Best Supplements for Bodybuilding & Growing Muscles

Do all claiming-best supplements for bodybuilding and growing muscles have the same value? 

There are tons of supplements under various brands, each of  which claims it is the best for bodybuilding and growing muscles. 

But the question is are they all for real?

To answer this question, we need to identify what the body really needs to build and grow muscles. This indicates that many of the supplements in the market you do not need.

Bodybuilding is about growing muscles. When we talk about building and growing muscles, we talk about metabolism, losing unwanted fat, creating an optimal physique, and maintaining a healthy body.

Therefore, before we get into presenting the best supplements for bodybuilding and growing muscles, there are some aspects we should raise and be aware of:

  • Many famous and winning bodybuilder either created their brand or got affiliated with a new or existing brand

You name it. From Mr. Olympia winners like Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, or Big Rami, to other en route to fame like Mahmoud Durrah are sponsoring dietary supplements. 

Associating supplements brand with a famous bodybuilder or a winner athlete is a smart idea but very elusive. 

It creates an illusion that if you use this supplement, you gain this body. Dude, supplements by themselves are not the answer for growing your muscles and getting the body these guys are promoting. 

  • The US Food and Drug Administration FDA doesn’t certify supplements. The supplements market is a bit messy

Unfortunately, some products in the market could do more harm than good. Therefore, you need to be wary about what you take as a supplement.  

To solve this issue, look for supplement products that are tested by trusted third-parties.  

  • You do not need all the supplements that you think you need. Some supplements could harm you if you are overusing them.

You can get the essential supplements from your food or from other dietary supplements you take.  Taking many supplements at the same time not only can harm you, but it is a waste of money as well. 

Well, now we need to answer our big question what kind of supplements I need for building and growing my muscles?

To answer this question properly, we compared the views of  bodybuilding experts and professionals with what the research of science and supplement experts indicate.  

Based on this comparison, we can narrow down our presentation into five main streams

  • Supplements can be grouped into three categories: muscle growth, power, and support & recovery. 

  • You can acquire the benefits of these categories by taking only four types of supplements: protein powder, creatine, glutamine, and Branch Chain Amino Acids BCAAs

  • You can omit BCAAs since high-quality protein powder brands usually have the required portion of BCAAs. 

  • Vitamins and minerals are essential for your support and recovery; however, you can get them if you are eating healthy and taking the proper supplements. 

It is recommended that you always check if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies before taking them. 

Vitamins and minerals are a bit intricate matter that needs a separate detailed article. 

  • Pre-workout and power supplements are a bit elusive.

If you have the essential supplements mentioned above, sleep well, and have some caffeinated-coffee, you can gain the energy and power you need.

Excessive use of pre-workout and claiming-power supplements could harm you. You need to watch out for your intake if you choose this path.

Hereinbelow the recommended best supplements for bodybuilding and muscle growth: 

Protein:

The number one supplement that most of the bodybuilding experts, nutritionists, and professionals agree on is protein. 

The more the product has pure protein, the better it is. Accordingly, there are four main types of protein

  • Protein Concentrate: contains 60-80% protein per serving, while the rest is carbs and fat like whey protein. Best protein concentrate products are:

Optimum Gold Standard Whey: It has less sugar, third-party tested, and 130 calories and 24 grams of protein per serving. But it has an artificial sweetener. 

optimum protein supplement

Naked Whey: Third-party tested Whey protein from grass-fed cows, low fat and carbs protein, 25 grams of protein per 30 grams of serving, and has 5.9 grams of BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids). Its natural composure makes it hard to dissolve with water. It needs a strong shaking. 

naked protein bodybuilding growing muscles

Dymatize Elite 100% Whey: Third-party tested, 25g protein, and 5.5g of BCAAs  per serving. It has an artificial sweetener. 

dymatize protein supplements

MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey: Third-party tested, low sodium, fewer carbs & sugar, Gluten-free, and 25g, 5.5g BCAAs, and 4g of glutamine per serving. But some found it hard to dissolve with cold water. It uses an artificial sweetener. 

muscle pharm protein supplements

  • Protein Isolate: It has over 85% pure protein per serving, which means fewer carbs and fat. Protein isolate is usually used right after a workout for its high absorption ability.

Below are among the best protein isolate products:

Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate: It is certified by Labdoor (an independent supplement testing company). It is gluten-free, zero fat, and only 2 grams of carbs per serving. It has artificial sweeteners, but you can opt for the unflavored one to avoid it. Yet, some reviews complained about its mixture and quality. 

myprotein bodybuilding growing muscles

Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed WheyIsolate: It has zero sugar, 0.5g fat, and 25g pure protein per serving. It is also non-GMO, no artificial coloring or sweeteners, and gluten-free. Some complain about its taste, but overall it has positive reviews. 

bodylogix protein supplements

Cellucor Whey Sport Protein Powder: Although it is a blend of protein concentrate and protein isolate, it is more of an isolate -nature for its fast-absorbing trait. 

cellucor protein bodybuilding growing muscles

It is third-party tested. It has more sugar and carbs than the other said protein isolate products; at the same time, it has creatine and glutamine for post-workout recovery. It has a high sodium percentage (240mg), so you need to watch out for your sodium consumption ratio. 

