Do Supplements Really Work for Building Muscle?

If you want to build muscle there are two things you should obviously do – train hard and eat well. Sometimes though, it is difficult to break through the plateau and muscle gains seemed to have stopped. This is where muscle building supplements can help. This article help explain what you should look for and what to avoid.

The modern market of sports nutrition offers hundreds of product names aiming to push on building muscle.

Basically, efficiency of all these supplements is pretty high.

Plenty of positive customer reviews verify at first hand that specialized nutrition for muscle building really works and that it doesn’t lead to increasing subcutaneous tissue. 

As a rule, sportsmen use supplements for increasing body weight when they are not able to provide their organism with the sufficient amount of ‘building’ resources by means of regular diet.

Lack of nutrient chemicals is one of the main reasons of stopping muscle building and strength increase progress.

That is really a quite widespread problem: the digestive tract of most people isn’t adapted for digestion such a big amount of protein food as endurance kinds of sports require.

The properly chosen complex of sport supplements for muscle building solves this problem helping the athletes to get new sporting achievements. 

Pharmacologic Shapes of Supplement Producing 

Almost all supplements aimed for body weight increasing work as an addition to the basic ration, but there is no way that they serve as its substitute.

According to this research, they consist of proteins mostly (protein, complex and individual amino acids, glutamine etc.) or they contain a combination of proteins and carbohydrates (gainers). 

The supplements like a vitamin-mineral complex, omega-3, coenzyme Q10 and the other analogous supplements may be roughly referred to as the ones contributing to the muscle building, too.

However, their usage is more significant for the fat burning period as it allows to support all-featured functioning of all the organism systems, quality recovering between training sessions and maintain good immunity level. 

The most significant supplement, which should be included to the sports nutrition ration for muscle building, for sure, is creatine.

By means of increasing ATP reservoir it makes an athlete stronger: he does more repetitions and works with the heavier weight than he used to, and hard work during the trainings is a main condition for building muscles. 

Supplements for muscle building are produced in the shape of powders, bars, pills and capsules.

All these shapes have both their advantages and disadvantages, and, first of all, it is reflected in product digestion speed, comfort of their consuming and transporting. 

Powders for Cocktails 

Proteins and gainers are most often produced in the form of powders, so for receiving a decent mixture you will be in need of a shaker or a blender. It is not often convenient to carry a shaker with you, it may leak or go crash in your bag and stain all your training clothes. 

The powders have a high speed of absorbing if you thin them out with water.

If you thin out protein supplements with milk, it is going to be much tastier, but the speed of digesting will get much slower. Isolate or hydrolysate of serum protein is going to be digested several minutes later whereas milk protein is going to be digested much longer.

When pouring half a liter of milk to a shaker, you add approximately 12 grams of proteins, which are quite good in quality and amino acid composition, to your cocktail, but it is harder for your stomach to assimilate and digest – you receive something like complex proteins.

Besides, milk contains lactose, and simple carbohydrates should be kept down even while you are building your muscles, as excessive leaps of insulin in blood are of no use for us. Look at Powher pre workout

Capsules and Pills 

Complex amino acids, glutamine and branch-chained amino acids are produced either in the form of powders or in the form of capsules or pills.

Capsules are much easier to carry in your sports bag, but they are not always easier to take.

Experience has proven that some manufacturers produce capsule and pills being too large, and sometimes they are hard to swallow – they get literally stuck in your throat.

Advantages of powder amino acids are evident, as they have a pleasant taste and they are easy to swallow.

But all too often a large amount of flavoring substances, anti-clodding agents and coloring substances are added by the manufacturers. It complicates the processes of their assimilating and digesting, and it is not good for the stomach lining. 

The same kind of thing is with creatine. The creatine itself may exist in many forms (monohydrate, nitrate, hydrochloride, phosphate and many others).

In the advertising campaigns the manufacturers their new forms like creatine nitrate or phosphate forms as a game changing product or a revolution on the market of the sports nutrition.

But, in fact, that is not true, as the effect from all these new creatine forms is approximately the same.

Creatine is produced in the forms of either powder or capsules, it is up to you decide which one is more convenient for you.

Powder creatine doesn’t have either taste or flavor, but it is suggested to be consumed in combination with the simple carbs (with any sweet drink or gainer). 


Bars are a special form of sports nutrition. As a rule, in the bars there is a high content of quality proteins (20-30 grams per one bar), inferior limit of carbohydrates and a lot of sweeteners: the cheap brands contain aspartame, the less budget brands contain stevia.

