Best Supplement Stack to Build Muscle Fast (2024 Updated)

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James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 11, 2023
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Most of my 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.

Quick Summary

  • The best supplement stack for rapid muscle building involves combining various supplements for enhanced metabolic response and quicker muscle recovery.
  • A recommended muscle-building stack includes creatine, which boosts ATP in muscle cells, allowing for longer, more intense workouts.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) research indicates that a 5-gram daily dose of beta-alanine can significantly increase muscle mass over three weeks of high-intensity workouts​​.
  • In my opinion, including a protein shake post-exercise is essential for maximizing muscle growth and recovery, as well as aiding in fat loss.

What Do You Gain By Stacking Supplements?

When I started stacking supplements, I noticed a significant increase in my metabolic response, allowing me to 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. Based on a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), muscles can only store enough ATP to achieve maximum capacity for about 8 seconds [1].

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 I find it best in the raw form.

2 - Beta-Alanine

Optimum Nutrition Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is another common pre-workout ingredient that many professional athletes rely on because it improves muscle strength and protein synthesis. I even personally tried beta-alanine, and I've seen improvements.

Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that 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.

“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

Transparent-Labs-BCAA-Glutamine

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.

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.

4 - Protein

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

I always make sure to have a protein shake after my workouts. This personal habit aligns with the known benefits of a broad amino acid profile for muscle recovery and mass building.

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 it due to its purity and quality.

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.

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.

Other supplements for muscle building we highly recommend trying out:

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.


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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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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