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Muscle Gains Combined with Fat Loss: Anabolism and Anti-catabolism

Anabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that build up molecules from smaller units. More precisely, anabolic processes build up organs and tissues, mainly induce growth and differentiation of cells and increases in body size (e.g.: the growth and mineralization of bone and increases in muscle mass). Hormones that have anabolic effects are for instance the human growth hormone, insulin, testosterone.

Catabolism is quite the opposite. It is a set of metabolic pathways that breaks down molecules (such as polysaccharides, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins) into smaller units (such as monosaccharides, fatty acids, nucleotides, and amino acids, respectively) that are oxidized to release energy. Hormones that have catabolic effects are for instance cortisol (breaks down complex carbs and muscle proteins to easily accessible energy that is usually used to build up visceral fat). The phrase anti-catabolic is used for processes (or supplements having an influence on that particular process) that allegedly reduce the breakdown of proteins and muscle mass.

Now that the background of these metabolic processes is clear, we know that in order to get lean with less body fat, we need to induce the anabolic processes alongside with the anti-catabolic processes in our bodies. The sport supplement industry have been using HMB for almost two decades. This long period ensures us about its effectiveness. It is a classical anabolic and anti-catabolic compound, which is widely used amongst athletes that want to have better power output, get leaner or have faster recovery after training.

But what is this HMB for real?

HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate) is a metabolite of the essential amino acid L-Leucine. Approximately 5% of dietary L-Leucine is oxidized into HMB, and HMB appears to be the main metabolite that prevents the breakdown of muscle protein (proteolysis). Basically it means that your muscles may get smaller due to intense training, however L-Leucine – and especially its metabolite HMB – prevent this.

HMB has a lot of positive effects:

  • Anabolic (induces muscle building) – anti-catabolic (prevents muscle breakdown)
  • Better muscle development in elderly people
  • Fat loss
  • Recovery
  • Greatest benefit when consumed close to a workout (3 g/day)
  • Safe for long term use

Supplementation of HMB tends to be 3 g daily for the purpose of preventing muscle mass losses over time (anti-catabolic) and increasing lean body (muscle) mass. So if you want to remodel your body structurally (decrease under the skin and visceral fat and increase lean muscle mass) without increasing your bodyweight, then what you definitely need is 3 grams of HMB everyday for a longer period of time (2-3 months).

Bjorgvin Scitec

A great thing about HMB that it is not time sensitive. You can take it at any time of the day. For busy people this is a good thing. But the effectiveness of HMB has been shown to be greatly enhanced when taken with protein and amino acids post-workout.

The effect and result of HMB supplementation can be further increased by using an extra compound: forskolin is known to have many health and ergogenic benefits.

Forskolin is the main bioactive ingredient in Plectranthus barbatus (Coleus forskohlii). This plant has been used since ancient times to treat heart disorders (high blood pressure and chest pain), as well as respiratory disorders (asthma). Forskolin raises thyroid hormone levels and testosterone. The increased levels of these two hormones naturally lead to an increase in fat burning and muscle mass.

This effect is made by activating an enzyme called adenylate cyclase, which increases the cellular concentration of a signaling messenger called cyclic AMP or cAMP. It is known that cAMP interacts with a host of different cell types. In different cells it carries out different scenarios – due to cell-type specific gene expression differences – all for your benefits (lowers blood pressure, inhibits platelet aggregations, promotes vasodilation, increases bronchodilation, and increases thyroid hormone secretion and speeds up lipolysis, which is fat burning). It also mimicks the effects of mild calorie restriction and exercise, without you actually reducing calories or even exercising. In intra-testicular cells elevated levels of cAMP concentration mimic the action of the luteinizing hormone that increases testosterone production, basically it triggers lean body mass growth. In muscle cells its elevated concentration leads to an increase in protein synthesis (further amplified by testosterone). So Forskolin does not only induce fat burning, promotes health benefits (cardiovascular and respiratory), but does promote lean muscle mass growth as well!

The combination of HMB with Forskolin is the best you can get if you want to increase muscle mass while maintaining bodyweight by having better fat burning efficiency. So to sum it up, these two together may help you to maintain bodyweight (or even lose some if fat oxidation is that much accelerated), increase muscle mass, decrease body fat and prevent muscle from breaking down due to intense physical activity.

Scitec Nutrition – WOD Crusher

Muscle Factor 

MUSCLE FACTOR provides several ingredients that are either vital nutrients for optimal function or very popular with enlightened athletes. This formula delivers Forskolin and HMB (3 g daily servings) in scientifically studied, manufacturer recommended doses!


One serving provides 100% of the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D that contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to optimal muscle function, and also to the maintenance of normal bones, teeth, and to the normal absorption, utilization of Calcium and Phosphorus.

The Calcium content of MUSCLE FACTOR contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism, and also helps with normal muscle function and proper neurotransmission, which are important functions to every hard training athlete!

This product could be the best thing for athletes that want to lose fat while increasing muscle mass, definitely a must-have for Crossfitters!

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