Many athletes, even if they are not initially interested in dietary supplements, sooner or later reach for a product which is supposed to help build muscle mass. It is worth knowing which products are the most popular and which effects they have in the context of building muscle mass.
There is no doubt that creatine is one of the most popular dietary supplements for muscle mass. It is a product willingly chosen by both professional and amateur athletes. No matter what level of strength training you are at, creatine may interest you and improve the effects of your exercises.
Importantly, creatine occurs naturally in the human body, so there are no dangers associated with its use.
Approximately 120 g of creatine can be isolated in the human body, the vast majority of which is accumulated in the muscles. Generally speaking, creatine allows you to perform long and intensive workouts, because your muscles are able to withstand more.
There are many creatine products on the dietary supplement market, which are available in various forms. Below is a list.
Creatine monohydrate - the most popular, simplest and also the cheapest form of creatine. It is characterised by high assimilability, has anabolic effects and promotes water retention.
Creatine citrate - is a combination of creatine with citric acid. This is a very well absorbed form.
Creatine malate - is a combination of malic acid and creatine monohydrate in a 3:1 ratio. It has a similar effect to monohydrate, however it does not tend to accumulate water in cells.
Creatine nitrate - a combination of creatine with nitrogen molecules. This form of creatine helps to increase the volume of blood vessels.
Creatine Hydrochloride - a stable form of creatine which does not change into inactive creatinine which is excreted in urine.
Creatine Alphacetoglucarate - a mixture of glucaric acid and creatine. It increases the body's ability to exert effort, accelerates regeneration after training and facilitates building muscle mass.
Creatine orotate - is a combination of creatine and orotic acid. It is commonly believed to be the strongest form of creatine.
In addition to the above forms of creatine, we can also find magnesium chelate creatine and alkalinised creatine.
Which creatine should I choose for the beginning? The best choice is monohydrate. It is cheap, effective and sufficient.
Creatine allows you to exercise more intensively and effectively, which translates into effects in the form of gaining muscle mass. Additionally, this supplement makes muscles regenerate faster, which in turn allows to train more often.
Creatine users emphasise that the very consumption of creatine in a way enlarges muscles. This is because creatine contributes to water retention in muscle cells, which makes them optically larger.
Some studies also show that creatine may be helpful in weight loss, as it helps burn fat tissue.
Another very important macronutrient, the consumption of which is obligatory if you want to build muscle mass, is protein. Protein is the building material of not only muscles, but also skin, hair and nails. Protein available in the form of dietary supplements is most often in the form of powder and is obtained from milk, soya or other plants.
According to the latest recommendations, people who train for strength should increase their protein intake, and sometimes the recommended intake can be even twice as high as in the case of a person who does not train. So how much protein should a gym-goer take in? It is assumed that from 1.4 g to even 2 g per kilogram of body weight. This means that a 70 kg person should provide the body with 99 g to 140 g of protein. Sometimes we have problems with consuming this amount during the day, which is why protein supplements come to our aid.
What types of protein are there?
If you go to a supplement shop, you will quickly notice that there are different types of protein on the shelves. It is worth getting to know these products a little better:
WPC or whey protein concentrate - this is the most popular type of protein supplement. 80% of this dietary supplement is protein and the remaining 20% is fat. WPC protein has an anabolic effect.
WPI - whey protein isolate - is a protein derived from whey. It is very well absorbed and therefore supports anabolic processes immediately after intake.
WPH - whey protein hydrolysate - provides amino acids and has a high biological value
Casein - prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue. Casein is digested for a very long time, which ensures constant access to amino acids for a long time.
Soy protein - contains essential amino acids. It is mainly used by people on vegan and vegetarian diets.
In addition to the above-mentioned types of protein, athletes often choose egg protein or beef protein.
At this point it is important to dispel the myth that protein alone can help build muscle mass. Working on your figure is not just about eating protein. It is necessary to have a calorie surplus, a proper diet and also regeneration. Of course you need to realise that an insufficient supply of protein in the diet of an athlete can lead to a lack of progress in building muscle mass, so protein should be treated as one element of the whole puzzle.
It is also worth emphasising that protein can be consumed by both women and men. It contributes equally, regardless of gender, to building the figure.
Carbohydrates are another macronutrient that we should not avoid. Recently, carbohydrates have been highly demonised due to the prevalence of high-fat diets, in which carbohydrates are consumed in minimal amounts. The ketogenic diet is designed to quickly lose weight, not build mass, so it will not be recommended for strength-training athletes. It is therefore important to remember about carbohydrates and not to avoid eating them.
Carbohydrates are a source of energy. It doesn't matter if we are physically active or not, we need carbohydrates. It's hard to list sources of carbohydrates because we find them almost everywhere - in processed and unprocessed foods.
Carbohydrates are divided into simple sugars and complex sugars. Simple sugars are quickly digested by the body, which means that energy is delivered quickly. Consumption of simple sugars causes a spike in blood glucose. When we eat simple sugars, we quickly crave more carbohydrate snacks, and this is a direct route to exceeding our calorific needs and growing fat rather than muscle tissue.
Athletes should definitely more often reach for complex carbohydrates which do not cause a sudden jump in blood sugar, as is the case with simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates ensure that energy is released gradually over a much longer period of time.