Many people are looking to make the most of their workouts through their supplementation. Whey protein and creatine supplements are two of the most popular products that gymgoers utilize to support their hard work with resistance training. Supplementation can help to improve power output in the gym, and as a result, you may gain strength more quickly and be able to build more muscle than you might otherwise. Of course, it’s more nuanced than that. There are many factors that go into building muscle mass, but the addition of supplements to your hard work (and proper nutrition) can be extremely beneficial.
After spending time sifting through a multitude of supplements available, researching how they may benefit those who are looking to grow muscle, and testing them for ourselves, we gathered our favorites. Whether your goal is optimizing your hard work in the gym, having better blood-flow to promote better lifts, or intensifying your mental toughness, these supplements are all geared toward helping you achieve the most muscle growth. Follow along to decipher which of these supplements for muscle growth may be missing from your daily regimen.
Best Supplements for Muscle Growth
Best Supplements for Muscle Growth Video Review
Tag along with Nick English as he breaks down our top picks for the best muscle-building supplements on the market in 2023.
Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Growth
Pre-workout may be your secret weapon for monopolizing your gains before you even touch a barbell. It can help with your muscle growth goals if it’s stacked with the right ingredients. This pick contains huge doses of some potentially muscle-building ingredients, like beta-alanine and citrulline.
Huge Supplements Wrecked
Huge Supplements Wrecked Pre-Workout is a highly dosed pre with 17 active ingredients. One of those important ingredients is the 3,500mg of beta-alanine, which may be effective as a muscle-building aid. Beta-alanine has been suggested in studies to increase carnosine in muscles, and consequently, delay muscle fatigue and improve physical performance in the gym. (1) Another well-known ingredient here is the whopping 8,000mg of citrulline, which may have positive effects in reducing post-workout soreness, allowing you to recover and get back to the gym more quickly. (2) Delaying muscle fatigue and reducing soreness may allow for more intense workouts that last longer and may require fewer days off due to DOMS.
Huge Supplements Wrecked
This product packs 17 ingredients at high doses, including 8,000mg of citrulline, 3,500mg of beta alanine, 250mg of caffeine, and 3,000mg of betaine anhydrous. Plus, you’ll find 1,500mg of tyrosine and 197mg of Himalayan pink sea salt, as well.
This pick comes in four unique flavors — Peach Ring, Rainbow Burst, Bomb Popsicle, and Raspberry Mojito — and contains some less common pre-workout ingredients as well, like turmeric and tart cherry extract, which may help with inflammation. For this robust and highly dosed ingredient list, you’re going to be paying close to $2.50 per serving, which is expensive for a pre-workout. Another thing worth noting is that if you’re in intense prep mode or tracking your food intake closely, this may not be the pre- for you, as it doesn’t include any of its macronutrient or sugar information on the tub (beyond listing sucralose).
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Wrecked
- Anyone looking for a pre-workout with ingredients that may help muscle growth — like citrulline and beta-alanine — which both show up in high doses here.
- Athletes who want “bonus” ingredients like turmeric and tart cherry extract to fight inflammation will like to see both present in this formula.
- Folks who like unique flavor options for their pre-workout as this comes in Peach Rings, Rainbow Burst, Bomb Popsicle, and Raspberry Mojito flavors.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Wrecked
- Those actively avoiding sucralose or who need a disclosed amount of added sugars will want to skip this pre.
- Anyone who is on a budget as this pre-workout is about $2.50 per serving, which is higher than average for a pre-workout.
- Folks who want a pre-workout with creatine added in will have to look at a different supp.
Huge Supplements Wrecked is a stacked and highly dosed pre-workout formula that includes ingredients to help you potentially max out your gains and grow your muscles. It also contains ingredients like turmeric, which may be helpful in fighting inflammation to help you get back into the gym quicker.
[Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]
Best Protein Powder For Muscle Growth
A lot of protein powder on the market contains fillers, artificial sweeteners, and ingredients that don’t do much to help you maximize your muscle growth. Swolverine created a whey isolate protein that prioritizes protein, and leaves the artificial junk out, allowing the best opportunity to help with your gains.
Swolverine Whey Isolate Protein
Swolverine’s whey isolate protein powder packs 26 grams of protein per serving making it one of the higher protein content powders on the market per serving. Being a whey isolate also means it’s lower in carbohydrates and fats than a whey concentrate. This formula includes the digestive enzymes protease and papain, which can enhance physiological and immunological functions (3). For example, they may help with absorption, potentially allowing your protein to work harder for you, and help you achieve better muscle growth.
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
This whey protein formula delivers 26 grams of protein with just 0.5 grams of fat, and one gram of carbs. You’ll also find 10mg of digestive enzymes, and a decent number of micronutrients.