  • Protein Hydrolyzed: It is an enzyme-processed protein that could lead to an increase in insulin levels to faster absorption and boost muscle growth. Experts recommend using it post-workout. 

Below are some of the high-rated products of this type of protein:

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey Protein: It is one of the highest-rated proteins. It is third-party tested and has 30g protein and 8.8g BCAAs per serving. It has 1g of sugar and 1g of fat. 

optimum protein hydrolyzed

 Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein: It is also a high-rated protein. It doesn’t have as much protein or BCAAS per serving as the previous one; still, it has 25g protein, 5.5g BCAAs, and less than 1g of sugar per serving. It is gluten-free and third-party tested. It has 160mg of sodium, which is a sort of high. 

dymatize hydro protein supplements

 Sascha Fitness Hydrolyzed Whey Protein: It is manufactured by a cGMP( Current Good Manufacturing Practice). It is sweetened with stevia. It has 25g protein, over 5g BCAAs, zero sugar, zero carbs, and digestive enzymes that improve digestion. It has some complaints about its taste. 

sascha protein bodybuilding

BSN SYNTHA-6 EDGE Protein Powder: It is a multi-form protein: concentrate, isolate, hydrolyzed, and casein. It can work for any part of the day. It is banned-substance tested. It has 24g protein and 11g BCAAs per serving. 

BSN protein powder growing muscles

However, it is a bit high in sodium (190mg) and has 2g sugar per serving. Also, the protein portion per serving is lower than the other said products. It has some claims about unhealthy ingredients, but non is confirmed.  

  • Casein Protein: Whey protein casein is different from the forms of whey protein mentioned earlier at its molecular level.

While isolate and hydrolyzed protein are fast-digesting forms, casein is a slow-digesting protein. Therefore, experts recommend taking it before bedtime for better protein synthesis and muscle growth and recovery. 

Here are some of the high-rated casein protein products:

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Micellar Casein Protein Powder: It is third-party tested. It has 24g protein per serving. However, it is a bit high in sodium (280mg). It has 3g sugar, but only 1g of fat per serving. 

optimum gold casein protein

It has other minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium. Some reviews complain about its taste. 

Dymatize Elite Casein Protein Powder: It is manufactured in GMP and sport certified facilities. It has 25g protein and 5g BCAAs per serving with zero sugar and only 2g fat. 

dymatize casein protein supplements

 It is a bit high in sodium (180mg) but has some healthy minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium. Some reviews complain about its taste. 

Pro Jym Protein Powder: It is a blend of micellar casein and isolates protein. It has 24g protein, zero sugar, and 2.5g fat per serving. It is manufactured in a cGMP-compliant facility. 

pro jym protein growing muscles

It has high sodium (210mg) and some complaints about the taste of some of its flavors.

Hardbody Amazing Micellar Casein Protein Powder: It has amazing ingredients like probiotic blend, vitamins A & C, calcium, and Iron, in addition to digestive enzyme blend. It has 1.5g of sugar and 1g of fat. 

hardbody protein supplements

30g serving has 25.5g protein, which is a great value. It is third-party tested as well. 

Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein Protein Powder: It has 25g protein, zero sugar, 1g fat, 5g carbs, and 11g BCAAs per serving. It claims to have zero artificial ingredients. It has a high rating with some complaints about the taste. 

ascent protein supplements

Promix Unflavored Casein Protein Powder: It has 25g protein, 5.9g BCAAs, zero fat, and zero carbs. It is third-party tested. 

promix protein supplements

Unflavored protein might taste odd for some. It is a matter of taste preference.

Creatine: 

Creatine is an amino acid that helps the muscles generate energy to boost muscle strength, endurance, growth, and recovery. 

Some studies claim that it is also beneficial for the brain as it boosts cognitive abilities. 

As we see, creatine can help in achieving all your training goals in terms of bodybuilding and growing muscles. 

Simply, creatine acts like the instant push when your power falls short of accomplishing your workout or finishing the last rep. It increases the muscle stores of phosphocreatine, which acts as muscle cell energy.  

However, it is not magic. Research indicates that it increases strength in general by around 5-8%.   

The body naturally produces creatine, whereby 95% of its substance is stored in the muscles and 5% in the brain, kidneys, and liver. It can be found also in meat. 

You can take creatine as a supplement to boost your training performance. Some arguments claim that it could harm the kidneys and liver, especially if the person suffers from exiting medical conditions like diabetes or kidney problems. 

On the other hand, studies indicate that it is a safe substance and very useful for the body.

