The Best Hacks For Fast Muscle Gain, Recovery, And Maintenance
You’ve been diligent about going to the gym – even when you’re dog tired – and working hard on resistance training. You’ve maintained a full-on workout regimen, pushing through on days when you just want to crash on the couch and stream that new show. You’ve done the reps…and done them…and done them.
And still, you haven’t been able to meet your goal in terms of increasing your muscle mass.
Instead of feeling discouraged, there are additional methods of gaining and maintaining muscle mass. Read on to learn about methods that might enhance your resistance training and enable you to reach your desired goals sooner.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) has been growing in popularity among elite athletes as well as weekend warriors. EMS is particularly effective when it comes to improving muscular recovery or growth when you have an injury that you need to train around.
EMS is an electrical charge delivered through devices that cause muscle contraction using electrical impulses that directly stimulate motor neurons. EMS has been shown to increase maximal strength, speed-strength, rate of force development, force impulse, and power. It can also help to improve muscle thickness in the vastus lateralis (part of the quadriceps) and calf in ACL reconstruction patients, and it may improve the body’s ability to reduce blood lactate levels after an intense workout.
Heat stress involves applying heat to your body to stimulate a positive adaptive response. Heat stress triggers the release of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which prevent muscle damage by fighting free radicals and supporting antioxidant production. Additionally, HSPs can help repair misfolded, damaged proteins in muscle tissue. One particular HSP, coded by the HSP70 gene, has even been linked to increased longevity. Combining exercise and heat stress can also induce a synergistic increase in growth hormone.
Muscle-Building Supplements: Aminos, Colostrum, Creatine, Omega Fish Oil, and Clean Protein
Aminos are critical building blocks for building and maintaining muscle mass. Supplements that contain all nine amino acids and a comprehensive amino acid ratio have been clinically proven to maximize muscle protein synthesis and athletic recovery. Many amino supplements are available with no added sugar, artificial ingredients, chemicals, stimulants, or other fillers.
Colostrum, also known as “first milk,” is produced by female mammals days before giving birth, and then serves as a concentrated source of nutrition for newborns in their first days of life. Colostrum is rich in protein and tonic compounds, and contains everything the human body needs to grow normally, including nutrients, immune-enhancing compounds, and anabolic agents such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 facilitates the growth of muscle and other body tissues in the body. Due to its role in stimulating an increase in muscle volume and mass, IGF-1 is important in building muscle and improving overall body composition.
One study found that colostrum supplementation during resistance training helped to improve leg press strength, upper body strength, muscle thickness, and lean tissue mass. Colostrum has also been shown to reduce post-exercise muscle damage in a study conducted on young, male soccer players.
Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can have a positive effect on the preservation of muscle mass and strength. In addition to helping to maintain lean tissue mass, creatine has been proven to impact elbow flexor strength and endurance. Studies have also indicated that creatine supplementation has an additive effect on blunting the rise of muscle damage markers following a repeated bout of resistance exercise. Reduced creatine levels can result in muscle soreness and a decrease in range of motion.
A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on healthy young men showed promising results from eight weeks of Omega-3 supplementation (600 mg EPA, 260 mg DHA). According to the study, “DHA and EPA supplementation may play a protective role against motor nerve function and may attenuate damage after eccentric contractions.” Another study using a much higher dose (1.86 g EPA, 1.5 g DHA) showed Omega-3 stimulated muscle protein synthesis in older adults, which means Omega-3 may also help build muscle.
Clean protein is a vital macronutrient that promotes muscle growth and repair, metabolism, sleep, skin and nail health, brain function, a strong immune system, and more. While there are plenty of different kinds of protein powders on the market, whey protein is considered far superior to others for muscle-building.
Whey protein contains the highest levels of all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, and is chock-full of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which play an important role in stimulating muscle growth and repair. In addition, whey protein offers the highest amount of protein per calorie, which means you’ll get full faster while building lean muscle.