Getting absolutely ripped takes dedication in and out of the gym. Dropping body fat while hanging onto the precious muscle mass you want to show off is no easy feat, so you’ll need to nail everything from your workouts and nutrition to your recovery and stress management in order to make it happen.
On the nutrition side of getting shredded, there’s no avoiding the fact that everything on your plate really matters—and, according to The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brittany Michels, R.D.N., L.D.N., C.P.T., packing in the protein and fiber should be top priority. “Ensuring adequate protein and fiber consumption supports shredding goals by balancing blood sugar levels, minimizing crashes, and improving satiety,” she explains. More of these important nutrients means fewer cravings, well-fueled muscles, and an easier time managing portions.
That said, the right supplement regimen can also be massively supportive of your quest for barely-there body fat. Whether you’re considering upgrading your routine or creating one for the first time, the following supplements are experts’ top picks for people hustling to get shredded.
1. Green Tea Extract
Epigallocatechin gallate (a.k.a. EGCG) is a flavonoid found in green tea that may help speed up metabolism and trigger the breakdown of fat molecules, according to Michels. In fact, research suggests just 300 milligrams of EGCG has a notable impact on metabolism—and that it may ultimately influence body fat mass. Since you’d have to drink a heckuva lot of green tea to rack up that much EGCG, taking it in supplement form can be a convenient way to reap its metabolic benefits, Michels suggests.
Her recommendations: The Vitamin Shoppe brand Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract, which is standardized to 45 percent EGCG and provides 337 milligrams, and plnt brand Green Tea supplement, which is standardized to 45 percent EGCG and provides 125 milligrams of the antioxidant.
Sometimes referred to as just “carnitine,” l-carnitine is an amino acid that’s become a household name for its role in supporting fat metabolism and weight management, according to Michels. How does it work this magic, you ask? Well, it’s got the important job of transporting fats into mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles found in our cells. This means that having enough carnitine in your body is a non-negotiable if you want to turn fats into energy as efficiently as possible (and that’s something you definitely want if you’re currently working on getting ripped).
If you’re wondering whether one measly amino acid can make a difference, the proof is in the pudding: Studies have linked carnitine to greater use of fat for energy during exercise and increased overall energy expenditure (a.k.a. calorie burn).
BodyTech’s L-Carnitine 3,000 contains 3,000 milligrams of l-carnitine in Candy Punch or Peach Mango flavor.
3. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
A fatty acid found in meat, dairy, and sunflower oil, CLA might seem like an unlikely candidate for helping you shed fat. After all, it’s a fat itself! What’s unique about CLA, though, is that it signals genes in the body to turn off fat storage and turn on the burn, which means it really can support your efforts to get ripped. Michel’s recommendation: The Vitamin Shoppe brand Tonalin CLA, which you can take alongside meals to support body fat reduction and enhance lean mass.
Since the point of supplements is to supplement your lifestyle (groundbreaking concept, we know), remember to think of these options as supporting players in your overall game plan, not replacements for the right training program, a nutritious and balanced diet, and plenty of rest and recovery. If you want to get shredded but are not seeing the results you’re after, consider meeting with a nutritionist to iron out an eating plan that meets your needs, checking in with a certified trainer to make sure your workouts are really working for you, and incorporating more self-care into your daily routine.