Swolverine’s whey isolate comes in four delicious flavors — Vanilla, Chocolate, Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter, and Mint Chocolate Chip. All four flavors are great on their own, or the perfect addition to your daily protein shake. Though this product is a little pricey at $2.09 per serving, we think this is a solid protein-packed option for muscle growth optimization.
Who Should Buy Swolverine Whey Isolate Protein
- Athletes and gymgoers who prioritize the absorption of their whey isolate will be excited to see the addition of the digestive enzymes protease and papain.
- People who want a generous dose of protein to help with muscle growth will love the 26g in this formula.
- Anyone who needs to keep protein high and carbs low will appreciate the one gram of carbs and half gram of fat in this formula.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Whey Isolate
- Anyone who is in a bulking phase may want a protein powder with higher macronutrients across the board — this is low in carbs and fats.
- Swolverine only offers four flavors of whey isolate, so if you’re looking for a wide variety of flavors you may want to look elsewhere.
- If you’re on a budget, you’ll find cheaper options on the market — especially if you aren’t attached to an isolate formula.
Not all protein supplements are made equal, and this one stands above the rest due to its high protein content, the addition of digestive enzymes, and its four delicious flavors.
[Related: Could Baking Soda Be The Best Workout Supplement You’ve Never Tried?]
Best Creatine for Muscle Growth
Creatine can come in many forms, but the one with the most scientific backing behind it is the creatine monohydrate form with decades of research showing that it can be effective for helping muscle growth and strength increases (4). Many companies try their hand at making a creatine monohydrate supplement, but this one is our favorite (especially with muscle growth in mind).
Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate
Huge Supplements creatine monohydrate comes in a package of 150 tablets with five tablets per serving, totaling the optimal dose of 5g of creatine monohydrate per serving. Creatine has been shown to have positive effects for muscle strength and performance, making it a helpful supplement for reaching muscle growth goals (4).
Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate in a convenient capsule form. For the best results, you only need to take five capsules in the morning or evening each day — consistency is key.
One great thing about the tablet form of creatine is that you can vary the dose easily if you prefer to take a lesser amount, such as 3g — simply take three tablets instead of five. Or if you want to do a creatine loading phase, you can take extra tablets, and know exactly how much you are getting. This supplement is about as pure as a creatine tablet can get holding just the creatine monohydrate as the active ingredient — sometimes (in our opinion) simple is better when it comes to muscle growth.
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate
- Those who prefer to take their supplements in pill form, and dislike the gritty feel of powdered creatine monohydrate.
- People who want to easily control their creatine intake for optimal muscle growth will like the ability to dose these tablets without using a scale.
- Anyone looking for muscle growth will appreciate this pure form of creatine, which may help with performance and growth.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate
- Anyone looking for a powdered form of creatine that they can mix into other products, like a greens smoothie.
- Those who get some gastric distress from creatine monohydrate may want to look into the other forms of creatine, such as Kre-Alkalyn.
These creatine monohydrate tablets from Huge Supplements only contain the necessary ingredients without any fluff or extras. With decades of research backing up creatine monohydrate and the convenience of tablets, this product from Huge is our pick for best creatine monohydrate for muscle growth.
Best Post-Workout for Muscle Growth
Post-workout fuel is an important part of the recovery process, and might be the ingredient that allows you to recover faster and get back into the gym for more intense lifts. Both creatine and glutamine are included in this formula to potentially assist in recovery.
Kaged Re-Kaged Post Workout Formula
This formula is the optimal post-workout supp for muscle growth due to its inclusion of creatine and glutamine, which may help you replenish after your toughest workouts. Creatine is a well-known and commonly utilized supplement that can aid in recovery and muscle growth, and when paired with resistance training, it has shown benefits for increased strength, increased fat-free body mass, and improved training adaptations. (5) This formula contains 1,500mg of patented creatine HCl, and also contains 3,000mg of glutamine, which may result in faster recovery and decreased muscle soreness when taken after a workout. (6)
Kaged Re-Kaged Post-Workout Formula
Kaged Re-Kaged Post-Workout Formula contains a heavy hitting dose of 28 grams of protein per serving to assist you in recovery and potential muscle growth. It also contains some post-workout staples like glutamine and creatine.
Kaged Re-Kaged comes in Orange Kream, Iced Lemon Cake, and Strawberry Lemon flavors. It only contains two grams of carbs, one gram of fat, one gram of sugar, and 28 grams of protein per each one-scoop serving. At around $2.25 per serving, it’s a little on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for some effective post-workout muscle-building ingredients as well as a high dose of protein, this is a solid option for you.
Who Should Buy Kaged Re-Kaged Post Workout Formula
- Athletes who want muscle-building ingredients like creatine and glutamine will love this post-workout formulation.
- Folks who want a healthy dose of protein will appreciate the 28g per serving present here.
