Building Mass

by Ashley Ellefsen February 23, 2017

Are you trying to build mass?  You can achieve this by proper diet and heavy lifting but to truly maximize your growth potential, supplements are where it’s at!  Mass gaining supplements are quite abundant but I want to talk to you today about my top 5! Keeping in mind that our subscribers are primarily law enforcement and live on a restricted budget, I wanted to tailor this list to budget friendly options.  In my opinion these are the most critical, can’t live without (while not going broke) supplements that are crucial to helping you put on that size!

#1 Whey Protein Powder

Whey is at the top of the list because it’s the most crucial for pushing protein synthesis.  Whey is a milk protein that has a high level of branched-chain amino acids.  They are the most valuable because they digest fast and help you start building muscles rapidly.  Whey also contains peptides that increase blood flow to the muscles, which is why it’s recommended to consume whey protein immediately after training.  

#2 Creatine

Creatine will at some point be it’s very own segment because there are so many wonderful studies and benefits but here’s the down and dirty:  creatine is made from three amino acids: argentine, glycine and methionine.  Personal testimonies and scientific studies alike tell the same story, guys who take creatine gain a good 10 pounds or more of bodyweight and increase strength dramatically.  You should only use creatine with a strict diet and weight training.  Women be on the lookout for creatine in your supplements because of the weight gain factor! Within the first week of using creatine, it’s not uncommon to gain 1-3 pounds due to water retention.  Don’t freak out, that extra weight is gonna help you with your heavier lifts and build more lean muscle mass.  Once you discontinue using creatine that water weight will recede but you’ll retain those gains! Now, Creatine works in a number of ways:  It increases the amount of fast energy in your muscles needed to perform reps in the gym.  The more of this fast energy thats available, the more reps you’re going to be able to get out of each set!  Creatine also draws water into your muscle cells - giving your cells more elasticity that’s ultimately going to increases long term growth.  

Taking 2-5 grams of creatine immediately before a workout  will help keep your muscles saturated with creatine, producing that rapid energy you need to perform at your best level.  Then, consume another 2-5 grams after your workout, this is the time when creatine will be absorbed into the muscle cells to boost future growth.  On days that you’re not training take 2-5 grams in the morning with a  breakfast containing carbs.

#3 Beta-Alanine/Carnosine

Okay, this recommendation goes hand in hand with #2, creatine.  In the body, the amino acid beta-alanine  is combined with another amino, histidine, to form carnosine.  When muscles have a higher level of carnosine, they have more strength and endurance.  Carnosine increases the muscle fibers ability to contract with more force and do so longer, without fatigue. Now, the reason why beta-alanine and carnosine go hand and hand with creatine is because a recent study found that athletes taking beta-alanine WITH creatine gained more muscle mass AND lost more body fat than subjects taking ONLY creatine. 

#4 Nitric Oxide Boosters

We discussed Nitric oxide in episode 7 where I talked about muscle pump but let’s focus on the NO process that bodybuilders are most interested in: vasodialation.  NO forces blood vessels to dilate, allowing more blood flow to the muscles for enhanced delivery of oxygen, nutrients, anabolic hormones and water.  Giving you more energy during a workout, muscle pump and better recovery, all of these add up to gains my friend!  Now, you’re not going to look at an ingredient panel and find “Nitric Oxide” listed…you will however find one of the ingredients we talked about last week, which will be converted in your body to NO.  

#5 ZMA

ZMA is a combination of zinc, magnesium aspartate and B6.  Hard training athletes, like body builders are often deficient in these critical minerals which are important for maintaining hormone levels and regulating sleep (aka recovery time).  One study found that athletes taking ZMA significantly increased their testosterone levels and IGF-1 over an 8 week period of time.  Boosting these two levels really can make a huge impact on your gains.

Here’s a tip: Use a ZMA product that gives you about 30mg of zinc, 450mg of magnesium and 10.5mg of B6.  Take it about an hour before bedtime without any food.  Taking ZMA on an empty stomach will enhance its uptake and utilization and  help improve your sleep quality.

Stay safe and stay on point!



Check out my segment on The BOLO Podcast, where I talk about building mass!

Ashley Ellefsen
Ashley Ellefsen