Fat burners are often talked about as “the” scientific breakthrough for rapid fat loss. And, while fat burners can and do work, it’s not quite as simple as that — as with everything in life, fat burners work best when they form just one part of a bigger picture.
And if you want to use fat burners safely, the first step is to make sure you really understand what fat burning supplements are designed to do and how they fit into your balanced lifestyle.
We’re here to help you do that!
So let’s dive in...
First things first, do fat burners really work?
The short answer? Yes.
However, as you’d expect, they only work alongside a healthy, low calorie diet.
If you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle, diet is 70-80% of the mission. Next you’ve gotta work out and amp up your cardio. Then you can start to lean on supplements, powders and pills to give you that extra nudge in the right direction.
Put simply: if you work hard and eat clean, fat burners can help you get great results.
What exactly are fat burning supplements designed to do?
A fat burning supplement has three main benefits:
- It’s a stimulant to help you achieve your goals.
- It can work as an appetite suppressant.
- It’s a modern convenience.
Chances are, if you’ve considered using fat burning supplements already, then these benefits will come as no surprise.
But to really understand how fat burners assist in weight loss, we need to dip into the science quickly.
Fat burning supplements can feel confusing because there’s a lot of science behind the label — with many biological processes working together, to help increase weight loss.
We’ll focus on just one, as it’s quite easy to visualise and tells you everything you need to know.
All day, every day, your body goes through a process called ‘thermogenesis’ — a process many fat burners say they can speed up. In plain English, ‘thermogenesis’ refers to the body breaking down food consumed and transforming it into energy.
You’ll know the feeling of thermogenesis, even if you don’t realise it yet. Thermogenesis creates heat in the body, causing a rise in body temperature and an increase in heart rate — just like the buzz you feel from drinking strong coffee. And fat burning supplements can help encourage thermogenesis, thanks in part to their high, metabolism-boosting caffeine content.
So how does this help weight loss?
Turns out, thermogenic substances, like caffeine, can promote weight loss by temporarily supercharging how food is broken down in your body. In fact, one study found that thermogenic ingredients, like those in fat burning supplements, can increase metabolism by 4-5% and increase fat burning by 10-16%.
So, the more you workout, the more your body performs thermogenesis, the more the food you consume is turned into energy, and the more fat is burned off.
That’s why fat burners are only really effective when used as part of an active lifestyle — if you’re not exercising whilst taking the supplement, you miss the opportunity for added fat burn.
What’s more, caffeine also powers your workouts and reduces appetite, so you may feel you can work out more while eating less.
We’ve all been in a situation where, because we’re working out so much more, we find our appetite skyrockets too! So a fat burner can help quell hunger pangs and cravings, keeping you on track to your body shape goals.
When should you use fat burners for the best results?
If you’re already active and follow a healthy, nutritious food plan, then fat burners could be the extra lift you need to get you where you want to be.
Though one thing is absolutely crucial to understand: fat burning supplements are not a meal replacement. If you want to take fat burners safely, they should always be taken as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle.
When taken correctly, fat burners can increase metabolism and lower appetite — the perfect recipe for putting your body in fat loss mode. And this is where the convenience benefit of fat burners comes into play.
If you’re running errands, looking after the family, or busy at work without a decent kitchen to use, you likely don't have the time or resources to prepare meals that support your weight loss mission. In the same way that protein bars and shakes afford convenient protein hits post-workout, that is how you should think of fat burners. Except if you want fat burners to work best, you should be taking them before you hit the gym.
Consider having one fat burning shake in the morning, followed by another scoop or pill right before you go to workout. If you think of fat burners as helping your body to make the most of the exercise you do, then you’ll quickly understand why you need to workout alongside taking them and that pre-workout is the best time for a boost.
One more thing: fat burning supplements also have the most impact when you’ve already started seeing results without them.
Why? Well, if you’ve already got a fitness and food plan that’s working for you, you know you’ve already got an effective strategy in place. The fundamentals are all there and a fat burner can help you squeeze out that final 10% — it can help you focus and push you to the finish line.
So, are fat burners right for you?
Fat burning supplements can certainly help you as you try to lose weight, but they shouldn’t be seen as a miracle, overnight cure.
Hopefully by now you understand what fat burners are and when to take a fat burner for best results. Whether or not using fat burning supplements is right for you, is a personal choice.
Always consider where you are in your fitness journey — have you started to see results already, and a fat burner could be the little extra nudge you need?
In addition, you should always be aware of what fat burning supplements you are taking and what active ingredients they have in them. Many fat burners contain naturally occurring stimulants including green tea, capsaicin and guarana, to name a few. As a rule of thumb, naturally occurring ingredients are fairly safe, as long as you take them moderately!
On the other hand, some contain multiple ingredients. These can react with other medicines, so if you have heart disease, diabetes, liver problems or other conditions, you should definitely consult a doctor before you bring a fat burning product into your repertoire.
If you’re otherwise fit and healthy, just do your research and test the water.
Make sure you understand what you’re taking, why you’re taking it and how it’s expected to help. Maybe trial a couple of different fat burning supplements until you find a fat burner that’s best for you.
Do this, and you can rest assured you’re approaching fat burners as safely as possible.
And if you need any more inspiration or information to help you on your fitness journey, make sure you check out our blog — there you’ll find many more handy tips and tricks to keep you feeling strong and confident!