Today, weight loss is a very common goal. But many people actually want to gain weight. Some common reasons to gain weight include improving daily functioning and enhancing athleticism. If you want to increase weight you should focus on gaining muscle and not fat.
Besides food and exercise, supplements may also help by providing calories and protein. One important benefit of exercise is gaining strength and muscle. Having healthy muscles helps you perform better during exercise.
Three main criteria must be met to maximize muscle gain: consume more protein than you break down, eat more calories than you burn, and an exercise routine that challenges your muscles. All these criteria are easy to meet without taking dietary supplements, but certain supplements may help you meet your goals.
The 6 supplements listed below may help you gain more muscle with your exercise plan:
It is a compound that is found naturally in muscle cells. The molecule is produced naturally in our body. Creatine provides energy to tissues and muscles in our body. In the U.S., among all the sports nutrition supplements, creatine has an annual sales of approximately $2.7B. Creatine use is permitted by the International Olympic Committee and in other professional sports.
It is often taken as a dietary supplement to improve muscle strength and athletic performance. It helps your muscles produce energy during high-intensity exercise like heavy lifting. The supplement helps to increase muscle creatine content up to 40%. This directly affects your muscle cells and exercise performance, promoting muscle gain.
Studies have shown that creatine improves muscle strength. Creatine is a must if you are trying to gain muscle. Stronger muscles help you perform better during workouts, leading to increased muscle mass over a long period of time. This supplement may increase levels of the hormones involved in muscle growth, such as IGF-1. You can also apply creatine to aging skin. If you are looking for a supplement to help you gain muscle, creatine should be your first choice.
2. Protein Supplements
Protein is essential for gaining muscles as it is an important muscle component. It is possible to get all the protein from the regular protein rich foods you consume regularly, but some people struggle to do so. Protein supplement could be a good choice for such people.Casein, whey, and soy protein are the most common protein supplements available in the market. Other protein supplements contain protein isolated from beef, eggs, chicken and other sources.
Several studies have proved that adults who consume protein supplements gain more muscle. In order to gain muscle you need to consume more protein than what your body breaks down through natural processes. If you are on a high-protein diet, then protein supplements will not help increase muscle. How much protein must you eat in a day? Scientists say that a daily intake 0.5–0.9 grams of protein per pound or 1.4–2.0 grams per kg of body weight per day – is appropriate to support muscles growth in active adults.
As a general recommendation, the Institute of Medicine suggests that 10–35% of your daily calories should come from protein.
3. Weight Gainers
Weight gainers come under a broad group of high-calorie supplements which help you get additional calories and protein. Weight gainers come in the form of shakes which are high in protein and high in carbohydrates. Similar to protein supplements, they are a convenient way for people to gain more calories.
This supplement is typically used by individuals who struggle to gain muscle. To gain weight, you need to take more calories than your body requires for normal functioning. Most of the calories are believed to come from carbs and not from the proteins. However, how much extra you have to consume depends on the individual.
Though weight gainers taste unpleasant, adding weight gainers to your diet can undoubtedly increase your calorie requirement. These supplements can be convenient, but it is always better to eat real food as they provide other nutrients as well. For example, one popular supplement contains 1,250 calories, 50 grams of protein and 252 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
4. Beta Alanine
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid produced naturally in your body. It is a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts as it has shown to benefit overall health. The compound helps your muscles fight fatigue during exercise. Amino acids are the building blocks. But unlike other amino acids they are not used by our body to synthesize proteins.
Taken as a supplement, beta-alanine helps improve performance during intense exercise. Taken following an exercise, beta-alanine may help increase muscle mass. A study showed that adding a beta-alanine supplement to a six-week, high-intensity training program helped increase body mass by about 1 pound (0.45 kg). Since beta-alanine supplements increase carnosine levels in your body, they help your muscles reduce their acid levels during exercise. This decreases overall fatigue.
5. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) consists of three types of amino acids: isoleucine, leucine and valine. They are found in most animal origin protein sources, like fish, meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy. Branched-chain refers to the chemical structure of BCAAs, found in protein-rich foods. They are a popular dietary supplement which comes in powder form.
BCAAs are critical for muscle growth and makeup about 14% of the amino acids in your muscles. BCAAs also help to reduce exercise-induced fatigue. Everyone consumes BCAAs through their daily diet, but it’s also very popular to take BCAAs as a supplement. Studies have also shown that BCAA supplements have helped to improve mental focus during exercise.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a compound that is produced when your body processes the amino acid leucine. HMB is essential for the body to protect and repair muscle tissue. Some foods, like alfalfa, grapefruit and fish contain higher amounts of HMB. It is responsible for some of the beneficial effects of protein and leucine in the diet.
HMB is produced naturally by your body, but taking it as a supplement allows for higher levels and may benefit your muscles. HMB is said to benefit those who are getting started with exercise or increasing the intensity of their workouts. HMB is one of the most researched supplements today as its ingredients have shown to improve athletic performance.
Dietary supplements are an affordable and effective way to ensure you are getting the daily recommended intake of essential nutrients necessary for optimal health. Dietary supplements come in the form of capsules, pills, powders, extracts, gel tabs, or liquids. You do not need a doctor’s prescription to buy dietary supplements. If you want to gain weight, make sure your exercise program and nutritional habits are in sync. This will be the most critical factors for your success.