- If you’re looking to avoid sugary post-workout supplements, you’ll like that this formula only contains one gram of sugar.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Re-Kaged Post Workout Formula
- Anyone who doesn’t enjoy fruity flavors for their post-workout supp as this only comes in Orange Kream, Iced Lemon Cake, and Strawberry Lemon flavors.
- Folks who are bulking may want a post-workout supplement with higher fats and carbs to assist in their macronutrient intake.
- Those looking for a budget-friendly post-workout will want to look elsewhere as this costs around $2.25 per serving.
This post-workout contains potentially beneficial ingredients, like glutamine and creatine, that can help you build and maintain muscle mass. It comes in three fruity flavor options and includes a whopping 28 grams of protein per serving, which may also help build muscle.
Best Beta-Alanine for Muscle Growth
Beta-Alanine may be best known for leaving your body feeling tingly once you take it, but the potential effects of beta-alanine on muscle growth and better cognition are the real reason to add this to your supplement stack.
Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine is a common ingredient in many pre-workouts and has been found to have numerous benefits for training including better mental cognition and mental resilience during tough workouts (7). Better mental toughness can allow the body to push past the mental limits we’ve set to push harder and work out with greater intensity, which may help optimize muscle growth. Another study found that beta-alanine can increase training performance, and may lead to greater overload and adaptations in strength (8).
Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine
When you need pure beta-alanine and nothing else, Swolverine Carnosyn Beta-Alanine provides five solid grams per serving. Plus, it offers up 100 servings per container.
Swolverine contains 5,000 mg of CarnoSyn beta-alanine and nothing else. CanoSyn is a patented ingredient, and is the only beta-alanine that has status with the FDA as a New Dietary Ingredient. This means that the ingredient was not marketed as a dietary supplement in the United States before October 15, 1994. At $0.91 cents per serving and coming in an unflavored blend, Swolverine’s CarnoSyn beta-alanine is easy to add to any pre-workout beverage or intra-workout beverage to help you find that extra push in your effort. Plus, we think a simple and straightforward beta-alanine supp may be the best way to use the ingredient to hone in on your gains.
Who Should Buy Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Athletes who are looking to increase their mental resilience and optimize workouts for greater overload and adaptations, which can lead to better muscle growth, will appreciate that beta-alanine offers these potential benefits.
- Folks who want a straightforward supplement when they’re focusing on the ingredients that may help with muscle growth will like that this product is just 5,000 mg of beta-alanine.
- Anyone who likes unflavored options to add to their pre- or intra-workout drink will appreciate that this comes as an unflavored powder.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Anyone who wants a stacked beta-alanine supplement will have to look elsewhere — this supplement is strictly beta-alanine.
- Those who prefer flavored powders will want a different formula because this only comes in an unflavored option.
- Those who prefer to take their beta-alanine in pill form can find beta-alanine pills on the market for their convenience.
Swolverine has created a straightforward and effective beta-alanine product that boasts status with FDA approval. We think this is a simple, yet top-tier choice for anyone who may want to improve their mental resilience and push their workouts further for a better change at building muscle.
Best Betaine Supplement for Muscle Growth
Huge Supplements intra and post-workout supplement is stacked with important ingredients to potentially help your recovery for your most-advantageous muscle growth. The 3,000 mg of betaine and 5,000 mg of creatine here stick out as the stars.
Huge Supplements Formula XII
Huge Supplements Formula XII has several stand-out ingredients including creatine, and beta-alanine, but the star of the show is the 3,000 mg of betaine included in the formula list. Betaine has been shown to have potentially positive effects on endurance training, possibly allowing the user to perform higher repetitions in the gym (9). Better endurance can potentially lead to more muscle. This formula also includes 5,000 mg of creatine, which is a huge addition to this line-up due to creatine’s potential to promote muscle growth (4).
Huge Supplements XII Intra & Post Workout
This supp contains 10,000mg of Cluster Dextrin, 5,000mg of Organic ModCarb, 3,200mg of Beta-Alanine, 3,000mg of Betaine Anhydrous, 150mg of Potassium Citrate, and 5mg of Bioperine, which can help you absorb all these nutrients. It comes in Candy Apple and Tropical Blast.
Huge Supplements also added Bioperine to their formula, which may help with better absorption of supplements in the body. Formula XII comes in two delicious flavors to choose from — Candy Apple and Tropical Blast. Each serving costs $2.16, which may be a higher price point compared to others on the market. We believe the line-up of ingredients in this supplement is well worth the price tag though if you can swing it.
Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Formula XII
- Those who want a supplement that has a hefty list of ingredients to help optimize muscle growth and endurance will appreciate the 12 ingredients here, which include creatine and betaine (both of which can be key for gains).
- People who like to drink their supplements either during or after their workout will appreciate that this formula is versatile, and can be taken intra or post-workout for best results.
