Any sport that involves bulking and cutting can be challenging. You’re wracking up your food intake for maximum nutrition and upping the intensity of your workout sessions to make some serious muscle and strength gains.
But when it comes time to cut, that’s when the fun begins (we’re kidding). Diet dials down and it's all about cardio.
Cutting can be difficult even for the most seasoned of cutters because it often involves a major caloric deficit, weight loss, high-intensity workouts, and a whole lot of willpower to maximize fat burning.
For the athletes looking to maintain their lean muscle mass during a cut, that’s where things really get challenging.
Because you’re cutting carbs, which is great to lose weight and support fat loss but not so much for maintaining lean ass, how do you hold onto those gains?
We’ve got the answer for you. We’re breaking down the science of cutting and what you should be taking to lose weight and melt away the fat without compromising your muscle mass. We're talking about the best cutting supplement on the market.
The Basics Of Bulking And Cutting
When it comes to building your ideal body, there are several different strategies you can use.
The most popular technique for gaining lean muscle mass, weight loss, and fat burning is bulking and cutting.
This technique has been used since the days of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, and Lou Ferrigno by people in pursuit of an aesthetically pleasing physique.
While the cycle of bulking and cutting may seem pretty straightforward, there’s a right and wrong way to go about it.
Bulking is the 4-6 week (or longer) period whereby you’re increasing caloric intake substantially to put on mass. You’re eating more, lifting heavy, and converting those excess calories into muscle.
But if you want to see real results, bulking for 3-4 months, or sometimes more, is most effective. While you’re increasing your macronutrients, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll gain fat alongside muscle.
For instance, some people will gain 5lbs of fat, but they’ll also gain 15-20lbs of muscle. But when you can balance your macros and do a “clean" or "healthy bulk” you can limit fat gain and make losing weight a bit easier.
In any sense, cutting is where we trim away that fat to bring out those lean muscles you’ve been working on during your bulking stage. Another way to effectively bulk is to ensure you’re doing a good amount of heavy lifting alongside eating properly to help shuttle those extra calories directly towards growth.
With that said, where bulking is concerned, there are two ways people typically go: The dirty bulk and the clean/healthy bulk.
The former is having a goal of just increasing your caloric intake. While you still want to make sure you’re hitting your protein intake goals (amino acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue), what you eat isn’t of the utmost importance.
The clean or healthy bulk, on the other hand, focuses on limiting processed and refined foods and increasing caloric intake of nutrient-dense, whole foods. If you’re trying to limit fat gain and have an easier time losing weight, a clean bulk is the way to go.
On the other end of things, we have cutting.
The most effective cutting cycles are typically shorter than bulking cycles and range from 8-12 weeks. During your cutting phase, you still want to be lifting heavy, but we’re moving the emphasis to lower weight and higher rep, and adding in some cardio to help increase caloric expenditure and fat burning.
However, you want to be careful not to cut calories too much, as it can actually work against your basal metabolic rate and slow it down rather than speed it up. Cutting cycles are one of the places where tracking your food intake (especially protein) and workouts can be really helpful to support your goals.
Regardless of how much weight or fat you're cutting, you need to be in a caloric deficit to put your body into a catabolic state to break down adipose tissue.
With that said, you still want to consume sufficient dietary protein to limit muscle degradation, but this is also where a good cutting supplement can be gold. If you have the right supplement stack during your cut, you don’t have to worry about touching those gains.
Let’s see what the best cutting supplements are.
Top 5 Supplements For Burning Fat And Maintaining Lean Muscle
For anyone looking to lose fat without compromising mass, HMB is gold. It’s a metabolite of one of the most infamous muscle-building amino acids, leucine, and it also happens to be one of the best supplements for men and women for preserving lean mass while burning fat, boosting energy, and accelerating recovery.
Bodybuilders have always relied on maximum protein intake, especially leucine, to trigger gains in mass. It’s why branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and even essential amino acids (EAAs) are a major supplement in the bodybuilding industry, especially when cutting.
When we metabolize that key amino acid, roughly 80% of leucine is shunted towards muscle protein synthesis (that’s why we love leucine).
The remaining 20%, however, is metabolized into two compounds—alpha-ketoisocaproate (a-KIC) and HMB. But of that 20%, about 15% forms a-KIC while only 5% forms HMB 1.
Long story short, if you’re consuming higher amounts of leucine in hopes of reaping the benefits of HMB, it’s not going to happen. As such, pure HMB is far more effective.
But why take it in the first place?
The reason why HMB is one of the best supplements for cutting cycles is because of its ability to preserve lean mass while simultaneously burning fat stores. And during a cut, the last thing we want is to lose muscle.
