Protein Supplements For Bulking Up

If you’re looking to bulk up and gain weight then you’ll need an exercise and weight lifting plan but at the same time you’ll also want to think about taking protein supplements. There are a number of supplements out there for your needs but if you’re not exactly sure what you need to take it can be a minefield, this is why I thought I’d write this article to help answer some of the questions you might have and to also explain some of the myths out there.

Which supplements do I need?

There are a number of different options when it comes to proteins for gaining weight. You can opt for an all in one supplement or go for specific supplements for different times fo the days as well as at different times in your workout regimen. They all have their advantages and disadvantages so which option you choose is down to you and your routine and your own preferences. For example if you don’t have much time to dedicate to gain weight then you may want to go for an all in one supplement that gives you everything you need in one serving. If on the other hand you prefer to take only the supplements you need, when you need them, then you’ll be best served going for a variety of different supplements types that can be taken pre, post and even intra workout as well as in the morning and before bed.

The most popular supplement types are:

  • All in one – As you would expect all in one supplements give you everything your body needs in one convenient serving. These supplements can usually be taken at any time of day and will contain enough of your macronutrients to help keep you going through until the end of the day. They will often contain all of the essential (and semi-essential) animo-acids as well as most of the non-essential ones too. They certainly have their benefits, but their all in one nature means that your body gets everything in one go rather than as and when it needs it.
  • Pre workout – Often containing no protein at all pre-workout supplements are designed to help your workout to be more productive. They often contain things such as L-Carnitine and L-Aginine, both of which are amino acids that help to increase your resistance to fatigue while also boosting your performance. Pre-workout supplements also tend to contain caffeine which will increase your stamina.
  • Post workout – Post workout supplements, sometimes referred to as recovery supplements, usually contain a good blend of vitamins and minerals. Ingredients such as magnesium and vitamin D to help improve muscle functionality, reduce tiredness and increase the speed your muscle recover.
  • Intra workout – Intra workout supplements are relatively new but are immensely popular. Yes of course you could just drink water when working out but the advantage that intra workout supplements have over water is is that they have been developed especially for consumption during a workout and as such contain a very health array of ingredients. Ingredients such as betaine (which will prevent inflammation, increase strength and performance and also help you to lose weight and build muscle) and L-Citrulline (turned into L-Arginine by your body it will help to reduce tiredness while also increasing your strength).
  • Morning – Some people like to have a protein shake for breakfast to set them up for the day. There’s nothing wrong with this at all and there are a wide range of recipes out there giving you endless choices (such as our coffee, coconut and banana smoothie recipe). Breakfast or morning proteins are often high in carbohydrates too as they will give you energy throughout the day. Some morning protein supplements will even come in the form of a porridge mix, this is especially good because of the high protein and carbohydrate (energy) levels they offer.
  • Slow release proteins – While proteins such as whey and soy are quickly digested they’re not idea for taking before you go to bed or if you’re after a protein for endurance. If you’re looking for a slow release protein then something like casein or pea protein will be idea. Both are digested slowly so, if taken before bed, will help your muscles to repair while you sleep. Slow release proteins are very popular amongst triathletes and endurance runners because of their ability to provide your muscles with a continuous supply of protein for up to 12 hours.

Can I bulk up with just proteins?

This is a popular misconception that people have, your body needs protein to develop muscle but it can’t do it with protein alone. If all you’re doing is taking supplements then instead of building muscle your body will turn those proteins into fat tissue rather than muscle. This is very easy to avoid though and is done by combining protein supplements with an appropriate exercise routine.

What workout regimen should I follow?

When it comes to a workout plan the most important thing to remember is that you can’t do everything at once and changes don’t happen overnight. Waking up one morning deciding you want a build like Arnold Schwarzenegger is all very well and good but then going to the gym and lifting the heaviest weights you can manage isn’t going to help at all. In fact rather than helping you to build the muscle it’ll make you weak and result in you actually losing muscle tone. It’s not just about lifting weights either, you also need to combine lifting with other exercises such as core exercises. When combined these will help you to burn fat, produce muscle and increase tone, for the perfect workout regimen you should read this.

Should I workout every day?

The idea that the harder you work the quicker you’ll see the results doesn’t apply when it comes to gaining weight and building muscle. You should always give your muscles time to repair and heal after a workout. If you don’t then give them time to repair then over time you’ll lose muscle tone as your body isn’t able to heal the tears that have developed. That doesn’t mean you should rest for a day or two after you’ve lifted weights it just means that you should rest those muscles. For example if your doing leg work one day consider doing bench presses or arm curls the next day, then maybe core exercises or a cardiovascular workout before starting to work on the same muscle group you did on the first day. Of course it’s tempting to rush headline into this thinking you can get the results quicker that way but this just isn’t true. You may think its working at first but after a short period you’ll realise that it’s not and at this point most people will give up. If you start out properly and slowly you’ll actually gain the weight much quicker, and are more likely to keep it!

Why is protein important in gaining weight?

We’ve all heard it before ‘proteins are the building blocks of life’ but what does that actually mean in terms of gaining weight? It’s not an understatement to say that without proteins our bodies can’t survive but what might surprise you is that it’s not so much the proteins themselves that are as important, it’s more the amino acids that are important. The most vital constituent of proteins, these amino acids that are used by your body to develop all kinds of tissue and cells such as muscle. There are twenty amino acids that the human body needs, they’re broken into two groups essential and non-essential. The name essential refers, not to their importance, but to your body’s ability to produce them itself. The human body isn’t able to produce essential amino acids itself so needs to get those from food and supplements. So as you can see without protein you’re not going to be able to bulk up at all. You can read more about the importance of protein here.

Do I really need to take proteins supplements to?

Of course you need protein but can you get all of the protein you need from foods alone? In theory yes you can but in reality it’s not quite as easy as that. If you’re trying to bulk up you’ll find it difficult to eat all of the protein you need. There is some evidence that eating more but smaller meals is a good idea but when it comes to getting enough protein from you diet this won’t help and it’s not always possible to eat five or six bigger meals a day. This is were protein supplements come into their own.

Conclusion

In an ideal world we’d all be able to bulk up without the need for protein supplements but sadly this isn’t an ideal world so at some point or another we’re all going to need the help of supplements. All in one supplements have their advantages and although they can be good from time we’d personally recommend taking individual supplements at different times.That way you can tailor them better to your requirements. If you found this article helpful you may be interested in our ‘protein supplements for…’ series here.