We all know that supplements can never replace proper diet planning and nutrition, but they can help you reach your fitness goals faster. Unfortunately, with so many different supplements on the market it can difficult to choose the right ones. I remember how intimidated I was after my first visit to the local supplement store, where they had literally hundreds of powders, bars and pills.
It’s also not helpful that most supplement ads make promises that are often exaggerated and sometimes even flat-out lies. You should always be skeptical when someone tells you they built crazy amounts of muscle with some new product, especially if they’re trying to sell it to you.
The simple truth is that the supplement industry is huge. Huge as in BILLIONS of dollars. It is also true that most of that money is spent on worthless supplements that won’t have any effect on muscle growth or fat loss. So to help you find the ones that are worth their price tag, here is my short list of the best muscle building supplements for beginners.

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#1 Beginner Supplement: Protein Powder

Protein powder is probably the single most popular workout supplement. This is because when you want to build muscle through strength training your body requires more protein for a muscle repair and growth after a workout. While this doesn’t mean you have to use protein powders to reach your recommended daily protein intake, consuming enough protein every day can be tricky.
Especially when you don’t have time to prepare high protein meals all the time, a good protein powder can really make your life easier. That is why most athletes and bodybuilders use protein powders in addition to a balanced diet. You probably already know this and might just be asking yourself which protein powder is best. 
From whey to casein to vegan, there are a lot of options to choose from and within the fitness and bodybuilding community there is always a lot of discussion about which is best. But as I explain in this article it most likely won’t matter all that much which kind of protein you buy as long as you take it regularly. So just go with the one you like best (unless it’s soy or beef protein).
Optimal dosage: max. 30% – 50% of your daily protein intake

#2 Beginner Supplement: Creatine

Creatine is an organic acid that helps supply the muscle cells with energy for muscle cells during high-intensity, short-duration exercise. Along with protein powder, it is one of the few supplements that actually delivers on its promise to help you see more gains.
Unfortunately, due to its popularity there are also a lot of misconception about creatine. No, creatine won’t harm your kidneys unless you have an already existing condition, study after study has proven this. It also doesn’t build muscle by itself, but it will increase your strength level.
If you have read my Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Building Muscle, you know that only way to ensure long-term muscle growth is by applying progressive overload. You have to continually increase the tension placed on your muscle to force it to adapt (=and grow). By enabling you to lift heavier weight, creatine will indirectly help you build more muscle but you will still have to put in the work. 
Here is my in-depth article on how to take creatine correctly. I will teach you everything you need to know about the optimal dosage and timing etc.
Optimal dosage: 3 – 5 grams per day

#3 Beginner Supplement: Fish-Oil

Even though fish oil won’t directly lead to more muscle growth it not only boosts your mood, but helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and strong bones and ligaments. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t eating enough fish, which is why the average person should go for the second best option, which is supplementing with fish oil capsules. 
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil are essential fatty acids that reduce blood the risk of heart attack and lower blood pressure among other benefits. I also found that my skin has improved since I started taking this fish oil supplement
Another great advantage of fish oil is that there are basically no side effects unless you are allergic to it. While you will find people on the internet complaining about the “fishy” aftertaste, this usually only happens when you buy low quality products. I personally have never had this problem. 
Optimal dosage: 1000 – 3000mg of combined EPA/DHA per day

#4 Beginner Supplement: Vitamin D

Another great advantage of fish oil is that there are basically no side effects unless you are allergic to it. While you will find people on the internet complaining about the “fishy” aftertaste, this usually only happens when you buy low quality products. I personally have never had this problem. 
Vitamin D is required for maintaining proper bone structure as well as the regulation of phosphorus and calcium. The easiest way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. Depending on your skin tone you need about three sessions of fifteen to thirty minutes of direct sun light exposure to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D.
However, many people in northern Europe and the U.S. develop a vitamin D deficiency. This happens especially in the winter when you tend to stay inside or cover up more when going outside. The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency usually include overall tiredness, muscle weakness and a general sense of not feeling well.
As all of these symptoms will decrease your body’s ability to build muscle, vitamin D supplementation can be a great way to treat a deficiency and ensure optimal muscle growth. If you decide to take vitamin D you might want to opt for vitamin D3 instead of the regular vitamin D2. Recent studies like this one suggests it higher efficacy and ability to decrease reducing death rates from all causes.
Optimal dosage: 1,000-2,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 

What About Multivitamins?

Many of my readers ask me what I think about multivitamin pills. Here’s my honest answer. While the idea of covering most dietary deficiencies in one pill is great, its  execution usually isn’t. Here is a list of problems with most multivitamins:
  • They usually include micronutrients that you get enough of through your normal diet and supplementing them can run the risk of overdosing
  • In case of side effects and/or a lack of intended effects it’s virtually impossible to identify which “ingredient” triggered the reaction.
  • In most cases it’s better to get a few specific vitamins and minerals in isolation and dose them according to your needs.

Best Muscle Building Supplements For Beginners – Summary:

  • Creatine and protein powder are two of the most well researched supplements out there.
  • Fish-Oil and Vitamin D can help you increase your overall health.
  • Multivitamins are a less than ideal solution and should be avoided.


What Are Your Thoughts On Muscle Building Supplements?

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