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Supplement-Muscle-Man

Whether training to gain muscle, lose weight, or just to be better conditioned, LEGAL supplements can help you get more out of your training. Taking sports supplements alone won't help you, though, you've still got to put in the work. You exercise, and the supplements you take "supplement" your workout efforts to increase the benefits when used properly. They can help give you more energy (so you can train harder), help your muscles recover and grow, and increase your fat-burning ability, just to name a few.

There are quite a few weight lifting supplements, but I'm going to speak mostly about those I've used and have the most knowledge of. These are protein supplements and creatine, which will be the majority of the content here since I've personally seen the results of using these weight lifting supplements.

Protein Supplements

Protein supplements are a very versatile product, of which there is a lot of competition in the market, so prices are somewhat reasonable. Protein powders can be used as a weight lifting supplement to build muscle, as a breakfast shake or between meals snack, or even to help vegatarians get the necessary nutrients lacking from their normal diets.

Protein is very important in the muscle recovery process, which helps you gain muscle, grow stronger, and even leaner (as muscle helps boost your metabolism). Your muscles need protein shortly after your workout, and then as they recover over the next couple of days. This is where protein supplements can really help. You can have a protein shake right after your workout, and then one or two throughout the next day to continually get protein to your recovering muscles.

I actually used protein as a weight lifting supplement to go from a 6', 145 pound "bobble-head" to gain 20 lbs of muscle in a few months when I was younger, and then used protein supplements (and some hard work) again to gain an additional 20 lbs of muscle on top of the initial 20 lbs I had gained earlier. I should also note that the first 20 lbs came from a combination protein supplement with Creatine included. Of course, it wasn't just the weight lifting supplements, I was lifting weights hard at least 3 days a week to gain that muscle.

Not only can protein be a great weight lifting supplement, though, it can also be a great quick breakfast. I actually have a protein shake every morning for breakfast because I'm running late and don't have time to make a more traditional breakfast. You don't want to skip breakfast, though, as it kick-starts your metabolism and helps you get vital nutrients for muscle recovery if you worked out the previous day.

Protein powders can also be used in smoothies, usually without changing the flavor all that much. It's not really a way to mask the taste of protein, as most is actually pretty good now, it actually just adds to the other benefits of smoothies. Add some protein to any of the smoothie recipes for a little extra boost from them.

My favorite protein supplement is Muscle Milk, but I have, and still do, use other forms of protein as well. I can't remember what kind it was, because it was some time ago, but I did use a protein mix that also had some creatine mix in it, which was one of the best muscle building supplements I've used. Muscle Milk is the other, which there's more about next...

GNC Live Well

Muscle Milk
Muscle Milk is more than protein, it's got all kinds of other nutrients that puts on top of my list for one of the best weight lifting supplements you can get. Scientists developed this supplement and used human mothers' milk as one of the foundations since mother's milk promotes growth. Muscle Milk has a blend of multiple-source proteins, including casein and whey protein, which provide both fast realease and slow release proteins for sustained protein intake to your muscles (to continually help your muscles recover).

Muscle Milk also has non-protein nutrients that help fuel your muscles and provide more energy for your workout or day. All variations have a blend of 20 vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates for energy (low-sugar carbs), and functional fats that they trademarked as LeanLipids. The LeanLipids are fats that are not stored, but used as fuel to energize your muscles during your training.

Finally, Muscle Milk has a variety of great tasting products for whatever your training goals are. All of their sports nutrition supplements promote lean muscle mass, and all have a large variety of flavors (over 20 - from the classics like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry to brownie batter and mocha latte). There's the original Muscle Milk for people looking to build lean muscle mass and supplement their training efforts. For those watching calorie intake or managing weight, Muscle Milk Light has 35% fewer calories than the original. For those looking for bigger muscle gains, Monter Milk and Monster Mass provide more calories and protein to help build more muscle. All come in powder form, and some come in pre-mixed servings for added convenience.

Where to Get Protein Supplements
There's no one place that is consistantly better than the others to get any weight lifting supplements, you just have to pay attention to who's got the best deal at the time. I've gotten Muscle Milk at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Grocery Stores, and Vitamin World. I just know what I have paid and look for the deals. Recently it seems that Vitamin World has had the best deals, but keep your eyes open!

Creatine

Quick Muscle Gains from Creatine Supplements
Creatine is one of the faster muscle building supplements. When I gained weight the first time, my protein actually was protein/creatine mix. I also saw a friend gain quite a bit of muscle (with some hard lifting, of course) in high school. If you're looking for quicker gains, and are willing to spend a little extra, I definitely recommend creatine supplements.

Potential Downside Awareness
This is just an "FYI" that I'm sharing, as I still definitely recommend creatine as a weight lifting supplement. The downside, especially for younger athletes, is that creatine can cause additional breakouts because of the hormone changes in your body. Creatine is also a relatively newer sports supplement, so there is still debate over potential downsides. Don't get me wrong, I believe it to be safe, because I've used it (and just continued to again), and it's been around for many years, but do some research and see how you feel about it.

Where to Get Creatine Supplements
Just like protein supplements, you can get creatine supplements a number of places and need to shop around. I haven't seen it in the grocery stores, but you can shop around at sports nutrition stores like GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, and Vitamin World (again most recently having the best deals).

Vitamins

Vitamins aren't really, but are kind of, a sports supplement, but they can definitely help any athlete or person wanting to be healthier. A multi-vitamin like Centrum or Centrum active can promote healthy living and help provide sustainable energy and recovery nutrients to make your training more effective. Because of this, vitamins actually can somewhat be considered weight lifting supplements. The best part about vitamins is that they are less expensive and have added benefits promoting overall health.

Nitric Oxide

NO2 supplements help you to build muscle not because they help you recover, but because they help give you energy for your workout. I've never NO2 products before, so I don't have as much knowledge. I do constantly see them ranked in the top muscle building supplements, though, so based on research I do also recommend NO2 supplements.

Other Sports Nutrition Supplements

Some other choices to enhance your training are things like the G2 series. The whole concept of the series can help. Before your training, make sure you're taking in some carbs so that you have energy for your workout (like the Gatorade G Series Prime). During your workout, make sure to continue hydrating yourself. Drink water throughtout your workout, and make sure it's cold. I don't know why, but I've seen all kinds of research saying that cold water rehydrates you better than room temperature water. Then, after your workout, make sure to replenish your muscles with some protein and carbs. I haven't used it yet, but if you want something a little less like a supplement, the Gatoade Recover could help you as well.
Top Foods for Athletes: Your "Natural" Weight Lifting Supplements

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