Long Term Review of Clear Muscle: How HMB-FA Works On Hard Gainers

Transparency Disclaimer:

This review will be similar to other supplement reviews on Skinny Yoked in a few of the following ways.

  1. We’re giving you the no bullsh*t down-low on the product. SY isn’t sponsored by Muscletech and we don’t know much about science either. We do know about bodybuilding and training our asses off, so an results reported are legit.
  2. We’ll include both what we like and what we dislike about the product. No 100% sunny sales posts here, even though we do link to the stuff on Amazon when we like it in case readers want to check it out.
  3. The review will be comprehensive. We’ll try our best to evaluate the claims of the supplement, how it tastes/mixes, if we’ll keep taking it, if we experienced gains, all that good stuff.
  4. We paid for our supply of Clear Muscle with our own money to maintain integrity and to avoid conflicts of interest.

Our Motivation for Testing Clear Muscle

The product we’re reviewing in this user log is Muscletech’s Clear Muscle product. Below is the exact package we ordered from Amazon and tested over a 6-week period.

MuscleTech Clear Muscle Post Workout Recovery and Strength Builder, Amino Acid & Muscle Recovery Supplement, 168 Count
  • The most advanced muscle & strength builder available featuring revolutionary amino acid Free Acid HMB exclusive to Muscletech

The impetus was to see if we could replicate the results of a much hyped study in which participants consuming Clear Muscle (HMB-FA) over a 12 week period gained on average 16 poungs of lean body mass (implied to be the addition of muscle) while losing nearly 12 pounds of body fat.

Those are some crazy impressive numbers that you usually don’t find outside of the world of anabolics and SARMs.

The entire idea behind this review is to give a running log of our experience with Clear Muscle (which is just Muscletech’s name for BetaTOR, the HMB-Free Acid maker).

clear muscle review

So here we go, our first hand, gym tested review of the mythical Clear Muscle:

Week 1: Travel, Dosing Up, & Minor DOMS Reduction

So we’re flying from Taipei, Taiwan to Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s a huge ass flight and a perfect “rest period”.

Before flying we bought one bottle of 168 liquid caps of Clear Muscle, along with a jar of Optimum Nutrition Gold Pre-workout and some O.N Gold Standard Whey to go with it.

We’ve got a nice little stack of the above mentioned protein, pre-workout and Clear Muscle combined with a Muscletech multivitamin with BCAAs, Glucosamine +MSM for joint protection, and 1,000mg fish oil capsules with 300g of omega-3’s and filtered for mercury. We’re calling this our ectomorph stack.

Clear Muscle is part of Muscletech’s Performance Series and comes in a badass little chrome jar. Sh*t looks wicked and is the crowning jewel in our supplement stack. 168 capsules equates to a 4 week supply. That means 3 servings of 2 capsules per day. That equates to 3,000mg of BetaTOR or HMB-FA a day.

betator explained

Wait, What is that BetaTOR stuff?

It’s patented that’s what it is, and only Muscletech’s got it. But as for the compound itself, it is produced by MTI Biotech and they explain it as:

BetaTOR is the pure, free acid form of HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate).BetaTOR is naturally produced in our bodies during the metabolism of the essential amino acid leucine, which is naturally found in foods such as beef, fish, soybeans, and alfalfa.

Right, so HMB-FA is the Free Acid form of good old fashion HMB, which we’ve written about before and are strongly considering taking at a later date when while cutting to help fight catabolism and protect our hard earned gains when stressing our bodies with calorie deficits and continued weight training.

clear muscle pill

The pills are sweet. True to their name it’s just a clear capsule with a clear liquid inside.

Unlike fish oil and the like, there’s a air bubble inside, so you can move it around kind of like a lava lamp as you’re chowing down on your scrambled eggs starring emptily into your little Clear Muscle pill before heading to crush it at the gym. So a solid 10/10 for presentation.

Here is a close up of the ingredient label as you can see, it’s just straight up HMB-FA, which we’re glad about as Muscletech didn’t feel the need to add a bunch of other proprietary herbs or roots to sell it. This would indicate they’re pretty confident in BetaTOR itself.

Clear Muscle Ingredients:

clear muscle ingredients

Since being back in Minneapolis we’ve hit the gym every day for about 9 or 10 days now. Some days are two-a-days, with cardio one session and weights the other.

Due to gym restrictions we can’t go low rep super high weight like the participants of Muscletech’s study, however we’re going to try to make up for that in volume. We’re talking 4 to 5 sets and super sets of very high rep ranges, somewhere around 20, 16, 14, 12, 10 etc.

