Building lean muscle mass is hard, and can be achieved traditionally through eating a balanced diet and lifting weights. But if you want to see faster results, adding a healthy weight-gain supplement can really pay off. But with so many on the market, it can be confusing trying to pick the best one for you. So, we have taken a look at the most common ingredients used in weight gain shakes and supplements, which may help you to better choose the right product for what you want to achieve.
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Whey protein powder is a milk protein that pretty much tops the list for being a required supplement for weight gain. It is extracted and isolated from milk before being filtered to remove fats and carbohydrates, leaving mostly protein behind. There are different levels of concentration, from standard whey protein concentrate to whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate. Isolate is more thoroughly filtered than concentrate, so contains less fat and carbs. Hydrolysate has had the protein partially broken down, so it is easier to digest and more readily absorbed in the body.
Whichever whey protein is used, all products are highly recommended to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Whey is high in amino acids, the building blocks of protein. It also improves blood flow to the muscles, enhancing nutrient delivery and waste removal. It is advised to take it within 30 minutes of working out for optimum performance.
Casein is another form of protein found in milk. In comparison to whey, casein is digested slowly, which makes it less popular amongst those looking to bulk up quickly. But there are indications that taking casein supplements after a training session can be just as effective as taking whey. Combining it with whey could boost these benefits even further.
Because it is slow-digesting, experts also recommend that casein is taken before bedtime. Just 10-20 grams at night can start improving muscle mass.
Creatine is an organic acid that helps to increase energy levels in muscle tissue. It occurs naturally in humans, appearing mostly in the blood, brain and muscles, and is manufactured in the body from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine can improve body weight in combination with weight training, as the extra energy can be used to lift more reps. It works in other ways too, drawing water into the muscle cells and also increasing insulin-like growth factor in muscles; both of which help to stimulate muscle growth.
Creatine is available in various forms, including creatine monohydrate, creatine malate and creatine ethyl ester. Any of these can be added to a whey or casein protein shake just before a training workout. Taking it in this way ensures the creatine is immediately available to help the muscles work harder and faster. It can then be taken post-workout to help boost and replace your creatine levels.
Carnosine is formed from the amino acids, beta-alanine and histidine and is found in high concentrations in brain and muscle tissues. Research has shown that it has beneficial effects on strength and endurance. It seems that carnosine has the ability to improve both power and stamina when it comes to muscle contraction.
Carnosine can be taken alongside whey and casein protein shakes and together with creatine too. 1-2 grams of it can help improve muscle contraction when taken before and after training sessions.
One of the most common ingredients found in weight gain supplements is glutamine, which is one of the frequently occurring amino acids found in the body and it has a vital role in muscle function. It aids muscle growth by boosting the levels of the amino acid leucine and has numerous other benefits too, such as aiding the immune system and helping to combat fatigue.
Glutamine can be taken before workouts to boost muscle activity and improve stamina. The recommended dose is 5-10 grams before and after workouts, and this amount can be taken with breakfast and in the evening too.
Choosing a supplement should be easier now that you know some of the most used ingredients used in them. Just remember, when building muscles, balance exercises with a healthy diet, and the right weight gain products in order to see the results you wanted in no time.