Whether you’re trying to lose weight or improve your physical performance, you can rely on muscle-building aids to reach your fitness goals. Everyone can use muscle builders to promote muscle development, strength gain, and fat loss, from athletes to professional bodybuilders to fitness enthusiasts.
Muscle builders can perfectly complement your nutritional and exercise regimens. Muscle-building supplements are primarily designed to enhance your physical performance and support muscle hypertrophy (growth and proliferation of muscle cells). By incorporating these supplements into your fitness programs, you can maximize the muscle-toning effects of your workouts.
While muscle-builders can be used by anyone who wants to preserve or build muscle, the effects of these supplements are particularly discernible in people performing resistance exercises. These supplements are filled with natural superfoods that can help you push past training plateaus.
With a wide range of muscle builders available in the market, you may have difficulty choosing the best supplement to complement your fitness program. We have made your job easier by narrowing the range for you.
After contacting manufacturers, wading through clinical studies, reviewing lab reports, and conducting some testing of our own, we came up with a list of the best muscle builders available in the market.
The Top Muscle-Building Supplements
Here are the top muscle-building supplements of 2021:
- Xwerks Ashwa
- Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
- CrazyBulk Tri-Protein
- HyperGH 14X
- Ladder Pre-Workout
- Blackwolf Pre-Workout
- Powher Pre-Workout
- CrazyBulk Clenbutrol
- 4 Gauge
- Onnit Total Strength + Performance
- Cellucor C4 Extreme
- CrazyBulk CRN-5
- CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train
- D-Bal Max
- Pre Lab Pro
- Xwerks Ignite
Developed by Xwerks, Ashwa is a muscle-building supplement that uses ashwagandha root extract to boost your testosterone levels. It is designed to relax, refresh, and re-energize your muscles so that you can achieve superior muscle gains during your strength training sessions. Each serving of Ashwa comes with 1500 mg of ashwagandha root extract, a natural adaptogen that destroys all types of stressors in your body.
In addition to promoting muscle hypertrophy, Ashwa improves your sexual competence and sleep-wake cycle. By taking two gummy capsules of Ashwa daily, you can preserve and build muscle and steer clear of anxiety, depression, and other stress-induced problems. You can take both pills together before going to bed every night. Ashwa comes in a delicious strawberry flavor.
Priced at $19, one bottle of Xwerks Ashwa comes with 60 capsules that constitute a month’s supply. All purchases come with free shipping and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Like other products offered by Xwerks, Ashwa is manufactured in a GMP-certified FDA-approved facility which gives it an additional layer of legitimacy.
TestoPrime is a nutritional supplement designed to help you build more muscle by boosting your testosterone levels. It is packed with an all-natural blend of health-boosting ingredients that work together to promote fat burning, muscle retention, and endurance.
Each serving of TestoPrime comes with 2,000 mg of d-aspartic acid, 8,000 mg of Panax ginseng, 668 mg of 66® ashwagandha extract, 800 mg of fenugreek, 4,000 mg of green tea extract, 360 mg of pomegranate extract, and 1,200 mg of garlic extract. While some of these ingredients optimize hormonal levels in your body, some help cleanse your body of toxic substances.
By taking TestoPrime daily, you can flood your body with potent doses of all these natural adaptogens, thereby allowing it to shed unwanted fat and retain lean muscle. TestoPrime is more than just a muscle builder or weight loss aid. It is replete with testosterone-boosting ingredients that can help you revive the youthful sex drive that you once had, thereby allowing you to engage in vigorous sexual activity.
Priced at $59.99, one bottle of TestoPrime comes with 120 capsules that constitute a month’s supply. The recommended dosage for TestoPrime is four capsules per day that should be taken every morning before breakfast. Upon purchasing multiple bottles, the price per bottle can drop as low as $25. All purchases come with free shipping and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
Developed by Transparent Labs, Mass Gainer is a powdered supplement with a hefty dose of whey protein. The supplement promotes myofibrillar (growth of contraction parts) and sarcoplasmic (glucose storage in muscles) muscle growth. It contains 100% grass-fed whey protein that helps you build strength and increase muscle size.
