Build Muscle


Your fave fat-burners may also have an unexpected benefit: helping you to build more muscle


In the October issue of Muscle & Fitness, we looked at seven of the most reputable and reliable mass-gain supplements on the market - but not for the reasons you think. These seven products also have the ability to burn fat.

Here, at M&F Online, we're giving you the flip side of that coin: five fat-burning supplements that help you gain mass. It turns out that some of the supps you have come to know and love have additional benefits that you either didn't know about or may not have previously considered. Start using these five potent fat-fighters in your quest for mass - you'll save yourself some dough and you'll look better for it.

The world's most popular drug is well known for its ability to enhance fat loss. In fact, we dare you to try to find an effective fat-burner supplement that doesn't include caffeine in the mix. Caffeine aids fat loss by binding to fat cells to enhance the removal of fat and inhibit its storage. It also facilitates the burning of extra fat during exercise. Yet few people realize that caffeine can aid mass gaining.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers reported that weight-trained men who took a supplement containing about 200 mg of caffeine before working out, increased their one rep max (1RM) on the bench press by about 5 pounds. An earlier study also found that caffeine increased subjects' 8RM. In addition, researchers from the University of Georgia found that when subjects consumed caffeine about an hour before intense cycling exercise that was designed to make their thighs sore, they reported significantly less pain than when taking a placebo.

All this means that caffeine can increase your muscle strength, as well as your ability to endure more reps at the end of a grueling set. Over the long run, this can lead to greater muscle growth.

Dose: Take about 200-400 mg of caffeine about 30-60 minutes before workouts.

Carnitine has been a popular fat burner with bodybuilders for many years. It works to enhance fat burning by helping to carry fat into the mitochondria of cells, such as muscle cells, where it is burned for fuel. But carnitine is no longer just a fat-burning supplement.

Carnitine is now known as a powerful anabolic supplement, thanks to research performed at the University of Connecticut. They have published several studies showing that subjects taking carnitine, not only recovered better from weight training, but they also had higher levels of androgen receptors in their muscle cells. Since these receptors are what testosterone binds to in order to instigate muscle growth, the more of these receptors, the greater your growth potential. They also found that carnitine enhanced the actions of the anabolic growth factor IGF-I.

Dose: Take 1.5-3 grams of carnitine with breakfast, before workouts, immediately after workouts and with your bedtime snack.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a healthy fat that many know as an effective fat-loss supplement. One way that CLA fights fat is by inhibiting the fat storing enzyme, lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL is found in fat cells where it functions to pick up fat from the circulation and store it as body fat bloodstream for storage as body fat. By inhibiting LPL, CLA prevents the storage of fat and encourages the burning of fat as fuel. Few people realize that CLA simultaneously helps you gain muscle while it burns fat.

CLA spares your muscle tissue by using fat for fuel and not breaking down muscle protein for fuel. Because your body is constantly breaking down muscle protein for fuel and then building it back up when you eat, having less muscle protein breakdown actually leads to more muscle growth. In fact, several recent studies confirm that CLA leads to greater fat loss and muscle gain in subjects as compared to a placebo.

Dose: Take 2 grams of CLA with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Forskolin, the active compound in the herb coleus forskohlii, was also a popular fat burner that is now known for its anabolic actions. Forskolin boosts fat loss by activating an enzyme known as adenylate cyclase. This enzyme kicks off a cascade of events including activation of the hormone-sensitive lipoprotein lipase, which allows fat stored in fat cells to be broken down for use as fuel.

Adenylate cyclase is also involved in testosterone production. Supporting its effectiveness for both fat loss and testosterone boosting, University of Kansas (Lawrence) researchers discovered that men taking forskolin for 12 weeks lost considerably more bodyfat and had higher levels of testosterone than a placebo group.

Dose: Take 20-50 mg of forskolin 2-3 times daily before meals.

Yep, you're well aware of green tea's powerful fat-fighting effects, which are thanks to its active polyphenol compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It works by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter involved in regulating metabolic rate and fat-burning. But green tea can also can help to enhance muscle growth.

For one, green tea has been found to enhance muscle recovery following intense workouts. Better muscle recovery can boost muscle growth. Green tea also helps with joint tissue regeneration. This can help you train harder without being slowed down by joint pain. That can obviously help with muscle growth in the long run. Tea has also been found to blunt levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol. Since cortisol competes with testosterone, keeping it down can enhance testosterone's anabolic effects.

Dose: Take about 500 mg of green tea extract standardized for EGCG three times daily before meals.



Find the right supplements for your diet and fitness goals at GNC Live Well.