Many people regularly do strength-resistance exercises such as a weight lifting, simple push-ups and pull-ups or even home-gym machine programs. If the results of these workouts are unsatisfactory, attention immediately turns to supplements. There is a vast array of supplement products – some of which claim to be the best supplements for muscle growth – that are also sold in stores and sometimes on the black market. Ergogenic drugs are energy-boosting supplements, often used by athletes to improve endurance in competition and muscle building in training sessions. Women use ergogenic supplements to provide an edge in athletic performance and additional supplements to assist in muscle building. A number of the supplements are considered safe for use at specific doses but all supplement use should be discussed with a health care provider to rule out any individual risks.
Women can take many of the same workout supplements that men use but will most probably not become as ripped and toned as they would wish they could be. This is because women’s bodies produce a very small amount of the muscle-building hormone (testosterone). The right supplements will help you to gain metabolically active lean muscle and burn fat, faster than with diet and exercise alone. Add them to your program to achieve your fitness goals faster.
Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, and it’s no surprise that even a very large chain of retailers are now carrying various forms of protein supplements. Protein is very beneficial to muscle growth, but timing is a major factor influencing protein’s effectiveness. Ingesting protein (usually in the form of a shake or beverage) should be done both before and after exercises for maximum muscle growth. Carbohydrates should be included as well, so the body has something to burn while using protein to enhance muscle gains.
In most cases, building muscles is a universal process; what works for men often works for women, and vice versa. But that doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t change your muscle-building regimen from what a man might do. Some men choose to use testosterone supplements to accelerate muscle gain, but this can be hazardous to women and disrupt their hormonal balance. Additionally, women need to ensure that their body receives the nutrients necessary to maintain processes in the female reproductive organs. There are several supplements you can take to achieve this; a couple of which are;
Like I have just said; increasing protein intake is a core component of any muscle-building plan. The most common types of protein supplements are; whey, soy and egg white protein. Some women favor soy protein supplements because soy has been shown to have additional health benefits.
Calcium may seem more important for your bone density and strength than your muscles. True as that may be, calcium is also used in the production of muscle. Additionally, many women can lower their calcium levels through exercise, and in some cases this can cause other health problems, such as bone density loss and irregular periods. By taking a calcium supplement (possibly one that contains magnesium) which helps the body process calcium; you can build muscle and keep your body healthy while doing so.
Taking a daily multivitamin helps ensure your body has the basic vitamins and minerals it needs. Women’s multivitamins typically include higher levels of nutrients such as iron, vitamin D and calcium.
Some bodybuilders supplement their diets with branched chain amino acids like; leucine, isoleucine and valine; which are used for muscle production. Creatine is another popular muscle-building supplement that contains the amino acids l-methionine, l-arginine and l-glycine.
Creatine is taken to increase muscle size and to enhance endurance. It is an amino acid produced in fish and animals and in the human liver, pancreas and kidneys. Creatine is stored in muscles to be used as energy. Researchers have proved it to work effectively in short duration exercise and it appears to be relatively safe for short term use — although more long term studies are needed. Possible side effects when taking high doses of creatine include nausea, dehydration, gastrointestinal problems, muscle cramping, weight gain, high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage. Creatine is popular among body builders and is not banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC); but use of the supplement is discouraged. Creatine can react with some medications so you should check with your health care provider before adding it to a strength training regimen.
Glutamine is a building block of protein and is stored in the muscles and in the lungs, where it is produced. It is an immune system booster and is needed for normal brain activity and digestion. Glutamine is credited with preventing muscle breakdown during high stress activities. Intense training for endurance events is one cause of glutamine deficiency that can lead to colds and infections — so athletes use the supplements to maintain stamina and compensate for glutamine depletion. Texas A&M University reports that glutamine sustains muscle mass, enhances the immune system and speeds recovery from rigorous exercise. Athletes take glutamine alone or as part of a protein supplement. It appears to be safe in moderate doses — 500 mg taken from one to three times a day.
Magnesium is critically important for the heart muscles and kidneys but is an essential mineral for every organ in the body. Among magnesium’s functions is energy production — and athletes use magnesium supplements to build bones, increase energy levels and enhance muscle building through protein synthesis. As a supplement, it is often taken with B-complex vitamins which help the body absorb magnesium. It does react with some medications. Common side effects from magnesium supplements include upset stomach and diarrhea, but people with kidney or heart disease should avoid magnesium supplements unless they are monitored by a doctor. The supplement can interfere with calcium absorption and bone metabolism.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid synthesized in the liver and kidneys and stored in muscle tissue. It triggers the release of stored body fat to be used as energy for the heart and skeletal muscles. According to research published by Vanderbilt University, carnitine increases energy levels during long term aerobic activity. The amino acid delays the use of glucose stored in the muscles for energy by freeing body fat for that use. The glucose is then available for the most intense levels of energy output during training or competition. Tests showed that carnitine has no ill effects but that supplements may have little influence on energy production once any deficiencies of carnitine are remedied.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that allows muscles to continue producing energy at a high rate even as they fatigue. If you have ever felt the “burn” from exercise, this is the result of lactic acid building up in muscle cells, which naturally occurs as a result of anaerobic respiration. Taking beta-alanine increases the amount of L-carnosine in muscle cells, buffering the lactic acid and allowing you to work longer and harder. Take 1.5 to 3 g of beta-alanine up to twice daily.
Women tend to store more fat in areas such as the thighs and buttocks, and might be more inclined to use supplements that increase fat burning and metabolism. Common ingredients in fat-burning supplements are synephrine, an ingredient that replaces the banned stimulant ephedra in some supplements; gugglesterones, which speeds metabolism by targeting the thyroid; yohimbe, which stimulates blood flow and movement of fat molecules; hoodia, an appetite suppressant; and green tea.
Commonly used to boost endurance and energy for muscle gains, stimulants are widely available over-the-counter. Nearly every supplement mixture available without prescription that claims to burn fat and promote muscle growth in a pill form contains a very common stimulant on the ingredient list–caffeine–and usually in large amounts.
Caffeine is one of the best supplements for muscle growth but it’s not for everyone because it can increase blood pressure, but it also has many benefits for athletes. As a central nervous system stimulant, caffeine increases focus and intensity during workouts. It also naturally revs up your metabolism and reduces perceived muscular pain. With more energy you can obviously train longer and harder. But while caffeine, as a stimulant, may promote increased mental alertness and hence promote physical activity resulting in muscle growth, it is also a diuretic. Diuretics are substances that drain the body of water, and using one for muscle growth poses risks such as fatigue and dehydration.
While these best supplements for muscle growth in female athletes are not a replacements for strict adherence to a nutrition and training program, many bodybuilders and other athletes use supplements to meet fitness goals. The purposes of muscle-building supplements are not that different for women than for men, but women have some different nutritional needs and often have different goals or challenges in bodybuilding. Experts recommend consulting a doctor or nutritionist before starting a new exercise or nutrition program. Many over-the-counter supplements can have negative interactions with other medications, so it is important to read warning labels, understand all ingredients in a supplement and consult with a professional before taking supplements.