HMB has been referred to as “the best supplement ever” to “the biggest waste of money” but who knows what to believe these days. Being skeptical of the supplement myself I decided to do a trial with Blonyx HMB during my latest training cycle. But before I give you my personal opinion on this supplement here is some facts that will explain HMB a little better for you.
HMB or β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate is formed for metabolism when the body breaks down the essential amino acid leucine and is then used for muscle repair. HMB is taken to help muscle breakdown during strenuous exercise by signalling muscle cells to preserve muscle the existing muscle, thereby promoting additional muscle growth and faster muscle development and recovery. Now don’t go thinking that by taking HMB all your soreness and that ragged feeling after training is going to magically disappear. Keep in mind that a supplement is simply that — it SUPPLEMENTS. It only helps in certain processes and does not do all the work on it’s own. Studies show HMB to be most effective in explosive sports such as weightlifting, volleyball, or football. But the effects of HMB supplementation have also been show to improve overall muscular endurance and size. It has also been show to promote lean mass while decreasing fat. Studies have also shown it to promote other health benefits such as wound healing and lower “bad” cholesterol levels. Keep in mind this is a supplement and it will only aide in these functions and not dramatically increase or decrease these things one way or another. In order to experience the effects of HMB supplementation you should take at least 3.0 grams a day. As with creatine and other supplements that the body derives from amino acids your body can create small amounts of HMB on it’s own. But since the amount it synthesizes from leucine is so small, it is easier to supplement with HMB itself rather than adding more leucine to your supplement regiment. The biggest thing for me that I like about this supplement is that unlike others substances, HMB is not time sensitive. This means you can take it at any point in the day and it will be ready for use after your workout. For busy people this is a good thing. But the effectiveness of HMB has been shown to be greatly increased when taken with protein and amino acids (these taken right after a training session of course).
Now for my personal take on HMB: As with most supplements, I am very skeptical of their claims. I am a big advocate of eating whole foods and getting a large amount of your needed nutrients that way. I think athletes, and people in general, tend to go a little crazy with supplements and are always looking for the next magic pill. First off, there is no secret, no magic, pill, no one thing that is going to make you better. It will take a combination of hard work, consistency in both diet and training, and a supplement plan that is made to fill the holes in your to achieve what you want. But I digress, when it comes to supplements, I am a believer in this one. I took it at the beginning of a volume phase where strength was a focus of the training cycle. Not only did I notice an improvement in my recovery from session to session but I noticed an increase in my strength in a relatively short period of time. This was also the first supplement I took on a regular basis (I’m really bad with forgetting to take stuff) so take that for what it’s worth. The one exercise that really showed me the effectiveness of the supplement was the Push Press. Now for those of you who know this exercise is my bread and butter. My best to date 170 kilograms for a set of 5 repetitions. It has been some time since I got around weight but just haven’t pushed it much in order to focus on other aspects of my training. During this particular training once a week would would 6-8 sets of 3-5 repetitions and in the past these would trash my shoulders. During the HMB supplementation alongside this training phases I was able to routinely work up to 160 to 165 kilograms for multiple sets which I was never able to do before. Overall my strength in all the lifts stayed consistent during the training phase and there weren’t so many peaks and valleys like I would experience in previous training cycles. I am not the most naive person and believe that HMB was the sole cause for these changes in my training. But I do feel that the addition of HMB supplementation helped keep my training and progress consistent throughout this phase. I think for the most effectiveness with supplementation HMB and creatine taken together can be great for strength gains and recovery. So in the end I am a fan of HMB and would recommend it’s use to other strength athletes looking for consistency in their day to day training.
The bottom line and purpose for taking HMB is to recover faster. We all want to be able to push ourselves to the limit each and every workout so finding the supplements that will help you do this on a consistent basis are key. HMB is more suited for explosive/strength athletes rather than endurance athletes but can be effective for both groups. Try HMB out for yourself and see if it makes a difference in your training program.