Strength training is an exhausting yet rewarding physical activity that improves body composition, helps to build lean muscle mass, enhances strength and builds confidence. But it is a demanding physical activity that has to be supported with the right nutrients in order to make up for the muscle and tissue loss, promote recovery and support muscle synthesis. Therefore, it is important to follow a healthy and balanced diet plan rich in proteins and other nutrients.
But in present times, more and more athletes and bodybuilders are reaching out for supplements because the modern diet doesn’t have enough bio-active nutrients that are required for muscle growth. Supplements are the only source of nutrients in undenatured and concentrated form. But it is important to choose supplements that are actually effective and are free from steroids, artificial hormones or banned ingredients. In this article we have reviewed the 10 best bodybuilding supplements that are essential for increase muscle size and strength.
Top 10 Bodybuilding Supplements in India 2021
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Best Bodybuilding Supplements in India 2021 Reviews
01.) Whey Protein
Whey Protein tops our list of best body building supplements because it is one of the most popular and widely used supplements by bodybuilders and athletes. Whey protein works by supplying a high amount of quality protein to the body that kick-start the process of muscle growth. It is a rapidly digesting protein that speeds up post-workout recovery. It contains high levels of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and peptides that reduces recovery time, prevents muscle soreness and boost blood flow to the muscles.
How to use it: Whey Protein is more of a recovery supplement which makes it suitable for post-workout muscle recovery.
Dosage: Whey protein comes in powdered form. Each serving typically provides 20 to 30 grams of protein at a time which is a considerably good amount of protein. Whey protein can be mixed with milk or water to make a protein shake.
Side Effects: Whey protein is considered a safe supplement and it does not cause any serious side effects except minor bloating or stomach discomfort. But people with lactose intolerance should avoid using this supplement because it is derived from dairy.
02. Casein Protein
Casein is yet another type of protein derived from dairy. But it is different from whey protein in a number of aspects. Unlike whey, casein protein is a very slowly digesting protein that should be taken before bed or when you are about to go without a meal for a long period of time. The slow-digesting protein breaks down steadily over time, thus, preventing catabolism while you sleep. In addition, casein protein makes you feel less full compared to whey protein and it boosts muscle protein synthesis as effectively as whey protein.
How to use it: Opt for a casein protein supplement that contains micellar casein. It is the slowest-digesting form of casein available. Take it immediately before going to bed and after workouts in combination with whey protein. You can also add casein to your protein shakes between meals.
- Before bed – 20 to 40g
- Post-workout – 10-20g mixed with whey protein
- Between meals – 20-40g
Side Effects: Casein protein is a safe and effective supplement that does not cause any side effects. In rare cases, people have reported experiencing upset stomach. Casein is a dairy-derived protein, so people with lactose intolerance are recommended to avoid it.
Creatine is a naturally occurring metabolite that promotes production and modulation of cellular energy. It is naturally found in muscle cells and skeletal muscle tissue. Dietary supplements make use of creatine in the form of creatine monohydrate. Creatine supplements regenerate ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) stores in the body. Now, ATP is the basic energy unit in the body which splits into ADP and an extra phosphate ion during short-term bursts of anaerobic energy. Creatine transforms the ADP into ATP and provides a short-term burst of energy which in turn enhances strength and stamina. In plain words, Creatine supplements increase muscle cell volume, promote lean muscle mass, speed up post-workout recovery and increase performance.
How to use it: It is best to take creatine supplement every day, typically before a workout session to maximize the ATP stores. But the dosage is different for fast gainers and strength athletes. While strength athletes don’t need loading, it is important to load up for the first 5 days in case of fast gainers. Taking a creatine supplement before workouts can cause dry mouth, so it is recommended to carry some water with you during your workout. Creatine destabilizes rapidly once it is mixed with water and becomes useless, so it is best to drink it up immediately after mixing.
- For Fast Gainers – Load with 3 doses (7 grams each) every day for the first 5 days and after that 2 daily doses (5 grams each) for 6 to 10 weeks, followed by a 4-week off period
- For strength athletes – Single dose of 5 grams 30 minutes before workout.
Side Effects – Creatine is an all-natural and 100% safe supplement that do not cause any serious side effects. It can cause minor bloating or weight gain at the beginning due to water retention in the muscle tissues, but it is a temporary effect that goes away within a couple of weeks after you stop taking creatine.
Mass gainers or weight gainers are a class of supplements that help you to bulk on lean muscle mass without making you fat. These supplements help you to gain muscles without gaining fat. These are high calorie supplements that allow you to reach you required calorie-count every day. These supplements usually provided 600 to 3000 calories that add a substantial amount of calories derived from quality sources without stuffing in 8 meals a day. It not only adds calories to your daily diet, but also helps to maintain the correct balance of protein and carbs. It also provides additional vitamins, minerals and health fats that aids optimum muscle growth.
How to use it: It is best to consume a mass gainer as a post-workout meal or a meal before going to bed. You can also replace a mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal with a mass gainer. But be careful about the serving size. Make sure that the weight gainer in combination with your daily meals does not exceed your daily calorie requirements.
Dosage: It is recommended to take 2 to 3 shakes daily
Side Effects: The ingredients differ from product to product; as a result the side effects also vary. But some of the most common side effects are bloating and stomach discomfort.
This is a non-essential amino acid that is naturally present in protein-rich foods. This amino acid has the ability to increase the intra-muscular levels of carnosine. Carnosine is a protein building block that is required for proper function and development of muscles. Beta-Alanine supplementation can increase carnosine levels by almost 60% in just four weeks. High levels of Carnosine can delay the accumulation of lactic acid during high-intensity workout sessions are reduce muscle fatigue. It also helps to improve endurance and enhance output.
