Think of supplements as diet insurance: They make sure your body has everything it needs to build lean mass, says nutrition consultant Mike Roussell, Ph.D. Here's what to take and when to take it.
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BCAAs: Not only can branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help fuel your workout, but they can also boost protein synthesis afterward, accelerating muscle growth, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch. (Search: What are BCAAs?)
His Pick: SciVation Xtend packs 7 grams of BCAAs into a one-scoop serving. $23, bodybuilding.com
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Recovery drink: Choose one with 300 to 350 calories and a 2-to-1 carb-to-protein ratio. "A mix of the two is more efficient at decreasing muscle breakdown and stimulating muscle growth than either one alone," says Roussell.
His Pick: Shamrock Farm Rockin' Refuel Chocolate Milk has an ideal 20 grams of protein per serving. $30, rockinrefuel.com
Protein shake: Drinking some protein before hitting the sack can boost overnight protein synthesis by about 23 percent, according to research from the Netherlands. It can also help curb late-night snacking.
His Pick: At Large Nutrition Nitrean delivers 44 grams of protein and only 218 calories in a two-scoop serving. $35, atlargenutrition.com
What should you eat to fuel your muscles? Start with these 40 Foods with Superpowers.