Have you ever tried fat burning supplements? If you haven’t, it may simply be because you’re confused about when and how to use them. After all, there are hundreds of fat burners on the market shelves; it can be very overwhelming to know what they’re for and when you should take them!
Don’t worry. In this guide, we’re going to talk about:
- The different types of fat burners available to you
- How fat burning supplements work to help you lose weight
- Specific situations in which you should consider trying fat burners
Let’s get ready to dive into the otherwise confusing world of fat burners.
What is a fat burner?
Before we begin to talk about what a fat burning supplement is, let’s talk about what it is not. Fat burners are not miracle diet pills. You can’t just take a fat burner in the morning, then go about your day eating fast food and sitting on the couch.
To the contrary, most fat burners are designed to help you lose weight in conjunction with a healthy diet and a good measure of exercise. Most experts recommend you get around 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. That means swimming, cycling, walking, or just trips to the gym.
If you think about it, that’s not too much! That’s 30 minutes for five days, so even if you can get out for a walk after supper each evening, you’re doing well! Your fat burners will only help to increase the positive impact of this exercise, and you can lose weight more quickly.
So what is a fat burner? Well, these supplements usually help to boost your metabolism. In some cases, they’ll help you burn additional calories, over what your body would normally burn. Some will help block your body’s absorption of fats from the foods you eat, and some others may include an appetite suppressant that may help you eat fewer calories, especially sugars and carbs.
In short, fat burners are any supplement that’s marketed to help you burn more calories, and they usually provide an extra bit of energy. Do they work? Well, let’s look at the truth of fat burners.
How do fat burners work?
As we mentioned, most fat burners work my increasing your metabolism. They’re designed to help your body increase the amount of its own fat that’s burned throughout the day, and they work best when used alongside a healthy diet and proper exercise.
There are a few other ways fat burners can work, though. Some cause a process called “uncoupling” which creates heat inside a fat cell to burn it. Some fat burning supplements actually alter the way your body’s enzymes work, manipulating the way your body loses and gains fat. Still others can help your body release more fatty acids, meaning you’ll retain less.
No matter which fat burning supplements you choose, be sure to check with your doctor before you begin to take them. Fat burners can interact with certain medications, and may be ineffective or even dangerous if you have preexisting health conditions. It’s always best to get a professional opinion – simply bring your bottle into your next doctor’s appointment and have your physician look over the ingredients in your supplement.
Types of fat burning supplements
If you just take a trip to the pharmacy or health store, you’ll see what we mean: there are so incredibly many fat burning supplements on the shelves that it’s almost impossible to count them! First, there are proprietary blends under brand names – we’re not going to talk about those here because your region may not sell them.
Then, there are basic ingredients that you’ll find within your fat burners. That’s what we’re interested in here. There are natural and synthetic ingredients that you can purchase and take, and you’ll find these in different fat burning supplements on the store shelves.
Let’s take a moment and look at the different types of ingredients you can take, and what they can do for you.
Caffeine, as you may know, is a stimulant. You take a cuppa (or 5) in the morning each day to give yourself a bit of get up and go, whether it’s coffee, tea, or a venti caramel macchiato.
Now, that caramel macchiato has 310 calories per serving (wow), so we definitely don’t recommend getting your caffeine through that route. But a fat burning supplement that contains caffeine is a good alternative. Studies show that caffeine’s stimulants can help to mobilize your fat cells and help to increase your metabolism.
It’s absolutely imperative that you speak to your doctor before you begin a caffeine fat burning supplement. Caffeine can be dangerous for people with heart and other conditions. While it’s effective in helping you burn fat, you certainly don’t want to put yourself in danger!
Glucomannan is an ingredient you’ll see in many fat burning supplements, but buyer beware! Glucomannan isn’t actually a fat burner. Instead, it’s a water soluble fiber that can, in fact, help you lose weight, but won’t help your metabolism.
Now, just because glucomannan doesn’t boost your metabolism doesn’t mean it can’t help you lose weight. The weight loss supplement ingredient is actually effective in weight loss because of the following reasons:
- It expands in your stomach and can help you feel full
- It’s very low-cal, so you don’t have to worry about adding the calories to your daily record
- Fiber of any sort can help block your body’s absorption of fats and some proteins
If you’re thinking about taking glucomannan, please check with your doctor about the dosage. And remember, every weight loss supplement works best when you’re also exercising and eating right!