- Those who care about absorption will be happy to see the addition of Bioperine in this ingredient list.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Formula XII
- Athletes who prefer a large variety of flavors to choose from — although both delicious, Candy Apple and Tropical Blast are the only two options currently available.
- Anyone who is on a budget can find a price tag under $2.00 for an intra or post-workout supplement.
- Those who like to take their betaine in a pre-workout will have to look elsewhere on the market — this is designed for intra and post-workout recovery.
Huge Supplements made an ingredient list of 12 important supplements to take during or after your workout to optimize all of your hard work — the 3,000 mg of betaine and the 5,000 mg of creatine here are what makes it a top choice.
[Related: The 3 Most Common Types Of Training Periodization (And When To Use Them)]
Best BCAAs for Muscle Growth
BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, are three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs may help you recover from DOMS and get you back to training sooner, and this solid dose of 4,500mg of BCAAs combined with Onnit’s Power Blend™ may be just what you need to get your muscles growing. (10)
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
This formula has three potent blends with one focusing on BCAAs in particular, though the entire formula is made for performance and recovery. The BCAA blend contains a 4,500mg blend of BCAAs, glutamine, and beta-alanine, which may help with performance in the gym, as well as recovery and endurance during longer training sessions. (10)(11) The support blend headliner is resveratrol, which may also help you push through difficult sets and potentially act as an antioxidant.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
Onnit contains a Power Blend with longjack, which can help fuel muscle contractions, a Performance Blend with BCAAs, glutamine and beta-alanine, which can help boost performance during exercise, and a Support Blend with resveratrol that can help you push through during tough training.
The power blend features d-aspartic acid, longjack extract, and stinging nettle — all of which may potentially increase testosterone levels to aid in muscle growth. The one downside is that this product only comes in two flavors — Strawberry Lemonade and Pink Grapefruit — so if you don’t like either of those flavors, you may be out of luck. The price is quite reasonable at about $59.99 for a 30-serving container ($2.00 per serving). Onnit has their products third-party tested for purity and potency, so you can rest assured that what’s on the label is what you are actually ingesting.
Who Should Buy Onnit Total Strength + Performance
- Folks who want a more well-rounded product that isn’t only BCAAs will appreciate the different blends here.
- Anyone who competes in a drug-tested sport or federation will appreciate that this is third party tested.
- Those who are looking for a supplement that supports recovery as well as endurance. The Performance Blend™ has you covered here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit Total Strength + Performance
- Anyone who is looking for an unflavored BCAA supplement, a BCAA with a lot of flavor choices, or a pill formulation.
- Folks who simply want BCAAs alone without any other ingredients will want to look at other options.
- People who don’t like the taste of stevia may find this formula unpleasant since it’s sweetened with stevia extract.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance has a solid dose of BCAAs, glutamine, and beta-alanine that may assist in delaying muscle fatigue during your workouts. (10) The BCAAs here may also help you recover faster after tough workouts, allowing you to work harder without suffering from intense DOMS. The other blends offer potential testosterone support and antioxidants to round out this product.
Best Vegan Protein Powder for Muscle Growth
Who says you can’t get jacked on a vegan diet? With the correct resistance training, nutrition program, and supplementation, your ability for muscle growth can definitely match that of your omnivorous counterparts. This vegan protein may play a key role in your gains with the combination of pumpkin and pea protein.
Swolverine Plant Protein
This vegan protein supplement contains two types of protein — pumpkin and pea — and delivers 22 grams of protein per serving. With only 130 calories, two and a half grams of fat, and three grams of carbs, this protein supplement is pretty comparable in macronutrient breakdown to a whey protein isolate, which is notoriously high in protein and low in fat and carbs. This breakdown can be beneficial for those who want to potentially put on muscle mass with high protein while allowing more flexibility in the type of fats and carbs you’re intaking.
Swolverine Plant Protein
This plant-based protein is made from pea isolate, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, sacha inchi, and quinoa. It’s also pretty low in fats and carbs, boasting only 0.5 and seven grams, respectively.
Due to the origin of the two types of protein, this supp also has a pretty sweet micronutrient profile including 3mg of niacin, 34mg of calcium, 6mg of iron, 24mg of phosphorus, 2mg of zinc, 8mcg of chromium, 121mg of chloride, 330mg of sodium, and 142mg of potassium. It comes in Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake flavors and will cost you around $1.75 per serving, which is pretty reasonable for a high-quality protein supplement.
Who Should Buy Swolverine Plant Protein
- Vegans who want a blend that contains a healthy dose of protein for muscle growth will appreciate the 22 grams derived from pea and pumpkin seed protein here.
- This product is ideal for vegans who prefer to get their carbs and fat from food sources — it has just three grams of carbs and two and a half grams of fat per serving.
- Those who are looking for a smattering of micronutrients will enjoy that this formula includes nine various micros, which aren’t very commonly found in protein supplements.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Plant Protein
- Those who like a robust list of flavor options — this product only offers Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake flavor options.
