Gaining muscle while trying to lose fat, can be quite difficult as usually you will be on a calorie restricted diet, which can ultimately leave you fatigued and can jeopardise everything that you have built muscle-wise to date. If you do not eat the correct nutrients and supplements, you could lose more muscle than you wanted to, and muscle can only be built if you eat more protein than what your body breaks down. So, how does that work out if you are restricting yourself from food for fat loss then?
Is the answer supplements?
Supplements can be life savers if applied correctly within your everyday diet and lifestyle. Good supplements can actually increase your metabolism, make it easier for you to utilise and mobilise the adipose tissue within your body (fat cells), maintain muscle mass and decrease the amount of muscle cells being broken down. All this can be achieved as well as improving your lean body mass-but it has to be done correctly of course!
When anyone wants to burn fat, while they build or maintain muscle, the solution is a good fat burner. There are many on the market today, jam packed with everything under the sun, however it is important that you pick the right one, because not all the stimulants put into supplements actually do any good to your body on a cellular level, that is.
In my guide to the best supplements for weight loss and muscle gain I cover topics including: The science behind muscle maintenance, the benefits of fat burner supplements for muscle growth and retention, and the ingredients you should consider. If you want to know which are the best supplements available on the market today see my list below.
5 best supplements for weight loss and muscle gain
Burn Lab Pro
- This fat burning supplement contains the active ingredients of HMB, Black Pepper Extract and Coleus Forskolin
- It safely promotes fat burn by activating thermogenesis
- Protects muscle breakdown even during a fasted state
- Gives you a boost of energy to give it your all during weight training
- Contains 5 grams serving of Creatine, which is the optimal amount to prevent tummy upset and further symptoms
- Preserves and aids the recovery process during the cutting phase
- Safely tested by the NSF, meaning thorough third party testing has occurred to ensure substances are safe for athlete usage
- Free of gluten, diary, and major allergens in food
Myprotein L-Carnitine Amino Acids
- Tablet based dosage and an easy supplement to take
- Contains 1000 mg per day serving
- Mobilises fatty acids in the body and metabolises them
- Aids cognitive function and concentration
- Great boost to those that are deficient in supplementing this to their daily diet
Myprotein 100% Beta Alanine Amino Acid
- Promotes muscle recovery and development
- Perfect for a pre-workout and gives an energy boost to your training regime
- Contains B5 Vitamins to prevent fatigue during calorie restricted diets
- Can be taken with water, juice or even added to your protein or meal replacement shakes
Myprotein Impact Whey
- Quickly absorbed and digested to take full effect in aiding muscle building due to rapid rising of amino acids from blood stream to muscles in body
- Key for muscle recovery during heavy loading
- 21 grams of protein per serving
- Contains glutamine to aid you in the aim to gain muscle
- Contains 4.5g of essential BCAA per serving for muscle recovery and repair
- Low sugar, carbohydrate and calorie content to not compromise with low calorie diet and regimes
The science behind muscle gain, and maintenance
Muscle gain is often over complicated massively within the health and fitness industry. Muscle tissue grows in your body, when you provide it with the intense workout that it needs to respond. Hypertrophy (another word for muscle mass gain), is a biological response and increase to the long-branched chain amino acids that derive your muscle cells. The response is a repair of the muscle fibres which have been overworked and damaged by tension applied during physical activity and exertion.
Muscles occur after a period of rest, facilitated by the production of satellite cells that bring about protein synthesis i.e. growth. As your muscles get regularly exercised, they will get used to tension applied and thus get stronger providing you with greater muscle strength. You will of course need to build up tension to continuously build further muscle, but also to get stronger (load versus tension). 
Eating comes hugely hand-in-hand with your muscle gains and maintenance. You have to remember, for protein synthesis to occur and convert to muscle growth, you will need to consume more than what your body breaks down naturally, i.e. have protein reserves to accommodate it. When you want to build muscle, it is important to consume 1 pound of protein for every pound of body mass you have. All sources must be lean of course- especially when you are trying to lose body fat and on a restricted calorie intake. This is why supplements fit in really nice, as they can be low calorie, but packed with the essential amino acids and energy boost you need to up your training regime and weight loss programme.
The key to maintaining muscle mass during fat loss attempts is to ensure you are consuming the right type of calories that will prevent your body breaking down muscles for energy, instead of using glycogen stores (yes it can happen). This usually occurs when you are on a significantly low-calorie diet that is not sustainable, or if you have cut out nutrient groups such as carbohydrates, which are often the bodies go-to for glucose and fuel. Muscle breakdown of a large extent is very rare, but it does happen if you do not manage your food intake correctly.
Muscle protein synthesis can occur on a fat loss regime, but the process is a lot harder and slower, especially due to the fact you are running on low calories. It will most definitely challenge you, as you often will need to train super hard with less energy fuelling you! So, say hello to fatigue and tiredness, as they will be your friend while you are on a muscle building and fat loss lifestyle.
What are the benefits of taking fat burner supplements for muscle maintenance and muscle growth?
When you are exerting more energy than what you are consuming, your body will seek out glycogen (energy) from your body’s stores. While the process is pretty straightforward in theory, many weight lifters will often need to push super hard to drop their body fat percentage to their desired goal. In fact, many athletes, women especially will struggle to go from lean to super lean, without jeopardising their body’s natural system. It often is the case that if nutrients and calorie intake drop too low, that can ultimately affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, alongside hormone imbalance. Even men will find that they cannot drop their calories too low, or they risk their body going into starvation mode, which means the body clings to the fat reserves that much harder.
