Supplement For Strength, Not Mass
Oxygen Magazine Australia|Issue 95

No matter what your goals, these six supplements can help you to build lean muscle, burn fat and even fight ageing.

Steve Downs

For many women who train with weights, increasing strength and lifting performance is more important than building muscle mass. Of course, any strength gains will be accompanied by improvements in muscle tone and shape — everyone desires these upgrades. But if you want to hoist more weight, you have to carefully select your nutritional supplements.

For starters, every strength-training diet should begin with adequate protein. This is the fuel by which muscles grow. To stay strong, your daily intake should be between 1 to 1.5 grams per 2.2kg of bodyweight, divided so that you don’t consume more than 25 grams at any one sitting (for greatest absorption). About 20 percent of this could be taken immediately after working out.

What follows are key vitamins and other nutrients that will help your muscles to contract more powerfully without tremendously increasing their overall size.

BCAAs. These three amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are unique from other aminos because they can be used as fuel within muscle tissue, allowing for increased muscular endurance and faster recovery. Leucine is the anabolic trigger for growth, so it helps to build new muscle tissue, plus may increase growth hormone and reduce cortisol. Even if you’re not looking to get bigger, branched-chain amino acids are critical for muscle power and endurance during intense training, plus recovery afterward. When supplementing, use a BCAA with at least a 5:1:1 ratio (leucine to isoleucine and valine) and take 5 to 10 grams before training.

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