The gym is not the easiest place to conquer. It takes a lot of commitment to get there and be a regular, but sometimes even that is not enough. Why? It’s simple. Nutrition. It’s unrealistic and silly to think that just hitting the gym will produce the results we are after. It’s just as essential, along with the workouts, to maintain the correct diet to effectively begin the muscle building process. When you exercise, research proves that you need more nutrients to maintain and build muscle. We are going to look at arguably the three most popular forms of supplements; Whey protein, BCAA, and Creatine, and see how they aid in muscle development as well as performance.
Supplement #1 Whey Protein
By far the most commonly used supplement out there today. Whey is a natural by-product of milk during the production of cheese. It is left over when milk is coagulated to form cheese in the industries. Why bore you with this information? To make you realize that whey comes from a natural process. Whey protein is an excellent way to supplement your diet with enough protein as it has low amounts of carbs and fats (due to the separation of cheese) alongside containing amino acids and Branched Chain Amino Acids(BCAA), which as we shall see, also play a crucial role for muscle growth.
How does it help in muscle development?
Protein supplementation is extremely helpful in ensuring that there isn’t a net protein loss. Simply put, consumption of protein and amino acids ensure that the muscle protein synthesis(muscle growth) is greater than muscle protein breakdown. This ensures a positive protein balance, resulting in muscle growth. *insert read more on protein article*
Supplement #2 BCAAS
There has been a growth in research over the last few years, which has helped this supplement become extremely popular again. Chemically speaking, BCAAs refer to three main ‘essential’ amino acids, that are: valine, isoleucine, and leucine. The supplement has the additional benefit that it can be consumed pre, during or post workout.
How does it help in muscle development?
One problem that many people who are looking to lose weight is that they lose muscle in the process too. When you reduce your calorie intake, your body tends to use muscle as an energy source. BCAAs play a vital role in combating this by increasing the muscle protein synthesis. Furthermore, they also reduce the amount of protein breakdown in the muscles, therefore increasing muscle mass from both perspectives. You must think, ‘well that is what protein shakes do?’ Except there is a difference. Containing BCAAs are not the main role of protein shakes. Protein shakes are there to ensure you have sufficient good quality protein daily to maintain your diet. They are also crucial in muscle recovery. The BCAAs that are in protein shakes are peptide bound to other amino acids. They need to be liberated by digestion and then absorbed into the bloodstream. This takes time, as compared to BCAA supplements which are ready to be rapidly absorbed by the bloodstream. Basically, a few grams of BCAA would have the same effect as about 20 grams of whey protein, as that is the specific role of BCAA. They have different primary roles in terms of muscle development.
Supplement #3 Creatine
Quite literally, Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that is naturally produced in the body. You can also obtain it through foods sources such as beef and salmon. One of the jobs it has is to convert ADP to ATP- the energy carrier in the cell.
How does it help with performance?
It’s all about performance with creatine. This is one of the most ideal supplements out there, as it gives you quick results as well as those in the long term. Studies have shown an increase in muscle mass within a week in some cases. Furthermore, the conversion of ADP to ATP helps in terms of providing the muscles with energy to carry out high-intensity workouts. When you can perform more reps, lift bigger, naturally, you are more likely to achieve quicker results, as well as remain motivated to continue on. There is more research regarding creatine which has strengthened the case that it is safe, which means it is a great choice for muscle growth and high-intensity performance.
Take Home Message
The most important thing to remember is the importance of regulating your diet. That is literally where the word ‘supplement’ comes from. These supplements are just there to ensure that you are getting the required nutrients for your respective goal. All 3 of them are extremely helpful for increasing your muscle mass, recovery, and performance. Hopefully, this article would have given you a brief insight of Protein, BCAA, and Creatine and how they can help you in your journey.