Supplement News 19 - HMB - Protein Timing - Citrulline

Pre-Workout Watermelon

Is HMB Better Than Steroids?

Source: Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print]

We’ve all heard of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) – it’s been around for many years and features in plenty of supplements on the market currently. While the hype surrounding HMB when it first came to market was nothing short of deafening, there has been some solid research backing its’ effectiveness as an ergogenic, as well as plenty of anecdotal evidence from trainers. To help prevent muscle breakdown, to boost muscle growth, to reduce soreness and to enhance performance, HMB has been a popular supplement for weight trainers.

But that’s calcium-HMB. Recently, research on a new form of HMB, known as HMB free acid (not bound to calcium) is emerging, and the results are, well, ridiculous. Researchers from the University of Tampa, Florida, tested HMB-FA on 20 trained students, average age 21, by giving them 3g per day split into three doses. They all followed the same training scheduled, training 3-5 days per week, and not knowing whether they were taking a placebo or the HMB-FA.

After 12 weeks, subjects using HMB-FA gained an average of 7.1kg lean body mass! They also lost an average of 5.4kg of body fat, and added an average of 25% more weight to the squat bar and 11% to the bench press. That’s better than most illegal anabolics.

If anything, this research paper shows that more research needs to be done to prove the effectiveness of HMB-FA – because these results are unbelievable. The results will be good enough for some people to start using the supplement when it finally comes on to the market (in the next few months), but we’ll reserve our recommendations until we see more research.


Protein Timing or Protein Total for Size and Strength?

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:53 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-53

All seasoned trainers know well the ‘anabolic window’ – the 0-60 minute period immediately post-workout when you need to get the bulk of your protein and carbs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and speed recovery. While the importance of this anabolic window has been emphasised upon for decades, some new research might change our perceptions of this window – it appears it’s not when you take your protein, but how much you take.

Schoenfeld et. al. in the USA reviewed 43 studies, with a total of 1003 participants to determine the effects of protein consumption on strength and hypertrophy. There was no significant relationship between protein timing and strength or hypertrophy results, which goes against the long-stood teachings of gym rats. There was, however, a very significant relationship between the amount of protein consumed, and the amount of muscle or strength gained.

While there’s plenty of specific testing that can be undertaken for different training types (eg weight training vs aerobic vs sports-specific), and different genders, ages, sizes and training history of trainees, the research conducted so far shows that it’s clearly more important to worry about how much protein you’re getting in to your diet, rather than when you’re getting it.

Pre-Workout Watermelon for Less Muscle Soreness

Source: J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Nov 20;61(46):11241.

Watermelon is high in l-citrulline – an amino acid that is used pretty consistently in pre and intra-workout supplements for its’ ability to produce arginine and nitric oxide within the body. These work to dilate (widen) blood vessels, and allow more blood to pass through them, giving the sensation of the ‘pump’.

Researchers in Cartagena, Spain, tested watermelon juice as a pre-workout drink, measuring soreness post-workout. After drinking half a litre of watermelon juice or a placebo, test subjects were put to a max-effort cycling test for an hour. Those drinking straight watermelon juice, or watermelon juice with added citrulline had significantly lower muscle soreness 24 hours after the session, compared to placebo. There wasn’t much of a difference in results from straight watermelon juice vs watermelon juice with added citrulline.

Want to recreate the results at home? You can blend the fruit from watermelon in a blender and drink 500ml before your workouts for the 1.1g of l-citrulline. Or you can supplement with a citrulline powder.

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