Fat burners are a known supplement known everywhere around the Globe. It claims to significantly increase your body’s fat burning abilities by predominantly increasing your metabolism. It contains a variety of thermogenic ingredients that increases overall energy expenditures such as caffeine, green tea, L-carnitine, etc. Although it assists with your overall ability to burn more calories, it will not be of proper assistance unless accompanied by proper diet and training. Reason being the need for a caloric deficit to lose weight.
NOTE: BEFORE TAKING ANY SUPPLEMENT, PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR HEALTH PRACTITIONER OR COACH.
Thermogenesis is when your body produces heat to burn more calories. It is important to keep in mind that your body will burn calories no matter what. However, the rate in which they are burnt will be a direct result of the temperature within the body. Think of it this way-when you have your ignition in the car turned on, the car will continuously burn gas, even when it is parked. And just like your vehicle, your body when overheated, can easily burn out. In this case, if you keep “boosting” your metabolism to a point where it’s always ON, you may create fatigue and plateaus more quickly.
Read: Guide To Hormones Part I
Let’s take a closer look at the most common ingredients behind fat burners.
Caffeine | Fat loss
Caffeine is an ingredient that stimulates the nervous system. It is known to enhance multiple functions in an athlete’s abilities. These include strength, endurance, alertness, better focus, and other factors that contribute to better performance. Now If you think about it – when you take a supplement that increases all these factors, it will automatically cause the body’s temperature to rise and increase your body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR). This will lead to an overall increase in calories burned at the end of the day.
The more calories you burn, the easier it is for you to be in a caloric deficit! That is why caffeine is an excellent ingredient. However, caffeine is also available in coffee. Of course, we’re comparing coffee, at 30-60mg of caffeine, and fat burners with more than 100mg of caffeine. Long-term, your body may reach a plateau as there is so much your metabolism can do to help you burn more calories. Pushing it to speed up, constantly, isn’t optimal for healthy and long-term results.
Green Tea | Cravings
Green tea acts as a stimulant not only thanks to the caffeine it can provide, but it’s also rich in an antioxidant that can help to break down excess fat. This is why it makes the perfect thermogenic ingredient for fat burners. They are also known to reduce cravings, but they haven’t had any effect on leptin concentration unless used consistently for 12 weeks or more.
Studies also showed no significant change in fat burned when green tea extract was used, even in the long term. Meaning that its fat burning properties lie mostly in its ability to cut cravings short, when used consistently for a long period of time.
L-Carnitine | Fat loss
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that plays a major role in increasing your body’s metabolism as it helps it turn fat into energy. This is why it is commonly used as a supplement that helps athletes burn fat. It is also commonly used for supplements that enhances recovery, and prevents muscle fatigue. Studies showed that using L-Carnitine helps in reducing the use of glycogen in your muscle tissue, thus helping you push more during your workout. The more you’re able to lift and withstand the lifts, the more calories you burn; the more calories you burn, the bigger your calorie deficit.
Here are 3 rules when taking fat burners.
- Diet is king.
Supplements are there to give you an extra boost. The biggest mistake made by most athletes beginning their fat loss journey is they take fat burners expecting them to solve everything. Again, a caloric deficit is what’s most important in your goal to lose weight. The bigger the caloric deficit, the more you lose weight. In order to be in a caloric deficit, you need to eat at a deficit; this means following the macros and calories your coach gives you.
- Set smart realistic goals.
It’s important that you set smart, obtainable, short term goals. A rule of thumb to follow is losing 1% of your total body weight per week to be able to maintain the fat loss long term. Example; if you weigh 200 lbs, it is recommended that you aim to lose 2 lbs a week. Once you reach each shot term goal, keep finding new goals to reach to keep you motivated. Having a system that will continuously hold you accountable and will keep you consistent will forever be in your favour.
- More is not necessarily better.
Taking too many fat burners, or using them year-round in the hopes of losing more weight, it can lead to damages to your metabolism and hormones. A lot of these thermogenic supplements are filled with caffeine and ingredients that alter your hormones; keeping your hormones and metabolism running solely on supplements will alter your BMR in the long term. Cycling the supplement would be the best option, to help give your body a break from the boost, and to go back to its natural levels.
You can cycle your fat burners every 6 week cycles; take the fat burner consistently for 6 weeks, take a break for 4-6 weeks, and start again if you feel the need to.
All in all, you can reap the benefits of fat burners when you use them consistently and complement its usage with a healthy lifestyle. The ingredients in the fat burner aren’t magical; they won’t magically make your fat disappear. Good fat burners will help you in burning more fat because of its ingredients that help with cravings, muscle retention, and energy.