When you spend countless hours in the gym trying to maximize muscle growth, the last thing you want to do is lose muscle mass when you’re doing a cut.
It’s one of the primary concerns that people have when doing cardio, and it’s quite possibly one of the biggest reasons why people who lift tend to shy away from any form of it.
But what if you could shed fat without compromising muscle?
It may sound impossible, but it isn’t—you can lose fat while gaining muscle.
Keeping your diet on point with adequate protein, some complex carbs, and healthy fats is one way to maintain muscle mass, but tweaking your supplement stack to include products that protect your muscle against degradation is probably the best way to safeguard it.
We’re breaking down what you need to know about fat burners and the strategy behind how you can burn fat without losing muscle mass.
What Are Fat Burners?
Fat burners are a class of fitness supplements designed to do exactly that—burn fat.
They’re a strategic blend of ingredients that claim to acutely increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure, impair fat absorption, boost weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, or somehow cause long-term adaptations that promote fat metabolism1
These supplements are often a combination of ingredients, each with their own mechanism that, when combined, offer a synergistic and additive effect on burning fat.
Some of the most common ingredients found in fat burners include 1:
- Green tea extract
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
How Fat Burners Work
As we mentioned, the ingredients in fat burners will dictate how they work, but typically they work to stimulate hormonal reactions that trigger the breakdown and oxidation of fat cells.
Generally speaking, there are a few mechanisms by which fat burners work:
Photo source 1
Have you ever eaten a hot pepper and immediately began to sweat? Diet-induced thermogenesis is an increase in energy expenditure above basal metabolic rate because of the stimulation of digestive processes from food consumption 2.
Thermogenic ingredients, like the hot pepper, are those that stimulate energy expenditure but themselves contain negligible caloric value. As a result, these foods or ingredients burn more energy than they contain.
For fat to be burned for fuel, it needs to be oxidized—and that’s the goal of any good fat burner. We want to mobilize fat stores so they can be used for energy rather than stored in the body.
Substances like caffeine can increase sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity, which liberates fatty acids from adipose and/or intramuscular stores to enhance the availability of fatty acids for oxidation 1.
Some supplements also increase fat oxidation and spare muscle glycogen, which has been shown to enhance endurance performance.
Massive fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels can result in major cravings and a raging appetite, so many fat burners include ingredients that regulate the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, potentially by increasing the ratio of sympathetic to parasympathetic activity 3, 4.
There’s no denying that a good fat burner is highly effective for burning through body fat stores and altering body composition, but the thing with most fat burners is they’re not concerned about muscle mass.
As such, making muscle a priority is key if you don’t want to lose your gains. Along with a solid nutrition plan and a good supplement stack, you need to be following a comprehensive training program that focuses on maximizing fat loss and minimizing muscle loss.
If you’re looking for sustainable weight loss, muscle mass is gold. Because it’s metabolically active (and fat mass is not), it burns calories, tones your body, and allows you to feel strong and active.
The Best Fat Burner To Torch Fat And Protect Muscle Mass: Burn Lab Pro®
When it comes to burning fat and preserving muscle mass, you have to be careful about what you’re using.
Conventional fat burners will supply everything you need to light up fat stores but often at the expense of your muscle. So, if you want to maintain lean mass and lose fat mass, there’s only one supplement you should be looking at: Burn Lab Pro®.
Burn Lab Pro® is an innovative and ultramodern fat burner designed to burn calories and torch fat while protecting muscles from the negative effects of fasted training and caloric deficit. Combining five powerful, revolutionary ingredients, Burn Lab Pro® is stacked for 15+ fat-burning, exercise-boosting, muscle-building benefits.
In each serving of Burn Lab Pro®, you’re getting:
- 1500mg HMB (B-Hydroxy-B-Methylbutyrate)
- 375mg ForsLean Coleus forskohlii
- 75mg Capsimax Cayenne Pepper Extract
- 90mg NutriGenesis GTF-Chromium
- 3.75mg Bioperine Black Pepper Extract (enhanced absorption)
By stimulating lipolysis and enhancing its activity, it’s formulated for ultimate gains and fat loss. It boosts thermogenesis to increase metabolic rate and energy expenditure, enhances muscle strength, growth, and performance via non-stimulatory pathways, and protects against muscle breakdown to accelerate recovery.
HMB: The #1 Fat Burning, Muscle-Preserving Ingredient You Need To Be Taking
While Burn Lab Pro® contains several ingredients that are highly effective for torching fat, there’s one that we highlight for its efficacy in preserving muscle while burning fat—HMB.
Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, more commonly known as HMB, is a metabolite of the branched-chain amino acid leucine and has been extensively used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase strength, muscle mass, and overall exercise performance 5.