Each serving of Mass Gainer comes with 53 grams of protein, 109 grams of carbs, 8 grams of dietary fiber, 650 mg of sodium, 12 grams of fat, 15 grams of sugar, and 750 calories. The carbs present in Mass Gainer come from 100% organic sources. The supplement does not contain food dyes, artificial sweeteners, or fillers. It is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit and comes in three flavors: Chocolate Glaze Donut, Cookies & Cream, and Sweet Vanilla. Cookies & Cream is not gluten-free.
By taking two scoops of Mass Gainer with milk or water every day, you can build more muscle and perform better during your workout sessions. Priced at $69, one tub of Transparent Labs Mass Gainer comes with 15 servings.
Developed by CrazyBulk, Tri-Protein is a muscle-building protein powder that helps you build lean muscle while shedding unwanted fat. It is packed with six different types of protein that are released into your body in three phases to allow maximum absorption. Tri-Protein contains whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, whey protein hydrolysate, and milk protein concentrate.
By taking one scoop of Tri-Protein in milk or water daily, you can fulfill your body’s macronutrients requirements, build more muscle during workouts, and recover fast after workouts. Tri-Protein is designed to expedite post-workout muscle recovery, support lean muscle preservation, encourage muscle growth, and alleviate muscle cramps and soreness.
Including six protein sources, the supplement contains essential vitamins and minerals that add to the bioavailability of the protein. If you want to enjoy a delicious pre-workout drink without compromising your macros, Tri-Protein may be the best option for you. It gives you 21 grams of protein per serving, keeping your muscle cells well-nourished and fueled. One bottle of CrazyBulk Tri-Protein is priced at $59.88. All purchases of CrazyBulk Tri-Protein come with free shipping worldwide.
HyperGH 14X is a pre-workout supplement that supports muscle building from multiple angles. It is packed with a powerful blend of muscle-supporting ingredients that work in synergy to increase the efficiency of your muscle fibers. While it is designed to boost testosterone levels, the working mechanism of HyperGH 14X differs significantly from other testosterone boosters.
HyperGH 14X works by stimulating human growth hormone (HGH) production in your body. The supplement contains 460 mg of l-glutamine, 200 mg of GABA, 520 mg of l-arginine, 400 mg of l-tyrosine, 400 mg of l-lysine, 460 mg of l-glycine, 320 mg of Tribulus Terrestris extract, 200 mg of colostrum, 160 mg of l-valine, 200 mg of deer antler velvet, and 240 mg of astragalus root extract.
By taking HyperGH 14X daily, you can enjoy more significant muscle gains, healthy digestion, weight loss, and better sleep. Many ingredients present in the supplement also have nootropic effects. They keep you energetic, alert and focused throughout the day. These ingredients also optimize your hormonal levels to promote quick muscle recovery and prevent fatigue during and after workouts. Priced at $69.95, one bottle of HyperGH 14X comes with 120 capsules that constitute a month’s supply.
Developed by Ladder, Pre-Workout is a nutritional supplement that provides you with long-lasting energy boosts so that you can achieve more significant muscle gains while working out. It is packed with powerful energy-boosting ingredients that keep you energetic throughout the day, even if you follow a low-calorie diet.
Each serving of Ladder Pre-Workout comes with 100 mg of caffeine, 5 g of creatine, 3 g of beta-alanine, and 250 mg of theanine. The caffeine present in the supplement comes from 100% pure green tea extract. These ingredients work together to boost your stamina, increase endurance, prevent fatigue, and improve focus.
By taking Ladder Pre-Workout daily, you can break through fitness plateaus and reach all your muscle-building goals. The supplement comes in two flavors, namely Strawberry Lemonade and Tropical Fruit. One bag of Ladder Pre-Workout costs $55.95.
Developed by Blackwolf, Pre-Workout is a dietary supplement that helps you improve your athletic performance and maximize muscle gains. The supplement comes in three unique flavors: Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Blue Raspberry. It is packed with 11 clinically-backed ingredients that work synergistically to give you long-lasting energy, increased endurance, and greater focus.
