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Muscle Building Supplements for Weight Gaining

One of the most popular questions I've been asked over the years is "What supplements can I use with my Critical Mass to get better results?". Its a great question because it opens the door to discuss other supplements that assist weight gain, but most importantly, it gives me a chance to discuss 2 other points that have to be addressed first, critical points if you want to succeed.

So I'll use this chance now to raise these two points in brief. The first point is to use a weight gain within a good mass gaining nutritional program, weight gains don't work by magic, you need to use it properly and get the rest of your eating program tied down nicely. Get this wrong and you either gain no weight or simply add unwanted body fat.

The second point is training. If you want to build muscle you have to create a demand on your body to build it, and the only known method of achieving this is to use a progressive overload resistance training program. This is a program that is based around increasing strength slowly, but continuously, at every workout.

I've written a separate article to cover these two points elsewhere on this site, so take a look just to make sure you're covering all bases.

With that said I'll give you my views of what supplements work well with a weight gain powder, and I do stress that they are only my views, but they are based on supporting a good diet, a good training program, and 20 years of experience in the supplement industry. Here we go:

Creatine

Creatine monohydrate is a supplement found naturally in foods, mostly red meat, and is a cog in the wheel of the generation of ATP, the ultimate energy source of muscles. Its a very heavily researched supplement and has been proven to increase strength, maximum muscle contractile force, and the amount of time you can exert maximal force. It also increases muscle hydration which supports increased protein synthesis in muscle tissue (ie the generation of new muscle tissue from protein)

In short it supports progressive overload in your training program, and it supports increased muscle mass development from a protein and calorie high diet.

Preworkouts

A preworkout supplement can be used to increase training performance, and come in different forms each of which come with their own advantages, and disadvantages, and each has a different role to play depending on your lifestyle, the intensity of your workout, your mental and physical state and the difficulty of the specific workout you're about to do.

Stimulant based preworkout supplements are ideal for periods when you have reached the limits of your strength (the top of a strength building training cycle), or are going through a short period of time when you're lifestyle does not really give you the energy to be fully focused on a good workout. They also play a part in occasional use for tough workouts (eg leg days!)

Stimulant based preworkouts are most effective when only used occasionally. They become ineffective if used long term or every day.

Preworkouts that are designed to boost mental performance are great for people who have sedentary working lives but have a lot of mental demands leaving them feeling 'too tired' to train. If you've ever experienced leaving work with the intention of going straight to the gym but then found yourself driving past and going home, then this is for you. Great for periods of high mental stress. Not as effective for those who are really physically tired.

Performance boosting preworkouts are great for long term use, are often based around vascular dilators, lactic acid buffers, muscle contraction intensifiers and muscular endurance ingredients. This sort of supplement supports muscle mass gainers as it plays a role in helping you achieve your progressive overload targets, which makes you feel motivated, which helps you eat well, which leads to great results.

Post workouts

Post workout supplements are based around simple carbohydrates and fast release whey protein isolates. They are taken immediately after training and pass through your stomach very quickly getting into you system faster than normal foods ever could.

Its often considered that the recovery opportunities which can be exploited by a post workout in the first 2 hours after a workout play a bigger role in strength and recovery than everything else you eat in the next 48 hours. A bold statement, but for those who have ever used a good post workout, its probably the one supplement they would never do without.

Testosterone Boosters

To maximize muscle recovery and development you need your hormonal system to be running at maximum. Testosterone in particular is a hormone produced naturally in the body which is responsible for triggering the storage of protein as new muscle tissue.

This is such an important factor that many athletes turn to drugs for the effects they can achieve. To a lesser extent many turn to pro hormones which used to be freely available on the supplement market, but are now heavily regulated.

However, there are a whole array of natural supplements that have a positive effect on testosterone levels and are legally available through most of the world. These include DAA (d-aspartic acid), Tribulus, ZMA and various plant sterol extracts.

Typically you can feel these through an increase in sex drive, a feeling of well being, a general feeling of motivation, and a greater enthusiasm for training.

Combined with Critical Mass, a testosterone booster seems to increase the amount of lean tissue you build with a good diet and training program.

So if you are using supplements for building muscle and gaining weight then these secondary products will help you get great results from Critical Mass so long as its combined with an effective progressive training program.

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