Green tea is one of the most popular fat burning supplements on the market. You can find it in blends with other ingredients, or you can simply buy it on its own. Green tea has been shown in studies to reduce overall body fat and to decrease the waistline; in other words, it’s one of the few fat burning supplements that’s actually been studied and shown to work.
Green tea does contain caffeine, so if you have any medical conditions please talk to your doctor. With that in mind, the supplement also contains a natural chemical called catechin, a powerful antioxidant. Catechin, particularly alongside caffeine, can help break down the fat in your body and can also help boost the amount of energy used by your body.
You don’t have to take green tea as a supplement! Studies show that drinking the tasty brew can also help you to lose weight, so why not substitute your morning coffee for a nice green tea?
Forskolin is another fat burner that’s found both by itself and in fat burning blends. This ingredient comes from the Indian coleus plant and alters the way your body’s enzymes work. The supplement is relatively new, and not many studies have been done. However, preliminary tests do show that men, in particular, who take the fat burner lose more body fat over a course of 12 weeks than mem who do not.
Because this supplement is so new, it’s again important to check with your physician before you take it. Remember that just because a supplement is natural doesn’t always mean it’s safe for you! Do your research before you take this, or any other supplement.
Natural fat burners
On that note, let’s talk a bit about natural fat burners. The most natural fat burner of all, of course, is a healthy diet and exercise! Can you lose weight sitting on your own tail binge-watching Shark Tank? Sure! But it’s going to be very, very hard work.
Thankfully, Mother nature has provided many solutions. You can, with healthy diet and exercise, lose weight and maintain a healthy body mass index by taking natural fat burning supplements. Some of these we’ve already talked about, but there are others you’ll find both in standalone products and in proprietary blends.
Some of these natural fat burning supplements and ingredients include:
- Green tea
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
There are many more, but these are the most commonly found ingredients you’ll see in over the counter fat burning supplements.
We can’t stress it enough: there’s no guarantee that an herbal or natural supplement is 100% safe. You should always check for possible interactions with medications you’re taking, as well as impacts your supplement may have on your current health conditions.
To be more specific, we’ve already mentioned that some supplements that contain caffeine or other stimulants can affect you if you have a heart condition. But did you also know that some natural ingredients can affect your blood sugar? Your kidneys? Your liver?
Schedule an appointment with your doctor or nutritionist and do your research before you begin to take supplements. The last thing you want is for your fat burner to cause you serious health complications!
Warning: dangerous ingredients!
Fat burning supplements, as well as appetite suppressants and other weight loss pills, can contain some ingredients that may not be good for your health! Here are a few of the ingredients you should think twice about before adding to your daily routine.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Generally speaking, CLA is okay for most people. However, if you have:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Heart disease
- Several other conditions
You should avoid taking CLA. That’s because CLA is an inflammatory and can interfere with your health as well as your medications. Talk to your doctor before you add CLA to your diet.
In most regions of the world, ephedra is actually a banned substance. That’s because it’s caused 155 – yes, 155 – deaths. The substance is extremely dangerous, and on top of those deaths there have been over 800 reported instances of negative interactions and side effects. That’s just the reported ones.
Ephedra will cause you to have an increased heart rate, including heart palpitations. Heart attacks are not unheard of, especially in those with existing heart conditions and those who exercise to increase heart rate.
Again, you probably won’t find ephedra on your local drug store shelves, but if you’re offered the drug, just say no.
Another drug that’s been taken off most markets is Fen-Phen. This dangerous weight loss pill contains two substances: Fenfluramine and Phentermine. The former is generally considered unsafe for human consumption. The latter is still available via prescription in some areas of the world, but you shouldn’t take it without close medical supervision.
Why is fenfluramine such a bad idea? Well, it was linked to quite a few cases of lung disease and heart damage. If you ask us, the questionable benefits of this substance aren’t worth the risk.
Sibutramine is last on our list of the most dangerous fat burning supplements. This fat burner is linked to increased blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. You may see sibutramine marketed as a fat burner, but more commonly you’ll see it listed as an appetite suppressant or a “fat blocker.” In any case, it’s not a good idea – and sometimes not legal – to take sibutramine.
When to use a fat burner supplement: 15 typical situations
Know that you know the basics of fat burning supplements and fat burners – which supplements are okay to take and which ones are dangerous – it’s time to talk about when you should take these pills and powders.
Of course, everyone’s going to have different motivating factors and different lifestyles. So there is no one best way to take your fat burner. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 15 situations you might find yourself in where you may be considering taking these supplements.