- If you are looking to bulk, you may want a plant protein with higher carbs and fats.
- If you want a vegan protein that isn’t from pumpkin seeds or peas, you may want to find one that is derived from hemp, soy, or a different plant.
A vegan diet doesn’t have to come between you and your gains — all it takes is proper resistance training, well-rounded nutrition, and the help of a stacked protein supplement (like this one) that may help you reach your goals.
Best Citrulline for Muscle Growth
If you’re looking for a supplement that may aid in better blood flow and potentially better pumps — this citrulline product will get you excited about all the muscle growth you may garner.
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
This product includes a healthy dose of three grams of l-citrulline dl-malate. Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid — it is created in the body and isn’t necessary to obtain from supplementation. However, the benefits of adding a citrulline supplement to your stack could be the difference between a mediocre workout and an intense one. Citrulline is a vasodilator — it can help widen your blood vessels, which may allow more blood flow to pass through, possibly leading to better pumps during your workouts.
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
This product contains three grams of L-Citrulline DL-Malate, as well as mango fruit powder and fermented beets, which can all play a role in synthesizing nitric oxide. It comes in a sweet Harvest Fruit flavor.
This supplement takes it one step further. It contains 5.87 grams of a proprietary blend that includes fermented beetroot, grape seed extract, apple extract, and acerola cherry extract. Beets are a natural vasodilator making the opportunity for increased blood flow even more likely. This blend is only offered in one flavor — Harvest Blend — and is $1.99 per serving.
Who Should Buy Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
- Athletes looking to potentially increase blood flow during their workouts in order to achieve the max muscle growth possible will enjoy the healthy three grams of citrulline in this formula.
- Those who want a citrulline supplement that boasts other ingredients beyond citrulline will be happy to see the addition of the proprietary blend that includes fermented beet root here.
- Folks who like amino acids in their supplements for recovery — this supp contains citrulline and arginine.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
- Customers who like more variety of flavor options or an unflavored option — this currently only comes in an Harvest Blend flavor.
- If you’re looking to save cash, you can find less expensive citrulline supplements on the market.
Adding this supplement to your stack may be the key to give you the best blood flow to support your pumps and get you through your tough training session. And this possible increase in blood flow may be just the key you were looking for to unlock more muscle growth.
[Related: I’m A Professional Powerlifter. Here’s What I Think About Bodybuilding]
Best Testosterone Booster for Muscle Growth
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a major role in several functions in the body, but one of the major ones is its positive correlation with boosting skeletal muscle hypertrophy, which may lead to better strength and leg power (12). This is one of our favorite test boosters.
TestoFuel Testosterone Booster
Testosterone is a buzzword in the fitness world, but not many people understand the true potential testosterone can offer in their athletic abilities. This supplement contains 11 ingredients that promote hormonal health, and provide the potential for better muscle growth. One of these ingredients is 4,000IU of vitamin D3, which can aid in testosterone production (13).
Testofuel Testosterone Booster
Testofuel uses an up-to-date formula with large doses of each included ingredient to help optimize your muscle growth. All-natural ingredients such as d-aspartic acid, vitamin D, and oyster extract help to support your body’s natural production of testosterone and muscle, making this product a great choice for those looking to pack on some gains.
This formula also includes 2,000 mg of D-aspartic acid, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels in the body (14). The ingredient lineup also includes oyster-extract, which can promote testosterone synthesis in the body (15). This heavy-hitting lineup of ingredients can potentially unlock your high testosterone levels, which may push you to unlock new muscle growth.
TestoFuel comes with three buying options — the most expensive coming out to $2.16 for a one-month supply of four pills daily. If you opt to buy the two or three-month supply, you’ll score a better price tag and some freebies (such as a month’s worth of TestoFuel, an extra test booster, a video guide, a nutrition book, and free worldwide to go with it).
Who Should Buy Testofuel Testosterone Booster
- Athletes who are hoping to boost their testosterone for a potential boost in muscle gains will appreciate the line-up of ingredients in this formula that may help with testosterone production.
- People who want the addition of some vitamins and minerals like zinc and vitamin D will be happy to see them in the ingredient list here.
- Those who prefer a pill form for their supplements to make it easier to take your supplements on the go.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Testofuel Testosterone Booster
- Anyone who is pill averse — the daily recommended dose here is four pills.
- Those looking to save some money on their supplements. Testosterone isn’t a necessary supplement and can be pricey.
When it comes to boosting testosterone, this formula may be the key you’ve been looking for to level up your muscle growth. Testosterone can potentially boost skeletal musculature, which may help you on your journey to gain mass.
Best Carnitine for Muscle Growth
Carnitine has been tested and shown to have beneficial effects on training, competition, and recovery after intense exercise. Supplementing with carnitine can contribute to maximizing muscle growth due to its potential to aid in recovery, increase oxygen consumption, and stimulate fat metabolism (16).
