When you’re working out on a regular basis, your body has the ability to lose fat and experience muscle growth. Focusing on your training can get you the results that you want, but you may run into plateaus in your progress. Changing up your routine can help. You can also use supplements that boost fat loss and help you achieve muscle gains easier.
If you’re striving for lean gains, I’ve included information on the best supplements for weight loss as well as gaining lean muscle. These supplements apply to both men and women.
The Best Supplements for Weight Loss and Gaining Lean Muscle (For Women and Men)
The fitness world is booming with all kinds of programs, diets, supplements and techniques that are designed to help you achieve a body that you’re happy with as well as boost your overall health. From increasing your protein to stimulating your metabolism, there are many different ways you can change up your routine and see success.
#1. Protein Powder
One of the best supplements that you can use if you’re living an active lifestyle is protein powder. Protein has a very high thermogenic effect, so consumption of protein when you’re active has the potential to boost your metabolism. As a result, you can lose weight faster. It’s also really important that you’re consuming enough protein in order to promote better recovery of your muscles after working out.
Protein can be obtained by consuming things like meat, beans and dairy products. However, most people don’t get enough protein from their diet alone. Protein powder is a convenient solution that is super easy to use. You simply add a scoop to a smoothie each day. You can take it anywhere that you need to go whether you’re headed to work, the gym or dropping your kids off at school.
It’s recommended that you use protein powder after working out, but it can also be used beforehand for an energy boost and to boost fat loss. A vegan protein powder (see our best plant-based protein powders for women) won’t contain lactose, if that’s something that bothers you, and it has a high nutrient count. Whey protein supplements are also very popular.
#2: Collagen Peptides
The bones in our body are primarily made out of collagen. Ten percent of our muscle tissue is collagen based. Collagen is also an important part of our joint structure. If you often experience creaking or cracking joints or you’re dealing with osteoporosis or arthritis, you may have a lower amount of collagen production in your body.
Collagen peptide supplementation can help protect your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and much more. It can also help to prevent a loss of muscle mass.
If your body is going to rebuild and grow muscle, branched chain amino acids must be present. There are twenty BCAAs, but only 11 of them can be made by our body. That means we have to source the others from the food that we eat or the supplements that we use.
BCAAs (especially leucine) are helpful while you’re working out so you don’t tire so quickly, but they can also help speed up your recovery during rest. BCAAs increase the amount of tryptophan that you have in your brain, which leads to increased serotonin. This helps combat fatigue and makes you feel more alert. When you supplement with BCAAs you may notice that the duration of your workouts increases, the intensity picks up and you achieve your goals much easier.
For the female readers, be sure to learn more on our top BCAAs for women, in there is our top choice for weight loss and building lean muscle.
#4: Protein Bars
If you find that using protein powder to increase your protein intake isn’t convenient, protein bars are another product you can try. Protein bars are small and convenient, but they pack a punch. You can consume approximately ten grams of protein or more from just one bar, but it’s recommended that you consume at least 20 grams of protein at once for optimal results. It’s easy to keep them in your bag when you’re heading to the gym, and you’ll be able to boost protein synthesis in your body and produce more muscle mass. They can also help you lose more weight.
Your body requires more protein when you’re working out regularly. Your average athlete needs twice as much protein as someone that isn’t active. When talking about recovery, protein can speed up the process of your body recovering from high intensity activity or workouts. Protein is actually more effective than carbohydrates for this purpose, which might be different than what you’re used to hearing.
See our best protein bars for weight loss and muscle gain to find the right bar for you.
#5: Fat Burners
Fat burners are supplements that are used to increase fat metabolism in the body, slow down development of new fat and boost weight loss. They can also increase fat oxidation during exercise, leading to more effective workouts long term.
Fat burners can contain a variety of ingredients. This can include things like caffeine, forskolin, chromium, carnitine, green tea, kelp and fucoxanthin.
Our top recommendation would be 1st Phorm DB Goddess Fastpack.
Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a supplement that many people utilize for fat loss. It can also be used to increase muscle mass and boost weight loss numbers. It has the ability to alter the amount of testosterone in the body, which affects the quality of your workouts. A dose of approximately two to four grams of CLA should be used each day for optimal results.
Learn more on our best CLA for women.
L-Carnitine has been used in the bodybuilding world for a very long time. It’s still a very popular supplement thanks to the results it provides. When you’re looking to remain in line while still maintaining your strength, L-carnitine traps fatty acids into mitochondria to then be used as energy rather than being stored as fat in the body. You can also use L-carnitine to preserve muscle, improve blood flow throughout the body and speed up your workout recovery period.
It is recommended that you consume one to three grams of L-carnitine, and it should be taken with a meal that is rich in carbohydrates.
