Stahn, A., & Terblanche, E. (2009). Effects of whey protein supplementation with and without Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on fat free mass and muscle strength after a 12-week resistance training program. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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"Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) has been reported to have anti-catabolic effects, thus enhancing gains in both muscle strength and lean tissue mass during resistance training. It is less clear, however, whether HMB promotes additional benefits when combined with a sufficient protein and carbohydrate supplementation."

This study investigated the independent effects of HMB and a protein-carbohydrate diet on fat free mass and muscle strength after a periodized 12-week whole-body resistance training program. Healthy young men (N = 16) with less than six months weight training experience were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to either a control group or treatment group with no significant mean differences in fat free mass and 1-repetition maximums (1RM). In addition to 40 grams of carbohydrates which were administered orally immediately following the termination of each exercise bout, both groups ingested 30 grams of whey protein in the morning on non-training days and one hour before and after each training session. Three times daily, the treatment group received 1 gram of HMB and the control group received a placebo. After a 2-week familiarization period, Ss trained four times per week using an upper/lower body split routine employing exercises of three to four sets at an intensity that varied between 10-RM and 6-RM. Outcome measures included whole-body fat free mass determined by skinfold measurements, upper arm and thigh muscle cross-sectional area determined by magnetic resonance imaging, and muscle strength determined by bench press and leg press.

Both groups improved over time in all measures but there was no difference between groups. There was no interaction between time and group.

Implication. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation adds no benefit to a sufficient protein-carbohydrate diet.

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