What are Fat Burners?
Fat burners are usually pills (but sometimes powders) that help to burn off fat. They’re not magical though, and they don’t just melt off fat with no other effort. But combined with a healthy fat loss plan, they can give you an extra boost of fat blasting power.
There are multiple types of fat burners, but all of them work by supporting the energy that you’re already burning with workouts. Typically, fat burners stimulate the body to start burning fat to use as energy. There are some non-stimulant fat burners as well. Thermogenic fat burners burn calories to produce heat – which can promote fat loss by burning more calories.
Realistic Fat Burner Expectations
Fat burners are known to work, but you can’t expect them to be miracle workers. A safe rate of fat loss is 1-3 pounds per week, which avoids losing lean muscle mass. When you choose to use a fat burner, plan for a longer time period of results – weeks or months.
Fat burners are a good supplement to cycle, typically for 4-6 weeks. Fat burners can plateau, where your body adapts and doesn’t see as much of a result. Stay off the burner for a few weeks. If you choose to start it again, try using a lower dose.
Types of Fat Burners
There are multiple types of fat burner pills and powders that you can reach for to help cut down your body fat. You have fat releasers, calorie burners, fat transporters, fat stoppers, and gene activators. Depending on how and why you want to burn your fat, you’ll want to choose from each specific type.
Fat releasers push out the fat from the fat cells to make them smaller. Examples of fat releasers include caffeine and yohimbine. Caffeine binds to the receptors to block adenosine from halting fat release. This means that taking caffeine before exercise can maximize the release of fat. Yohimbine has been studied to release twice the amount of fat as without it. Yohimbine should not be taken if you are pregnant, breast feeding, have psychological disorders, or have any heart, liver, or kidney problems.
Calorie burners increase the amount of fat that your body burns. After your fat releasers increase the amount of available fat to burn, calorie burners help your body use that fat as energy. Green Tea Extract contains EGCG, a type of catechin that inhibits norepinephrine, which can slow down the calorie burning process. Capsaicin is a non-stimulant that raises epinephrine and helps increase calories burned.
Fat transporters increase the amount of fat that is taken into the mitochondria to be burned. L-Carnitine is a molecule that helps to carry fat into the mitochondria.
Fat stoppers decrease the amount of fat that your body stores. Conjugated Linoleic Acid, also known as CLA, has been studied to prevent the body from storing fat. It does this by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase that takes fat from the bloodstream and stores it as body fat.
Gene activators are nutrients that help to “turn on” the gene for fat burning. Fish oil contains essential omega-3 fatty acids that have recently been studied to turn on fat burning genes and turn off genes that decrease fat storage.
How to Choose a Fat Burner
When it comes to choosing fat burners, check for the ingredients and formula. You need to look not only at the marketing but specifically at research-based formulations. Customer reviews are also important because they show you the actual usage and results that real people have. Of course, another important part of any choice is value and pricing. You’ll want to choose a product that is a good mix of pricing and quality.
How to Take Fat Burners
Certain fat burners should be taken on an empty stomach, while others should be taken with a meal. Yohimbine was studied to work better when taken with a meal, which makes sense as it helps release fat from the fat cells.
When taking a stimulant based fat burner, take 15-30 minutes before working out. Be sure to be careful about doubling down on stimulants though, as many pre-workouts also contain them. You can either space them out carefully or take a non-stimulant pre-workout or pump supplement.
Most fat burners can be taken multiple times a day, so plan to space out your doses about 5-7 hours apart. Pay attention to your specific brand to see if they have unique dosage requirements. An example of good spacing could be before breakfast, in the midday, and at the end of the day.