Fat burner supplements for women are great because they give your body that little boost you need, when you are on the brink and need that push performance-wise, to get to the next level without having a skinny frame at the end of it. Yes, they can preserve muscle, by giving you those essential amino acids that you would otherwise get from diet, in addition to boosting your metabolism and fat mobility from adipose tissue, into the bloodstream. Meaning, you will have that to use up for energy, the next time you consider taking the free weights up on a session in the gym.
Your biggest concern when looking to burn fat is maintaining muscle. While you will lose some (it is inevitable unfortunately), the supplements we mention today, should help you reserve a majority of them.
The best ingredients for muscle building and maintenance
The best ingredients promote your fat loss goals, while maintaining the muscle mass that you have within your body composition. We have decided to include some of the best ingredients that you should consider taking, and make sure they are in the next supplement variants that you turn to. The ingredients that are recommended are the following:
HBM (ß-Hydroxy ß-Methylbutyrate)
This ingredient is a metabolite of leucine and is often found within the everyday Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). This is a great substance for anyone looking into building muscle or maintaining the muscle mass that already exists. Research has shown that when you implement this form of amino acid into your nutrition and recovery, it preserves your muscle and heightens the effective muscle building process that our muscles go through. In fact, it has been proven via research that HBM preserves muscles even in a fasted state, meaning you should be in a cutting phase with a goal of fat reduction. This, is your baby right here. 
You have to remember that when your body is in the phase of cutting its last remnants of unwanted fat, it will literally cling onto the last ounces for dear life-making it significantly difficult for you to achieve the effects of a low body fat percentage. So, fatigue is a probability here, and it can be dangerous, as your body may turn to your hard work and muscle, as the ATP source i.e. energy it needs. HBM could help divert the attention otherwise, and can give you a very nice energy boost while you are scrapping for those nutrients in your cutting phase.
Cayenne Pepper Extract
Cayenne pepper is a renowned culinary ingredient that makes its way into our food. Yet, when you put it in supplement form, it can actually become an active compound of capsaicinoid. This compound is primary for the epinephrine and norepinephrine, that generate heat within your body and raise the thermogenesis rate i.e. your metabolism, to burn more calories than in its resting state.
It has also been shown to utilise white adipose into the blood plasma, for an energy source when you are exerting energy into physical activity. 
Creatine is another of the many amino acids which fuels your muscles to exert force and high intensity loads. For many years, it has been one of the top supplements by many athletes, for it has the ability to contribute to muscle size and the force that comes with it. Creatine is an excellent choice when cutting, as scientifically it has been proven to contribute to lean muscle mass in addition to strength, when combined with a low-calorie diet and high resistance training.
Scientifically it works by seeping water from your body into your muscles and therefore prevents any fibre damage to your existing muscles. Many people do not understand the importance of making sure that you drink plenty of water during a cutting phase, it is essential and very important to prevent dehydration.
Carnitine or L-Carnitine is an essential amino acid for the body and it has a vital part during the role of metabolism on a cellular level. It has become such a sought after protein to burn fat, aid recovery and muscle gain, in addition to maintaining existing muscle reserves. This protein will often get stored within the cells of the muscles themselves.  Your body can actually make this branched chain amino acid, however if you supplement it too, it can provide what is needed, should you currently have a deficiency.
The reason this is a great fat burner, is because L-Carnitine can mobilise the fatty acids within your body and food, and immediately convert them to energy. If you are running pretty low of fat reserves, and just have a little bit left, it can certainly do wonders. It even helps the cognitive function of your brain, making it easier to focus and have that boost of energy that is needed during calorie deficit diet and exercise regimes.
Beta Alanine is another example of the amino acids that can-do wonders when integrated within your everyday diet. Your body makes this naturally, so it is non-essential. However, when consumed it can be converted to other molecules which aid the buffering systems of H ions within your body, thus giving you that boost you need to last longer when exerting more energy during weight training for example.
However, the real big benefit of this protein is its ability to conserve muscle mass. Whenever you are exerting high energy during an exercise regime, muscle loss can be a result, especially when paired with less nutrients and restriction in diets. Research however has proven that over 6 weeks, if Beta alanine is combined with High Intensity Interval Training, muscle mass is not only just maintained-but increased too! 
Whey the protein is taken from the isolate which separates the milk from the cheese. Of course, when you get it in a supplement, you usually find that it will be combined with other proteins, and also flavoured, as it does not taste great when on its own.
Whey contains the essential amino acids which are the key elements and blocks to bodily function and synthesis. The key amino acid within Whey however, is leucine. This is the protein which stimulates the growth on a cellular level-and rather quickly too. In fact, from all the ingredients listed above, Whey protein is absorbed very quickly and used immediately.  That is why you see those gym addicts immediately shaking their protein after a workout, when muscles carry the most blood volume and thus more responsive.
Whey protein is great for weight loss too by the way, because it promotes satiety and thus reduces your need to eat, meaning it is perfectly combined with a diet that is restrictive nutrient-wise. Studies have shown that Whey actually made people consume 25% less calories per day, while increasing pure muscle mass gains. 
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- Fairman, C., 2018. 5 Things You Don’t Know About Beta-Alanine | Bodybuilding.com. [online] Bodybuilding.com. Available at: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/5-things-you-dont-know-about-beta-alanine.html [Accessed 25 March 2021].
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