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine contains 500mg of l-carnitine l-tartrate, which has been shown to improve recovery and reduce fatigue after intense exercise (17). This is important for building muscle mass as the reduction of fatigue during a workout can help your body push harder and work out for longer, while recovery will allow you to make your way back to the gym sooner.
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine contains 500mg of l-carnitine l-tartrate and nothing else in its formula. It requires you to take one pill per serving, which is unflavored, and very budget-friendly.
This is a straightforward carnitine supplement, as it contains no other active ingredients outside of 500mg of carnitine. You’ll only have to take one capsule per serving, and it’s friendly for vegan and plant-based folks. It’s also affordable for any budget as each pill comes out to around $0.12, and the bottle contains 250 vegetable capsules.
Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
- Anyone looking for an extremely straightforward carnitine supplement as this is only 500mg of carnitine and nothing else.
- Those who are on a budget will appreciate the unbeatable price here of $0.12 per serving.
- Folks who enjoy the ease and mess-free formulation of a capsule rather than a powder will like this single capsule serving size.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine
- Customers who want a more robust or full-bodied carnitine supplement will have to look elsewhere.
- Athletes who prefer a flavored powder supplement as this is a capsule supp.
Kaged Muscle L-Carnitine contains nothing but 500mg of l-carnitine, which has been shown to potentially improve recovery and help with exhaustion due to exercise. It only requires you to take one pill per serving, and comes at an unbeatable price point.
Best Carb Supplement for Muscle Growth
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients and are the main source of energy for our bodies to function — they can also be a catalyst to muscle growth due to their potential to provide quick energy. The body can use available carbohydrates for energy instead of breaking down muscle tissue.
Transparent Labs Carb Powder
Carbohydrates are an extremely important part of your diet, and they are the main source of energy that fuels your body. One study found that high carbohydrate diets can improve physical performance between two and three percent (18). Transparent Labs created a carb powder that can be taken pre, intra, or post workout to make sure your carbohydrate levels are working in your favor.
Transparent Labs Carb Powder
This carb supplement is gluten-free, non-GMO, and excludes all artificial coloring and perservatives. Each serving packs 25 grams of patented Cluster Dextrin®.
This formula includes 25 grams of cluster dextrin, which can help support the slow release of carbohydrates for sustained energy for fuel during or after your workout. With a Blue Raspberry, Tropical Punch, and an unflavored option, Transparent Labs makes it easy to take this supplement as it is, or to stack it with your other favorite supplements. For $1.33 per serving, this carb powder is an affordable option that may increase your potential to work harder and see results from that work in the gym.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Carb Powder
- Athletes who want a dose of carbohydrates that may help sustain their workouts, or boost recovery will like the 25g of cluster dextrin here.
- Those who like versatility of timing with their supplements — this product can be taken pre, intra, or post workout, depending on your preference.
- If you like flavored and unflavored options, Transparent Labs has you covered here with two delicious flavors and an unflavored powder.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Carb Powder
- Those who prefer to get their carbohydrates from food sources — this supp has 24 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
- Folks who are on a budget, as a carb supplement isn’t ultimately necessary for muscle growth.
This carbohydrate supplement can support a slow release of cluster dextrin, which may fuel long and tough workouts as well as potentially support your recovery.
[Related: Best Macros Calculator For Tracking Muscle Gain and Fat Loss]
How We Decide the Best Supplements for Muscle Growth
There are many things to consider when choosing which supplements are best suited to aid in your muscle growth goals. We looked at four important factors — supplement type, price, research, and dosage to make sure this list delivered to fit your needs.
We wanted to make a list that would cater to people who were trying to aid their muscle growth, but there were many things to consider. First, we wanted to make sure there were pre, intra, and post-workout options, so that all consumers can find a product that fits with their supplement regimen. We considered various goals, such as mental focus, recovery, blood-flow, and of course, muscle growth. We included both individual supplements to help support specific goals, and larger blends that may include various supplements that can help you build muscle.
We also took into consideration that there are a plethora of people that this list caters to. We spent time thinking about gymgoers, athletes, bodybuilders, and people just getting into weightlifting to make sure there is something for everyone in this list.
Depending on what supplement type you choose, the price will vary. Typically, products with more ingredients tend to have higher price tags, while products with singular ingredients have lower price tags. We realize that not everyone is working with the same budget, and have included a wide range of prices on this list. Rest assured though that we think even the highest price tags we placed on this list are worth the cost.
Research is an important factor when it comes to picking the best supplements. We believe that well-researched and backed claims deserve the best spots on our lists. Each supplement, ingredient, and claim for these products is backed by research and is also researched by our team at BarBend. We believe in the integrity of a product and want to ensure that there is research that aligns with each claim made when it comes to these supplements.
