HMB is a perfect partner for fasted cardio.
If that’s all you wanted to know, now you know. However, if you read on, we’re going to discuss what HMB can do for your diet, cardio performance, and physique. We’re also going to discuss the Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner and why it exemplifies the finer points of a good supplement.
If you’re interested in HMB and what to look for on the market, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get stuck into the interesting stuff!
Why Perform Fasted Cardio?
So, why are you doing fasted cardio?
The main reason most people use fasted cardio is because it increases the utilization of fat as opposed to dietary carbohydrates. This is a key method for improving your ability to run on fats, as well as being some people’s preferred way of losing fat.
There’s no direct weight-loss benefit to fasted cardio (fats and carbs both produce short- and long-term energy stores), but it does have uses for better endurance training and long-term wellbeing.
These come from metabolic flexibility: your body’s ability to perform efficiently with both carbohydrates and fats as the main fuel source. This is a benefit to endurance (helping you perform better at lower intensities) and can improve how well you age (especially when it comes to brain health).
However, the problem is that this fasted state also signals for energy-scarcity in the body. This can rapidly cause you to go catabolic and break down muscle tissue to provide energy/amino acids.
Obviously, this is a bad thing (muscle is good for metabolism, performance, and appearance). This is where HMB becomes relevant…
What is HMB?
HMB is an incredibly potent metabolite of the essential, branched-chain amino acid Leucine. It’s roughly 20x more powerful for its effects, which are the preservation of muscle tissue during a calorie deficit.
This is important because HMB will do two things that you really want when you’re at a calorie deficit:
- Shift the focus away from the breakdown of muscles, preserving hard-earned muscle mass
- Increase the likelihood of burning fat and liver-glycogen for fuel
This adds up to increased long-term muscle maintenance while also pushing you towards burning up the things you want to use for energy. This can make for a similar amount of weight loss, but a better physique with better performance as a result.
There are also some other interesting benefits associated with HMB that are less important for this article, but still great for you. The most relevant is reducing muscle damage from exercise – which is key to proper post-workout recovery and session-to-session performance.
There are also some suggestion that HMB can help reduce fat mass when combined with proper exercise, but this is unconfirmed. On top of this, it may reduce “bad cholesterol” and improve blood glucose in the right conditions.
How do HMB & Cardio work together?
So, what are the benefits of taking HMB for your fasted cardio?
The clearest and most obvious point of combining the two is that HMB can help reduce the risk of muscle-loss that is associated with fasted cardio. The overall lack of carb-availability during true fasted cardio can be a risk to muscle mass, but HMB provides significant protection.
The likelihood of losing muscle mass while taking HMB is much lower, even during fasted cardio where AMPK levels are high. This would usually cause muscle catabolism, but by taking HMB and ensuring proper overall protein levels in the diet, you can boost endurance performance and protect yourself more effectively,
This also means better performance over time, from the combination of better muscle mass, muscular recovery, and metabolic flexibility. In this sense, HMB is great for short-term changes but also plays into a better long-term trajectory for your goals.
By protecting muscle mass and shifting your body towards burning fat (especially during a fasted state), you can get the very best from fasted cardio.
We also recommend combining this with resistance training, which has been proven to be one of the most effective methods of sparing muscle. Studies show that it’s possible to spare – and even build – muscle during a calorie deficit with proper diet and resistance exercise management.
Clearly, dieting smart – including the use of anti-catabolic supplements like HMB – can make a significant difference to your results at the aesthetic and performance levels!
What should you look for in an HMB product?
There are a few key things to look out for when getting an HMB powder or supplement with HMB for your own training. These range from purity and availability to the other compounds its bundled with and how they work together.
We’re using Performance Lab’s SPORT Fat Burner as our good example because it sets the standard on a number of these areas.
However, we always recommend researching for yourself and using these standards for a better understanding of what is going to be worth your money.
Quality and Availability
The first and most important concept is the quality of the compound. HMB is a simple but effective compound, which means that what is going to matter most is the availability of what you’re taking and the quality of the product.
Performance Lab approach prioritizes nature-identical nutrients. These are produced in as close a way as possible to nutrients from foods, but obviously at a much more concentrated dose without the extra calories. This makes for excellent digestibility and bioavailability – a key to overall quality.
