In case you didn’t know, the supplement HMB (beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate) has been around for a long time, and let’s just say it’s had a rocky relationship with researchers and thus gym-goers. HMB was a red hot product in the 1990s, but then it fell on hard times after a few studies questioned its efficacy for fit/trained individuals, which gave it a reputation as a supplement useful only for beginners. But here’s the thing with the aforementioned studies: They were generally fraught with problems in research design, where workout programs weren’t intense enough and/or HMB doses not high enough to promote gains.
Well, a pair of new studies should rekindle your excitement for HMB as a potent supplement that quickly builds aerobic fitness, strength and muscularity. In a recent clinical trial published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers from University of Central Florida tested the efficacy of HMB supplementation for boosting the effect of high-intensity interval-training (HIIT) in fit and active male and female subjects. They reported that after only four weeks of training, subjects who took HMB raised their VO2 peak (a measure of aerobic fitness) levels by an average of around 5% – a remarkable result considering the subjects had relatively high levels of aerobic fitness to begin with.
In another study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, scientists from University of Tampa (Florida) tested the effects of HMB supplementation in combination with a 12-week periodized resistance-training program in well-trained men. They reported that those who took HMB saw greater gains in overall body mass, lean body mass, strength and power, as well as bigger drops in body fat, compared to those who took a placebo. The HMB subjects also had significantly lower levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol and greater perceptions of recovery between training bouts.