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Best Supplements for Bulking

Bulking season is here again! If you're prepping for your next competition, these supplements will help you build serious mass.

BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are the building blocks of protein, which your body needs to build lean, strong muscle--a must for bulking. Studies show that BCAAs help grow and maintain muscles both during and after exercise, so you'll make gains even after you leave the gym.

Plus, if your muscles are too sore after working out, BCAAs may be able to help: they've been shown to reduce blood levels of lactic acid, a substance that causes muscle burn and fatigue.

The math is simple: No lactic acid buildup = more frequent workouts = bigger gains, faster.

Like whey protein, casein is derived from milk and contains amino acids to help you build serious muscle. Casein is also known as milk protein, and for a good reason: about 80% of protein in milk comes from casein. (x)

So why take casein instead of whey? It depends on your fitness goals. Casein takes longer than whey for the body to absorb, allowing amino acids to build muscle tissue for several hours--which could mean greater muscle growth in a shorter period of time.

A substance found naturally in muscle cells, creatine is a bodybuilder's secret weapon and a key tool in your bulking arsenal. It's similar to amino acids (the amino acids glycine and arginine actually produce creatine), and improves your athletic endurance by producing ATP-- a substance that gives you the explosive energy you need for high-intensity workouts.

Studies have shown that creatine lowers levels of myostatin, a protein that can inhibit muscle growth, which means taking creatine could also help you build muscle mass and boost strength.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. Studies show that it may boost energy levels over long periods of time so you don't burn out while bulking. It may also improve your tolerance to lactic acid buildup in your muscles--meaning reduced muscle burn, more reps, and greater gains.

Protein isn't the only ingredient you need in your bulking toolkit; your body also needs carbs to build muscle quickly. Carbs stimulate the release of insulin, which transports nutrients to muscle tissue so it can repair itself and grow after strength training.

Maltodextrin is a simple carb that your body breaks down quickly and easily, fueling your muscles for an instant boost.

Whey protein digests quickly and easily, and its complete amino acid profile makes it the most effective protein for building and maintaining new muscle. It works best when consumed within 30 minutes of completing your workout, although studies have shown that it may be just as effective when taken as a preworkout.


Bulking supplements that work for others may not be the best for you or your training goals. Talk to your trainer and experiment with different supplements that cater to your body's needs. Once you find the formula that's right for you, you'll be in peak shape for shredding season.


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