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The Best Things to Take to Gain Muscle

author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
The Best Things to Take to Gain Muscle
Building muscle can be aided by nutritional supplements. Photo Credit: Samo Trebizan/iStock/Getty Images

Muscle gain is one of the primary goals of weightlifting. Building muscle mass is a process requiring an investment in several different areas, including strength training, proper rest and nutrition. A normal, balanced diet is enough to maintain a healthy body build, but if you want to add muscle mass at a rapid rate, you'll want to use nutritional supplements to get the best results. But it is important to know what you are consuming before investing in a supplement.

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Creatine is one of the most popular types of muscle-building supplement. It is a high concentration of a compound that is found naturally in your body and poses no health risks. Creatine works by increasing your body's available ATP--adenosine triphosphate--in order to increase the workload you can perform in the weight room. This makes it easier for you to produce new muscle tissue quicker. However, creatine is most effective when you take it consistently for four weeks and then abstain from it for one to four weeks.

Whey Protein

Protein shakes are a very popular method of gaining muscle mass, and whey is a frequently-used type of protein that you can mix into shakes or process in various ways. Whey protein, like other forms of protein, is built with amino acids. These amino acids are strung together in various ways to form all types of protein and are essential to building muscle. The best amount to take is 1 to 2 grams daily for every pound you weigh. You can purchase whey protein in powder form or consume it in a protein bar or other supplement.


As mentioned before, amino acids are essential to building new muscle matter. L-Glutamine is the most common amino acid used to form human muscle tissue. It also helps prevent muscle wasting--the process of your muscle tissue breaking down--and accelerates recovery time. According to, you can take L-Glutamine safely year-round without any potential risks. However, you should not take L-Glutamine in conjunction with creatine. These two supplements compete for the same receptors in your body in order to be absorbed and thereby neutralize one another. Unlike other muscle supplements, glutamine should be taken prior to the start of a workout.

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