This guest article comes courtesy of personal trainer and fitness writer Sean Lynam.
Making every deadlift and push-up count certainly comes with a lot of hard work, and if you’ve been in the fitness industry long enough, you’ve probably thought about taking supplements. As a trainer, you certainly consider your clients’ goals when supplementing, be it building muscle mass, improving performance and endurance, or losing weight. Although it may not be easy to explain it to them, it sure is helpful to do so.
So, we’ve created a guide that explains supplements and their influence on physical training performance and post-workout recovery so you can keep your clients motivated as well as educated.
How Do Muscle-Building Supplements Work?
Using dietary supplements for muscle growth is common among athletes and fitness professionals, especially because of their rigorous physical activity levels and the need to build muscle. Although experts suggest that regular gym-goers take supplements to achieve their fitness goals, you cannot choose randomly because of their unique uses. For example, if you’re aiming for muscle growth supplements that have creatine, amino acids, protein, collagen, DHEA, and CoQ10 are known to improve muscle performance and build.
Muscle-Building Supplements And Uses
Leucine-Enriched Essential Amino Acid (LEAA)
Using LEAA after working out or before going to bed decreases soreness and aids muscle recovery. It offers muscle conditioning which helps improve recovery as well as performance. When you workout, your body uses energy by breaking down muscle protein, and taking leucine before or during your workout reduces this breakdown which in turn helps with muscle damage and fatigue after working out.
Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)
Protein consumption leads to your body breaking it down into amino acids that grow and repair muscle tissue. That’s why amino acids are also called the building blocks of protein. 22 amino acids exist in our body, out of which there are nine essential ones that naturally occur in beef, chicken, dairy, and eggs. EEA supplements contain these specific amino acids, and taking 6 to 12 grams before strength training helps protein synthesis, which also prevents loss of muscle protein.
Our body naturally produces creatine, and it’s also present in fish and red meat. However, the production is usually relatively low, so supplements for creatine are common. People who train for a low duration but at high intensity benefit from these supplements because they improve muscle performance and increase strength. Since it comes in powdered form, you can drink it with water, coffee, or even juice.
A metabolite of leucine, HMB is present in seeds, eggs, oats, and legumes. Experts suggest that people new to exercise or seniors benefit the most from these supplements since they aid strength, power, and skeletal muscle growth. Experts recommend taking 0.5 grams to 1 gram of HMB daily in capsule or powder form.
Apart from the essential amino acids, beta-alanine, a non-essential one, is useful for muscle performance by supplying your body with a vital antioxidant called carnosine. Known to support muscle contraction, using this supplement while training will delay muscle fatigue while increasing your exercise capacity. Dieticians recommend 4 to 6 grams to improve power output. You can take them as a tablet or in powder form.
Impact of Muscle-Building Supplements On Muscle Recovery
Supplements for muscle recovery are taken before or after a workout, and the way they affect your body changes based on their compounds. The reason your muscles need to recover is because of the lactic acid build-up after working out, which can also lead to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
Whey protein and amino acid supplements effectively increase protein synthesis enabling muscle growth while getting rid of lactic acid quickly. Another supplement that improves strength when in recovery is creatine because it turns into creatine phosphate, a compound used by the body for energy.
Impact of Muscle-Building Supplements On Training Capacity
Given that creatine increases cell energy, it is the main supplement used to build muscle. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule our body naturally produces, is our energy source, but it depletes quickly during physical activity.
Creatine phosphate (produced after consumption) restores ATP synthesis and boosts muscle cell energy output. It is most effective during high-exertion exercise because studies have shown that athletes often get a 1-5% performance improvement, and also helps with strength and muscle growth.
Juggling multiple clients and adhering to each one’s needs can get daunting but is certainly necessary, especially when talking about supplements. It’s no secret that if you don’t know what you’re putting into your body, you can end up hurting yourself, so we hope this article helps professionals in explaining the role of supplementation to their clients.