Greens are an intriguing  class of supplements that have become popular among the general fitness crowd in recent years but have been overlooked by most bodybuilders. Used the right way, though, greens can help you reach your physique goals even if that includes adding more lean  mass.

Here are some tips on when and how to take greens if a muscle growth stack is your priority.

Take Greens When You Wake Up

Greens are a concentrated form of fruits, vegetables, grasses, and algae which have been dried and turned into powder form. Because of that, they have many of the same properties as fresh produce, including antioxidant power and the ability to raise your blood pH, making it less acidic.

It’s generally accepted that better health and muscle growth are associated with a slightly basic (less acidic) environment.

When you first wake up, your pH is  lower (more acidic) than at other times of  the day thanks to all of the chemical reactions that occur overnight to help you regenerate. Taking greens as part of your breakfast can help bring your blood pH back into a more anabolic range.

Take Greens After Your Workout … But Not Immediately

After your workout, too, your body is acidic AND it’s flooded with free radicals. Greens can help correct both of those conditions, but you should let your body do its own work first. Recent studies have shown that taking antioxidants near the time that you train can actually inhibit the adaptive  effect — you may not get the results you worked so hard for!

So, skip greens and other antioxidants right after your workout, but add them to  your first meal later in the day to help mop up any remaining free radicals and bring your blood pH back into balance.

Don’t Use Greens to Replace Fruits and Vegetables

Even though greens provide many of the same vitamins and minerals that fresh produce does, they should never be used as a replacement for good, wholesome food.

Not only do greens fail to fill you up like bulky veggies can, they also don’t contain as much fiber as fruit. Most brands  are not formulated with a specific balance of vitamins and minerals in mind, either, which means you might  fall short of your dietary needs if you rely solely on greens for nutrients like magnesium and zinc.

Use Greens When You’re Bulking

While “bulking” should be avoided by most trainers most of the time, it can be a powerful tool for the guy who is really skinny and has a racing metabolism. By loading up on healthy, calorie-dense food, he can often jump start the weight-gain process.

Most of these hardgainers don’t have a huge appetite to start with, though, so adding 5-10 servings of bulky roughage a day can make it impossible to take in all of the necessary calories for muscle growth.

Greens are a great addition under these circumstances because they help you fulfill your nutrient needs while also leaving plenty of room for more high-calorie foods.

Use Greens When You’re Traveling

It’s hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables when you’re on the road. Even if you go to sit-down restaurants and order dishes  to suit your nutritional needs, you never really know what’s happening in the kitchen.

When you’re traveling, then, greens provide a reliable and convenient way to keep on top of your vegetable and fruit intake without spending hours hunting down the fresh variety. You wouldn’t want to adopt this approach over the long term, but relying solely on greens will keep you on track even when “real” food is scarce.

Use Your Imagination and Have Fun!

One of the great aspects of using greens supplements is that they are extremely flexible. Opt for the powdered variety and you can get creative with your food prep and fold greens into all kinds of dishes.

Here are a few examples of how you can use greens:

  • Greens Smoothies
  • Mixed in pancake or pastry batter
  • Mixed into oatmeal
  • Sprinkled into soup
  • Mixed into hamburger
  • Stirred into pan-fried dishes
  • Mixed with yogurt
  • Dissolved in water

Let your imagination run wild, because greens can be incorporated into just about any dish you can dream up.

Have some fun with your greens, and they will not only spice up your meals but can also help you build muscle!