Many of us workout or hit the gym regularly and want to ensure we are getting the maximum results. As well as the effort put into physical exercise, the nutrition consumed through diet is just as important to see real progress. Ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? Well in some ways that’s true as you won’t get the results you want without focusing your nutrition for it. During this post, we take a look at the best supplements for muscle gain UK.
When aiming to gain muscle, many will often dedicate a lot of their time to intense weight training sessions many days of the week. This is great as resistance weight training on a regular basis promotes muscle growth. This occurs by muscles being broken down and damaged during a workout. After an intense session, muscles recover and repair. Over time, the muscles become larger and also capable of lifting an increased resistance. Intense workouts are great, but you may not be seeing the maximum results if you do not adjust your diet to cater for muscle growth.
The recovery stage after a workout is the most important stage for muscle growth. Right after a workout, muscles are like a sponge ready to soak up protein and carbohydrates for growth and repair. This is where supplements including whey protein are ideal to provide muscles with all the fuel they need. Also, before a workout, pre-workout supplements can increase energy to provide the explosive bursts needed to push further during a weight lifting session.
Using the right supplements can boost performance and results to ensure increased muscle gains and quicker recovery times. For muscle growth, a key factor is to consume more calories than you burn. Without a diet focused on muscle gain, it can be a struggle to increase resistance and put on any serious size.
Best supplements for muscle gain UK
Below you can find our favourite choices for the best supplements for muscle gain. This list includes our favourite types and also brands which we recommend. You should always consult a medical professional before consuming any new supplement.
A whey protein supplement is the number one choice we recommend for those both new and experienced with building muscle. In fact, if you search anywhere for muscle building supplements, they will pretty much always agree. Whey protein is actually the by-product of the cheese-making process and starts its life as cows milk. As the milk is heated, the temperature increase causes milk to separate into curds and liquid whey.
Once whey protein is consumed, it gets digested very quickly. This means that it can reach muscles fast. For this reason, whey protein is usually consumed after a workout. During this time, muscles are in need of protein to begin the recovery process. Providing them with whey protein ensures they get the protein required as quickly as possible. Whey protein is also rich branched-chain amino acids, the building blocks of muscle.
We usually find whey protein in powder supplements. These are super convenient as we just need to add water and they are ready to consume. The flavour has been added already and there is a huge variety available. This convenience also allows for the whey to be consumed any time of the day including on the go and also for breakfast.
Several different types of whey protein are available, with the most popular being whey concentrate and whey isolate. A whey concentrate protein contains roughly 80% protein content. Concentrate is favoured for its wide availability, high protein content and low cost. On the other hand, whey isolate often contains 90% and higher protein content due to going through additional filtering processes. Due to its higher protein content, isolate is often favoured for those on a strict calorie-controlled diet. A good whey protein supplement will contain at least 18g of protein per serving.
When it comes to choosing a whey protein supplement, there’s often too much to choose from. For us, we always go towards Impact Whey from MyProtein. The MyProtein brand is one of the largest sports supplement manufacturers online and features a full range of supplements, including lots of protein choices. Impact whey keeps it simple, offering some of the best value in a straightforward protein supplement. Each serving contains 18g of protein and is also high in BCAAs. A huge choice of flavours are available and you won’t find more choice anywhere else. Typical flavours include chocolate, strawberry and banana. Some of the more unusual flavours include blueberry cheesecake and coffee. As with all MyProtein supplements, Impact Whey can be purchased directly from the MyProtein website, where promotions can often be found. Impact whey is one of the best supplements for muscle gain.
An often overlooked supplement by beginners, casein protein is another protein supplement which is great for muscle building. Just like whey, casein also comes from milk. When milk is heated up, the curds can be separated and go on to become casein protein. The big benefit and difference with casein are that it takes a long time to digest. Therefore providing the body with a steady supply of protein and amino acids over several hours.