Each serving of Blackwolf Pre-Workout comes with 6,000 mg of l-citrulline malate, 3,200 mg of beta-alanine, 3,000 mg of creatine monohydrate, 2,000 mg of betaine anhydrous, 1,000 mg of l-arginine, 200 mg of caffeine, 1,000 mg of taurine, 125 mg of dynamine, 150 mg of huperzine, and 15 mg of dimethylethanolamine (DMAE), and 600 mg of l-tyrosine. The supplement also contains BioPerine, a patented version of piperine that ensures maximum absorption of other ingredients. If you want a caffeine-free version of Blackwolf’s Pre-Workout, you can try the Fruit Punch flavor.
Marketed to both men and women, Pre-Workout by Blackwolf is an all-natural muscle builder that promotes muscle strength, muscle development, and muscle recovery. One bottle of Blackwolf Pre-Workout costs $44.99.
Developed by Ultimate Life, Powher Pre-Workout is a muscle-supporting supplement that helps women perform better and longer at the gym. It is a woman-only supplement packed with potent doses of natural ingredients that work together to promote cell growth and proliferation in your muscles. With Powher Pre-Workout, you can easily preserve lean muscle and recover better after workouts.
Each serving of Powher Pre-Workout comes with 2.5 grams of taurine, 2 grams of l-citrulline, 1 gram of beta-alanine, B vitamins, l-lysine, caffeine, Terminalia arjuna extract, beta Vulgaris root extract, and tyrosine. It is formulated to improve physical performance, increase endurance, support focus and mental clarity, prevent fatigue and alleviate muscle soreness and cramps post-workout.
By taking one scoop of Powher Pre-Workout with water 30 minutes before your workout daily, you can enjoy superior muscle gains and shed unwanted stubborn fat. The supplement comes in the delicious Pink Lemonade flavor. Priced at $45, one bottle of Powher Pre-Workout comes with 30 servings.
Developed by CrazyBulk, Clenbutrol is a pre-workout supplement that replicates the effects of clenbuterol, a repartitioning agent used by athletes to increase lean muscle. Clenbutrol by CrazyBulk contains 63 mg of vitamin B3, 450 mg of garcinia cambogia, 250 mg of bitter orange extract, and 342 mg of guarana extract per serving.
While the repartitioning effect of Clenbutrol is not as strong as its prescription-based counterpart, the supplement promotes muscle preservation and fat loss. By taking three capsules of this muscle-building supplement 30 minutes before your daily workout, you can retain lean muscle, shed extra fat, and enjoy a healthy metabolism.
Clenbutrol boosts your body’s thermogenic rate while you are working out. Increased thermogenesis boosts your basal metabolic rate, causing your body to use fat for energy.
Unlike many pre-workouts, Clenbutrol supports muscular hypertrophy without interfering with your liver or renal function. You can use the supplement in conjunction with other muscle builders offered by CrazyBulk, such as Anvarol (Anavar) and Trenorol (Trenbolone). Priced at $61.99, one bottle of CrazyBulk Clenbutrol contains 90 capsules.
4 Gauge is a pre-workout infused with potent doses of muscle-supporting ingredients, including l-citrulline, Rhodiola Rosea, and beetroot extract. It supports muscular hypertrophy and allows you to achieve superior muscle gains. It is designed to increase stamina, prevent fatigue, alleviate muscle soreness, and expedite muscle recovery.
Each serving of 4 Gauge comes with 300 mg of red beet, 100 mg of Rhodiola Rosea, 200 mg of l-theanine, 150 mg of caffeine, 6,000 mg of l-citrulline. All these ingredients work in synergy to promote blood flow to the muscle, allowing you to enjoy more powerful and long-lasting muscle pumps.
By taking two scoops of 4 Gauge with water 30 minutes before your workout, you can train longer, build more muscle, and shed more fat. In addition to their ergogenic benefits, the ingredients present in 4 Gauge exhibit neuroprotective and nootropic properties. One bottle of 4 Gauge is priced at $45.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
Developed by Onnit, Total Strength + Performance is a performance-enhancing supplement that promotes muscle preservation, muscle building, and fat loss. It is formulated with three proprietary blends that optimize your hormonal levels, enhance physical performance, and expedite muscle recovery after workouts. Like many ergogenic supplements, Total Strength + Performance does not rely on caffeine or other central nervous systems (CNS) stimulants to boost fat burning.