We spent time looking at various products for each category and thoughtfully picked the one that we believed best aligned with potentially aiding muscle growth. Whether it was a product that might aid in speedy recovery to help you get back to top performance in the gym quicker, or a supplement that might assist your body in utilizing carbs as fuel instead of breaking down muscle tissue — we took every pick into deep consideration.
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We believe in the products that we back, and make sure we spend the time scouting out each supplement for proper dosages. We try to choose picks that have the clinically-dosed amount of each ingredient for them to be most effective. As noted in some of the picks, proprietary blends are also a common way that ingredients are added to a supplement.
We always make sure we note when a supplement has a proprietary blend because it means the exact amount of each ingredient in the blend isn’t disclosed. If we pick a proprietary blend, it’s because we value the ingredient list and the integrity of the supplement beyond just the dosage.
How Much Do Supplements for Muscle Growth Cost?
This lineup has a very diverse amount of supplements and therefore, the cost of each supplement will vary depending on its dosage and ingredient list. Some of the supplements come in various options, including a one month supply, two month supply, or three month supply — the more you buy, the less you pay per serving.
Muscle growth can be achieved within any budget, but it is important to prioritize each supplement and decide if it fits your budget and your goals, or if it’s just an extra supplement to add to your stack. Our protein powders on this list are both above $2.00 per serving — between $2.09 and $2.50 — and although both are on the higher end price wise, they both have quality ingredients and a high protein content compared to others on the market. Some of our choices that can be taken for pre-workout are between $0.91 to $1.99 per serving. Depending on your needs for a pre-workout you can find a supplement that fits your price range between the two prices.
What’s In Supplements for Muscle Growth?
Some of these supplements focus on muscle growth specifically — like protein and creatine, which both can help with hypertrophy when paired with resistance training. Other supplements on the list are created to help with better blood flow, mental toughness, and boosting hormones, which may in turn, help with muscle growth.
All of these may aid in muscle growth in one way or the other, but their formulas will vary considerably depending on what supplement you are looking at purchasing. It’s always good to read the ingredients list of each individual supplement and consult with your doctor if you’re considering adding any of these to your supplement regimen.
Protein powder is a staple supplement for bodybuilders and your average gymgoers alike. Protein is one of three macronutrients, and is the macronutrient that can specifically help with hypertrophy. When it comes to muscle growth, protein may be the most important supplement in your arsenal. Whether you choose between isolate, concentrate, or vegan protein powders like pea protein, studies have shown that supplementing with protein powders can lead to more muscle thickness (19).
When we put our bodies through resistance training, our muscle fibers tear, allowing them to grow — but it takes the right supplementation to help them grow. Protein powder is a quick and easy way to ensure you get your protein supplementation right after a workout to aid your body while it repairs those muscle fibers for potentially better muscle growth.
Not all pre-workouts are created equal — and as this list demonstrates, a pre-workout doesn’t have to be categorized as such in order to help you make the most of your workouts. Beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline are all examples of supplements that may be taken within a pre-workout supplement, but can be stacked as standalone supplements, as well. What is important here is to consider when the supplement will be most effective. Beta-alanine, for example, is a great pre-workout supplement due to its potential to help you focus, and because it’s a vasodilator, it may help you get better blood flow for your muscles.
Betaine can have a positive effect on endurance training making it most effective to take before you start your workout. Citrulline is also a vasodilator which can lead to better blood flow and then to better pumps when you are working out. When you take a pre-workout that can aid in endurance and better blood flow, there is more potential to crush your workout, and therefore, attain more muscle growth.
Some pre-workouts are stacked and contain a blend of several of these ingredients. Although they may sport a higher price tag, some pre-workouts contain a list of ingredients that includes betaine, citrulline, and beta-alanine in one package. This delivers a mix of ingredients that may support energy, focus, and better blood flow. It all depends on what muscle growth supp you want to try for yourself.
Many of these supplements can also be used post-workout in order to possibly enhance the effects of your workout. Creatine, carb supplements, BCAAs, testosterone, and protein can be beneficial to utilize as post-workout supplements. Carb supplements can be a great post-workout supplement to prolong the effects of carbohydrate supplementation for refueling after a grueling workout. Likewise, BCAAs can be important to take post-workout in order to maximize the potential muscle growth benefits. When you workout, you are tearing your muscle fibers, and because BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, it would make sense to use them as a post-workout recovery tool to potentially enhance growth
BCAAs are an example of a supplement that could be used at any point pre, intra, or post-workout. BCAAS are fairly eclectic due to their ability to be potentially effective for several factors, such as recovery and mental focus for tough workouts (7). They may be taken pre-workout to help with focus, or they may be taken intra-workout to promote hydration and a possible push in endurance.
BCAA are also three of nine essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, so they may be best utilized during or after exercise for recovery. No matter if you’re using BCAAs for recovery, focus, or hydration, all of these factors have the potential to help with muscle growth.
