How long can you substitute your protein with a supplement? PVL has the answer…
As summer comes to a close, you might be looking one of two ways: Cutting for a lean fall physique, or bulking to be thick and strong during the winter. No matter which one you choose, there are supplements you can take to enhance your progress, and PVL has a comprehensive list for both.
In this article, we’ll go over the best supplements for both muscle gain and fat loss, which foods are high in protein for either goal, and the best supplements to fuel your workouts to finish the summer out strong.
Muscle and Weight Gain Supplements
Muscle growth (hypertrophy) is based on training volume, progressive overload (consistently making progress on your workouts via more reps or weight), and recovery. That last facet, recovery, is where supplementation can come in. The faster you can shuttle ample nutrition to your repairing muscles, the faster and bigger they’ll grow.
Here are the three best supplements for muscle gain:
- Whey Protein Powder: The number one researched supplement, protein powders are easy and effective ways to increase your protein intake. This helps give your body the building blocks to transform your broken-down muscle into something stronger once recovered. (1)
- Creatine: The second-most researched fitness supplement on the planet, creatine does plenty of things for you inside the gym (increased energy for more grueling reps) and outside the gym (increased water content in cells to reduce protein breakdown). (2)
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Amino acids make up protein, and essential amino acids are not made naturally; we need them from our food. Three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are typical ingredients in a BCAA supplement, giving your muscles direct amino acid support during training recovery.
Best Pre-Workout & Supplements for Weight Loss
Caffeine and beta-alanine can help you fuel your workouts and lose weight. Fortunately, caffeine and beta-alanine are found in many quality pre-workouts.
- Caffeine/Green Tea Extract: While both are stimulants, they help the body boost metabolism, leading to faster fat metabolism. Green tea extract, in particular, can come in capsule form and has the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which increases overall fat loss. In addition, caffeine boosts workout performance.
- Beta-alanine: Decreases overall muscle fatigue while enhancing exercise capacity.
- Soluble Fiber: This type of fiber has been shown to reduce ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone. While fiber doesn’t directly mobilize fat cells, it reduces appetite, helping you to maintain a caloric deficit.
- Carnitine: Releases energy from stored body fat for fuel, boosting metabolism.
- CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): Enhances the enzyme activity in muscle cells to improve your metabolism and prevents dietary fat from entering your bloodstream, spurring weight loss.
Although not all fat loss supplements are beneficial, these are some natural items you can ingest to lean yourself down for the fall and winter.
High Protein Food Sources
Natural protein sources are excellent for overall body composition. Protein is an amino acid that provides the building blocks for muscle. So, it directly affects muscle growth if you’re training for progressive overload. In addition, you’ll burn more daily with that lean muscle tissue, leading to less body fat since more muscle means a faster metabolism.
- Meat High in Protein: So, what foods are high in protein? Meat high in protein includes poultry, fish, and beef. Pork is also up there, but be wary of its higher fat content.
- Whey Protein: In addition, protein powders – whey, casein, pea, pumpkin seed, hemp, etc. – are excellent sources, depending on the brand.
We don’t recommend entirely substituting protein food sources for protein supplements to reach your fitness goals since whole foods contain vital nutrients. However, protein supplements are safe to take daily. And sometimes they’re necessary to hit your goal. The idea is to get one gram per pound of body weight daily for overall body composition.
Of course, that can be challenging through meat and other foods alone. So we recommend supplementing with a quality whey protein such as ISOGOLD.
Equipped with these supplements, you should easily hit your fitness and body aesthetic goals to close out the summer!
Deldicque L. (2020). Protein Intake and Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: An Update. Nutrients, 12(7), 2023. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072023
Wu, S. H., Chen, K. L., Hsu, C., Chen, H. C., Chen, J. Y., Yu, S. Y., & Shiu, Y. J. (2022). Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients, 14(6), 1255. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14061255
Article by Terry Ramos