If your fitness goals include building muscle and burning fat, there are hundreds of dietary supplements on the market which claim to do just that. Unfortunately, most of these supplements are likely to lean out your wallet, not your waistline. With so much brilliant marketing and misleading hype, it can be difficult to determine which supplements really work. There are a few products, however, that have legitimate research to support their claims of fat-loss and muscle-gain benefits.
Without adequate protein, your body will not be able to repair and build muscle tissue after you train. Protein supplementation is a simple way to add more protein to your diet, and whey protein is one of the most effective and inexpensive protein supplements available. According to the Mayo Clinic, whey protein is also a great appetite suppressant, which can aid in weight loss. It may also be beneficial for exercise performance and recovery. When blended with ice, frozen fruit and almond or soy milk, whey protein shakes can be quite tasty, too!
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid found in red meat and dairy products. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, anti-carcinogen and immune booster, CLA may also help you burn off stubborn fat while increasing muscle mass. A study published in the "Journal of International Medical Research" in 2001 investigated the efficacy of CLA for reducing body fat. After 12 weeks of taking 1.8 grams of CLA daily, the CLA group gained muscle and lost significantly more body fat than the control group.
Creatine is a natural compound produced by the liver, pancreas and kidneys and plays an important role in energy production during explosive movements. According to an International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand, creatine is the most effective ergonomic supplement available for gaining muscle mass. Creatine works by increasing the ability of your muscles to perform strength movements. Simply put, if you are able to train longer and harder with heavier weights, you will gain muscle. Because increases in muscle mass help to raise metabolic rates to burn fat, creatine has the added benefit of aiding in fat loss.
Even with supplements, you will need to consume fewer calories than you burn in order to lose body fat. This forces your body to utilize stored fat for energy. However, reducing calories too much will increase the likelihood of your body breaking down muscle tissue for energy. You must make sure you are consuming adequate nutrition to support heavy training. Talk with your doctor before beginning a training regimen or taking supplements. Train hard in the gym and consume a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and you will be on your way to a lean, sexy body.
- Journal of International Medical Research; Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Fat in Healthy Exercising Humans
- Bodybuilding.com: A Look At What Conjugated Linoleic Acid Can Do For You
- MensHealth.com: Creatine: Side Effects, What It Is, What It Does
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Creatine Supplementation and Exercise
- MayoClinic.com: Whey Protein
- 50 Ways to Build Muscle Fast: The Ultimate Guide to Building Bigger Muscle; Dave Tuttle
- Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise; Mike Greenwood, Douglas S. Kalman, Jose Antonio, PhD. & Jose Antonio
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.