When it comes to sculpting your muscles, calories aren’t the only things that count, especially not when you’re depriving yourself of some of the most important nutrients your body needs. Turns out, exercise is only half the process of attaining your dream bod. The rest boils down to what you eat.

Every curl, bench press and squat causes millions of microscopic tears in your muscles, which are then rebuilt and strengthened when you rest. Unless you happen to be a mutant with indestructible claws, chances are it’s going to take a lot of recovery.

The right nutrients can speed up the process. As foods these days become increasingly processed and sugars more refined, getting these vitamins and minerals in their unadulterated form is looking to be a real challenge, which is why we’ve broken down the essential supplements you need to start looking ripped. 

If popping pills aren’t your thing, adding colour to your plate is the simplest way of keeping your muscles in top form. Usually loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, vibrantly-hued fruits and vegetables fight inflammation and help with muscle development and repair, so you’ll see results faster. 

Hit the list below to see exactly what supplements you need for a more defined physique, and why.

(Featured images: Tenzo Tea, Bradley Simmonds)