1. When you’re training at the gym
If you’re training at the gym, it’s a good time to pop a fat burner! Caffeine can be used within limits, so long as you don’t take enough to make an increased heart rate unsafe. If you have any questions about taking caffeine while you work out, you can ask your doctor or a personal trainer.
Feel like you might get the jitters? You can find other fat burning supplements to use that can help accelerate your weight loss without the potential harmful side effects of caffeine. As with any workout supplement, be sure you stay properly hydrated while you exercise!
2. When you’re walking
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get your weekly recommended exercise. We usually suggest walking for 30 minutes or so after supper, but if that’s not an option, there are other ways you can get that movement in.
Take a walk around the block on your lunch break at work. Get up a few minutes early in the morning and hop on the treadmill you’ve been using as a clothes hanger. Take the kids to the mall and do laps while they window shop or hang out with their friends.
In any case, you can use a fat burning supplement to increase the effects of your walking exercise.
3. When you’re lazy and want a miracle
Okay, this isn’t a good idea – we’re just kidding. We wanted to re-emphasize the point, though, that diet pills, fat burners and fat burning supplements are not miracle pills. You are not – we repeat, are not – going to have an easy time losing weight and reaching an ideal BMI when you’re sitting on your butt.
Get you a food scale and a people scale. Get a pedometer and a food journal. Now, go ahead and get your fat burning supplements, but adopt a new mindset. Because you’re going to need that new mindset to lose weight and reach your fitness goals.
Weight loss takes work, and you’ve got to put the work in if you want to see results. Fat burning supplements and fat burners aren’t going to do the work for you. Don’t take these pills if you think you’re going to lose weight automatically – you’ll be extremely disappointed.
4. When you’re running
Again, it’s important to be careful which fat burners you take if you’re exercising, and running is no exception. In fact, it can be more difficult to monitor your heart rate when you’re running than when you’re walking, so be extremely careful.
However, if you know what you’re doing (read: you’ve spoken to a doctor) then a fat burning supplement may actually be beneficial to you while you’re running. We don’t recommend that you take a fat burner if you’re new to running. Instead, wait until you’ve been doing it a while so that you know your body’s signs, and can easily tell if you’re in any kind of trouble.
5. When you’re losing baby weight
Always, always, always talk to your doctor or midwife if you’ve just had a baby and want to lose weight. Particularly for women who are breastfeeding, the chemicals and supplements that you ingest are passed along to your little one through your milk. Do not put your baby at risk by taking supplements without first talking your plan through with a professional.
If you’re not breastfeeding, though, and your baby is on formula or weaned, go to town! You can talk to your doctor about safe fat burners for you, and lost that baby weight even faster than if you were doing it on your own.
6. When you’re planning for a wedding
Men and women alike always want to look their best on their wedding day. Why not take a fat burning supplement to help you reach your goal and fit smashingly into that perfect dress or tux? Fat burners can help accelerate your weight loss, allowing you to reach you weight loss goals in less time.
If you find yourself crunched for time before your Big Day, consider talking to your physician about adding a fat burner to your daily routine of good diet and healthy exercise. Trust us, you’ll look great on your wedding day with just a little discipline, hard work and a fat burning supplement!
7. When you’re planning a vacation
In the same way you want to look good for your bride or groom, you also want to look great on vacation, right? Maybe you’re headed to an island paradise. Maybe you’re going on a ski trip and want to feel and look fit. Whatever the destination, a fat burner can help you to reach your goals prior to departure.
Talk to your doctor about starting a weight loss plan that will help you get to your goal weight in time for your travel. Tell her that you’d like to include a fat burning supplement in your routine, and come up with a plan that will be safe and effective for you.
8. When you need a confidence boost
Your confidence shouldn’t necessarily be dependent on the way you look. That said, though, there is something to be said for the feeling you get when you look in the mirror and say, “Dang! I look GOOD!” If you’re feeling down in the dumps and could use a bit of a perk-me-up, you could try a fat burning pill.
Now, that’s not to say that a fat burning supplement is going to “fix” your mood. But just the act of taking the pill, then getting up and moving can be just the boost in confidence you need to get your smile back and get back on track to achieving your ideal weight.
9. When you’re unmotivated
In the same way that your fat burner can help you to boost your confidence, it can also help you to boost your motivation. For instance, if you’ve joined the gym and want to go but just… well, don’t want to go, then take a fat burning supplement.
