Woman working out at the gym

Is HMB Good for Bodybuilding?

Going to the gym takes hard work and dedication, especially if your goal is to gain and sustain muscle. Those who are committed to fitness, such as bodybuilders, need to adhere to a high calorie diet and supplement with nutrients that they might not get from food alone.

And when it comes to a supplement routine that supports your fitness goals, protein powder is not the only must-have on your list. It's time to meet your new bodybuilding BFF, HMB.

What is HMB?

Avocado on the counter and smashed into guacamole

The word beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate is a mouthful, which is why this compound is more commonly called HMB. HMB is a compound that your body naturally produces when it breaks down the amino acid leucine. And even if you've never heard of HMB, undoubtably, you've eaten foods that contain leucine or small amounts of HMB: dairy products, beef and poultry are all protein powerhouses that contain leucine that your body can convert to HMB. For those adhering to a vegan or vegetarian diet, plant-based proteins like lentils and soybeans are good sources of leucine, and avocado, cauliflower and grapefruit contain small amounts of HMB as well.

Getting HMB through diet alone isn't easy though; you would need to eat over 600 grams per day of high-quality protein to get just a few grams of HMB! Those with even the healthiest diets struggle to get enough HMB, so supporting with supplements is crucial, especially when it comes to keeping your muscles healthy and strong.

Is HMB good for you?

Man drinking a protein shake after a tough workout

HMB is a naturally occurring compound in your body. You should reach out to your doctor if you're unsure whether this nutrient is right for you. It is also important to follow the dosage instructions on the label and strictly adhere to the recommended amount per serving.

When it comes to how you incorporate HMB into your wellness routine, the choice is yours whether you want to consume this supplement orally as a powder (best mixed with a protein shake or beverage) or as a capsule. Either option will provide you with the HMB your body is likely not receiving from diet alone.

When should I take HMB?

Stretching and taking HMB before a workout

If gaining strength and building muscle is your goal, incorporating HMB prior to your "pump" is the way to go for maximum benefits. For optimal results, it is suggested to take HMB 30-60 minutes prior to your workout, as that gives your body plenty of time to absorb enough HMB to do its job while you lift weights, and also may support recovery.

If you're not working out, the time of day you take HMB does not matter, but you should still supplement on rest days as consistency is key to seeing the best results.

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Does HMB support against age-related muscle loss?

Woman lifting heavy weights

Every time you move, thank your muscles. Our muscles support our body in ways we don't even think about, for everyday tasks that we do that provide us strength, energy and help with balance and posture. As you age, your muscles start to lose mass due to various factors; one reason is because your body no longer synthesizes protein as well as it once did in your youth. This age-related muscle loss starts to creep in after the age of 50.

Good news though: your muscles don't have to go away after turning the big 5-0. In fact, if gains in the gym after 50 are what you are after, then HMB is not only an essential supplement for your fitness routine, but a must have. Incorporating 3 grams of HMB per day may promote lean muscle mass from your sweat session and ultimately support against age related muscle loss.

What else should I take besides HMB?

Measuring food on a scale to determine nutritional value

HMB is only one of many building blocks in your fitness routine if your goal is to go hard at the gym. The foods you eat are critical, and any supplementation should be focused on providing nutrition you can't receive from food alone. To support muscle strength, you need to be eating more calories than your body consumes in a day. Any less, and you will be losing muscle rather than gaining.

Make sure to eat adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats and pay attention to nutrition labels. Track what you eat throughout the day and make sure that you are hitting your unique macronutrient goals (for most that is: 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fats).

Post workout, you should supplement with a protein rich shake or smoothie that will help support post exercise muscle recovery. Creatine is also a gym bag essential and helps your muscles recover at a faster rate so you can hit the gym day after day with minimal discomfort from the days prior.

Where can I buy HMB?

HMB is conveniently available online, at LifeExtension.com, as part of the Wellness Code® Muscle Strength & Restore Formula, which also includes a potent dose of vitamin D. Whenever you buy a supplement, choose one that is third party tested and certified for the highest quality.

About the Author: Andrew Davis is a graduate of Pace University NYC with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He has more than a decade's worth of experience in content and social media in the health and wellness space. An avid traveler, Andrew also has volunteered as an English teacher and humanitarian in countries throughout Asia.


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