The primary ingredients in Total Strength + Performance include beta-alanine, glutamine, branched-chain amino acids, and resveratrol, all of which contribute to muscular hypertrophy. The supplement is designed to fuel muscle contractions by promoting healthy hormonal levels and supporting neural transmissions.
The Onnit Support Blend enhances the ability of your muscle cells to resist stress during hard starting, thereby maintaining cellular integrity and promoting better recovery. Priced at $59.99, one Total Strength + Performance bottle comes with 30 servings.
Cellucor C4 Extreme
Developed by Cellucor, C4 Extreme is a pre-workout powder that comes with a hefty dose of caffeine and other energy-boosting ingredients. Marketed to both men and women, C4 Extreme promotes muscle strength, muscle growth, and muscle recovery. By taking this performance-enhancing supplement daily before your workouts, you can fight off fatigue and engage in vigorous physical activity.
Each serving of C4 Extreme comes with 200 mg of caffeine, 200 mg of n-acetyl l-tyrosine, 50 mcg of huperzine A, 2 g of beta-alanine (as CarnoSyn®), 1 gram of citrulline nitrate (as Nitramax™), and 1 gram of creatine nitrate (as NO3-T®). These ingredients work together to promote high energy levels, mental alertness, muscular endurance, and better physical performance. With C4 Extreme, you can get enough energy to perform all types of athletic endurance activities.
Cellucor’s C4 Extreme comes in six unique flavors: Sour Batch Bros, Fruit Punch, Icy Blue Razz, Watermelon, Ultra Frost, and Midnight Cherry. The supplement comes in two sizes: a 30-servings bottle and a 60-servings bottle. The former costs $34.99, and the latter costs $49.99.
Developed by CrazyBulk, CRN-5 is a bodybuilding supplement that helps you gain more lean muscle and train harder during workouts. It is formulated to boost blood flow to your muscles while working out, allowing better muscle pumps. This supplement will enable you to lift heavier weights and engage in high-intensity training.
With CrazyBulk CRN-5, you can reach your fitness goals more efficiently. It is packed with creatine from five sources: creatine monohydrate, tri-creatine malate, creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride, and creatine citrate pyruvate. The best part is that you can easily stack it with other muscle-building supplements by CrazyBulk, such as Tri-Protein and Intensive Pre-Train.
In addition to creatine, CRN-5 contains essential minerals that promote fluid balance in the muscles, improving muscle function and supporting protein synthesis. One bottle of CrazyBulk CRN-5 costs $48.99. However, you can get it at discounted prices if you purchase multiple bottles. All purchases come with free shipping.
CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train
Intensive Pre-Train is a pre-workout designed to reduce fatigue, boost energy, and support muscle recovery during workouts. It has two proprietary blends that work synergically to speed up muscle recovery, increase muscle size, and stimulate protein synthesis.
Intensive Pre-Train contains a potent dose of caffeine (as En-Xtra®) that boosts your metabolic rate and helps you combat fatigue so you can shed more weight while preserving lean muscle mass. The supplement also contains full-spectrum ashwagandha extract (as KSM-66®), which helps shorten muscle recovery time by promoting cell proliferation in muscles after training sessions. It also contains thiamine which contributes to higher energy production and more fat loss.
You can use Intensive Pre-Train in conjunction with other ergogenic supplements offered by CrazyBulk, including Tri – Protein and CRN-5. By taking one scoop of Intensive Pre-Train with water 30 minutes before a workout, you can enjoy more incredible stamina, increased focus, and improved muscle endurance. One bottle of Intensive Pre-Train costs $57.99.
D-Bal Max is a performance-enhancing aid that replicates the effects of methandienone (Dianabol), an anabolic steroid with ergogenic properties. D-Bal Max produces virtually the same effects as methandienone without adversely impacting your health. By taking D-Bal Max daily, you can lift heavier weights and maximize the impact of strength training.
With D-Bal Max, you can achieve tangible muscle gains and superior muscle strength. It is formulated to promote blood flow to your muscles, allowing muscle cells to stay well-nourished. It supports muscle growth by accelerating muscle recovery, promoting protein synthesis, boosting energy production, and optimizing testosterone levels. Additionally, it delays fatigue by inhibiting the production of serotonin.
