No matter what time of year it is, it’s always a good time to kick start your shredding and cutting phase. If it’s summer, your energy levels are generally higher and the excessive sweating that many of you will be doing is going to benefit fat and weight loss. If it’s winter, you’ll be getting a head start to looking good shirtless or in a bikini come summertime. Whether this is your first time trying to lose weight or your tenth, using a fat burner or fat loss supplement in conjunction with a dedicated training and nutrition plan can help you speed up the process and help you reach your goals faster.
What Are Fat Burners & Do They Work?
Fat burners belong to a larger group of supplements known as fat loss or weight loss support supplements. These supplements include:
- Single Ingredient Weight Loss Supplements – Such as acetyl l-carnitine or green tea extract
- Fat Metabolisers – Designed to help ramp up fat digestion and metabolism.
- Appetite Suppressants
- Carb Blockers – Aimed at reducing the availability of eaten carbs
- Diuretics – Which help to reduce water retention
Fat burners themselves, also known as thermogenics tend to combine many of the function of the above supplements. So, a comprehensive fat burner can help to boost metabolism; especially fat metabolism, decrease appetite, support energy levels and even help to reduce water weight. Studies have been performed on a variety of fat burners and have shown it to be effective over a placebo in supporting:
- Increase energy expenditure - A measure of metabolic rate
- Increased energy, alertness and focus
- Decrease fatigue
How to Pick the Right Fat Burner
Knowing what a fat burner is, is all well and good. But picking the best fat burner for your needs can be a daunting and overwhelming process considering there are literally hundreds of different ones on the market. To help guide you through the process, here are some tips to picking out the best fat burner.
1. Is This Your First Time?
If it’s your first time using a fat burner, then you might want to start off with something that isn’t jacked with stimulants, but still offers a decent formulation that will kick start the fat burning process. Fat burners designed for more advanced users tend to up the doses of all their ingredients, including the stimulants, which if you’re not used to can result in some negative side effects. Many trainers might want to start off with the strongest version, but this is often a recipe for disaster. Instead, they are overstimulated by the supplements, develop a super quick tolerance or simply can’t handle the strength and toss the supplement aside. Try to pick a supplement with roughly 100mg of stimulants (caffeine or otherwise) per serve or less if you’re a beginner. If you’re unsure, make sure you send in an enquiry to your store or ask in person.
2. Learn to Read the Nutrition Panle & Ingredients Listing
Reading the nutrition label and ingredients listing of a supplement can be downright confusing. Especially since most of the ingredients in the fat burner will be something you’ve never heard of before. To be informed is to be prepared and it’s important to really have a look at all the ingredients and see if they have any evidence behind them and also how strong the evidence is. Summarising all this can be hard, but useful websites like Examine.com help to do that for you. When looking at panels and listings, keep an eye out for these things:
- How much is a recommended dose?
- How many ingredients have they used?
- Does the fat burner say how much of each ingredient there is?
Generally speaking, if a company is happy to let you know how much of each ingredient there is, then they’re pretty happy with their formula. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a good indication. For more information on a list of ingredients to look out for, check out our article on Fat Burning Ingredients.
One of your core decisions to picking the right fat burner is to see what form you would like it in. Most fat burners these days come in either powder or capsule/tablet form. While both will offer a range of different formulations, picking the right form can boost compliance. If you’re already taking a tonne of powders already or don’t really like drinking flavoured shakes, it might be fruitful to invest in fat burner capsules or tablets, which you can easily and quickly consume. However, if you find staying hydrated with water boring or if you want something tasty to sip throughout the day, a powdered and flavoured supplement will be great for you. Picking the right form of a fat burner can help you stick to using it over a longer period of time.
4. Stacking Your Fat Burners
If a fat burner isn’t the only supplement you’re having, then you should pick your fat burner in conjunction with what you’re currently using. This way, you can pick a fat burner, which might complement your other supplements. If you’re currently using a fat loss protein powder which contains caffeine for example, pick a fat burner that is has a lower dose of caffeine/stimulants so your body doesn’t start to adjust to the high doses as quickly. If you’re on other fat loss supplements, try to pick a fat burner with different ingredients to achieve a better rounded experience. If you’re having a pre workout, it might be useful having a stim free fat burner, as you don’t want to overload your body on stimulants, which can reduce its length of effectiveness.
5. Know Your Weight Loss Goals
While fat burners are considered the most comprehensive of all weight loss supplements, different ones will still focus on certain aspects of fat loss. Some might include more fat releasers or fat metaboliser ingredients, some might include more calorie burners or thermogenics, some might have more appetite suppressant compounds or energy boosters. Really focus on what you might need or what your problem is and find the right set of ingredients to help tackle your problem. If you’re confused about it all, ask your friendly professional or do some more research.
Try New Things
Selecting the right fat burner can be a difficult process and can often feel like making a shot in the dark. The important thing is to try something for a good period of time (6-8 weeks) before deciding whether or not it’s working for you. If you have used fat burners before, it might be a good idea to pick something new, to see how well it works for you. Remember though, that while fat burners can be useful in helping you shed some stubborn kilos, they aren’t a magic pill or the be all and end all. You still need to focus on your training and your nutrition. But used appropriately, a good fat burner will keep your energy levels up and reach your weight goals much faster than not using anything at all.
1. Outlaw J, Wilborn C, Smith A, Urbina S, Hayward S, Foster C, Wells S, Wildman R, Taylor L. ‘Effects of ingestion of a commercially available thermogenic dietary supplement on resting energy expenditure, mood state and cardiovascular measures.’ J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Apr 30;10(1):25.
2. Jitomir J, Nassar E, Culbertson J, Moreillon J, Buford T, Hudson G, Cooke M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. ‘The acute effects of the thermogenic supplement Meltdown on energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and hemodynamic responses in young, healthy males.’ J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Dec 16;5:23.
3. Vaughan RA, Conn CA, Mermier CM. ‘Effects of commercially available dietary supplements on resting energy expenditure: a brief report.’ ISRN Nutr. 2014 Jan 2;2014:650264.