Cutting fat and gaining muscle is a process known as body re-composition.
It’s the perfect balance of nutrition and exercise that leads to an athlete seeing marked improvements in strength and physique, whilst burning away unwanted fat. We’re looking at the best supplements to cut fat and gain muscle, ones that can really make or break your chances at achieving body recomposition.
We’re not talking general fat burner supplements as they don’t do much for muscle, but what we want to do is look at products that will benefit muscle, not just cut away fat. As such, conventional ‘fat burners’ you see touted aren’t on this list. Instead we’ve looked at the products which are more designed for athletes, and so are grounded in a bit of science.
Who Should Use Supplements for Retaining Muscle and Losing Fat
Remember, in order to effectively cut unwanted fat and keep hold of muscle and strength, you need to be ensuring you are eating a good amount of protein and activating muscle groups twice a week.
If you’re not training and eating well, then don’t buy these products. You need to get your training and diet on point and then come back and use these supplements. They’re not a shortcut, they’re a way to speed up progress!
Naturally Occurring Ingredients to Cut Fat and Keep Muscle:
- Chromium Picolante – An insulin regulating mineral, helping your body stop storing excess fat. Chromium could also help reduce your appetite and provide you extra energy.
- Calcium HMB – An exciting ingredient known for its ability to help athletes preserve muscle mass. HMB or Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate boosts protein synthesis and can reduce the breakdown of muscle during fasted workout sessions.
- Coleus Forskholii- This ingredient has the potential to signal the breakdown of fat by aiding a release of kinase. Coleus Forskholii also plays a key role in hormone signalling, which can promote healthy and balanced testosterone (for muscle) and thyroid (for weight) hormones.
- Green Tea – Green tea isn’t just packed with antioxidants, but also with fat burning catechins, which make the extract an amazing tool for a fat burner. Some studies have even found green tea can boost metabolic rate by as much as 35%. 
- Teacrine – Very similar to caffeine, except with an added ability to help alleviate some physical symptoms of a hard gym session. Reducing pain and swelling. Teacrine also gives you a clean jitter free boost and can help increase metabolic rate.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is a fool proof ingredient in a fat burner. Especially one for athletes as it can increase energy levels, improve focus and reduce hunger. Fighters Core uses caffeine to help promote a full daily calorie burn, and to make itself a complete fat burner for athletes. The dose in fighters core isn’t huge, but combined with Teacrine, these stimulants should give you more than a boost.
#1 Fighters Core – Best Supplement to Cut Fat and Gain Muscle
A product that has left behind conventional fat burners and taken an approach around muscle preservation to cut fat more efficiently. Fighters Core is an impressive formulation and has some great elements you wouldn’t find combined into a supplement for cutting fat and gaining muscle.
We’re not blown away by the brand, and it’s still new. But because of it’s novel formula and simple yet highly effective set of ingredients we’re happy to put this as #1 for muscle sparing cutting supplements.
- Caffeine and L-Theanine for Energy, focus and Performance
- Potential for muscle building and strength increases
- Metabolism Boosters that can help calorie burn
- Research Backed and Minimal Risk
- 3 capsules per serving
- Newer Product on the Market – Only available from fighterscore.com
- Premium pricing due to “adaptive formulation” (We’re not sure what this means)
- Stim content can put people off
- Need to exercise at least 3 times a week for full benefits
Fighters Core Ingredients
The formula here has a big focus on stopping your body storing more fat and actually can offer some anabolic and muscle building benefits. Not to mention the conventional effects of other fat burners, like a boosted metabolic rate and more energy.
It’s not got as bigger dose as some ingredients in Performance Lab burn, but is more suited for athletes due to the fact it uses stimulants and contains green tea to help boost antioxidants and performance.
We like nearly every element of this formula, and it is one of the best fat burners for bodybuilders in our eyes.
#2 Performance Lab Burn
Performance Lab’s Burn is the second in line for best supplement to cut fat and gain muscle. Just like fighters core it contains a good blend of metabolism boosting, fat breakdown promoting herbs and minerals. The difference? It’s low stim, so if you’re looking for a bit more of a daily punch through the day, you’re better off with Fighters Core.
- Non stim, avoid energy boosts
- Muscle Sparing
- Science Based
- Big brand with other products and multi buy offers
- Smaller doses and more focused ingredients profile
- Only available direct
- Lower stim levels may be off putting for athletes
Performance Lab Burn Ingredients
Performance Lab contains some higher doses of the muscle sparing ingredients we listed above, like the HMB and Forslean. However doesn’t contain as many naturally occurring fat burning ingredients.
It’s a good formula and even includes trademarked chromium and coleus forskoholii, making it an extremely safe option.
Nutrition for Cutting Fat and Sparing Muscle
In order for these products to work, you need to make sure you have your diet locked in. Calories need to be below maintenance and you need to up your protein intake to ensure synthesis is occurring and your fueling muscles correctly.
Depending on your sport, you should ideally be looking up fairly specific information on how to make sure you land inside the golden zone of body re-composition.
Try and make sure you are running a good strength routine twice per week too. With the aim of activating as much muscle as possible.
Rough Protein Intake for Body Recomposition:
0.73 grams per llb or 1.6 g/kg of body weight
Why Some Fat Burners Can Damage Muscle and Performance
To understand why some fat burners work better than others to burn fat and spare lean muscle we need to get our science hats on. We’re keeping it fairly simple here, obviously external factors can impact this. But…
Your body has 3 ways it can get its energy, carbohydrates, fat and muscle. Normally your body will always go for carbohydrates. It’s quick and easy to break down. After this you’ll generally use up stored glucose within muscles for energy, then your body will generally choose fat for fuel.
If fat is depleted or not accessible next your body will start to break up the amino acids in your muscle, essentially breaking down your hard won muscle tissue. Not what you want if you’ve spent a long few months building it up.
As you are in a fasted state and under a calorie maintenance level when you cut fat, and generally you can end up training fasted or with low glycogen for muscles, you can experience some loss in strength and muscle loss. This is natural.
But, with the right diet and balanced amount of protein and calories you can create an environment where your body will preserve and potentially build muscle in these states.
This is where supplements that cut fat but retain muscle come in. By supplementing the right product, you’re not just increasing your energy expenditure, but you can promote your body to actually breakdown fat, before muscle, even if glycogen levels are low.
Checkout our Best Supplement to Cut Fat and Gain Muscle