While the mechanism behind how HMB works is rather complex, we want to give you the gist of it. Research suggests that HMB's benefits are connected to its anti-proteolytic (anti-catabolic) effects, including decreased tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), angiotensin II, and interleukin-6 expression, along with down-regulating several compounds involved in protein degradation 2.
At the same time, it’s been shown to stimulate:
- mRNA translation
- myogenic (muscle) cell proliferation
- protein synthesis via MAPK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathways
- mTOR phosphorylation
....and increase the expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH), both of which play major roles in muscle growth.
If that’s not enough, studies also show that HMB may be involved in the activation of AMPK kinase and Sirt 1, along with promoting mitochondrial biogenesis, increased oxygen consumption, increased efficiency of carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and increased lipolysis and fat mass reduction 3, 4.
Long story short, HMB can help to protect muscles against degradation, increase muscle protein synthesis, and reduce markers of muscle damage like creatine phosphokinase and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) 5.
Coleus Forskohlii (ForsLean)
Most people have never heard of forskolin but it’s a great supplement for any bodybuilder or athlete to have in their stack, especially during cutting cycles.
It’s a compound extracted from the Coleus forskohlii plant that has traditionally been used in the treatment of several chronic diseases, but more recently it has stepped up to the plate as a solid fat loss and calorie burning compound, making it one of the best supplements for cutting.
Compared with other synthetic fat burners, forskolin is so effective because it acts directly on adenylate cyclase, an enzyme, which, in turn, activates cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) to promote fat breakdown and utilization 6.
Essentially, what forskolin does is stimulate the body’s natural thermogenic response to elevate basal metabolic rate (BMR) and increase mobilization and utilization of fat stores via lipolysis, which ultimately burns fat and calories in a much more effective and efficient manner 7.
That’s not it. Other reasons why forskolin is a great cutting supplement is because it's been shown to:
- Regulate lipid and glucose metabolism
- Increase energy expenditure
- Suppress appetite
- Elevate testosterone levels
- Preserve muscles while burning fat
And when combined with other ingredients that serve to protect muscle mass and boost fat burn, you’re on the path to the best (and easiest) cutting cycle of your life.
CapsiMax Cayenne Pepper Extract
If you’re looking to burn fat and get ripped, eating hot peppers might just do the trick. Chili peppers have been consumed for thousands of years in many cultures for flavoring, coloring, and preserving food, as well as use as medication 8.
There are more than 200 active constituents identified in chili peppers, one of which is capsaicin. It’s a major active compound found in cayenne pepper that is known to treat pain and inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases. It also has powerful anti-cancer, antioxidant, thermogenic, and anti-obesity properties, making it one of the best supplements for cutting.
There’s a fair of bit research showing the beneficial effects of capsaicin on reducing body weight and body fat. Capsaicin is a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) agonist, which may be the mechanism behind its powerful anti-obesity effects.
Research suggests that TRPV1 plays an important role in the regulation of metabolic health for the entire body, including body weight, glucose and lipid metabolism, and the cardiovascular system 8. And it’s been suggested as a target for the prevention of obesity due to its effect on energy metabolism and balance.
Other research shows that capsaicin may be one of the best natural supplements for supporting fat loss and weight loss by suppressing energy intake via appetite and satiety regulation 9. The effects in energy intake may be, in part, due to an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity.
Some research shows that chili peppers affect energy expenditure by triggering the brown adipose tissue (BAT) in the same way low temperature does, which results in an increase in energy expenditure via non-shivering thermogenesis 10.
And there’s more. Capsaicin has also been shown to:
- Improve metabolic and hormonal function
- Reduce insulin and leptin resistance
- Improve endothelial function
- Increase energy expenditure
- Stimulate thermogenesis
- Maximize weight loss
- Increase fat burn
The best part about all of this is that capsaicin triggers many of the same pathways that stimulant supplements do, without all the nasty stimulant side effects.
So, you’re getting a completely safe mega fat-burning ingredient with minimal risk. See why we classify it as one of the best supplements for cutting?
Typically, we don’t think about minerals as having much of an impact on fat loss, but there’s one that does—chromium. It’s a trace mineral that plays a major role in glucose regulation, which influences weight loss.
Blood glucose imbalances are one of the main causes of cravings and weight gain, along with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition whereby the body is unable to control the utilization and storage of glucose due to the poor response of cells to insulin.
The first signs of insulin resistance are generally elevated levels of circulating insulin and glucose intolerance, which can eventually progress to type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease 11.
Chromium, however, can enhance insulin activity and sensitivity, which means much lower levels of insulin are required to metabolize carbohydrates; essentially, chromium improves the functionality of insulin by enhancing glucose uptake from the blood into cells 12.