The Workout Used In This Review

Each muscle group is hit twice, so for back day, which was what today was it looked like:

  • Supinated lat pull-down: 20, 18, 16, 12, 10, superset with,
  • Standing lat cable pullover: 20, 18, 16, 12, 10

then on to:

  • Wide grip bet over barbell rows, elbows flared to hit mid/upper back, 18, 16, 14, 12, superset with,
  • Standing face pulls, 20, 18, 16, 16, 16

the moved on to:

  • Bent over dumbell rows, high weight, 14, 12, 10, 7, superset with,
  • Close grip lat pull downs, high weight, 16, 14, 10, 10

then moved on to:

  • Standing upright cable machine rows, 18, 18, 18, 18, superset with
  • Barbell shrugs, heavy weight, 10, 10, 8, 7

then finished up with

  • Standing dumbell shrugs, 10 slow reps with pause at contraction, slow let down, followed by rapid 10 reps with now pause. 3 sets, 20 each (10 slow 10 fast)

As you can see, we’re moving a ton of total weight. We’d go heavy if we were in a gym with loud music and didn’t have a bunch of “no dropping the weights” signs everywhere, unfortunately this is not that time.

Initial Impressions after the first week or so of HMB-FA supplementation

Nothing ground breaking, which is to be expected. We’re coming off a rest period of traveling back to the states, so each muscle group will need a solid workout or two to get fully back up to their 100% working potential.

We also read it takes a little while for HMB-FA to saturate your system, so we’re hoping this week of heaving loading will provide dividends in weeks to come.

One noticeable difference, compared to intense daily and two-a-days done years previously after a break, we’re feeling noticeably less delayed onset muscle soreness.

There’s soreness of course, but not like post-leg-workout with your huge friend paralysis we’ve had before doing this kind of volume after a rest.


Whether it’s the creatine in the pre-workout or the fresh air or perhaps the Clear Muscle, we’re ready to attack the weights every day so far with very manageable soreness levels. So far so good on the stack featuring Clear Muscle.

Week #2, Endless Crushing & Weight Increase

So we’ve wrapped up week 2 of taking about 6 Clear Muscle pills a day. Reading around on forums I’ve dialed in dossage to:

First, right away in the morning with breakfast then

Second, 20-30 minutes prior to my workout as recommended by Muscletech, and then

Finally, right before going to sleep to help my body keep growing while I sleep.

I’ve been crushing my workouts. The energy is derived not from the HMB-FA itself but from my large O.N Gold Pre-workout dosages beforehand.

The HMB-FA HAS however seemed to help me crush it at a higher than usual pace.

I know, I cannot decisively say it is the Clear Muscle that’s helping me recover faster and be ready for day after day of muscle torture, especially given the O.N Pre-workout has creatine and beta alanine, both of which help you crush it in the gym.

I do think the Clear Muscle does have something to do with it, because the preworkout is for the workout itself, the caffeine and other ingredients pump you up for the moment and help you destroy it, however, a few hours later they all wear off and the body is left damaged.

Usually after a solid 4 day split of one day chest, one day legs, one day back, one day shoulders/abs my body is wrecked and I need a good day or two for rest. So far I haven’t needed that with Clear Muscle.

Another positive thing I noticed was my weight has gone up from 189 when I began this experiment to 194.

Most of that is probably a massive turd lurking somewhere in my digestive track but the positive growth is encouraging, especially given the intensity and relentless nature of my current workout binge.

Why binge? Because that’s what the Muscle Tech studies, the most famous out of the University of Florida said was necessary, that the athlete “over reaches”.

I’m trying my best to over-reach as much as I can to put this HMB-FA to work in my body.

So far I’m very encouraged. Furthermore everything I dig up online seems to be pretty positive. There are frequently sales on Clear Muscle so I just got two more 84 pill canisters.

more clear muscle servings

I’ll be flying back to Taipei in a week and need to stock up. Also picked up some of my favorite orange Amino Energy by O.N and bottle of pure Beta Alanine powder by NOW to mix in with the Amino Energy since it’s a little lacking in that category.

Will follow up with this post in another week. Here’s to looking for more positive news!

Week #3 Travel, Leaner Gains, Stomach Problems

So week 3 saw a last hardcore push of every day lifting 1.5-2 hour sessions at the local Snap. This was split between leg days, back days, chest days, shoulder days, hybrid cardio (swimming) supplemental days (abs).

A break was taken for 4 days because of an international flight back to Taipei, obviously no gains to be had on the plane and for the 2 days after because of killer jet lag.

Sure, probably could have pushed through but better hit it fully rested and get 110% out of the workout then go in all jet-lagged and only complete a 60% workout.

Before flying I weighed my luggage to be under the limit and weighed myself at 194 lbs.