D-Bal Max floods your body with hefty doses of whey protein, isoleucine, leucine, valine, and dietary fiber, all of which contribute to greater muscle strength and better muscle function. The supplement also stimulates the natural fat-burning mechanisms of your body, allowing you to shed stubborn fat that has been clinging to your body for years. It also positively affects metabolism, sexual competence, and mental health. You can get a month’s supply of D-Bal Max for $68.95.
Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro is a nutritional supplement that helps you push past muscle-building plateaus. Each serving of Pre Lab Pro comes with 1,500 mg of red beetroot powder (as RedNite), 160 mg of l-theanine (as Suntheanine®), 80 mg of caffeine, and 400 mg of l-tyrosine (as Ajipure®). The supplement also contains optimal doses of essential vitamins and minerals (as Nutrigenesis®). These ingredients synergistically support homeostasis, nitric oxide (NOX) production, and smooth stimulation.
Pre Lab Pro is formulated to support different aspects of your health, including cardiovascular function, muscle development, tissue repair, electrolytes balance, immune function, and detoxification. Pre Lab Pro contains a powerful vegan-friendly formula that can augment the effects of all types of fitness regimens. It also comes with many nootropic benefits, such as improved cognitive control, increased focus, and greater mental clarity.
Pre Lab Pro contains a mild dose of natural caffeine and does not cause jitters, sleep problems, or digestive issues typically associated with caffeinated supplements. Pre Lab Pro comes in a natural berry flavor and costs $59 per bottle.
Developed by Xwerks, Ignite is a pre-workout formula that gives you sustainable energy throughout training sessions. It is infused with clinically effective doses of caffeine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, Rhodiola Rosea, DMAE, calcium, magnesium, beta-alanine, l-tyrosine, and l-citrulline, all of which contribute to greater muscular endurance, increased focus, and high energy levels.
Taking the supplement daily before your workout can increase your mental alertness and exercise more vigorously. With Xwerks Ignite, you can recover better and faster after workouts. In addition to improving physical performance, Ignite optimizes the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain to support healthy mental function. Priced at $49, one bottle of Xwerks Ignite comes with 30 servings.
How We Ranked The Top Muscle Building Supplements
While all muscle-building supplements claim to improve physical performance, not all are true to their word. While preparing the list, we used several factors to differentiate between the best and worst muscle-building supplements. The following were factors were taken into consideration:
When it comes to the effectiveness of nutritional supplements, the ingredients are of utmost importance. While some muscle builders are packed with hefty doses of caffeine and other CNS stimulants, some supplements contain natural muscle-supporting superfoods like red beetroot. While preparing the list, we were wary of supplements that rely on heavy doses of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants to improve mental and physical performance.
All supplements on our list come with a balanced blend of natural herbs, essential minerals and vitamins, protein, and essential amino acids, all of which play meaningful roles in muscle growth.
Clinically Effective Dosages
All ingredients are ineffective if not used in optimal doses. Some muscle-building components use only two or three ingredients at high doses. Some use too many elements at shallow doses. We preferred supplements that contain all ingredients at clinically effective doses. Our list comprehends both stimulant-containing and non-stimulant-containing supplements. However, all supplements on our list contain caffeine and other stimulants at mild doses to minimize side effects associated with mental stimulation, such as jitters or sleep problems.
Some muscle-building supplements claim to support overnight muscle gains. Similarly, some supplements claim to support muscle development with minimal physical effort. While preparing the list, we were wary of products that make exaggerated and false claims. We did not include any supplements that claim to yield noticeable results without resistance training or exercise. All products on our list have been advertised honestly and come from manufacturers that make realistic claims.
Taste & Miscibility
Though some people don’t have a problem gulping down an insipid power drink before their workout, some simply end up spewing because of the lack of flavor. While compiling the list, we preferred supplements that come in delicious flavors. While some unflavored supplements are on the list, they offer flavored alternatives. Most supplements on our list come in two or more unique flavors. All muscle-building powders on our list are flavorful and are easily mixable with water. Some powders are also mixable with milk and other beverages.