Due to its slow-digesting nature, casein is ideal to consume at times where you may not consume another meal for several hours. The biggest use for casein is before going to bed. By consuming casein at night, the body is supplied with a continuous steady supply of protein and amino acids. When sleeping, muscles are recovering, so casein is ideal to supply this continuous steady stream of supplements.
Just like whey, casein also comes in a powder form and just needs to be mixed with water for easy consumption. While there is still a good selection of flavours available, there are generally less when compared with whey protein supplements. We find the taste of casein to be worse than whey protein and often find it to be quite chalky. Adding an increased amount of water can help to overcome this. Casein is a supplement often overlooked, but a superb selection as one of the best supplements for muscle gain.
Casein supplements are not as easy to come by when compared to whey protein. Luckily, there’s a number of solid choices available. Our favourite is Bulk Powder micellar casein. This premium source of protein contains an 85% protein content. There is also an impressive amino acid content, ideal for drip-feeding muscles over an extended period.
All Bulk Powders supplements can be purchased directly from their website. This makes it super easy to pick up several different products at the same time. We love that Bulk Powders are clear about every ingredient which is in each of their supplements. This detail can be found in the description of each product.
A supplement which we struggle to live without, pre-workout formulas are one of our favourite supplements to get the best out of every workout. We all have days when we struggle to get motivated for the gym, or even work, have the motivation but no energy after a long day at work. We find trying to workout like this often leads to us struggling to reach our personal bests and there’s very little chance of increasing resistance.
Luckily, pre-workout supplements are there to provide the added boost we need. The key aims from pre-workout formulas are to increase energy, strength and concentration. They do this by containing a number of different ingredients and supplements. Some of these supplements can also be consumed separately so it’s key to check you don’t consume too much. A large dose of caffeine is often present to provide a boost of both energy and concentration. Caffeine works by increasing energy levels and also lowering the perceived rate of exertion. This provides the energy to go harder for longer. Further common ingredients include creatine, BCAAs and beta-alanine.
Pre-workout formulas also come in powdered forms, although some can be purchased in a ready to drink can. We find powders are best due to costing less. Each tub will be smaller compared with protein supplements, due to smaller amounts being required in each serving. We find pre-workout formulas can be incredibly hard to find a great flavour. Too many don’t taste great and can often be incredibly sour. We recommend sticking with a safe flavour such as orange. overall, pre-workout formulas are some of the best supplements for muscle gain.
Finding a pre-workout supplement which contains all the key ingredients we look for, as well as great flavour, is no easy task. Our favourite is Raze Perform from The Protein Works. This brand produces some of the most unique supplements on the market, with many blends you just can’t find anywhere else. Raze Perform contains one of the most exciting ingredient lists we have found in any pre-workout formula, designed for those looking to increase performance and reduce fatigue.
Ingredients include creatine to increase energy in shorts bursts and BCAAs to feed muscles and support the repair process. Beta-alanine is also included to increase performance, as well as vitamin C for optimum function of the immune system. 200mg of caffeine per serving provides a boost of energy and improved concentration.
One of the most researched sports supplements available today, creatine has consistently shown its ability for increasing muscle gain. For this reason, it is widely used for a variety of high-intensity workouts.
To understand how creatine works, we need to take a step back and understand ATP in muscles. ATP standard for adenosine triphosphate and is the most basic form of energy inside cells in the body. When we take part in high-intensity exercise including weight lifting, we use this ATP energy. But we can only store enough ATP for up to 10 seconds of exercise at high-intensity. After this, we need the body to produce more ATP for each activity.
Creatine works to increase stores in the body of phosphocreatine, which is used to produce ATP during exercise. Therefore, the extra creatine inside muscles can provide extra energy by allowing for increased ATP production. For this reason, creatine is known to increase strength and power. Ideal for those looking to gain muscle mass through resistance training.
There are several different types of creatine supplements, with the most popular being creatine monohydrate. Multiple form factors are available including powders and tablets. We find powders to be the most convenient to consume and also potentially use in a protein shake. Flavoured versions are available, but we usually stick with the unflavoured versions when it comes to creatine.
