Are you hoping to shed some fat in the new year? Do you want to do this without sacrificing your hard-earned muscle mass? Do you want to try and gain muscle at the same time that you lose fat?
Contrary to what some people might say, you can build muscle and get lean simultaneously. However, you have to be strategic about it.
Part of your strategy should include a solid supplement routine (coupled with a healthy diet and consistent workout routine, of course). Listed below are 8 of the best supplements to consider adding to your stack to get lean and build muscle.
1. Protein Powder
When it comes to getting lean and building muscle, protein powder should be the starring supplement in your regimen.
If you’re not eating (or drinking) enough protein, you’re going to be more likely to lose muscle mass, especially if you’re eating in a calorie deficit (which is necessary to lose body fat).
At the same time, when you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows down. A slower metabolism means fewer calories burned.
Are you convinced to make protein a priority now?
Protein powder makes it easier for you to achieve your daily protein goal. It can also help you to curb cravings and avoid overeating, which makes it easier for you to stay in a calorie deficit.
There are tons of different protein powder options you can use depending on your specific needs and goals.
Whey protein, especially whey isolate, is a solid option if you’re hoping to gain muscle and get lean. If you are sensitive to dairy or want to avoid animal products, though, plant-based protein powder is a great alternative.
Caffeine, which is found in most pre workout supplements, is another must-have supplement. It’ll give you the extra push you need to get up and get motivated to crush your workouts and earn your results.
The more energized you feel during your training sessions, the easier it’ll be for you to challenge yourself and perform to the best of your abilities throughout the whole workout. The better you perform during your workouts, the more progress you’ll be able to make in the future.
As a bonus, caffeine can also act as a mild appetite suppressant. When you’re trying to get lean, a little caffeine may help you to resist cravings and stick to your diet.
L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative. Your body makes it from two amino acids: Lysine and Methionine.
L-Carnitine is commonly found in fat-burning supplements because it helps to support the breakdown of fatty acids for energy. Supplementing with L-Carnitine may boost your metabolic rate so you can burn more calories during your workouts.
It can also improve your workout performance by increasing energy and stamina. This, in turn, will help you push yourself during your training sessions, similar to caffeine, so you can get the most out of each workout and start making progress sooner.
Some studies show that L-Carnitine can improve post-workout recovery, too. The faster you recover, the easier it is to build muscle, get stronger, and feel your best.
Yohimbine is a compound derived from the bark of the Yohimbe tree, an evergreen tree that is native to Western and Central Africa. Yohimbine is often included in pre workout supplements, specifically for its fat-burning and energy-boosting benefits.
Yohimbine also has some significant fat-burning benefits. It increases your heart rate so you can burn more calories during workouts. It also acts as an Alpha-2 receptor antagonist, which means it blocks the Alpha-2 receptors found in the fat cells to allow for easier and more efficient fat burning.
TeaCrine is a patented form of the compound theacrine. Theacrine is found in tea leaves and coffee beans.
This compound is chemically similar to caffeine, and it offers many of the same benefits, including increased energy, improved mood, increased motivation, and improved mental alertness.
For those who are sensitive to caffeine, TeaCrine can be a great alternative. It improves energy so you’re able to push yourself harder during workouts (which allows for more gains and a higher rate of calorie burning), but it does so without causing any jitters.
TeaCrine users also don’t seem to build up a tolerance the way caffeine users do, and reduces habituation to caffeine (i.e. developing a tolerance). When you use it, you don’t have to worry about getting used to it and having to continually increase the amount you consume.
If you don’t want to avoid caffeine altogether but do want to prolong and modulate the intensity of its effects, you can also combine TeaCrine with caffeine. Some pre workout products contain them both for longer-lasting energy and fat-burning potential.
Creatine is one of the best, most effective supplements for those who want to gain muscle and get lean at the same time.
The body produces Creatine from the amino acids Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine. It’s then stored in the muscles as phosphocreatine.
When you supplement, you boost your body’s phosphocreatine stores. The more phosphocreatine you have stored, the easier it is to produce adenosine triphosphate (or ATP).
ATP is a high-energy molecule that allows you to perform better and push yourself farther during workouts. It’s especially beneficial when you’re lifting heavy weights or doing high-intensity workouts.
With extra energy from regular creatine supplementation, you’ll have an easier time powering through difficult training sessions. You’ll be able to recover more efficiently after your workouts, too. All of this will support increased muscle growth and boost your metabolism so you can get lean and stay lean.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (or BCAAs for short) play an important role in muscle building and muscle recovery. There are three BCAAs:
- Leucine: Leucine is the most anabolic BCAA; it supports protein synthesis, muscle growth, muscle repair, and bone health
- Isoleucine: Isoleucine is necessary for hemoglobin, which the red blood cells need to transport oxygen into the muscles while exercising; it supports tissue healing, increases energy, and improves immune system function
- Valine: Valine also assists with muscle protein synthesis; it enhances muscle growth and repair and increases energy
Supplementing with BCAAs allows you to recover faster from your workouts. It can also help you to avoid muscle breakdown (also known as catabolism) when you’re exercising in a fasted state.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good sleep when you’re trying to get lean and build muscle. If you regularly aren’t sleeping well, you might start to experience the following roadblocks:
- Slower metabolism: When you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolic rate slows down and you burn fewer calories throughout the day
- Increased cravings: Poor sleep can lead to increased cravings; when you don’t rest well, your production of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone, goes up
- Increased fatigue: Obviously, when you don’t sleep enough, you’re going to be more fatigued; this can make it harder for you to perform well during your workouts
- Reduced muscle recovery: When you’re asleep, your body produces the majority of its growth hormones; without good sleep, you’ll have a harder time recovering and building muscle mass
Melatonin supplementation can improve your sleep quality and avoid the roadblocks listed above. However, it’s also a good idea to implement some other practices that support good sleep.
Avoid blue light exposure before bed, for example. Try to cut off caffeine consumption in the afternoon, too. Don’t worry, you don’t have to skip your pre-workout supplement. Just don’t take it too close to bedtime!
Time to Get Lean and Build Muscle
Are you ready to get lean and build muscle at the same time? If so, these supplements, combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, will help you achieve your goals and earn great results.