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Supplements for Muscle Growth & Recovery

The best and most sustainable way to build muscles is to follow a regular workout routine that aligns with your needs and your personal fitness goals and to maintain a healthy diet that includes balanced servings of healthy macronutrients: protein, unsaturated fats, and complex carbohydrates. Some people, however, opt to supplement their regimen with supplements, like protein shakes, to ensure adequate amounts of nutrients that support optimal muscle function. As always, it is important to speak with your doctor before beginning a new diet and/or exercise regimen.* 
When it comes to managing your weight, the most effective way to see lasting results is to not only lose fat but to also build lean muscle. Lean muscle refers to the muscles in your body that are not inhibited or obscured by body fat and are an important part of maintaining metabolism--which, in turn, may help you burn calories more efficiently. In this guide, we’ll explore the complexity of muscle growth, and discuss some of the best supplements to support your muscle building goals.

Neural Adaptation 
Remember: the movements of skeletal muscles are a result of motor signals sent from your brain to the motor neurons that stimulate muscle contractions. When you exercise, your brain is sending repeated, controlled motor signals to the muscle group you are targeting. As you continue to exercise with more regularity, your motor neurons adapt and become more efficient. The process of synchronous activation occurs as your motor neurons are able to recruit more muscle cells, and therefore more power strokes with each contraction, to a specific movement. Regular exercise may also promote the body’s normal response to increased muscular activity. 
Muscular hypertrophy is the enlargement of muscle cells that happens while you are recovering from your exercise. It is the muscles’ response to the stress endured during exercise. In the period of rest after a workout, the feeling of soreness you experience is a result of the strain your muscles have undergone. Muscle growth occurs when your body repairs strained muscle fibers, a cellular process that involves the synthesis of new protein and the integration of this protein into the myofibrils. The new protein makes these fibers thicker, and higher concentrations of actin and myosin that result from protein synthesis mean more power strokes when the muscle contracts.

Muscle Supplements: Which Ones, and When?
When it comes to dietary supplements, there is no replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Supplements alone cannot promote normal muscle growth; exercising is still an important part of building lean muscle. Dietary supplements are also no substitute for a well-balanced, nutritious diet.* 
Where supplements are helpful, however, is in supplementing the nutrients you consume in your diet. Exercise is one (albeit important) factor in building muscles, but a healthy diet may also promote the normal process of recovery between workouts that is essential to muscle growth.* 
Since proteins are the building blocks of muscles, maintaining a diet that contains a variety of protein-rich foods is important. The body’s metabolism of protein fuels muscle growth and recovery, so make sure you are receiving adequate amounts of dietary protein.* 
The most protein-rich foods are usually animal products--meat, eggs, or dairy. This means that vegetarians may not always have enough protein in their diet. There are also people with ambitious bodybuilding goals who might require more protein for muscle growth than they generally consume on a regular basis. In both these instances, dietary supplements may be a helpful way to support their daily intake of protein.*

Alexander, Robert McNeill, et. al. “Muscle.” Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web. 15 Mar. 2018. 
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Leyva, John. “How Do Muscles Grow? The Science of Muscle Growth”. Builtlean. 01 Jul. 2018. Web. 15 Mar. 2018. 
Morrison, William, MD. “9 Functions of the Muscular System”. HealthLine. 21. Mar. 2018. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. 
North, Cat. “Do Protein Shakes Really Help You Get Big?” Livestrong. 03 Oct. 2017. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. 
Wood, Bernard, et. al. “Human Muscle System”. Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web. 15 Mar. 2018.