Supplements for recovery and weight loss overlap but have distinct goals.
Today we’re going to talk about what these supplements can do for you and what you should look for when it comes to good recovery/weight loss. We’ll separate the two for now, before talking about great synergist supplements later.
Weight Loss Supplements
A weight loss supplement isn’t just about burning up more calories or bringing down your weight when you step on the scale. It’s got two key functions that you need to look at to determine if it’s going to be useful:
- Does it improve the rate of weight loss?
- Does it improve body composition? Is it burning fat or muscle?
These are the two keys. It’s easy to lose weight, it’s harder to lose weight in a way that maximizes fat loss and minimizes muscle loss. With regular exercise it’s possible to lose up to 50% of the weight from muscle mass – which isn’t going to produce the physique or performance you want.
A good weight loss supplement must provide support for this. It should minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss, as well as supporting the overall weight loss rate.
Here are some things you might want to look for in a good weight loss supplement…
Protein intake is one of the key factors in both recovery and weight loss. It supports muscle tissue and ensures that fat tissues are being used up for energy instead. This prevents muscle breakdown and repairs muscle damage.
This isn’t the kind of ingredient you’re likely to see in most weight loss or recovery supplements: protein shakes are their own thing. The importance of protein is primarily in the form of diet and shakes, so a weight loss supplement may rely more heavily on BCAAs like Leucine.
Talking of Leucine and its metabolite HMB…
This is a form of Leucine metabolite that is roughly 50 times more powerful than Leucine for preventing muscle damage/loss. It’s a great supplement for weight loss since it helps to ensure that you’re burning up fat rather than cannibalizing muscle for energy.
Weight loss supplements with HMB also overlap with recovery since the muscle damage is reduced. The Leucine/HMB role is to support muscle protein signaling and to initiate repair when muscle cells are damaged.
As a compound that overlaps between muscular recovery and metabolic efficiency, we like HMB a lot. This is why the Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner has taken our top spot as one of the very few clean label, premium products with a HMB focus on the market.
We particularly like its support for fasted training.
This compound can do a lot for your goals with very little dosage and it’s great to see it getting more attention!
Creatine for Weight Loss
Creatine also has an interesting role in both weight loss and muscular recovery. As with HMB, it has significant benefits for muscle cells while dieting – and produces a better fat loss profile.
The point of creatine is to support muscle cell energetics. ATP is the power-supply for muscles and creatine levels help maintain optimal ATP stores in the muscle. When dieting, this combats local energy deficiency – improving performance in workouts and reducing muscle loss.
The benefits of creatine also extend to health concerns since it is directly antioxidant in a big way and even combats some damaging metabolic by-products.
While creatine is usually taken for strength-endurance and muscle gains, it has a variety of benefits and you should be aware of as many as possible. It’s a versatile supplement for weight loss as well as muscular recovery and better overall results.
Long story short, take your creatine! We’ll talk about where to get it with some synergists in a bit…
Thermogenics: Cayenne, EGCG, etc.
There aren’t many compounds that directly contribute to fat loss – but the ones that we know about are pretty cool. There are some – called thermogenics – that increase fat loss and body temperature slightly. Equally, there are compounds that make the processes around fat loss more efficient.
Cayenne pepper’s active ingredient – capsaicin – is a thermogenic compound. It’s also a powerful antioxidant which makes it a great cornerstone in an effective fat burner/weight loss supplement. It produces better health results by protecting cells and contributes to better overall weight loss.
EGCG – by total contrast – is found in green tea. It’s a type of catechin that is potently antioxidant but also a key player in the fat breakdown process. It contributes directly to catecholamine function and the fat-oxidation process.
These are radically different compounds but they both provide significant benefits. They can be used together, but you’ll find a lot of products use one or the other. Either of these are great – Capsaicin is better in pre-workouts with caffeine or in strong fat burners (Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner mentioned above also contains cayenne pepper extract), while EGCG is great in a recovery and weight loss product.
Onto the second part of this article… Recovery supplements (designed to help you recover after exercise) have to deal with the challenges of the muscles, tendons, metabolism, and the chemical status of the muscles. The processes surrounding recovery from exercise are complicated and a lot goes into taking care of your body.
They take a wide range of approaches, accordingly. However, there are some keystone compounds that are going to be useful when you’re trying to maximize recovery and – thus – progress!
As with weight loss, protein intake is important because it supports your body at every level. Metabolic and muscular changes are the most popular, because protein helps to replace/grow muscle tissues and support the burning of fat rather than muscle.
Equally, however, proteins are key for supporting the health of tendons and other connective tissues. As before, Leucine is one of the keys here: it signals for muscular growth but is also important in the tissues of the tendon where Leucine-rich tissues are crucial.
Protein produces better collagen synthesis (especially when combined with vitamin C), and Leucine intake supports the rest. A combination of a high-protein diet, from protein shakes and food, with a leucine-rich focus (from BCAAs or Leucine specifically) can contribute a lot.
There’s more to recovery than muscles and an effective protein intake is going to cover all your bases.
