Combining supplements into synergistic stacks can help you achieve your weight loss and muscle building goals faster than with diet and exercise alone. Some supplements promote both muscle building and weight loss. For example, amino acids like L-carnitine affect energy levels, fat burning and muscle growth, according to "Supplements 101" by Jim Stoppani PhD. Always consult with your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.
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Often there is great consumer confusion about performance enhancing dietary supplements. Everyone wants faster results in the gym, but the market can prove difficult to navigate. With deceptive marketing claims, proprietary blends and questionable before-and-after photos, supplement companies try to capitalize on your desire to lose weight and build lean muscle. There are effective supplements for weight loss and muscle building that can give you faster results when combined with diet and exercise.
Weight loss or fat burning supplements typically contain any number of natural thermogenics, which are substances that produce heat in the body and promote more calorie burning, according to Stoppani. Proteins make up one popular category of muscle building supplements. Carbohydrate powders, amino acid formulas and weight gainers are other popular muscle builders. These categories are not mutually exclusive, as some fat burning ingredients also help build muscle and vice versa.
Some thermogenics contain caffeine and other stimulants like synephrine, yohimbe, theobromine and beta-phenylethylamine. Non-stimulant thermogenics include capsaicin from cayenne pepper, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) from decaffeinated green tea and the brown seaweed extract fucoxanthin. One effect and popular fat burning stack mixes caffeine and EGCG from green tea, according to "Homemade Supplement Secrets" by Jeff Anderson. The amino acids L-carnitine, L-tyrosine and the BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) may also be effective in a weight loss supplement stack.
Jerry Brainum calls creatine monohydrate the most studied and effective muscle building supplement on the market in his e-book "Natural Anabolics." Protein supplements, however, provide the nutritional staples for muscle building because their amino acids make up the raw materials for rebuilding damaged tissue. The BCAAs are special amino acids that directly trigger muscle protein synthesis, says Brainum. Other amino acids like L-glutamine, L-arginine and beta-alanine can also be useful for a muscle building supplement stack.
In "101 Best Muscle-Building Tips Ever," Eric Velazquez recommends a serving of whey protein upon waking. Stoppani recommends a pre-workout mix of 2 to 3 g beta alanine, 5 to 10 g glutamine and 200 to 400 mg caffeine. Post-workout, he suggests 30 g or more of whey protein with 40 to 100 g of dextrose sugar, as well as 5 to 10 g BCAAs and 5 to 10 g creatine. An excellent fat burning stack might include 1 to 3 g carnitine, 1 to 3 g CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), 25 to 50 mg of forskolin and 500 to 1,000 mg of green tea extract, containing 50 percent EGCG. This combination can be taken three times daily, but remember that the pre-workout stack counts toward one of the caffeine servings.