For those of you who are familiar with cutting, in the bodybuilding sense, you’ll know right off the mark that losing fat whilst maintaining and preserving muscle, or possibly even building, lean muscle, is incredibly difficult. The idea behind a successful cut is to lose as much body fat as possible, whilst maintaining or building a great deal of size, which means holding on to large percentages of muscle mass. First and foremost, any successful cut will rely heavily on diet, as without a healthy and balanced diet plan in place, you simply will not lose the pounds you may have been hoping to lose. Your training will also play a huge role in determining how successful your cut goes, but is there anything else you could try? Well, as it turns out, yes there is, as supplements could really help to give you that much needed edge to take your physique from looking good, to looking absolutely fantastic. If you’re looking to take your physique to the next level and want to become leaner and more ripped than ever before, here’s a look at a few supplements that are absolutely ideal for cutting.
Starting with the most obvious supplement, of course we have whey protein, and of course it is the most popular bodybuilding supplement on the entire planet. Derived from cow’s milk, whey protein is obtained when the milk separates from solids into liquids, leaving you with solids in the form of curds, and liquids, in the form of whey. The whey is then filtered, processed, and undergoes all kinds of additional tinkering, before it eventually ends up as the powdered goodness that bodybuilders absolutely adore. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, so without protein, after you workout, your muscles simply are not going to repair themselves and recover as effectively as you may have hoped. Whey protein is ideal because it is quickly absorbed so it can penetrate muscle cells quickly, plus it is very convenient as it is much easier to drink a protein shake after training, than it would be to chow down on a cooked chicken. The bottom line is that you need protein to build muscle and to recover after a workout, so whey protein is ideal. Whey isolate is the better choice as it contains more pure protein per serving, but if your budget won’t stretch that far, a good quality whey concentrate is perfectly fine.
Next up we have BCAAs, or Branch Chain Amino Acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules, and they are vital for a number of processes within the human body. Once protein is consumed, within the body it is digested and broken down into amino acids, before breaking down into even smaller chain aminos which are then able to be actively absorbed by the bloodstream due to their size. Amino acids can repair muscle fibres, they can strengthen major organs, they can promote general well-being, and they can even assist with the production of chemicals, neurotransmitters, and hormones that allow the brain to function correctly. For cutting however, BCAAs are ideal when consumed intra (during) workout as they assist with natural ATP production. ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate) is used by the muscles as main source of energy, so the more that is available, the harder the muscles can work. When cutting, as you will be in a caloric deficit, your energy levels will be low, so BCAAs are ideal as they will give you the energy required to improve your workouts. Not only that, but they also assist with muscle recovery as well.
For those of you who are really feeling the effects of your cut, especially if you’re on a low-carb day perhaps, before you train you will almost certainly need a pick-me-up, which should come in the form of a pre-workout supplement. Pre-workout supplements contain caffeine and other stimulants that provide temporary increases in mental and physical energy levels, whilst also improving performance as well. Most pre-workouts contain a vasodilator such as Nitric Acid, which dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow. This means that more oxygen-enriched blood can travel to the muscle cells, so again, they function more effectively. Not only that, but this also improves vascularity as well, which can help make you look even more shredded than normal.
A thermogenic supplement
Fat burners must only be used when you are confident that your diet and your training are perfect, and they must always be purchased from reputable suppliers. Thermogenic fat burning supplements help to increase your core body temperature and therefore result in a boost to the metabolism. This then results in more calories in stored body fat being burnt off to maintain this increase in core temperature, which is why they are so effective, especially when you only have a pound or two of stubborn body fat to melt away.
In terms of recovery whilst cutting, or bulking for that matter, glutamine is one of the most important amino acids you could ever require. Studies have found that, following a strenuous workout, our overall glutamine levels in the body will be reduced by around as much as 50%, which is important as glutamine functions as a cellular energy source for our immune system. Not only that, but glutamine has also been found to enhance protein metabolism and to speed up protein synthesis, which are both very important when it comes to post-workout nutrition and recovery. Glutamine supplementation is important because when glutamine levels run low, muscle catabolism can occur, which is literally when the body eats away at muscle tissue for energy, which is a bodybuilder’s worst nightmare. This can occur because, as glutamine is required for the immune system, if levels run low, it will steal it from the muscles, which is when they can become damaged and broken down. Supplementing with glutamine both intra and post-workout then, can prevent muscle wastage and can help promote muscle recovery.