Which supplements do you really need for muscle growth? Find out exactly what supplements you should be taking to build muscle and burn fat. Although supplements won’t do the work for you they can give you an edge and speed up your progress with building muscle and burning fat.
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Many supplements promise to get you bigger, stronger muscles while burning away all your stubborn body fat with minimal effort, just by taking some pills and some powders. In reality, the truth is, most supplements are actually not necessary and in fact are a waste of your money. However, there are a few key supplements that actually do drastically improve your results that you should consider taking after your workouts if you want to see faster progress. So today I’m going to go over the only supplements you really need that are proven and backed by science.
And I want to start first one a supplement that many of you are not currently taking Magnesium citrate. Research shows that only about 15-50% of Americans take in enough magnesium. For athletes and people that are consistently physically active the situation is even worse. So in those cases, you’re even more likely to be deficient in this mineral. (7) That’s because magnesium gets lost through sweat and urine. And athletes also need more magnesium because it’s important for muscle repair. So they naturally have higher magnesium requirements than the average sedentary person. We can look back at a study published in the Journal of Magnesium Research that found that “strenuous exercise was able to increase urinary and sweat losses high enough that it could increase magnesium requirements by anywhere from 10 to 20 percent.” (8) Luckily one of the best times to consume magnesium citrate is post-workout. Not only will it help replenish lost magnesium, but it’ll also support muscle recovery, and it’ll suppress the sympathetic nervous system which is what you want after a workout because that sympathetic nervous system and all the cortisol it releases doesn’t help with recovery, on the contrary, it creates stress. Magnesium oxide is actually the most popular supplement form of this micronutrient, but I don’t recommend it because almost none of the magnesium oxide will get absorbed. That’s obviously not only a waste, but it can end up irritating your stomach. So instead you want to go with magnesium citrate. It has a much higher absorption rate and doesn’t cause side effects with digestion. You’ll want to take somewhere between 200 and 400 milligrams of magnesium citrate after your workout and you can mix it right into your post-workout shake. If you can’t find magnesium citrate you can also go for magnesium chloride, lactate, gluconate, or aspartate instead.
Up next is L-carnitine. Research shows that carnitine supplementation reduces exercise-induced muscle damage and soreness while improving muscle repair.(9) A number of studies also point to the positive impact that L-carnitine has on the recovery process after completing a workout. (10) One of these studies found that L-carnitine can relieve muscle injuries and can reduce the markers of cellular damage, free radical formation, and even decrease muscle soreness.”(11) One of the ways that it’s able to do this is by enhancing blood flow and oxygen supply to muscle tissue. Based on the current evidence, 2,000 milligrams or 2 grams of l-carnitine l-tartrate post-workout will do the trick.
Moving we of course have to mention creatine. Creatine is well-known for increasing strength and muscle growth. But what most people don’t realize is that creatine also reduces exercise-induced muscle damage and soreness. So it actually assists with recovery and it’s when you are recovering that your muscles grow. (4)
That’s why it’s a good idea to take creatine after your workout. You want to take it specifically after your workout because research shows us that taking creatine post-workout is more effective than taking it before your workout. (5) This was proven in a meta-analysis where researchers compared creatine supplementation taken either directly before exercise or directly after. (6) Typically all you need is five grams of creatine per day preferably directly after a workout. After about 3 to 4 weeks you can probably drop that number down to only three grams per day to keep your muscle creatine stores full. Some people do choose to take 20 grams per day for the first week to fill their maximum muscle creatine stores faster, but you can get the same results just by taking 5 grams per day since your muscles will become saturated with creatine anyway over time, it’ll just take 3 to 4 weeks instead of 1 week, but you’ll also avoid potential stomach discomfort by taking less per day. Even though there are many forms of creatine on the market, creatine monohydrate is the most well-researched and, based on the scientific evidence..