That’s up quite a bit from when I began this Clear Muscle experiment, but it coincided with returning to Wisconsin and eating a bunch of cheese, so a lot of that mass is fat.

Now however, back in Taipei, back on a 5-6day/week workout schedule and on a much much leaner diet we’ll really get to test how HMB-FA impacts the body on a smaller caloric intake.

A few things I’ve noticed now after taking Clear Muscle regularly:

1. Taking the full serving of 2 capsules 3 times a day causes stomach problems for me.. like acid reflux without the reflux. It’s not as bad when taken with a big meal, and if it persists I drop a few Tums and I’m good to go. Just a heads up.

2. Taking two Clear Muscle capsules in the morning or on an empty stomach causes discomfort. Try to have a little something in your stomach if doing the 2 pill (2gram) dosing as mentioned on the bottles. I’m personally switching to 1 pill (1gram) dosage as per the Tampa study.

Week #4: Staying Lean, Long Workouts, Into the Second Bottle

Week 4 has come and gone. I’m incorporating two rest days a week now, I just don’t have the energy to go nonstop like when I started this review. Still supplementing with the HMB-FA daily, one in the morning with breakfast, one or two 40 minutes before my workout, and one more with dinner.

I noticed though sometimes if I take them with a serving of Optimum Nutrition Gold Pre-workout I can get a pretty queasy stomach.

Solution: have a bit of food in my stomach when I take my pre-workout..not a lot, but something to help dilute the pre-workout acid and clear muscle acid.

My gains are looking good, seeing more definition in the muscles in my back than usual when I’m this heavy. I’m not the leanest ectomorph, just tall, so adding mass usually means adding a bit of fat, but I’m still upping my weight without the usual fat so that’s positive.

I’m also making progress drinking less protein than I normally do. Normally, given my protein-weak Taiwanese diet I do 2-3 shakes a day of whey, totally 80-120 grams of protein.

Now I’m cutting that down to 50-80 grams plus the clear muscle. Since HMB is anti catabolic I think I’m good.

That’s it, still got two and a half bottles to go. Will post some physique (or lack thereof) shots next time. Until then, RIP bottle #1

finished bottle

Week’s #5 & #6: More Stomach Acid, Less Body Fat, Maintained Weight & Strength

So this is a double week roundup because there hasn’t been that much of a change.

If you were thinking Clear Muscle is some type of miracle supplement you’d be wrong. It is however seemingly having an impact on my overall physique.

First, at 6 weeks in, I’ve finally begun tuning down my training regimen. I was training 5-6 days out of the week, full 1-2 hour sessions and it was taking it’s toll on my body.

No amount of pre-workout or sleep could seem to help me recover in time for the next session and I began to find myself not feeling as satisfied at the end of my workouts as usual, just drained.

The reason I pushed such over-training was in effort to imitate the “over reaching” principals outlined in the University of Tampa study in which Clear Muscle test subjects gained 16 pounds of muscle in 12 weeks (as stated on the bottles). The goal was simple: beat the shit out of my body so the HMB-FA could do it’s thing.

Overall I think it did. I’ve been able to maintain my weight while cutting down quite a bit of fat.

I’ve also maintained most of my strength over recent weeks while leaning out.

Usually to be as lean as I currently am I drop another 4 or 5 pounds and strength outputs decrease, idk, maybe 10-15%.

However I am currently repping the same, sometimes higher depending on the day, weight as when I’m not losing fat, which is pretty cool.

I am unable to take the recommended 2 pills 3 times a day servings. Two pills without a large amount of food in my stomach inevitably leads to a queasy stomach.

Mixed with morning multivitamins, glucosamine and fish oil, it leads to a bubbling cauldron of action in my stomach that detracts from my focus during workouts.

To fix this I’ve timed my Clear Muscle intake to after my breakfast/vitamin intake, and only one pill before the workout and 1 or 2 later in the day with food.

This seems to help me avoid the worst of the cranky stomach.

Otherwise that’s about it. For weeks #7 and onward I’m going to try cutting down training frequency (4 times weekly max) while upping weight.

I’m curious to see how Clear Muscle works with a more power oriented lifting routine.

Being a natty bodybuilder there will still be plenty of supplementary isolation work, but for many core lifts I’m dropping reps (from up to 20,18,14,12) to something more manageable and a bit heavier (12, 10, 10, 8).

Skinny Yoked Conclusion

Overall pretty happy with how the products working out. I want to give it a few more weeks before taking some “long term results” shots to share, but I think I’m on my way. Overall impression still positive!

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  1. sid

    7 years ago
    • Erik Bowitz

      7 years ago
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    6 years ago
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    5 years ago
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    5 years ago
    • Erik Bowitz

      4 years ago

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