Taking the pill can put you in the mindset you need to get in the car and go to the gym. Even if you’re not a health club member, taking your fat burning supplement can help you get off the couch and go for a walk around the block or just go do a bit of vacuuming or yardwork. Every bit of activity and exercise counts!
10. When you’re going out with friends
It happens to the best of us. You’re invited out for drinks after work, or the girls want to get together for dinner. Why not take a fat burning supplement to help counter those extra calories you’re bound to consume during your night out on the town?
Now, keep in mind that your fat burner is only going to work if you’re a) taking it regularly and b) living an otherwise healthy lifestyle. But there’s nothing wrong with the occasional night out. In fact, studies say that “cheat days” can be part of a very healthy eating lifestyle.
If you’re frequently out with friends, or have a lifestyle that causes you to eat less than healthy foods, consider a fat burning supplement to keep your weight in check. Your supplement could mean the difference between gaining weight and looking your best while you’re out on the town.
11. If you’re a frequent traveler
One of those lifestyles that may cause you to not eat so well is a traveling lifestyle. You may be retired, or just travel for work, but if you find yourself racking up frequent flier miles, a fat burning supplement may be a good choice for you.
Fat burning supplements, as we’ve mentioned, are certainly not a cure-all for your weight loss needs. But if you’re always eating out by necessity (there’s only so much you can cook in a hotel room microwave) or stuck with options that are limited, a fat burner could be just the extra boost you need to keep you on track, wherever your travels may lead you.
12. When you’re getting back on track
Let’s assume that you’ve been on vacation for a week, or that you were ill and eating nothing but soup and sandwiches that you could stomach. Sometimes you may feel like you need a boost to get you back on track if you’ve strayed from your otherwise healthy diet.
Fat burning supplements may be able to give your body the bump it needs to get back into a pattern of weight loss and healthy eating. Whether the effect is real or just a placebo, taking a fat burner can help you regroup and get back into the mindset of healthy diet and exercise when you’ve been off track. Plus, fat burners may be able to give you a little more energy, too, which can help motivate you to exercise again.
13. When you’ve been more hungry than usual
If you find that you’ve been snacking more than usual, it may be a good idea to try a fat burning supplement. While not all fat burners will help curb your cravings, there are quite a few on the market that contain appetite suppressants. That means that you’ll be less likely to reach for those chips or a candy bar – you simply won’t be as hungry as you’ve been lately.
When you shop for your fat burner, be sure the appetite suppressant is a healthy one. Stay away from dangerous ingredients like ephedra, and opt for natural supplements that are generally considered safe, like garcinia cambogia or even caffeine.
14. When your schedule gets busy
Remember that no weight loss plan or fat burner will be effective without healthy diet and consistent exercise. However, if life suddenly gets busy, you can take a fat burning supplement to help you stay on track until things settle down again.
Say you’ve got a big project at work, and you’re working late hours. Or maybe you’ve got college exams and are eating at all the wrong times, with no time to get to the gym. Maybe you’re on vacation and the dining options include little but fast food.
Consider taking a fat burner to keep your body and mind on track for weight loss until you can get back into a normal routine. Remember that there’s no fat burner that’s going to be 100% effective without a proper, healthy lifestyle. But a supplement can help tide you over until you’re able to resume your healthy patterns.
15. When you’ve hit a weight loss plateau
It happens to the best of us. Sometimes you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle, full of healthy, whole foods and plenty of exercise. You’re consuming the right number of calories each day, as per your doctor. And you’re exercising between 75 and 150 minutes each week.
But you’re not losing weight. Even if you’re doing everything right, sometimes your body will just stop losing weight. In cases like this, it can be helpful to take a fat burner. Fat burning supplements may help to jump start your body so that you’ll start losing again.
Before you add a fat burner to your daily routine, check with your doctor to make sure your plateau isn’t due to some medical situation. Then, check with your personal trainer to see if there’s anything you can be doing differently in your lifestyle and habits to help you lose weight.
Clear your fat burner with your doctor, then give it a try! Sometimes a fat burner is all you need to signal to your body that you’re still trying to lose weight. An effective fat burning supplement can help increase your metabolism and put your body back into a mode of losing weight once again.
Fat burning supplements aren’t miracle pills! You’re going to have to eat right and exercise in a healthy way to lose weight and get the body and the BMI that you want. But when you’re living a healthy lifestyle, there are quite a few fat burners that can help you lose weight more quickly and in a healthy way.
Always check with your doctor to see if fat burners are right for you, then explore your options! There are dozens of fat burning supplements on the market – go ahead and add one to your plan to increase your weight loss!