Creatine and rehydration
Creatine is a great recovery aid. Not only does it boost the ATP levels in muscle cells that we discussed above, but it’s a powerful osmolyte, increasing the hydration of muscle cells themselves.
This is important because – aside from improving the metabolic health of muscles and keeping them from damage – it may improve muscular gains. The hydration of cells improves their overall volume and we know that cell volume is one of the key players in the process for muscle protein production.
This is even more important if you’re using this kind of product on a weight-loss diet. Deficiency in creatine levels during a calorie-restricted diet could seriously limit your muscular recovery/energetics. This would mean exaggerated muscle damage and loss after exercise.
The combination of creatine and Pink salt/coconut water crystals in another of our favorite products, Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout, is a great example of this. The benefits of combining creatine with other osmolytes is better cellular volume/hydration and better uptake of creatine into muscle cells.
Synergists are quality and getting your creatine in a post-workout product is great for overall health and recovery.
While they’re usually not a form of recovery supplement – other than post-workout or mass gainers – carbohydrates are key. They support the recovery process whether they come from ramen noodles or high-quality wholegrains.
The carbohydrate availability in the body is a key factor for the muscle building process called mTOR. Carb restriction has shown to really inhibit this process – and even more so when you’re performing energy-intensive workouts.
If you’re doing intense exercise, you should be intense about your nutrition. Carbs should probably just come as food – or in combination with BCAAs during your workout – but they should be combined with the compounds we’ve talked about here.
These are the salts that are involved in muscular contraction. They sound fancy but it’s just the name for key minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. These are the crucial compounds and any of them will help – but the more the merrier.
They also improve muscular hydration, which is great, since electrolytes are lost during workouts and replenishing them can combat cramping. On top of that, you’ll be able to perform better for longer if you’re at optimal electrolyte balance since it’s a factor in fatigue and endurance.
As we mentioned above regarding SPORT Pre, compounds like Himalayan salt and coconut water (and its powder) contribute to these effects. Pomegranate extract and Citrulline are also cool for improving nutrient delivery and hydration.
Good recovery and supporting muscle maintenance during a weight loss diet are the benefits of good electrolyte supplementation. A quality product that is either weight loss or recovery-focused should include proper salt content for the best results.
Where Do Weight Loss and Recovery Supplements Overlap?
Protein / Amines
Protein and the BCAAs are key, whatever your goals. They provide support to tons of tissues from the muscles to the tendons, support metabolic wellbeing, and even regulate digestive health. Get your protein in.
Protein shakes are a standard approach to both recovery and weight loss for both these reasons.
Leucine / HMB
BCAA supplements make most sense in combination with intra-workout carbs but there’s never a bad time for proper amino acid support.
HMB supplementation is specifically useful for weight loss but also comes with muscular damage support. There are significant benefits to both recovery and weight loss – and they overlap perfectly.
You can get Leucine in BCAAs, but HMB is usually found in specific weight loss products like the Performance Lab Fat Burner. HMB is less common so you’re probably going to need to look out for it.
The overlap between recovery and weight loss with creatine is significant – and it’s a perfect supplement for nearly everyone. The combination of diet challenging your muscular energy and recovery demands after exercise make it a perfect weight loss and recovery supplement.
The benefits of Creatine extend way beyond the normal performance-boosting benefits, but those are pretty great, too.
As we mentioned, Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout contains 1,750mg of creatine, alongside 1,200mg of CarnoSyn® beta-alanine. Beta-alanine helps to buffer lactic acid in the muscles, and is also thought to help with muscle contraction, muscle recovery and healing. Ideal for a recovery supplement.
Also included are potassium, Himalayan Pink salt for your electrolytes, Pomegranate extract and L-Glutamine, shown to reduce muscle soreness and aid recovery after intense exercise.
For all of these reasons as well it’s super clean formula – no GMO, allergens, soy, gluten or artificial additives, plus being 100% vegan and GMP certified in an FDA-approved lab – we recommend Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout as one of our favorite recovery supplements.
They’re underrated but they’re important. Electrolyte support is one of the areas of nutrition that your average joe doesn’t pay attention to. That makes it an easy place to make progress and improve results.
Getting electrolytes could involve a weight loss or recovery supplement that provides them. Equally, however, you can just add Himalayan pink salt or sea salt to your regular BCAA/Carb supplement or similar.
There are benefits to both weight loss and recovery supplements, but some of the best supplement ingredients cover both. Products like Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner contribute to muscular recovery and spares them during a weight loss diet, for instance.
Equally, a high-quality protein source and a post-workout such as the one also from Performance Lab contribute to maximum recovery and fat loss when dieting. The best products produce the best results, and these are the best types of recovery and weight-loss supplements/ingredients.
If you invest in both of these categories, you’re giving yourself the best setup for amazing results. Recovery and weight loss are two sides of the same coin when you’re dieting, and you need to give your muscles and metabolism the best chance to get you lean while maintaining muscle.
Follow our advice from this article and you’re off to a great start!