Muscle building is my passion. If you are interested in proven facts about muscle building science you will be happy to hear this. Studies on CLA and its gain muscle mass effect have been overlooked by the majority "experts" in bodybuilding communities. However, its results are very relevant to all athletes, for a number of reasons.
I do not want to analyze them right now (I'll come to that in few minutes). Point I want to make clear is that "conjugated linoleic acid" (CLA) is very beneficial for all people who are serious about muscular development. On first place, I speak about the study which is one of very few that has examined the effects of CLA supplementation incorporated with organized training program.
Also, it utilized a group of resistance-trained participants. Using this protocol, the results obtained were remarkable. But even more surprising were conclusions of the published manuscript. Let me give you a brief rundown of the study and results so you can exactly see what did you missed until now.
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of CLA supplementation on athletes undergoing resistance training program on strength gains, body composition and markers of muscle catabolism (breakdown). 79% participants were randomized to receive CLA (5 grams per day) or placebo for 9 weeks while training 3 days per week. Seventeen of the subjects then crossed over to the opposite group for an additional 9 weeks. All detailed test were completed before, and then at 9 and 18 weeks.
The major results came up after the first 9 weeks, the group given CLA demonstrated a significantly greater increase in lean mass (+1.4 / +0.2 kg) and a much bigger reduction in fat mass (-0.8 / +0.4 kg) compared to the placebo group. The group given CLA also showed a tiny but significant reduction in 3MH (a marker of muscle protein breakdown) in comparison to treatment with the placebo.
Additionally, the male athletes who were taking CLA demonstrated significantly greater gains in bench press strength. That same effect happened in the second crossover part, CLA again showed a significant impact on 3MH and muscle catabolism.
Based on the findings, supplementation with CLA during resistance training clearly resulted in a significantly better improvement in body composition. CLA also clearly reduces the catabolic effect of training on muscle protein. This explains better gains in lean (muscle) mass obtained from CLA. However, I already pointed that these revolutionary findings have been ignored by most bodybuilding journalists.
This is probably because of the conclusions similar to one made by the authors of this study. In the published manuscript the author's conclusions of the findings were quite different - subdued to say the least. Within the discussion section of this paper, the researchers concluded "...although the results were statistically significant, the changes in the CLA group were small, and one could question their clinical significance."
I was shocked by these comments, to say a least. Therefore I went through all the results again. The data was as clear as black and white. Let us conclude:
The group given CLA showed gain in lean mass that was 7 times bigger compared to placebo-treated group. Yes, 700% greater! Can you imagine? Whereas the placebo group gained almost half a kilogram of body fat, the CLA group lost almost a kilogram (2 pounds) of pure body fat.
These differences were apparent after just nine weeks! The bottom line is, you hardly can have better results from these ones.
Now, despite facts the scientists suggested that these results are "of little relevance". How did they come to this conclusion I can not even start to imagine. Anybody can see the relevance and importance of these study results. A seven-fold greater gain in lean mass and a loss of almost one kilogram of body fat in 9 weeks is darn relevant.
I'm sure that virtually any bodybuilder would agree with me. Off course we all need powerful exercise program in order to build up lean muscle. We make the things happen right there in the gym, sure we do.
You can read and see hard rock facts about this from "how to gain muscle mass" report and video's. However, I steel wonder how anybody can neglect facts like this. I'm sure you can decide for your self whether or not a 700% better gain in muscle mass combined with a one kilogram loss of body fat in just 9 weeks is "relevant" to you.
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