Creatine is an extremely powerful and popular weight loss and muscle gain supplement. It has been studied quite a bit over the years, consistently proving that it can accomplish things like increase muscle glycogen and phosphocreatine in the body. This helps your body produce energy more efficiently. The form of creatine you’ll typically find in fitness products is creatine monohydrate, but there are others available that are just as effective. They may just be a little more expensive.
It’s really easy to use creatine, and it doesn’t have a lot of side effects to worry about. An optimal recommended dose is five grams taken each day. It should be consumed with a source of carbohydrates, and taken before or after your workout.
Are Supplements the Only Answer for Losing Weight and Putting on Lean Muscle?
Don’t feel like you immediately have to turn to supplements when you’re developing a consistent workout routine. It’s a good idea to get an understanding of what you’re going to be doing, how it’s effective and how you feel. Your diet and lifestyle are also important components to take into consideration.
You should be eating six meals per day when you’re focusing on your fitness routine. These meals aren’t all really large and complex, though your three core meals should absolutely contain lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and carbohydrates. The other three ‘meals’ of the day can be light snacks or even protein shakes. This is to keep your blood sugar up, keep protein in your body and stay energized.
Take a look at the foods that you’re currently eating. Start by assessing your protein sources. Some healthy sources of protein include salmon, chicken, eggs, tuna, soy products, lean beef, turkey, cottage cheese and shrimp. Healthy carbohydrates include rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and bran muffins. Pack in as many fruits and vegetables as you can for added nutrients.
Starting and Counting Macros
When you count macros rather than count calories, you have the ability to adjust your diet very precisely so you see better results.
Macros refer to macronutrients such as protein, carbs and fats. Some people find that counting calories isn’t effective for them. This is because calories can be found in many different forms. One hundred calories can be found in a candy bar, or you can eat one hundred calories worth of chicken. One is obviously a much healthier option that contains a lot more nutrients that the body will benefit from.
Exercising on a daily basis keeps your body in check in regard to metabolism, energy production, burning fat, etc. The goal is to have an ongoing exercise routine that works for your body, but make sure that you listen closely to your body. Rest days are important if you feel that you’ve over-trained or you’re feeling tired.
You should also rotate the kind of exercise that you’re doing so your body doesn’t get used to one specific type of activity. Running, walking, biking, indoor cycling, indoor rowing, hiking and lifting are all options.
Get Enough Sleep
You should strive to get at least eight full hours of sleep each night. This rest period is extremely important, and your body is actually doing a lot of work while you sleep. This is the time of the day where your muscles will heal and rejuvenate. It’s also considered a period of fasting when your body will burn fat. Seven to eight hours of sleep can result in burning sixty percent of fat during that time.
Should I Consult With My Doctor Before Taking Supplements?
It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor prior to starting supplements of any kind. If you have any preexisting health conditions, your doctor should sign off on your proposed supplements as well as your exercise regimen. Taking prescription medications can also affect what you can and cannot take. You don’t want to have issues with interactions.
The Bottom Line to Get Lean and Build Muscle
Not only will getting lean and building muscle contribute to how you look and feel, but this can also affect how your body functions. Weight training and cardio exercise have long been attributed to longevity, strength and energy well into your 50s, 60s and beyond. You can use this regimen to increase your energy, improve balance, work on your bodily coordination, prevent injury and improve muscle stiffness. You can use diet and exercise to cope with a lot of different health issues relating to the nervous system, cardiovascular system, etc.
Tips for Success from the Nutritionist
If your main goal is to increase how lean you look while improving muscle growth, there are different ways that you can achieve this goal. It’s not just about counting calories, macros and limiting your food consumption. Here are some of my tips for success.
Utilize Resistance Training
The more muscle that you have, the more metabolic activity you have going on in your body. This applies even when you’re not in the process of working out. Staying lean and building muscle can be done easier with the use of resistance training. Lifting weights can be very taxing on the body and joints. Resistance training focuses on very controlled movements that tone muscle and burn fat.
Increase Your Intake of Fiber
Fiber is actually a carbohydrate, and the body isn’t able to break it down into glucose for energy. Fiber exists in both soluble and insoluble forms. Soluble attracts water in the body and slows down digestion. You’ll feel full longer when you consume soluble fiber. It also has the ability to lower cholesterol naturally.
High fiber foods that you can work into your diet include cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, beans, greens and whole grains.
Understand Calories and Macronutrients
It’s very important that you learn about the importance of a healthy diet. All of the foods that we eat are carbohydrates, protein or fat. These three macronutrients are processed by the body differently, though they all contain calories. You’re going to feel a lot differently if you consume a diet that consists of lean protein and vegetables versus frequently binging on ice cream, donuts and fast food.