When it comes to the safety, quality, and effectiveness of supplements, the reputation of its manufacturer says a lot. All products on our list come from highly reputable manufacturers with a track record of selling high-quality products. However, we were in no way biased against new companies. We took a multitude of factors to determine the reputation of the manufacturers, such as customer reviews, ingredients’ sources, manufacturing facilities, certifications, and investment in third-party lab testing.
Price & Value
While some people may prefer splurging hundreds of dollars on muscle-building supplements, some simply cannot afford to spend that much. Our list comprehends muscle-building supplements belonging to all different price ranges. However, we emphasized good value at all price points. We prefer supplements that are priced proportionately to the value they provide. Whether you are working on a budget or have plenty of money to spend, you can choose a perfect muscle-building supplement for yourself on our list.
Who Can Take a Muscle Builder?
Anyone who wants to build lean muscle, improve muscle function, or shed excess fat can take a muscle-building supplement to support their fitness regimen. Muscle builders can be taken for various purposes, including weight loss, muscle recovery, muscle cramps, muscle soreness, metabolism, etc. However, they should always be combined with exercise, such as resistance training.
While muscle-building supplements boost muscle growth, they cannot promote muscle hypertrophy independently. They are designed to augment the effects of workouts. Without pursuing a fitness program, you will not experience significant muscle growth if you take a muscle builder. Most muscle builders are meant to be taken before, after, or during workouts to maximize the repartitioning effects of physical exercise.
Though you can build muscle without these supplements, they may increase your exercise capacity when used longer than six months.
Side Effects of Muscle Building Supplements
Muscle-building supplements are generally safe to consume in optimal doses. However, they may cause a few mild to moderate side effects when used in excessive amounts. Prolonged use of these supplements has been linked to kidney and liver damage. Due to high doses of minerals present in these supplements, you may also experience symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, such as irregular heartbeat, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, fatigue, and lethargy. In rare cases, people can also experience convulsions or seizures.
Nonetheless, muscle-building supplements are packed with ingredients associated with minor side effects, such as headaches, jitters, sleep problems, and digestive issues.
If you are taking a muscle builder with a hefty dose of l-citrulline, you may experience frequent episodes of headaches. As citrulline boosts blood flow to your muscles, it produces changes in your brain’s blood vessels, causing migraines or mild headaches. Some people do not tolerate this ingredient well and are more prone to side effects. The best way to minimize the side effects is to use a muscle builder without l-citrulline.
Similarly, some people may experience digestive upset while taking muscle-building supplements. Digestive problems are caused mainly by high doses of caffeine, creatine, or sodium bicarbonate in the supplement. If you take a muscle builder containing a considerable quantity of magnesium, you can experience digestive problems like diarrhea. This is due to the laxative effects of magnesium. You can avoid this side effect by diluting your pre-workout drink with 8 to 12 ounces of water.
Beta-alanine is one of the most common ingredients used in muscle-building supplements. If you are taking a muscle builder that contains beta-alanine, you may experience paresthesia shortly after taking the supplement. Paresthesia is a nervous system reaction characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in hands, arms, feet, legs, or other body parts. Though paresthesia is entirely harmless, it may be disturbing while working out.
Some muscle-building supplements contain a high dose of niacin which may cause skin-flushing, forming red patches on your skin. If you consume a well-balanced diet, you may want to avoid supplementing with muscle builders that contain niacin.
Other side effects associated with muscle-building supplements include weight gain and bloating. These side effects occur due to increased water retention caused by creatine. Muscle builders that contain caffeine or other central nervous systems (CNS) stimulants can make you feel jittery. Though most supplements contain optimal doses of caffeine, you may still experience some jitteriness, specifically if you are not well-tolerated to caffeine.
People who do not drink coffee are more likely to experience this side effect. Similarly, people who already consume four or more cups of coffee can experience jitters and sleep problems due to caffeine overdose. If you take a caffeine-containing supplement, you might want to cut back on coffee consumption.
In most cases, these side effects disappear after a few weeks. However, in some cases, they may linger on. If the side effects continue after several weeks, you can optimize your dosage to reduce them. You must talk to your doctor if these side effects persist.
