T Nation

eca eats muscle?


For some reason I have the idea that a ECA stack type fat burner has the ability or can create muscle loss. If this is so? what exactly is the ingredient that can cause such havoc? Any thoughts opinions are welcomed....

Da Boxer


ECA's diuretic, so it's possible that it can have the opposite effect of creatine towards muscle preservation during exercise


I think what you have in your head is opposite.

One of the reasons it is believed that the ECA stack works so well is because it is actually muscle sparing.


Caffeine leads to increased cortisol secretion by the adrenal cortex (as well as other catecholamines).

Cortisol works to maintain plasma blood glucose via:

1) gluconeogenesis
2) stimulating FFA mobilization from adipose tissue
3) stimulating liver enzymes in the glucose synthesis metabolic pathway
4) blocking glucose entry into tissues (leading to increased reliance on FFA in the tissues).

As you can see, caffeine is somewhat of a double-edged sword; it'll amp you up and burn more fat, but you'll also deal with increased cortisol secretion and reduced insulin sensitivity. That said, as long as the cortisol secretion is not in excess, the benefits will usually outweigh the downsides.

Make sense?


Makes tons of sense. Eric what a great post, thanks for the help.

This is the first time that Im really interested in using a thermo for more than just preworkout stimulation. It's too bad all the thermo's out there are based of caffeine mostly.

Hot Rox is cool and sounds good. I was hoping to make my own and skip the muscle eater while doing so. Caffeine is a favorite of mine too(coffee, mountain dew, green tea, chocolate).

Thanks again fellas,
Da Boxer


not so much the E, but the C. Caffeine stimulates Cyclic AMP which is good for fat loss but it is also a potent cellular diuretic which is not good for anabolism and a dehydrated cell is the exact opposite of what one would want for anabolism. It will also do what Eric Cressey was referring to and so will the E, but the E actually seems to be protein sparing and is an excellent nutrient partitioner. My advice? Go easy on the caffeine but use the ephedrine.


Kelly, what E:C ratio do you recommend? I used to take 200mg C and 24mg E, but dropped the C to 100mg, and found I get a better workout in (ie. I have a clearer mind)


I'd recommend 50-100 mg caffeine per dose of ephedrine. Most people can easily take this in just through their normal caffeine consumption throughout the day. coffee, tea, diet soda etc.