Muscle building supplements come in a variety of forms and while some can greatly enhance your training, others are simply a waste of your hard earned cash. This reflects variety both in the quality of the supplement itself, how well it’s suited to you and whether or not it will aid your training goals.

The most common of muscle building supplements, and the one that will appeal to the widest range of bodybuilders, is the humble protein shake. Basically concentrated protein, the shake provides your body with the amino acids it needs to repair the micro tears in your muscles after a hard workout, rebuilding them bigger and stronger than they were before. The more protein you eat when you’re training the more your muscles will grow, which is why getting extra protein from supplements is almost essential if you’re a bodybuilder. Unless you only want to train for definition or you eat ridiculous amounts of egg and chicken; a protein shake will almost definitely benefit you.

After protein shakes, there are a myriad different supplements for energy. While the majority of energy drinks and shots are a waste of money (they’re expensive and often leave you feeling sick), one is of particular interest. Creatine is a supplement that provides your muscles with the ability to recycle extra ATP – the chemical that gives them energy to train. It is used by many athletes other than bodybuilders and at the same time it will give you slightly bigger biceps through water retention. It’s a recommended product for those who could use a boost in the gym then but not essential.

Nitric Oxide is a supplement that’s particularly popular at the moment. It works by enabling more blood to rush to your muscles giving you the feeling of being ‘pumped’, increasing the visibility of your veins (desirable for bodybuilders) and getting oxygen and essential nutrients to your muscles that will help them work for longer. Again then it’s not essential but can definitely give your training a boost and make you feel pretty good at the same time.

Other types of muscle building supplement deal with testosterone levels in your body by increasing its natural production or suppressing oestrogen. This is a desirable effect as testosterone is highly anabolic and great for focus and energy. However most of us already produce near maximum amounts of testosterone so the benefits of testosterone boosters will be minimal. It is certainly not an essential supplement for most men.

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