Of all the different supplements on the market, fat burners are potentially the most confusing. While all can potentially help with weight loss in one way or another and to varying degrees, only a few actually help the body to ‘burn fat’. Instead, fat burners can be so much more. Read on to find out more…
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What Are Fat Burners?
Fat burners, usually in pill or capsule form, are supplements created to help with fat loss. You usually take them throughout the day and they can boost your body’s fat burning or fat loss potential. They typically aim to tackle more than one route to weight loss, such as raising your metabolic rate, boosting your energy levels and controlling cravings.
The increased metabolic rate allows you to burn more calories during exercise and normal daily activities; the extra energy helps you lengthen and increase the intensity of your exercise regime, while the appetite blocker discourages you from eating more calories than you need.
Should I Diet And Exercise When Using A Fat Burner?
Yes. Remember that these supplements are intended as aids to weight loss, and are not a magic pill to be taken alone. They are created to boost the results you see from your own diet and exercise regime. Without a solid exercise or diet plan, you won’t see the results you hope for. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can take a fat burner and then stay on your unhealthy diet because it just won’t work. Experts believe that a good diet is 80% of the weight loss battle, with the extra 20% coming from exercise, with additional help gained from supplementation.
So first examine your diet. Is it suitable for your weight loss plans? To lose fat and gain a toned physique, you need to eat fewer calories than your maintenance weight, opt for lots of protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates, mixed with fresh vegetables and healthy fats. Follow a similar plan and you will begin to lose weight; a fat burner can then help to increase that weight loss.
Think of fat burners as lighting a fire under your own efforts, giving you a push to work harder, stay on the diet path and burn more calories as you do so.
What Are the Benefits of Using A Fat Burner?
The exact benefits of a fat burner will depend on the actual product you are using, but generally you can expect an increased metabolic rate, more energy, increased thermogenesis, boosted fat-burning potential, weight loss, improved results from diet and exercise, better muscle definition and reduced fat in particular problem areas, such as the abdominal region. Note that everyone will react differently to a fat burner.
Who Takes Fat Burners?
Anyone over 18 who wants to drop a few pounds may benefit from taking a fat burner (usual medical caveats apply, speak to your doctor if you already have medical issues, pregnant women and lactating women should avoid). Ageing men and women whose metabolisms are slowing down and who are struggling to keep the weight off may also benefit from a fat burner.
Fat burners are also popular with bodybuilders, weightlifters and other fitness enthusiasts who need to take in more calories to meet their training needs but who don’t want to put on fat while building muscle. They can also be useful for anyone following a bulking and cutting schedule (eating more during the bulking cycle to lift heavier, followed by the ‘cutting’ of calories in order to tone up).
How Much Weight Can I Lose?
Don’t be unrealistic with your weight loss goals. Even with a fat burner, a safe rate of fat loss is between 1-3lbs a week. You could potentially push it up to 4lbs but that rate of fat loss won’t be sustainable. You might also be losing lean muscle mass and losing all definition. Stay realistic, and use the fat burner to help you stay on track.
How Do Fat Burners Work?
Fat burners most often use a combination of ingredients to achieve their fat burning and energy-giving potential. Each product varies, and you can find a list of the best fat burning ingredients here.
As a general rule, the ingredients can be split into different ‘types’ such as:
Stimulants – green tea extract, caffeine, guarana and more, often the most common element in a weight loss supplement. They provide energy, increase the metabolism and mobilise fat stores.
Appetite Suppressants and Dietary Fibre – Ingredients such as yerba mate and glucomannan help you to feel satiated and less likely to snack.
Fat Burning Herbs – You might find cayenne pepper, capsaicin and coleus forskohlii, herbs intended to help boost thermogenesis and burn more calories.
The above may be mixed with the likes of vitamins, zinc and yohimbe to increase energy and boost wellbeing.
The most effective fat burners will generally include many of the substances mentioned above.
Are There Any Side Effects of Fat Burners?
Most supplements of any kind have potential side effects, and fat burners are no different. Side effects may vary depending on exact ingredients, but the two more common adverse reactions include trouble sleeping (thanks to the caffeine and stimulant content – avoid taking in the late afternoon or evening to combat this problem) and dehydration. Dehydration is a result of increasing thermogenesis; an increase in body temperature means your body will use more water to cool itself down, so you must drink more to replace it.
Never take more than the recommended dosage of any fat burner as you may suffer from severe side effects.
How to take Fat Burners
Most fat burners come in capsule or pill form, to be taken two or three times a day, but do check the product packaging for specific instructions. Stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines, taking more than the recommended dosage won’t boost your fat loss efforts, but may cause unwanted side effects instead.
Start with the lowest dose listed, and try that for at least two weeks. After that you can bump up if you feel it’s needed. As we mentioned above, make a point of taking any supplements containing caffeine earlier in the day (leave a good five hours before bed if you’re sensitive to caffeine so that it doesn’t interrupt your sleep).
Finally, weight loss supplements are usually designed for short cycles of up to two or three months. Taking one daily for longer than that may mean that it slowly stops working because your body gets used to it.
How Can I Choose Which Fat Burner to Use?
There are many fat burners on the market and it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Our independent reviews can help, as can assessing what you want from a fat burner in the first place.
Do you want a jolt of energy, for instance, to give you a kick and help you deepen your exercise regime? Then you need a fat burner with a stimulant in it. Anything above 200mg of caffeine should be powerful enough.
Do you want to boost your metabolism? Then you need a fat burner with the likes of green tea extract, capsaicin and DHEA. Perhaps you need to tackle a carb addiction instead? Look for products with white kidney bean, believed to act as a carb blocker.
Perhaps you want to drop water weight? Dandelion root, celery seed and buchu leaf are all listed as effective. If you’re looking for an appetite suppressant included with the fat burner, make sure the supplement you choose has ingredients such as glucomannan, jojoba seed extract, capsaicin or 5-hydroxytrptophan (5-HTP).
However you want to use your fat burner, you’ll need to do your homework and that’s where our special section on Fat Burners comes in.