Sports nutrition for gaining weight - rating of the best supplements and brands
Once in a sports nutrition store, it is easy to get lost among the huge number of supplements for gaining muscle mass. Protein with three levels of filtration, microcrystalline creatine with transport system, gainer with five types of fast carbohydrates and casein with magnesium - the list could go on endlessly.
In reality, few types of sports nutrition are actually useful for weight gain and muscle growth. In addition, their intake schedule requires significantly lower doses than those recommended by sports nutrition manufacturers. What supplements help you gain weight and how to take them?
Weight gain supplements
Protein is the only sports supplement that really helps muscle growth. It is the protein it contains that is the most important metabolic element for gaining mass. Studies show that athletes need at least 1.5 to 2.5 g of protein per kg of body weight daily.
Sports nutrition containing whey protein is highly digestible. While ordinary foods, especially meat, can take hours to digest, whey protein is digested in minutes. One scoop contains up to 20-25 grams of protein and is equivalent to a large steak.
With the rest of the muscle gain supplements, it's either about speeding up recovery processes or affecting strength performance - which ultimately helps you train harder and helps you gain weight faster.
Most sports nutrition manufacturers only do packaging, not manufacturing - in other words, they buy pre-packaged ingredients for both protein and vitamins and other supplements. In the end, the same product may be sold under different brand names and at different prices.
The biggest sports nutrition brands in the world are Optimum Nutrition and BSN, owned by Glanbia of Ireland. Cellucor, Dymatize and Universal Nutrition are popular on the American market, while on the European market the British MyProtein is popular.
Sports nutrition for growing muscles
Below is a rating of sports nutrition for gaining mass, sorted by level of effectiveness - from the most important for muscle growth to additional supplements, as well as the recommended schedule of admission.
Gainer is a rapidly digestible mixture of carbohydrates and proteins that serves as the main tool for triggering muscle recovery and growth. Since the body needs 100-150 glycogen for each workout, immediately after the gym the body needs carbohydrates to replenish the stores spent.
At the same time carbohydrates often contribute more to weight gain than proteins: an athlete needs about 300-400 g of carbohydrates daily, whether taken from sports nutrition or from food. However, a gainer can lead not only to gain muscle mass, but also to gain fat.
2. Whey Protein.
Sports protein allows you to control the amount of protein your body gets daily - in addition, it does not require cooking, as you only need to mix the powder with water. On the other hand, its benefit for muscle growth lies solely in the fact that it is a source of protein.
In other words, protein is only suitable for athletes who are unable to eat a full meal after a workout or during the day - in other cases, regular protein food would be cheaper. In addition, the total caloric content of the diet, not just the amount of protein, also plays a role when gaining weight.
Creatine is a substance found in meat that acts as an additional source of energy during strength training. In addition, regular intake of creatine helps increase body weight because the supplement induces retention of fluid in the muscles (they become more voluminous).
Practice shows that after a week after starting creatine supplementation the weight of the athlete may increase by several kilos and at the same time the strength, visual volume and compactness of the muscles increase.
4. BCAA Amino Acids
BCAA amino acids are the most effective supplement for reducing fatigue during strength training. BCAAs contain the three amino acids most important to the metabolism - taking this sports nutrition stops catabolic processes, speeding up recovery.
However, it should be noted that amino acids are only components of any protein. Whey protein is in fact about one-third BCAA. A separate supplement is recommended for athletes who work out for more than 90 minutes in an active regimen.
Sports Nutrition Rating
The following types of sports supplements help to gain mass by optimizing recovery processes, as well as by increasing overall energy during strength exercises - but the role of supplements in the mechanisms of muscle growth is only secondary:
Steroids. The most effective supplements for building muscle mass are anabol steroids, but they should only be used under a doctor's supervision.
Pre-training complexes. The main ingredients of this sports supplement are caffeine and nitric oxide. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, while nitric oxide activates blood flow in the muscles, which not only makes them visually bigger, but also optimizes nutrient delivery after a workout.
Fish oil and Omega-3's. Eating oily ocean fish (salmon, salmon) or taking omega-3 capsules is a necessity to heal micro-inflammation in muscle tissue. Ultimately, it allows the body to build mass faster.
Multivitamins. Since the key requirement for muscle growth is to increase caloric intake, the athlete's body needs to get not only more proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but also more trace minerals and vitamins.
Melatonin. Sound sleep is not only a guarantee of a successful strength training the next day, but also the body's main helper in the processes of recovery and muscle growth. However, strength training in the evening may cause insomnia. Fortunately, melatonin can help you sleep better.
Testosterone boosters. Taking a number of sports supplements or even herbal powders (such as Tribulus terrestris) can have a positive effect on increasing testosterone levels. This, in turn, will be beneficial for both a more vigorous workout and for speeding up the process of gaining muscle mass.
ZMA. This supplement contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. If these elements are lacking in the diet, taking ZMA pills can increase testosterone levels. However, the evidence base for this type of sports nutrition is quite weak - which is why it closes our rating of supplements for gaining mass.
Real food for muscle growth
Separately, note that without increasing the caloric content of the main diet, the effectiveness of sports nutrition for muscle gain will be minimal. Remember that in weight training athletes need to consume at least 3,000 kcal per day - and only 10-15% of this figure can be covered by whey protein powder.
The important thing is that muscle growth takes time - even in an ideal case you won't gain more than 0.3-0.5 kg of muscle per week. In terms of extra calories it is 300-500 kcal - one extra serving of food. The key to successful muscle growth in the beginner is to develop the habit of eating more of the right foods.