great effect on muscle production especially in older males. More testosterone = more muscles.
9. Casein Protein ( 1 serving before bed)
Looking for a slow-digesting protein? Then look no further! Casein protein is perfect for a late-night meal or first thing in the morning. Casein makes up about 80% of cow’s milk, the other 20% coming from whey. Once you’ve gained muscle, the most important thing is to keep it there. When you’re sleeping, the last thing you want your body to do is use your hard-earned muscle as fuel. To prevent this, supplement Casein protein before bed time. This will ensure a slow release of amino acids for energy and also for your muscles.
10. Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
Omega 3 fatty acids are considered “essential” for the body, meaning that we are incapable of producing them, so they must come from the diet. Fattier fish like salmon are extremely high in these healthy fats and are a great protein source along with tuna, halibut and some nut oils. Omega 3’s play a major role in brain function as well as human growth and development. If you’re looking to gain mass, then your body must be functioning at its best. Try to supplement these with a couple meals throughout the day.