Posted by William on September 28, 2012
Many so-called muscle-building supplements are not based on science at all. Those that are, merely hint at possible muscle growth in lab rats or monkeys. Other manufacturers boast that their products show results on burn victims or hospital patients. Let’s face it: most are just a scam to get your money.
But what about the normal, healthy man who would like a little nutritious help in building bigger muscles? There’s solid evidence that supplementing your diet with several nutrients, while resistance training, can help you build muscle.
Building muscle size and mass involves the right training program, good nutrition and proper rest. What nutrients actually help build stronger muscles?
The average American male easily gets the daily recommended value of protein in his diet. However, research shows that eating an extra 60 to 70 grams of protein a day, combined with the proper rest and an exercise program, will actually help to gain muscle. You do not have to buy that expensive protein in a can. There are many ways to get that extra protein in each day. Try a can of tuna or soy if you don’t want to eat meat. Casein is the protein found in milk. You could buy some inexpensive dry milk and add it to your next low-fat shake.
You may have heard of Dr. Peter Lemon. He is well known for a creatine study in which he was both a participant and an author. Dr. Lemon noticed results in both himself and the other participants immediately. Some gained as much as six pounds after just one week of weight training. They were able to generate eight to 10 percent more force in a modified calf raise, and their calves, on average, increased in size by 3.4 percent.
In bench-press studies, men boosted both their one-rep max and reps with 70 percent of their max even when doing five sets. Sprinters beat their 300- and 1,000-meter times. Cyclists pedaled faster for short distances. In all studies, the participants gained weight.
So how does this seemingly magic potion work? Creatine is found naturally in the muscles and in almost all animal meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish and others. However, you’d need about 10 pounds of meat to get the same amount you receive from 20 grams of creatine that was used in the studies.
Studies show that after you eat creatine, it is stored in your muscles as what’s called phosphocreatine — a fuel for high-intensity exercise like weight training. However, heavy lifting apparently depletes your muscles’ creatine phosphate stores quickly, unless they have been saturated with extra creatine. Once your muscles reach the saturation point, you’re able to work out harder with more weight.
After you reach the initial saturation point, it may not be necessary to continue with 20 grams a day. You could cut back to five or six or even stop altogether.
No adverse side effects of creatine supplementation have been observed but caution should still be used when taking creatine. Long-term studies with creatine dosages have been observed and long-term use could eventually cause problems. More studies are being conducted on this issue.