Also, unsaturated fats, normally it is natural peanut butter, are added to the bars. That brings some pleasant taste and nougat consistency to the bar. 

The bar advantages are a pleasant taste, comfort of intake (excellent snack for a multi-hour jam or a long drive in a car), minimal amount of simple carbohydrates or their complete absence. 

Disadvantages of the bar are a high price, a big amount of calories because of adding peanut butter and also a chance to have a filling out. 


Quality proteins are a basic ratio for muscle building. Most coaches and nutritionists suggest consuming 2-2.5 grams of proteins per a kilo of body weight for a day while you are building your muscles.

Such amount of proteins will be sufficient for compensating training energy expenditures and providing an organism with the ‘building’ material for increasing the muscle gain.

It goes without saying that it is hard to eat such an amount of protein food, especially if an athlete weighs more than 70-80 kg. In this case proteins help out. 

Proteins might be of different kinds: serum, isolate, hydrolysate, beef, complex or casein. 


Gainer is a high-calorie mixture of proteins and carbs (the approximate proportion is 30 to 70).

In the composition of gainers there are mostly simple carbs (sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin and the similar substances).

All of them have a high glycemic index, so it is suggested to consume gainers for people of ectomorph build type for creating surplus of calories and accumulating a sufficient amount of micro and macro elements to gain muscles. 

Gainer is consumed immediately after the training or between meals.

It is not worth consuming gainer before going to sleep, as carbohydrates introduced to an organism are going to accumulate in a form of fats in it. 

A lot of experts don’t approve gainers. It is not even about usefulness of its consuming, as it will be a perfect supplement for ectomorphs, it is about the financial matter.

Gainer equals serum proteins plus simple carbohydrates. Separately, these products are relatively cheap, but in the form of gainers they cost a fair amount of money, for some reason.

That’s why many sportsmen make up a gainer by themselves by means of purchasing any serum proteins with the nice taste and mixing it with maltodextrin or amylopectin as needed.

The result is almost the same, and the money saving is significant. 

BCAA and Complex Amino Acids 

There are three indispensable amino acids, which are a part of branch-chained amino acids, and they are: leucine, isoleucine and valine.

The percentage share of these amino acids is rather high in the human muscle tissue, so consuming them with the food contributes to muscle gain. BCAA is worth consuming during the periods when catabolic processes prevail in an organism and an urgent intake of amino acids into the blood is demanded.

These periods are immediately after the training and after getting up. Consuming BCAA during the other periods is just a waste of money, as at other times a stress hormone cortisone is barley produced.

BCAA is an expensive product, but it is highly effective both during the muscle gaining and the fats burning periods, as because of an anti catabolic effect the supplement won’t let an athlete lose the precious muscle mass. 

Complex Amino Acids 

Complex amino acids are one more protein product with the fast absorbing speed. Unlike BCAA the complex amino acids supply a need in all the necessary amino acids, which are essential for the human organism, not only in leucine, isoleucine and valine. 

The product is quite nice, but it is not or urgent need, as during the periods of muscle building it is sufficient to consume protein and BCAA for providing our muscles with the necessary amount of all amino acids. 


The main advantages: it contributes to recovery after the trainings, fortifies the immune system and decreases a risk of overtraining symptoms.

The product is indispensable under the conditions of vegetarian and vegan diets, as glutamine is mostly present in natural protein products of animal origin, such as chicken and quail eggs, curds, cheese and milk, there is a minimal content of this protein in the plant products. 


Creatine is a key player in energy metabolism of muscle cells. It contributes to accumulating of ATF molecules (adenosine triphosphate), which are a source of energy for muscle contractions.

When accumulating a big amount of ATF molecules, we are able to release more energy, so this improves power performance.

Working with heavy weights along with keeping to the right technique engages the most amount of muscle fibers, so this leads to gaining muscle mass. 

Benefits of Sports Nutrition 

The properly chosen complex of sports nutrition for muscle mass gain is really able to help an athlete to achieve serious progress in muscle building. 

The effects of its application are versatile: 

 1. Compensation of energy, being lost during the training and creating the surplus of calories. 

2. Optimization of the general amino acid content in the ration. 

3. Saturation of an organism with the necessary amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 

4. Improving recovery between trainings. 

5. Growth of power indices in the basic exercises. 

6. More full-featured compensation of glycogen stores. 

7. Constant feeling of rigidity and fullness of muscles. 

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