In addition to its effects on glucose, insulin, and lipid metabolism, research suggests that chromium can also increase lean body mass and decrease body fat percentage, which may help you lose weight and burn body fat 13.
BioPerine Black Pepper Extract
Last but not least we get to piperine, the active compound in black pepper.
While it may not have a potent role in body fat loss like HMB or forskolin, it does play doubles—as a major absorption enhancer along with a powerful thermogenic agent 14.
Research has found that piperine supplements can reduce body weight and visceral fat accumulation by increasing the expression of thermogenic protein uncoupling protein-1 15.
Other studies suggest an increase in energy-generating metabolic processes and blocked accumulation of new fat cells, thereby reducing weight and fat.
Because of this, it's commonplace in many fat burner supplements.
A 2011 study looking at the effects of piperine on regulating obesity-induced dyslipidemia in rats found that a high-fat diet increased body weight over 8 weeks, but treatment with piperine resulted in significant reductions in body weight ranging from 12-15% compared to the HFD-control group 16.
The #1 Fat Burner Supplement For Cutting: Burn Lab Pro
With all of that said, going through a cutting cycle can be really challenging.
You’re forced to cut back on your food, increase the intensity of your workouts, and resist all urges to splurge. If you want a sure-fire way to rev up your metabolism to melt away fat and support weight loss without compromising your hard-earned muscle, Burn Lab Pro is it.
It’s a cutting-edge, ultra-modern fat burner designed for maximum fat loss and maximum muscle preservation.
Unlike other fat burners that degrade muscles to lose fat, Burn Lab Pro is the world’s cleanest, safest, and most effective fat burner, combining five powerful ingredients to torch fat, lose weight, enhance physical performance, boost muscle mass, and accelerate recovery.
It’s everything you need for peak performance and peak results during the biggest challenge yet. We want to enhance your metabolic performance through non-stimulatory pathways to give you maximum fat loss while retaining every ounce of muscle.
- Stimulate lipolysis and enhance its activity via hormone signaling to maximize fat-burning during your training session
- Increases fatty acid mobilization and utilization
- Stimulates thermogenesis to boost metabolic rate and energy expenditure
- Enhances muscle strength, growth, and performance via non-stimulatory pathways
- Protects against muscle breakdown and accelerates recovery
What you’re getting in BLP
- 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)
- 262.5mg Calcium
Burn Lab Pro® is the ultimate fat burner. It optimizes fat loss and exercise synergy with the most intelligent fat burner formula ever created.
Simply put, it’s the holy grail of fat burners for bodybuilders looking to blast fat and preserve muscle for their most successful cut yet. Its cutting-edge design is guaranteed to give you bigger, better, and more powerful results.
There's no denying that bodybuilding is a lucrative sport and if you want to be at the top, you have to be on point with your diet, sleep, stress levels, and workout program, not to mention taking the best supplements for cutting.
And if you want to experience maximum muscle growth and maximum fat and weight loss, there's only one fat burner for the job--Burn Lab Pro. It's muscle building to the max without any of the side effects of conventional fat burners and weight loss supplements.
- 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 Dec; 45(6): 1273-92.
- 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.
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- I Litosch, TH Hudson, I Mills, SY Li, JN Fain. Forskolin as an activator of cyclic AMP accumulation and lipolysis in rat adipocytes. Mol Pharmacol. 1982;22(1):109-115.
- S Henderson, B Magu, C Rasmussen, et al. Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005; 2(2): 54-62.
- 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.
- S Whiting, EJ Derbyshire, B Tiwari. Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite. 2014;73:183-188.
- M Saito, T Yoneshiro. Capsinoids and related food ingredients activating brown fat thermogenesis and reducing body fat in humans. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2013;24(1):71-77.
- RA Anderson. Chromium and insulin resistance. Nutr Res Rev. 2003;16(2):267-275.
- RA Anderson. Chromium in the prevention and control of diabetes. Diabetes Metab. 2000;26(1):22-27.
- RA Anderson. Effects of chromium on body composition and weight loss. Nutr Rev. 1998;56(9):266-270.
- MS Butt, I Pasha, MT Sultan, MA Randhawa, F Saeed, W Ahmed. Black pepper and health claims: a comprehensive treatise. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(9):875-886.
- Y Okumura, M Narukawa, Y Iwasaki, et al. Activation of TRPV1 and TRPA1 by black pepper components. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010;74(5):1068-1072.
- SS Shah, GB Shah, SD Singh, et al. Effect of piperine in the regulation of obesity-induced dyslipidemia in high-fat diet rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2011;43(3):296-299.