Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

Most of our clients stick with just a post-workout protein shake and maybe an occasional fat burner as well.

But once you get into the muscle building, strength training, and endurance sports, supplement stacks become a lot more important.

But how exactly should you approach workout supplement stacking?

It’s an interesting topic and one we often discuss as a team for our clients. So we decided to give you some information on an ideal stack for muscle growth that will help you avoid making some common mistakes.

What Do You Gain By Stacking Supplements?

By stacking supplements, you might gain a lot more metabolic responses that help you train harder and recover faster.

The goal is to be able to do more sets with higher weights and then not feel sore for as long after a muscle-building routine.

There are several different amino acids and other ingredients that play a key role in how your muscles respond to exercise. And it’s those muscle growth promoters that we want to get you to focus on.

Let’s take a closer look.

The typical stack we recommend to clients who want to build muscle consists of these 5 different types.

1 - Creatine

transparent labs creatine hmb

Your muscle cells use a form of energy called ATP. Unfortunately, muscles can only store enough ATP to achieve maximum capacity for about 8 seconds [1]. What creatine might do is help to produce a small boost in available ATP.

As a result, you should notice fatigue setting in a little bit later, which might allow you to do a few more reps or boost the weight load.

You can also check out the best creatine supplements here.

It’s possibly one of the best ways to increase your body’s muscle-building capabilities without resorting to illegal or dangerous steroids.

 

You’ll find creatine in some pre-workout supplements, but we find it best in the raw form that Transparent Labs offers.

It’s always the first thing we recommend for a muscle-building stack.


2 - Beta-Alanine

Transparent Labs product

Beta-alanine is another common pre-workout ingredient that many professional athletes rely on.

Some studies have been conducted to identify how it might improve muscle strength and protein synthesis.

We have a list on the best beta-alanine supplements.

According to some scientists, a dosage of 5 grams per day could result in measurable increases in muscle mass over a 3-week high-intensity workout period [2].

 

It also seems like beta-alanine could be contributing to a lower pH level in muscles during intense exercises. As a result, you should be able to perform at a higher intensity for longer because it might be reducing muscle acidosis.

Essentially, you’ll feel less of a burn.

Transparent Labs also has a supplement that you may want to check out.

“One of the most potent buffers against your muscles, calling it quits is carnosine, a dipeptide that helps to reduce fatiguing acid build-up when strength training. And since carnosine is composed, in part, by beta-alanine, the bigger the pool of this amino acid, the greater your body’s ability to fight muscle fatigue.”

 

- Rachael Schultz, Writer at MensJournal.com


3 - BCAA

performance labs bcaa

Branched-chain amino acids are a set of three amino acids that are particularly interesting for muscle recovery.

The 3 BCAAs are part of the 9 essential amino acids, which means that they have to be taken in with food as the body can’t produce them.

Check out our list of the best BCAA supplements for maximizing your gains.

They are called leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and science has shown that they play a key role in allowing muscles to repair faster after they have come under a lot of strain.

But there is also some anecdotal data that BCAAs might help during exercise by reducing fatigue [3].

 

That could explain why more bodybuilders are taking it before or during workouts.

The supplement we take ourselves and recommend to clients is made by Performance Labs, and we’d highly recommend trying it out.


4 - Protein

No matter how hard you exercise, you simply shouldn’t ever go without a protein shake after exercising.

That sudden boost of a broad amino acid profile might work wonders for your recovery and speed up the process to build muscle mass.

It’s also known to support fat loss, so you might be able to bulk up faster and appear leaner at the same time.

Whey protein is the most common type, and for this, we’d recommend Optimum Nutrition due to purity and quality.

If you’d prefer a plant-based option, then check out this certified vegan option from Transparent Labs.

Optimum Nutrition

Transparent Labs


5 - Fish Oil

viva naturals fish oil

This is something that many athletes, unfortunately, ignore too much. But there is a lot of science behind the impact of fatty acids on gaining muscle size.

The evidence suggests that fish oil products might help reduce muscle soreness.

And when combined with the protein supplements above, you might notice quite a difference during your resting phase.

Check out our list of the best fish oil for bodybuilding.

You’ll also find that this is quite a cheap addition to your stack, and we’d recommend trying out Viva Naturals, which seems to have the highest purity.

Plan Your Timing

There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to timing.

First of all, the above stack is most suitable for a bulking phase when your training intensity is higher. This is when the products complement each other to build more mass. 

That means you won’t need to take the full stack all the time, which could also be a waste of money.

Secondly, to get the best muscle building effects, you’ll need to experiment a bit with the timing.

Start by taking the pre-workout products about 20 minutes before your warm-up. Once you figure out how long it takes for the products to kick in, you should try taking them earlier or later to get the best results.

FAQs

Do Stacking Creatine and B-Alanine Help Increase Muscle Size?

Yes, stacking creatine and B-Alanine may help increase your muscle size. They may help you train harder at the gym, as they may boost the amount of energy and reduce fatigue.

Is supplement stacking safe for beginners?

Yes, supplement stacking is safe for beginners as long as you choose products with safe and natural ingredients. You won’t need to take a full stack all the time, but stacking them on high-intensity days might help beginners as well.

Finding The Best Supplement Stacks

The chances are that you’re already taking protein shakes after your workouts. The first things we’d add to that are the creatine and B-Alanine supplements, as they should help to improve your training performance.

You could then gradually add the BCAAs and fish oils as well to see how well the combination works for better recovery.

Make sure you let us know how this stack worked out for you.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3360099/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19210788/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17004850/

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