There’s a massive buzz around leucine in the athletic community for several reasons 6:
- Increases lean body mass (LBM)
- Boosts strength
- Decreases body fat
- Reduces skeletal muscle soreness following resistance training
- Prevents decreases in circulating testosterone and skeletal muscle power
- Augments adaptations to strength training by acting as the primary signal to activate muscle protein synthesis
High doses of leucine have been shown to counteract muscle proteolysis, while low doses can enhance muscle protein synthesis 7. Of the ingested leucine, however, roughly 80% is shunted to protein synthesis, while the remainder is converted to a-KIC and only a small proportion (roughly 5%) to HMB.
It was first demonstrated in 1996 that leucine’s metabolite HMB could reduce muscle proteolysis following resistance training and augment gains in lean body mass and strength in a dose-dependent manner 6. Since then, it’s become a major thing in the bodybuilding community during intense cuts to prevent muscle loss.
Let’s see how.
HMB stimulates fat loss pathways without interfering with muscle mass.
In fact, it down-regulates pathways involved in proteolysis both in healthy and pathological conditions 7. HMB can influence protein metabolism as shown by changes in proteasome-dependent proteolysis and protein synthesis.
The beauty of it is that supplementation with HMB promotes a major anti-catabolic state, which is shown through a decrease in several compounds involved in muscle protein degradation, including tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), angiotensin II, and interleukin-6 expression 8.
At the same time, HMB also stimulates mRNA translation, myogenic (muscle) cell proliferation and protein synthesis via MAPK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathways, stimulates mTOR phosphorylation, and increases the expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH), all of which are important steps and factors involved in muscle protein synthesis. And there’s more…
HMB may also speed up the regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle following high intensity or prolonged exercise.
One study found that HMB supplementation blunted the rise in several indicators of skeletal muscle damage and protein degradation, including creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), blood and urinary urea nitrogen, and 3-MH (20-60%) after three weeks of high-intensity resistance training 9.
Long story short, there’s a large body of evidence supporting the role of HMB in boosting fat loss and maintaining muscle mass in both trained and untrained individuals, as well as in a normal caloric and hypocaloric state.
One study of HMB supplementation in female judo athletes on a calorically restricted diet found that body weight and body fat percentage were significantly decreased in the subjects consuming HMB 10.
It also had beneficial effects on lean body mass and peak power output compared to the control group, suggesting that HMB supplementation in athletes following a moderately calorically restricted diet may augment fat loss and prevent declines in lean body mass.
The process of gaining muscle and losing fat can be really challenging and even borderline frustrating when one usually comes at the expense of the other. But with Burn Lab Pro® and its innovative muscle-protecting ingredients, it doesn’t have to.
You don’t have to choose between muscle mass or fat loss. You can torch body fat stores while simultaneously building and protecting lean muscle mass to achieve a sleek, toned, and ultra-defined body.
- AE Jeukendrup, R Randell. Fat burners: nutrition supplements that increase fat metabolism. Obes Rev. 2011;12(10):841-851.
- PL Janssens, R Hursel, EA Martens, MS Westerterp-Plantenga. Acute effects of capsaicin on energy expenditure and fat oxidation in negative energy balance. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e67786.
- M Yoshioka, S St-Pierre, V Drapeau, et al. Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 1999;82(2):115-123.
- J Zheng, S Zheng, Q Feng, Q Zhang, X Xiao. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. Biosci Rep. 2017;37(3):BSR20170286.
- A Molfino, G Gioia, F Rossi Fanelli, M Muscaritoli. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation in health and disease: a systematic review of randomized trials. Amino Acids. 2013;45(6):1273-1292.
- JM Wilson, PJ Fitschen, B Campbell, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10(1):6.
- A Molfino, G Gioia, F Rossi Fanelli, M Muscaritoli. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation in health and disease: a systematic review of randomized trials. Amino Acids. 2013;45:1273–1292.
- K Durkalec-Michalski, J Jeszka, T Podgórski. The Effect of a 12-Week Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation on Highly-Trained Combat Sports Athletes: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017;9(7):753.
- S Nissen, R Sharp, M Ray, JA Rathmacher, D Rice, JC Fuller, AS Connelly, N Abumrad. Effect of leucine metabolite beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate on muscle metabolism during resistance-exercise training. J Appl Physiol. 1996;81:2095-2104.
- W Hunga, TH Liub, CY
- Chenc, CK Chang. Effect of [beta]-hydroxy-[beta]-methylbutyrate Supplementation During Energy Restriction in Female Judo Athletes. J Exerc Sci Fitness. 2010;8:50-53.