There are lots of creatine supplements available. Some claim to provide additional benefits and contain further ingredients. For us, we like to use unflavoured creatine in a powdered form. MyProtein Creapure creatine is our favourite choice. This non-nonsense supplement provides everything we are looking for at a reasonable cost. As with all MyProtein products, it’s easy to pick up directly from their website at the same time we buy our protein supplements.
Several sizes are available ranging from 250g to 1kg, The 250g pouch can currently be purchased for £8.49 and there are frequent promotions on the MyProtein website. Creapure provides the purest form of creatine and undergoes rigorous tests to remove any impurities. Put simply, this is the purest creatine on the market.
For some, it can be a real struggle to put on weight and muscle. It may be because of a high metabolism or even due to struggling to consume enough during the day. For them, whey protein supplements alone may not provide the required energy needed. In short, to gain muscle we need to consume more calories than we burn. Thankfully, mass gainer supplements can help those struggling.
A mass gainer supplement is designed to be rich in protein, amino acids and carbohydrates. This combination is ideal to kick start the muscle-building process and boost results. As well as protein, energy in the form of carbohydrates is also required by the body for gain muscle. Each mass gaining shake will often contain over 1000 calories. This is a huge amount and often more than the amount we will be getting from each meal. Mass gainer shakes are also super convenient as they allow us to get a solid dose of both protein and carbs at the same time.
Mass gainer shakes come in powder form and just need to be mixed with water. The serving size is bigger than whey protein shakes and they are designed to be consumed several times per day. Lots of great flavours are available including common chocolate and strawberry flavours. We only recommend mass gainers as a short-term measure to boost muscle gain for those struggling to make progress.
There’s no need to look any further than Mutant Mass when it comes to finding a mass gainer supplement. One of the original and most highly recommended mass gainers, this supplement has you covered when it comes to putting on size. The high calorie supplement is ideal for those looking to substantially increase their daily calorie intake. Each serving contains a huge 56g of protein, as well as 36g of BCAAs. A number of great tasting flavours are available including chocolate fudge brownie and cookies & cream. As they are designed for use several times a day, mass gainers come in larger sizes and Mutant Mass comes in up to a 6.8kg pouch.
Branched-chain amino acids are often found inside of supplements such as whey protein and pre-workout or high protein foods including eggs. But they can be consumed separately for those looking to boost their intake. The three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are considered essential amino acids as they are not produced by the body, we need to obtain them from our diet.
Branched-chain amino acids work to increase protein synthesis. Leucine in particular is known to be a trigger for muscle growth by stimulating protein synthesis. Another benefit is the potential to reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout. This may be due to reducing protein breakdown during exercise and damage to muscles. For many of us consuming a high-protein diet or supplements such as whey protein (which already contain BCAAs), there is little benefit of a separate supplement.
BCAA supplements come in a variety of form factors. Tablets are widely available and convenient for consumption on the go. Powders are also available and a lower-cost option. Unflavoured and flavoured versions are available. They can be popular with some gym-goers to consume throughout a workout from a shaker bottle.
The PhD nutrition brand produces some of the best quality and hardest-hitting supplements on the market. We are already big fans of their smart protein bars. The brand produces a full range of sports supplements to push each workout further. Intra BCAA is designed to be taken to the gym and consumed during a workout to help limit the breakdown of muscle tissue and maintain hydration.
This supplement features the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine in a 4:1:1 ratio, higher than the typical BCAA supplement. Also included are non-essential amino acids which have been derived from premium grade whey protein. Different flavours are available including fruit punch and watermelon.
Summary of best supplements for muscle gain
Building muscle requires a combination of resistance training and adequate recovery. Taking advantage of the best supplements for muscle gain can potentially maximise results. A full range of supplements are available and can often be used in conjunction with each other.
If we had to recommend just one, it would be whey protein for consumption right after a workout. Casein is less popular but has the potential to provide a range of additional benefit for muscle gain. Which supplements are your favourite? Let us know in the comments.
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