Besides protein and BCAA’s, another supplement that’s widely considered essential for anybody trying to build muscle, is Creatine Monohydrate. In a nutshell, creatine helps deliver water to your muscle cells after a workout when your muscles are torn and in a rebuilding process. No, you don’t get “false muscles” filled with useless water; the water just helps them rebuild and helps “pull water into your muscle cells” (Men’s Health, see Creatine Monohydrate link above) which help them grow. They’ll be rock hard muscles just like you want them to be!
See the link in the previous paragraph for a great, encouraging article on Creatine Monohydrate. Page one, is especially inspiring.
But if you’re under 18, do not take creatine (according to that article) simply because it hasn’t been tested on teens. You’re at your prime growing age anyway. You don’t need it. You can start taking it at 18 or after your early 20’s when you stop growing.
I bought a giant tub of punch-flavored creatine from GNC that never seemed to go down, so I mix that with my BCAA’s. However, I’m now done with that creatine, and am using Instantized BCAA & Creatine from Optimum Nutrition. (see side menu for pic & link) It contains both supplements in a neat and easy powder. See my blog entry for 10-13-10 for a note about this.
Since you’re going to be sending water to your muscles with creatine, you’ll need to drink lots of water throughout the day. 8 glasses. That’s eight 8-ounce glasses for a total of 64 ounces of water per day. That’s not as much as it seems, but can be more than you’re used to. I’ve found the solution to my never ending trips to the bathroom: Don’t drink it too fast. You’ll be drinking 8 glasses per day, so let’s divide that by 8 hours. We’re down to 1 glass (8 ounces) per hour, or 4 ounces in 30 minutes, or only 2 ounces in 15 minutes. Try not to drink faster than that to avoid peeing all day.
Some of that water can be in the form of coffee since a recent study concluded that drinking coffee hydrates the same as drinking water, contrary to previous beliefs about caffeine drinks leading to dehydration. An even better alternative is green tea. It burns fat and raises your metabolism. In fact, I take a high-potency green tea extract supplement daily, and drink green tea as well. You can find many kinds of green tea supplement pills in vitamin shops.
It is also widely agreed upon that consuming simple carbohydrates (sugars) after a workout helps transport protein and amino acids to your muscle cells. Drinking a cup (8 oz) of grape juice will do just that. Why grape juice? It’s cheap, has the simple carbs, and vitamin C which your muscles also benefit from.
Multi-vitamin. Every day.
Fish Oil. Every day.
Green Tea. Either pills or the drink for fat burning.
Protein Shakes. 40g as in-between meal replacement shakes throughout the day and always after a workout.
BCAA’s. Around 5g before and after a workout, plus another 5g before bedtime.
Creatine. 5g before and after a workout, and drink first thing in the morning on non workout days.
Water. 64 ounces a day. (in know it’s not a supplement)
Grape Juice. One cup (8 oz) after a workout or other source of simple carbs.
Now, don’t freak out. It’s not as much as it seems. I take three pills with breakfast; vitamin, fish oil, and green tea. Then, the other supplements, protein, creatine and bcaa’s, are taken around my workout. My multi-vitamins and green tea pills are 3-a-day, so I simply spread them out throughout the day. And remember, if you buy that Instantized powder, you’ll take two of the supplements—creatine and bcaa’s—at the same time with one scoop, one container. I keep my protein mix in my locker at the gym and drink the protein shake right after I’m done with the workout before I shower, then as I walk out of the gym, I fill up with around 6 ounces of water and mix my creatine/bcaa’s in the car so I can drink it while I drive to get something to eat. You can also do it the other way around, having the protein shake later. The key is convenience! The easier it is with less fuss, the more likely it’ll work for you.