Ask The Trainer #7 – Best Products For Muscle Growth


Hello Chad. I was wondering what are the top powders or pills to help muscle growth. I am 47 and workout very hard. But my muscles slowly go away on my off days. Thank you.


Thanks for your question…let’s get right to it! The following are my “must-have” supplements:

1. Creatine

When I supplement with creatine, I notice I’m able to train with greater intensity. Plus, I also recover more quickly. It makes perfect sense, considering research has shown creatine supplementation to have a positive effect on strength, recovery, post-workout inflammation, and… possibly even testosterone levels! (The particular product I use is Kre-Alkalyn EFX. Why? For one, it’s Creatine Monohydrate, the most studied form ever. Second, Kre-Alkalyn EFX is produced using a now triple-patented manufacturing process to be pH-Correct. That is, it’s buffered to pH-12 for maximum stability, which no other product can claim.)

2. Whey Protein

Be very careful with this one. When it comes to whey protein, you generally get what you pay for! The protein fractions in undenatured whey protein offer a plethora of benefits. These include increased protein synthesis to aid in recovery & muscle gain. Whey has a high content of sulfur-containing amino acids (such as cysteine) that are necessary for the biosynthesis of glutathione (a powerful antioxidant that helps detoxify the liver and body). It also contains immune system boosting blood proteins called immunoglobulins – specifically IgG1, IgG2, IgA, and IgM. The main issue with cheap whey protein products, like those you find at discount stores, is… they are cheap for a reason! When whey is manufactured using heat and acids during processing, it denatures the protein fraction in the whey, thus reducing or even eliminating its possible benefits. (I personally use the Training Ground proteins).Chad Shaw

3. Branched Chain Amino Acids

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This is one of the most, if not the most, important bodybuilding supplements you can take. Branched-chain amino acids have a very powerful effect on protein synthesis. Protein synthesis= muscle growth! Although whey protein also contains BCAAs, they are locked into peptide bonds that must first be broken down through the digestive process before those amino acids can enter the bloodstream.

Free-Form is Best

On the other hand, free-form BCAAs require no digestion and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. They spike blood amino acid levels to a much greater degree… much faster than the peptide-bound amino acids found in protein do. This means they can increase protein synthesis to a greater extent than protein, making them better to ingest before, during, and directly after training. A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed taking BCAAs during workouts could increase testosterone levels by as much as 50%! (My BCAA product of choice is Training Ground BCAA.)

4. Test Charge Hardcore

In my opinion, this particular product is a must for men age 40 and up! Declining testosterone levels result in loss of energy, muscle mass, bone density, insomnia, and low sex drive. Test Charge Hardcore contains natural compounds that work synergistically in order to support your body’s natural testosterone production. It’ is a full kit that also includes a separate product specifically formulated to inhibit the aromatase enzyme in your body that works to convert precious testosterone into estrogen. The beauty of Test Charge Hardcore is that, unlike hormone replacement therapy, it doesn’t suppress your body’s natural testosterone production (causing your testicles to shrink… definitely not a good thing).

Of course, there are more products you could add to this list that could also help make your training endeavors even more productive.

However… I want to make one thing very clear: No supplement on the planet will do much if anything until your diet and training is in order FIRST!

Simply put, you need to eat correctly and stimulate your muscles with high-intensity weight training for muscle hypertrophy to occur. Now, I’m not talking about workouts that involve completing an arbitrary number of repetitions before muscle failure has occurred. By “intense” training I mean driving your muscles to complete failure within any given set!

Also, keep in mind that doing so requires additional recovery time. Many people don’t realize this and go back to the gym too soon. Well before the biochemical reserves responsible for growth have been replenished. Training before your body has completely recovered results in incomplete protein turnover. In other words, your muscle tissue is being broken down at a faster rate than it can recover. This makes muscle gain nearly impossible. This is one reason I have my clients lift weights on non-consecutive days only.

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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