If you’re thinking about taking supplements, decide first if you need them, and then choose the ones that are known to work.
Entering a sports nutrition store is a lysergic experience. On the shelves pile up jars and more jars of mysterious powders and pills with names that look like they came out of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy: XForce 3000!, Ultra QNZX! MAXPOWER! On the labels, impossible men, with muscles like truck tires seems to shout: “Take this and you’ll be like me”.
How to gain more muscle? If you want to maximize the amount of muscle you gain and not throw a lot of fat on yourself, you need to be strong first. After that, alternate seasons when you will concentrate on growing, training more and lifting more weights, and others when you will give your body a break and lose fat, preserving the muscle you have gained. This is the beginning of the three-month program in the book Operation Transformer, where you’ll also find a complete guide to supplements, but only those that work.
For newbies and novices, entering one of these stores is intimidating. What should I drink? These supplements are not cheap, am I investing my money well?
The three things that always work
To change your body, lose fat and gain or maintain your muscle, there are three essential components:
- Intense Strength Exercise
If you do these three things right, you don’t need a supplement. If you take supplements, but don’t do these three things, you’ll be throwing your money away.
That said, diet is often the most difficult part of the equation. We can’t always eat what’s right for us. The world is full of food that is low in nutrients and high in carbohydrates. When you play sports, you need more nutrients than a sedentary person. (more vitamins, more minerals, more proteins and more essential fatty acids). This is where supplements can help you complete a diet that is not always good.
These are the three supplements that are known to work. For now, you can forget about the rest of the store.
1. Protein Shakes
One of the main concerns is getting the right amount of protein. Using the rule of two grams a day per kilo of body weight to gain muscle mass, a 75 kg person needs 150g of protein a day. That’s five chicken breasts.
Protein shakes are a convenient, safe and delicious way to get enough protein. The best are made from whey, which is like drinking purified powdered milk. They also taste like chocolate.
Make sure your shakes are low in carbohydrates and fats, and stay away from those labeled “mass gainer,” which are nothing more than sugar shakes. If you want to eat carbohydrates after training, add a little oatmeal and a few pieces of fruit to your shake.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the supplements that has been shown to be effective in multiple studies. It is a compound that produces your own body and serves to bring energy to cells in the form of ATP. More energy, more strength, better performance and more muscle growth. Not only this, but it also improves brain functions.
Creatine loses effectiveness over time, so it’s a good idea to rest from time to time. A good rule of thumb is to take it for three months and leave it for one month.
3. Beta alanine
Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid, and is the precursor to carnosine, a key compound in the functioning of muscles. Carnosine protects muscles from the acidity that results from exertion. If muscles take longer to accumulate acids, performance and endurance are greater.
Unfortunately, taking carnosine has almost no effect, because it degrades in the stomach, so if you want to raise its levels you have to take its precursor, beta alanine. Beta alanine is found naturally in meat, fish and especially in chicken breast. Beta alanine supplements are safe and have no side effects, although they are not as effective as creatine.