Everybody is looking for that one supplement that will help them lose fat, gain muscle, or both. Well, the secret that will make or break your results has been right under your nose, it’s recovery! Now recovery is an umbrella term that represents a lot of different things, mainly:
- Sleep: This is by far the most important supplement to include in your training, in fact, it will make or break your results. In a study done where one group of participants got 8.5 hours of sleep and the other 5.5 hours of sleep, they found the group that more sleep lost 55% more fat. Not only that but the 5.5-hour group lost nearly double the muscle mass compared to the other group. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep it tries to make up for that energy loss by making you hungry, via releasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Also, by not getting enough sleep your body releases one of the most harmful hormones to your results, cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone produced when your body is stressed that makes you put on fat and lowers your testosterone and growth hormones. This is important because growth hormones and testosterone are the main hormones that help you lose fat and gain muscle.
- Stress: When you experience high levels of stress similar effects happen, specifically you release the same hormone, cortisol. One of the negatives of cortisol is also that it lowers the amount of muscle your body has. Muscle is important if you want to lose weight because the more you have, the more calories you burn. So, if cortisol lowers the amount of muscle you have and makes you gain fat it’s going to be hard to have any results from your workouts.
- Hydration: This one’s pretty simple, your body is 70% water, you can’t make a brick house without bricks. Water is going to lower your calorie intake because whenever you drink it with or before meals you’re going to end up eating less, thus suppressing your appetite. A study in 2016 found that those who had water before eating ate 22% less. That’s a whole lot of calories. Also, all your cells use water for cellular function. If you want your cells to burn fat they better have the water they need to do it. Finally, when you’re dehydrated your body releases a stress hormone that has been mentioned quite a bit, cortisol.
- Posture: The reason that posture is on this list is that poor posture places your body in poor alignment. When this happens you get aches and pains in your joints like your back, knees, and shoulders. When your body is in pain it releases a certain hormone associated with stress. Did you guess what it is? Yup, cortisol! So even being in pain by having injuries and poor posture makes weight loss or muscle gain an uphill battle.
The truth is there is no supplement that can help you lose 50% more fat or help you gain more muscle. But, you can see these results by supplementing with good sleep, stress, hydration, and posture. If you focused on only one of these things you would see far more results than any supplement could ever give you.