Bodybuilders and those looking to increase strength and endurance are constantly looking for supplements and enhancers to help them with their workout. Here is a list of the best types of muscle enhancers on the market that actually work, and what they can do for your body.
Perhaps the most common muscle enhancer on the market today is creatine. Creatine is a type of organic acid, commonly found in tuna, salmon and beef, which supplies energy to skeletal muscles of the body. Although creatine supplements are effective in enhancing muscles and building mass, they are better at giving short spurts of energy in anaerobic workouts rather than aerobic endurance exercise. This muscle enhancer fuels the development of muscle energy by sustaining high intensity and power workouts, giving more energy during muscle contraction, and increases the power and size of the muscles that can be evaluated by looking into a mirror. Individuals who have renal complications should avoid the use of creatine.
One common way to enhance muscle mass is "repair" muscles with protein after a long workout. Casein protein, in this case, is a common supplement used to help speed up muscle repair. Casein is found in milk and is a type of phosphoprotein that digests slowly, keeping the body in an anabolic state. Hence, this protein is not only a great candidate for individuals who wish to enhance their muscles, but also for those who need a nutritional supplement in raw food diets. Casein protein is often used along with whey protein for the purpose of muscle enhancement. However, individuals who are allergic to dairy products should avoid casein proteins.
Whey protein is commonly used along with casein protein for post-workout muscle repair, as it is also an essential amino acid found in milk. Some research suggests that whey protein shakes may be a more effective muscle enhancer than casein protein shakes if choosing only one of the two, since whey can be digested and absorbed faster than casein. In fact, individuals with weaker stomachs may want to try whey protein over other types of protein for muscle enhancement because it is easier to digest and its absorbable nature. It has been shown through studies that individuals who have diets high in leucine (an amino acid found in whey protein) build leaner muscle tissue and less body fat than individuals who have a low leucine diet. Similar to casein protein, individuals who are allergic to dairy products should avoid whey protein and seek alternative sources of protein.
As its name indicates, nitric oxide is a gaseous chemical compound, and not an actual protein in itself. It is actually a signaling molecule responsible for the expansion of blood vessels, as well as cellular protection. When taken with the intention of muscle enhancement, nitric oxide expands the vessels so the muscles are engorged with blood. While it gives the satisfying feel and appearance of larger muscles, it does not actually increase strength or endurance. Hence, for the purpose of a more well-rounded method of muscle enhancement, it will be more effective if nitric oxide is paired with another muscle-building protein, such as creatine supplements.
It is very important to note that meal replacements for muscle enhancement and body building are intended as a supplement to proper meals rather than a complete substitution, unless directed by a physician. Nutritionally-balanced meals are still necessary to ensure adequate intake of vitamins, as these meal replacement supplements are meant to be ingested between meals, like a snack or a mini-meal. Usually in powder form (which can be mixed with liquids, like water or milk, to make shakes) or snack bar form, they are most high in protein, low in fat and sugar, moderate in carbohydrates, and can be rich in certain vitamins and minerals. The sources of protein are usually whey, casein or egg sources instead of meat. Meal replacements are a cost-effective and convenient way for individuals constantly on the go who also wish to enhance their muscles.
During the process of muscle building, it is important to maintain a nutritionally-balanced diet, as the body needs a wide array of vitamins and minerals to ensure optimum function. Be sure to consult your physician before implementing any customized meal plans. Diets that are generally high in protein and low in fat can be effective in enhancing muscles, as well as increasing strength and mass. Some foods that are high in protein include:
- Chicken breast: Chicken breast is probably one of the most optimum choices of meat proteins for muscle enhancement. Chicken breast has lower fat and calorie content than chicken thigh or leg meat. For an even healthier, low fat option, remove the skin before eating. Turkey is also a good alternative for variation.
- Lean cuts of red meat: Also an excellent choice of protein, lean cuts of red meat adds a dose of energy-boosting iron and b vitamins to fuel a more intensive workout.
- Beans and legumes: A great vegetarian or vegan protein choice, beans and legumes can also aid in the process of muscle enhancement.
- Oily fish: Cold-water fish, such as tuna, sardines and salmon provide essential omega-3 fatty acids that help with muscle enhancement.
- Eggs: Another protein powerhouse, eggs are easier to prepare than meat proteins. To reduce cholesterol, eat only the egg whites and discard the yolk.
- Milk: Studies have shown that individuals who drink a glass of milk post-exercise burned more fat than those who did not, hence helping with muscle definition. Whey protein and casein protein are also derived from milk.
Another important component of an effective muscle enhancing diet is complex carbohydrates, as these foods can provide endurance and steady energy for longer workouts. Last but not least, remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and your metabolism running smoothly.