Benefits of Muscle Builders – What Does Science Say?
The efficacy of ingredients present in muscle-building supplements is well-corroborated in the light of science.
There’s ample scientific evidence that suggests that l-citrulline can boost physical performance. Clinical evidence shows that l-citrulline increases blood flow to muscles and keeps muscle cells well-nourished. L-citrulline has mainly been studied in the form of citrulline malate.
Studies show that a single dose of citrulline malate does not produce any noticeable improvements in muscle recovery after resistance exercises. Similarly, some studies show that l-citrulline does not cause any changes in oxygen consumption when supplemented for one or two weeks. However, some changes have been observed in the oxygen content of muscle cells.
According to a clinical study, l-citrulline can improve the ability to perform repetitions during some upper body exercises. This study involved 41 men given citrulline malate or a placebo for several weeks. Subjects administered citrulline malate could accomplish 53% more repetitions than subjects in the placebo group. Additionally, they experienced 40% lower muscle soreness than the placebo group two days after the exercise.
Some other studies concluded that citrulline malate could reduce post-workout fatigue and improve lower body training performance.
According to the available clinical evidence, creatine is the most effective ingredient in muscle-building supplements. Dozens of studies suggest that creatine can significantly increase lean muscle mass when combined with resistance training.
A review of 250 studies concluded that most of the ergogenic effects of muscle-building supplements are attributable to creatine. According to a study that continued for eight weeks, creatine could lower myostatin levels, a protein that prevents the growth of muscle cells. Similarly, a review of over 150 studies concluded that people supplementing with creatine could experience a 2.2% increase in their lean muscle mass and a 3.2% reduction in body fat.
Whey protein has been studied extensively for its ergogenic properties. According to the available scientific evidence, whey protein promotes satiation, curbs appetite, and supports weight loss. According to a recent clinical study, consuming 25% of daily calories in protein can curb sugar cravings by 60%.
In one clinical study, subjects taking a diet rich in whey protein lost 20% more weight than subjects consuming a low protein diet. Some studies have shown that whey protein could cause weight loss of 8 pounds while preserving lean muscle when combined with weight lifting.
Clinical studies show that beta-alanine can significantly increase your time to exhaustion which means you can exercise longer during each workout. In one study, researchers gave cyclists a beta-alanine supplement or a placebo. After four weeks, researchers found that the time to exhaustion increased by 13 to 14% in individuals taking a beta-alanine supplement.
Similarly, another study shows that 18 rowers who took beta-alanine supplements were 4.3 seconds faster than the subjects in the placebo group in a 2,000-meter long race that lasted for 6 minutes.
Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids are one of the most popular muscle-building ingredients. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine support muscular hypertrophy by activating specific metabolic and physiological pathways that promote muscle protein synthesis.
According to a clinical study, BCAAs supplementation after strength training can cause a significant increase in muscle protein synthesis. After their strength training session, this study involved 13 strength trainers supplemented with 5.6 grams of BCAAs. Researchers observed that subjects that took BCAAs had a 22% increase in muscle protein synthesis compared to the placebo group.
Researchers gave a BCAA supplement or placebo to 18 bodybuilders in another study. After eight weeks, researchers found that subjects taking a BCAA supplement had a 15% greater lean muscle increase than the placebo group.
Despite the findings mentioned above, some studies show that the muscle-building effects of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are not prominent when consumed without other essential amino acids.
Many other ingredients present in muscle builders like casein have been proven to support muscle growth in some way.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Muscle Builders
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about muscle-building supplements:
Q: What are muscle builders?
A: Muscle builders or muscle-building supplements are dietary supplements designed to maximize the effects of your workouts by promoting muscle growth, accelerating muscle recovery, and preventing fatigue.
Q: What ingredients do muscle-building supplements contain?
A: Muscle-building supplements are packed with ergogenic or performance-enhancing ingredients, such as branched-chain amino acids, protein, l-citrulline, beta-alanine, and casein. Some muscle-building supplements also contain CNS stimulants like caffeine to promote focus and alertness during workouts.
Q: How much protein should I consume daily?