How to use it: It is best to take Beta-Alanine before going to the gym or beginning your workout session. It is best to spread out the dosage of Beta-Alanine in to small portions and take it throughout the day to reduce the tingling sensation in the skin.
Dosage: The recommended dosage of Beta-Alanine is 2 to 6g per day. The total dosage should be divided into smaller doses and taken throughout the day.
Side Effect – Beta-Alanine supplementation has just one strange but harmless side-effect – tingling of the skin. Beta-Alanine stimulates the nerves present underneath the skin which causes this tingling sensation. This side-effect usually goes away once the body gets used to Beta-Alanine supplementation.
BCAAs are a specific class of amino acids which includes leucine, isoleucine and valine. Out of all the 9 essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine are most directly linked to the formation of muscle-tissues. These three amino acids have potent anabolic and anti-catabolic properties that help to improve physical performance, endurance and post workout recovery. Although, BCAAs are often included in protein powders, but taking an isolated BCAA supplement helps to provide a concentrated dosage of the three most important amino acids that promote muscle growth.
How to use it: It is best to take BCAAs during or immediately after finishing your workout session. BCAAs are available in both capsule and powder form. BCAAs can be taken alone or in combination with supplements such as protein shakes.
- For long training sessions – Take 5 to 15g of BCAAs before beginning your training session.
- For short intense sessions – Take 5 to 10g of BCAAs with your post-workout meal
Side Effects: There are no serious side effects of taking BCAA supplements, but some people may experience dizziness or stomach upset.
Glutamine is the most abundantly found amino acid in the human body that plays an important role in carrying out various biological processes in the body. It supports and maintains muscular health and repairs damaged tissues. Although, the body can make enough amount of glutamine to sustain these procedures, the level of this amino acid falls during intense workout sessions. Therefore, it is important to take a Glutamine supplement to make up for the depleted glutamine levels and speed up recovery and efficiency. Glutamine also prevents muscle breakdown, aids fat metabolization and increases the level of human growth hormone – all of which are essential for building muscle mass.
How to use it: Glutamine plays a key role in post-workout muscle recovery, so it should be taken immediately after finishing your workout. You can also take it suing your workout session to slow down lactic acid build-up.
Dosage: You can take 5g of glutamine post-workout and 5g before bed.
Side Effects: Some people have reported experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as gas, nausea, etc. Those who are sensitive to MSG should avoid glutamine supplements because it triggers reactions similar to MSG reaction.
The level of hormone testosterone in the body plays a key role in determining the rate of weight gain and the percentage of muscle and fat that you have gained. Testosterone also promotes the burning of body fat and boosts strength. Testosterone boosters make use of natural herbal blends that increase the level of testosterone released by the body. They don’t contain any artificial hormones.
How to use it: Testosterone boosters show maximum effect in people who are suffering from lower-than-normal testosterone levels. It is best to choose a supplement that is made from natural herbs and botanicals and does not contain any artificial hormones.
Dosage: Each product is different, which leads to variations in the dosage. But it is recommended to follow the dosage instruction and not to exceed the recommended dosage.
Side Effects – Because each product has different ingredient profile and concentration, so the side effects are variable. But some of the most common side effects are mood chances, skin problems, etc.
Nitric Oxide is naturally found throughout the body and it plays an important role in carrying out multiple functions in the body. Nitric oxide has the ability to dilate blood vessels which increases blood flow to the muscles and enhances the delivery of nutrients, oxygen, water and anabolic hormones to the muscles. It provides more energy during workouts and allows better muscle recovery and growth after workout. Nitric Oxide boosters supply amino acid arginine to the body that is readily converted into nitric oxide.
How to use it: It best to take one dose each of nitric oxide booster early in the morning before breakfast, half-an-hour before training and immediately after training and 30 minutes before bed. It is best to take the supplement without food. You can combine the nitric oxide booster with vitamin C to maintain the levels of nitric oxide in the body for longer.
Dosage: It is best to take 3 to 5g of arginine in the form of L-arginine. Choose a supplement that also contains citrulline, Pycnogenol and American ginseng.
Side Effects: Some of the common side effects of using Nitric Oxide Boosters are blood pressure chances, stomach discomfort, changes in the level of body electrolytes and increased risk of bleeding. People with bleeding disorder or those using blood-thinning medications should avoid this supplement.
This is a patented mineral formula that comprises of zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6. These three nutrients play an important role in maintaining proper hormone levels and aiding restful sleep which is essential for recovery of the muscles and tissues. Intense training sessions decrease the level of testosterone and IGF1 (Insulin Like Growth Factor). Taking a ZMA supplement helps to increase the level of testosterone and IGF1 considerably.
How to use it: It is best to take the ZMA supplement before going to bed because zinc promotes restful sleep and speed up recovery.
Dosage: It is recommended to take a single dose of ZMA daily containing 30 mg zinc Monomethionine aspartate, 450 mg of magnesium aspartate and 10.5 mg of pyridoxine at least 30 minutes before going to bed on a relatively empty stomach. You can also have the supplement 30 minutes before having your dinner and then go to bed. Don’t buy a ZMA supplement containing calcium because calcium inhibits absorption of zinc.
Side Effects: ZMA supplements usually make use of all-natural ingredients and they don’t have any serious side effects. However, some people have reported experiencing upset stomach or diarrhea.
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This brings us to the end of our best bodybuilding supplements guide. Obviously, there are a number of other supplements that provide great results, but when it comes to packing in most muscle in the least time, these 10 supplements work most efficiently and don’t exert any serious risk in the long run. But it must be remembered that the basis to a healthy body lies in a balanced and nourishing diet, so make it a point to combine these supplements with healthy foods for best results.