The best muscle-building and fat-burning supplements on the market are not always the most expensive. In fact, these simple, effective products are downright cheap, compared to flashy high-priced magic pill products. Unfortunately, there are no magic pills when it comes to supplements. There are, however, natural substances that can create anabolic or muscle-building effects in the body. Likewise, there are ingredients that can elevate metabolic rate, allowing you to burn fat faster and more efficiently. Add a few effective supplements to your program to build muscle and burn fat.
The body needs protein to repair the muscle damage created by weight training. More specifically, it needs amino acids, which are the building blocks of all dietary proteins. Whey is the fastest digesting protein and therefore a natural choice for post-workout nutrition. Protein blends that combine whey with other slower digesting proteins can create a sustained release effect to deliver amino acids to muscles over many hours. These blends may contain milk, casein, egg, soy and wheat protein.
Creatine monohydrate is the best natural bodybuilding supplement available, according to “Natural Anabolics” author and renowned fitness expert Jerry Brainum. It may also have fat loss and endurance benefits. Known chemically as creatine phosphate, this wonder supplement helps muscles make and utilize adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) more efficiently. This allows muscles to contract harder, train for longer and repair faster. Another natural effect of creatine use is that muscles store more water, which literally makes your muscles physically bigger.
BCAAs or branch chain amino acids can play an important role in both muscle building and fat loss. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are known as the BCAAs, and they are special because they are metabolized differently by the body than other amino acids. Rather than being processed by the liver, they are utilized directly in muscle tissue. This has important ramifications for muscle recovery, as the BCAAs (leucine in particular) act as an anabolic trigger, stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Moreover, they prevent muscle tissue from being broken down and metabolized for energy. This allows the body to move on to the next available fuel source, which is body fat.
The amino acid L-Arginine is found in many preworkout bodybuilding supplements because of its role as a precursor to nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide vasodilates blood vessels, allowing them to expand and increasing blood flow to muscle tissues. The most recent analysis concludes that NO may also play an important role in fat burning, according to authors Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
Green Tea and Caffeine
The combination of green tea extract and caffeine has been shown to increase metabolic rate more than either substance alone or diet and exercise, according to “Homemade Supplement Secrets.” Author Jeff Anderson recommends taking 200 mg of caffeine and 300 mg of EGCG (standardized green tea) once or twice per day.
- "Xtreme Lean"; Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman; 2006
- "Natural Anabolics"; Jerry Brainum; 2007
- "Homemade Supplement Secrets"; Jeff Anderson; 2008