The combination with Piperine – a pepper extract – is also key for availability. This increases absorption through the gut and improves the effects of every mg of HMB and other ingredients. This is an easy way to improve quality without taking in huge doses.
Good brands make good, reliable products. It’s a two-way process where the product says a lot about the brand, but you can also rely on the brand name to guarantee a quality product.
There are a few ways this works – from proper FDA certification to a long-standing scandal-free history in the market. These are significant because of the opt-in nature of the supplement market.
Fortunately, Performance Lab and their parent Opti-Nutra possess an FDA certification for good manufacturing processes. This is the kind of assurance you should look for in all your supplements wherever possible – as the FDA certs provide peace of mind that you’re not getting contaminated goods.
A Clean Label
With the assurances of a good product we mentioned above, it’s always nice to see a pro-active approach to consumer wellbeing. This means a ‘clean label’ product that is transparent, actively concerned with your health, and avoids unnecessary/filler products.
Performance Lab approach to their supplements is exemplary for this. There’s a ‘no proprietary blends’ ethos, as well as being totally vegan, free from common allergens, GMOs, soy, and most other compounds you might be concerned about.
It’s a matter of making the product as appropriate as possible for as many people as possible. Obviously, there are some fringe cases, but this approach is a great way to make sure you’re getting what’s on the bottle, you know exactly what’s in your supplements, and you can avoid illicit/nasty surprises!
This one is a matter of personal preference for most of us, but for some people it’s not that simple.
Many fat burners lean heavily on stimulants like caffeine, theobromine, and others to increase heart rate and thus metabolism. The problem is that this can be injurious if you have heart problems or are not monitoring your overall stimulant load.
The Performance Lab approach – which is becoming more common and popular – is to provide a stimulant-free fat burner supplement. This means you can control your caffeine intake but still get the same nutritional support from HMB and other compounds to support your performance/fat loss.
Secondary Ingredients and Synergy
Some nutrients work better together than they would if you took them separately. These are called synergistic compounds – and a good supplement makes the most of them to provide the best results.
The example of piperine with HMB is one we’ve already mentioned. However, you’ll also see benefits from the inclusion of compounds like Forskolin and Cayenne Pepper in the SPORT Fat Burner.
Cayenne extract (capsaicin) is a metabolic support compound that can increase calorie usage. It’s also specifically useful for oxidizing fat, especially when combined with HMB. Forskolin is also useful for increasing triglyceride metabolism to support fat oxidation, a great addition.
The clear picture is that these compounds work together to support the main goal of burning more fat and less muscle.
This is what makes the Performance Lab product our favorite, but this synergistic approach should always be near the top of your priority list in any supplement.
If you’re interested, you can buy Performance Lab Fat Burner here: https://www.performancelab.com/collections/sport-range/products/fat-burner
How should you use HMB?
HMB is affected by what you take it with and the timing relative to your workouts. Obviously, if you’re performing fasted cardio then you’re likely to be taking HMB without other food, so it will absorb rapidly.
We recommend taking HMB with water and electrolytes 30-45 minutes before your workout. HMB takes around this long to reach maximum effect in the bloodstream, while electrolytes (such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium) support muscle action.
This combination will provide amazing support to muscular performance/health, while also reducing muscular damage. These are key changes for getting the most from any cardio, but specifically fasted cardio where these risks are greater.
When feeding before cardio, the alternative is to take HMB with carbohydrates and electrolytes to support performance and muscular maintenance/growth.
HMB for Fasted Cardio: Final thoughts
There are very few better combinations than HMB and fasted cardio. It’s a great mutually-beneficial setup where you minimize the risks of being fasted while boosting the benefits of both compounds.
They work best in the context of a mixed training routine with cardio and resistance, as well as with a high protein diet, however.
Getting all the pieces in place is key to getting the best results. Ahis is just one of the great compounds you’ll get from Performance Lab’s Fat Burner supplement.
This kind of product is a good example of what to look for in a fat burner: not just promoting fat-burning, but also preserving muscle mass and reducing overall muscle damage. These are some of the less-considered aspects of good weight-loss, and the SPORT range from Performance Lab is clearly conscious of them.
Overall, we love HMB for fasted cardio, where it maximizes the benefits and reduces the risks.
This is exactly what you should be doing in your diet and training wherever possible! This is an easy switch that can make those tough morning sessions pay off in amazing ways!