Therefore, it is recommended to consult your physician and drink a lot of water if you intend to use creatine. 

The most well-known form of creatine supplement is creatine monohydrate powder. 

Here are some of the high-rating creatine monohydrate supplements:

Integrated Supplements 100% Creapure Creatine: It is certified by Labdoor and graded as A- quality product. 

Integrated pure creatine supplement

MUSCLE FEAST Creapure Creatine Monohydrate Powder: It is third-party tested and graded as a high-quality product by Labdoor. 

muscle feast creatine supplement

BulkSupplements.com Creatine Monohydrate: It is third-party tested and graded as A- quality product by Labdoor. 

bulk supplements creatine

MYPROTEIN Creatine Monohydrate Powder: My protein indicates that its products are Informed Sport-Tested for any banned substance by Sport Science. It is A- grade by Labdoor. 

Myprotein creatine supplements

Thorne Research – Creatine – Creatine Powder: It is labeled as an Amazon choice and certified for sport as well. It has high-rating reviews. 

throne creatine supplements

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder: Like any other Optimum products, it is third-party tested and micronized for maximum potency. It is labeled as Amazon Choice as well. But since it is unflavored, the taste might be odd for some.

optimum creatine supplements 

Pure Encapsulations Creatine Powder: It is labeled as Amazon choice and made with hypoallergenic ingredients: gluten-free, non-GMO, and Vegan. It is third-party tested. However, it has 4g creatine per serving. 

Pure encapsulation creatine

Naked Pure Creatine Monohydrate:  Another Amazon labeled choice creatine with non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients. It has a reasonable price. Some reviews indicate that it was not suitable for them. 

Naked creatine supplements

Glutamine:

Glutamine is an essential amino acid that the body needs for muscle growth and recovery. It is usually a post-workout supplement that helps in protein synthesis. 

Its useful form is the L-Glutamine, which can be found in high-protein food. 

The body produces glutamine, but athletes, especially those who train heavily, might need extra amounts of glutamine as a supplement to avoid muscle breakdown. 

Some protein powders have glutamine as part of their amino acid components. Yet, you need to how many grams of glutamine your protein powder has. Usually, the recommended dosage is 5-10g per day. 

Hereinbelow some of the high-rated glutamine products:

AMRAP Nutrition Vegan Glutamine Powder: It has an Amazon choice label. It is third-party tested, A+ graded by Labdoor, gluten-free, non-GMO, Paleo-friendly, and plant-based. 

AMRAP Glutamine

Body Fortress 100% Pure Glutamine Powder: It is an Amazon choice, cGMP-certified, and gluten-free glutamine. It has 4.5 glutamine per serving. 

body fortress glutamine supplements

BodyTech Glutamine: It is Quality Promise Tested & Trusted by Vitamin Shoppe. It has 4.5g of glutamine. 

bodytech glutamine supplements

Optimum Nutrition L-Glutamine Capsules: For those who do not prefer powder taste, this capsule product can be a good choice. However, each capsule has only 0.5g glutamine. 

How To Use Supplements?

For protein powder, the recommended dosage and use are related to your protein intake per day as a whole. 

There are several studies about how much protein a bodybuilder should consume per day. 

Some argue that you need around 0.8g per kg of your body weight. On the other hand, others argue that bodybuilders, who train intensively, need around 1.5-2.5g per kg of body weight, depending on the intensity of the training program and the type of protein they consume. 

Therefore, we believe 1-1.5g protein per kg of your body weight can be a safe bit, providing you train hard enough and do not suffer any medical conditions. 

Professionals recommend taking Protein Isolate and Hydrolyzed post-workout for their fast-absorbing process.

The concentrate Protein can be taken at any time of the day, depending on your food intake and training routine. The optimal use of Casein Protein is before bedtime. 

For Creatine, there are two methods. One includes the loading phase, which entails taking 20g of creatine monohydrate per day for five to seven days. The 20g can be divided into 2 or 4 doses according to your training and food regimen.

After 5 days, you only take 5g creatine per day post or before your workout. 

The other method is forgoing the loading phase and only take 5g each day. 

Regarding Glutamine, the recommended dosage is 10g per day; 5g post-workout, and the other 5g before bedtime. 

Bottom Line:

Supplements can be a rich source of nutrition, but real, healthy food is the foundation. That is why it is called supplements. 

Supplements’ benefits or side effects can vary from one person to another, depending on the body’s nature, physiology, genetics, medical conditions, and food and training regimens. 

It is always recommended to consult with your doctor and experts before taking any supplements. What suits others might not suit you. 

When you decide to take any, always pick the clean, well-known, tested products. Do not go cheap on your health. 

Where to find the good ones:

For Supplements that you can’t find in the local market, you can order them online from the source or the big names like iHerb, Amazon, and Bodybuilding through trusted intermediary services

Always look for high-quality supplements, consult your physician and instructor, check the expiry date, and use a trusted purchasing service.

 

 

 

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