Creatine is a supplement that has been shown to promote a statistically significant increases in strength, fat free mass in the body, and performance for high-intensity exercise (4). These reasons alone make it one of the most popular post-workout supplements on the market alongside protein. Creatine, when taken as directed, may increase strength allowing you to lift heavier weights, and may also boost endurance, leading to longer and harder workouts — which in turn, may promote muscle growth.
Carb powder is another example of a supplement that is best used either intra-workout or post-workout, depending on what you need it for. If you use carb powder during your workout, it may be to try and make the most of slow-release carbs for sustained energy. Someone may take it post-workout instead in hopes that it may produce more energy in the body, and therefore keep hard-earned musculature in place. Glycogen (the form of stored carbohydrates in our bodies) is an important metabolic fuel to keep your body from using muscle instead of glycogen stores for energy (20).
What to Consider Before Buying
Adding supplements to your stack to target muscle growth can be intimidating with so many options on the market, and so many factors to consider. Before you dive into your search, here are a few things to consider.
No supplement will be a catalyst for muscle growth without you putting hard work into resistance training and nutrition, as well. With that being said, if muscle growth is your main goal, it’s important to ask what you are lacking in your daily line-up to help you achieve maximum muscle growth. If you’re lacking in hitting your protein goal, adding protein powder would make the most sense. If you’re wanting better focus during your lifts to make sure you’re lifting with a good muscle-mind connection, you may want to add beta-alanine to potentially optimize mental toughness.
It’s important to remember that each person may respond differently to individual products. Make sure that you do your own research, check in with your healthcare provider, and think about what gaps you may need to fill in order to make the most of your workouts and supplementation needs for muscle growth.
Each product on this list will have a different ingredient list and it’s important to pay close attention to each individual ingredient. Depending on allergies, personal preferences (like being vegan) or specific ingredients you may be looking for, it is always best to thoroughly read the label before buying.
Some of these supplements have each ingredient listed with its amount in milligrams or grams, where some are listed as a proprietary blend, and may not disclose the exact amount of each ingredient individually. It is an important step to know what you are looking for in a product and see if the ingredient list matches your needs.
Each product on this list varies in some way making it unique to potentially helping you build muscle. We created a list that would suit various goals for different types of folks — bodybuilders, athletes, gymgoers, and your everyday person looking to gain more muscle. We picked pre-workout, intra-workout, and post-workout options to make sure that there was a supplement on the list that would fit your needs for muscle growth.
Supplement prices can vary dramatically depending on what you’re looking for. The ingredient list in these supplements vary and therefore their price tags will vary as well. We chose supplements that fit Bar Bend integrity and that we felt were worth their price tag based on their ingredient list, dosage, and supplement type.
A supplement that has a stacked ingredient list will show up at a higher price point, while simpler supplements that have less ingredients usually sport a lower price tag. An example of an exception to this would be Swolverine’s whey isolate — this supplement has few ingredients, but the quality of whey isolate makes it a higher price due to its potent protein content.
When it comes to building muscle there are many supplements on the market that can help you as you work towards your goals. It’s important to remember that supplements alone won’t achieve muscle growth, but combined with proper resistance training, a diet of whole foods, and the correct supplementation, your goals are more attainable. This list of supplements is a guideline on what is available on the market to potentially help you build muscle, and it’s important to keep in mind what you’re currently lacking in order to choose the right supplement.
When you’re considering which muscle growth supplement to pick, know that all of these picks have high quality ingredients, and have been well-researched and tested. All you have to do is figure out what you’re looking to accomplish with the supplement, choose your type of product, and allow this list to help you through the rest.
Do I need to take all of these supplements for muscle growth if I want to build muscle?
The short answer here is no. You don’t need to take any supplements to see muscle growth; however, if you’re looking to get the most out of your training, it can be extremely beneficial to add supplements to your daily routine. Creatine, for example, is a widely researched and well-regarded supplement that is proven to help promote muscle gains (2). It isn’t necessary to see results, but it is a helpful tool. It’s also important to note that you likely won’t see muscle gain without the addition of resistance training, and a healthy diet of whole foods, even if you’re taking the right supplements.
Which supplement is most important to add to my routine for muscle growth?
There is no magic formula that will transport you directly to your goal, but it’s important to question what your specific goal is, and what you may be lacking in your diet. From there, you’ll be able to select the supplement that may help you fill any dietary gaps, and reach your muscle building goals.
Are these supplements for muscle growth safe to take?
All the supplements that we have on our lists here at BarBend have been researched for integrity of ingredients and effectiveness. It is important to remember that every person is different and the effects of each supplement may vary person to person. However, it is extremely important to always refer to your doctor or a medical professional when adding new supplements to your routine — especially if you have any prior conditions or health concerns.
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