How to Build Muscles Minus the Supplements

There is no denying that more and more people nowadays are relying on supplements to bulk up and build muscles. In 2021, the market size for the dietary supplement market is at $151.9 billion worldwide. But what if there is a way to build muscles without using whey protein, BCAAs, or even creatine? Here are some strategies that can help you do it with just regular food.

Know your limit

Before we discuss the tips on how you can build muscle without using supplements, it might be a good idea to be realistic. Just how much muscles can you gain every week? The average person could gain 0.25 to 0.5 pounds of muscle every week. If you’re athletic, then it’s possible to see up to around 1 pound of muscle every week.

You can gain muscles by increasing your protein intake and by doing the right exercises. You can also build muscle if you are consuming enough protein that could turn into muscle. Typically, it is suggested to eat an extra 250 to 500 calories per day. For those who usually gain body fats, then you’d want to eat somewhere close to 250 additional calories per day. But if you’re gifted with a lean physique then feel free to eat around 500 additional calories per day.

Here are some tips on how you can skip taking supplements and still gain muscle mass.

1. Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal for the day. Without breakfast, you can’t avoid the body to catabolize your muscles.

If you’re the type who tends to skip breakfast, then expect that it’s going to be difficult to build muscles this way. Breakfast is a good way to build muscle especially if you’ve slept for 7 to 8 hours at night without any food. Eggs and smoothies can make a perfect breakfast.

2. Protein every three hours

By providing a constant supply of protein to the body every few hours, it helps lessen the chances of muscle catabolism. Eating protein every three hours will also help you feel full and therefore help fight cravings.

As a rule of thumb, you will be eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You will also have to eat snacks in between Just be sure that you are eating high-protein meals plus vegetables so you get to minimize gaining fats.

3. Know how much protein you need to consume per day

A lot of people tend to wonder why they don’t gain muscles even if they are regularly doing their workouts. The most common culprit is the lack of protein in a person’s diet. To gain muscle, you’ll need to eat 1 gram of protein per 454grams of bodyweight. That means if you weigh 91kg, you will need to take around 200grams of protein a day. That’s just a rough estimate.

As for your options, you don’t always have to eat meat and dairy. There are lots of protein-rich vegan options such as tofu and seeds.

4. Only eat carbs if you’ve done your workout

You will need a good mix of carbohydrates and protein to be able to bulk up. However, if you’re building muscles, you must prioritize protein over carbohydrates. At times, people gain muscles and fats at the same time because they are taking more carbohydrates than they should. What you can do is only consume carbohydrates such as corn, bread, and rice after you’ve done your workout.

It means that you’ve depleted your glycogen stores and eating carbohydrates can be a good way to replenish them.

5. Protein-rich meals after a workout

Instead of taking whey protein after your workout, you want to eat real food. Chicken breast, eggs, and steak are just some of the food options that you can go for especially after lifting weights. The sooner you can consume protein-rich meals, the better. Since, unlike whey protein, food takes longer to digest. Therefore, it is also important that your body has a constant supply of protein throughout the day.

6. Sleep for at least 8 hours every night

A lot of people undermine rest and just keep working out. Working out can increase your stress hormones that could affect your body composition. Sleeping can give your body enough time to recover and replenish glycogen stores making it easier to perform your workout the following day.

7. Incorporate massage in recovery

Aside from sleeping, a lot of people are also incorporating massages to be able to improve muscle growth. It can improve oxygenation to your muscles and even feel good especially if you’ve consistently done your workout throughout the week. But unlike other recovery modalities, it doesn’t have any side effects.

According to some studies, taking an ice bath immediately after a workout and taking anti-inflammatory medications can block muscle growth and repair.

Final Thoughts

Not using supplements is a choice for some people. It could be because they are looking to save some cash, or maybe they just don’t trust brands enough that they are going to consume what brands try to market using celebrities and athletes.

On the downside, building muscle without the use of supplements can be a bit difficult. You will need to eat all that food to be able to see progress. You will need to prepare your meals ready for the day. And since you are eating real food, you might find it too taxing in the long run.