A: The daily protein intake of a sedentary adult should not exceed 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, as reported by the Dietary Reference Intake for macronutrients. This means that an average passive man should consume about 56 grams of protein daily, and an average woman should take about 46 grams of protein per day.
Q: What are the three types of muscle tissue?
A: There are three types of muscle tissue in your body: cardiac, skeletal, and smooth. Each type has a unique structure and a specific function. Cardiac muscle tissue is responsible for the contractions that pump blood from your heart to other parts of the body. Smooth muscle tissue forms body organs like the stomach and facilitates their functioning. Skeletal muscle tissue is responsible for moving bones and other structures within your body.
Q: Do high-protein diets help with muscle building?
A: Yes, a high-protein diet can help with muscle building. Protein is the fundamental structural component of your muscles. By eating adequate amounts of protein daily, you can stimulate protein synthesis in your muscles, promoting muscular hypertrophy. Eating a protein-rich diet is the best way to preserve lean muscle.
Q: Do muscle-building supplements alleviate muscle soreness and cramps?
A: Yes, muscle-building supplements can alleviate muscle cramps and soreness. These effects are attributable to both sedative and muscle-supporting properties of the ingredients present in muscle builders.
Q: Is muscle denser than fat?
A: Yes, muscle is denser than body fat. However, a pound of muscle has the same weight as a pound of fat. A pound of muscle takes up less space in your body than a pound of fat.
Q: Can I convert body fat into lean muscle?
A: No, body fat cannot be converted into lean muscle. As fat and muscle are two different body tissues composed of different cells, they cannot be converted into each other. People often think they are turning fat into muscle through working out. However, they are losing fat and building more muscle.
Q: How frequently should I work out to build muscle?
A: If you want to build muscle, you should perform weight-lifting exercises at least three days every week. According to the available scientific research, you should work out two days a week to promote muscle growth. If you want to achieve superior muscle gains, you should work out daily for at least an hour.
Q: How long should workouts last for resistance training?
A: This depends on how many days you work out in a week. If you are strength training one day a week, your workout sessions should last 60 to 90 minutes. If you work out three days a week, your workout sessions should last 45 to 60 minutes. However, if you work out four or five days a week, you should devote 20 to 60 minutes to strength training per day.
Q: Are free weights more effective for muscle-building than machines?
A: Yes, free weights and compound weights seem to be more effective for muscle building. If you want to target specific muscles, you can use machines. Machines are more effective when it comes to training weaker muscles.
Q: How can I build muscle while maintaining a lean physique?
A: Yes, you can grow muscle while maintaining a lean physique. By working out regularly, you can promote muscle growth and fat loss. Muscle-building supplements are also formulated to support muscle development and stimulate fat burning. As you exercise more often, you burn more fat for energy. Though muscle is heavier than fat, it occupies the same amount of space as fat, making you look leaner even with more muscle mass.
Q: What is the best time to take a muscle-building supplement?
A: The best time to take a muscle-building supplement is 45 to 60 minutes before a workout so that all ingredients are absorbed in your bloodstream by the time you start training.
Q: Do males and females grow muscle in the same way?
A: No, males and females grow muscles differently. Certain factors impact muscle growth, like genetics and hormonal levels.
Q: Do I need proper rest to build muscle?
A: Yes, proper rest is required for muscle-building. You build muscle when muscle fibers rebuild during the muscle recovery process. The muscle recovery process needs time and rest.
Q: Why do I feel a tingling sensation after taking muscle-building supplements?
A: If you are taking a supplement containing beta-alanine, you may experience paresthesia or a tingling sensation in your arms, hands, feet, legs, or other parts of the body. This is caused by a harmless reaction of the nervous system.
Q: Do branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help with muscle building?
A: Yes, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help muscle building. They promote muscular endurance, muscular hypertrophy, and muscle strength.
Q: Can muscle-building supplements promote weight loss?
A: Yes, muscle-building supplements support weight loss. Many muscle builders are packed with metabolism-boosting ingredients that stimulate fat loss, allowing you to lose weight while preserving muscle mass.
Q: Should I avoid supplements containing creatine?
A: Creatine is associated with liver and kidney damage. You may want to avoid taking muscle builders with a hefty dose of creatine, specifically if you do not drink enough water.
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