I get asked about fat burners a lot. People wonder whether I’m for or against them and which ones I’d recommend. I thought I’d take a few minutes to give you my opinion on fat burners and if/when to use them.

Fat burners usually contain some form of thermogenic which causes your metabolic rate to rise, causing your body to burn more calories. Fat burners will usually have a few ingredients that work together to cause thermogenisis, some of which include:

  • Caffeine
  • Green Tea
  • Capsaicin – Comes from the chili pepper
  • Ginger
  • Bitter Orange – Appetite suppressant and stimulant – has not been thoroughly tested yet and has been linked to heart palpitations, fainting, stroke and death
  • Ephedra – Now a banned substance because of it’s links to causing heart attacks, stroke and death. 

There are plenty more that I could list but these are the most popular ones found in fat burners on the market today.

There is no miracle pill that will allow you to eat like crap, not exercise and strip you of fat, it’s just not gonna happen. I would say that about 90% of the people who take fat burners take them for the wrong reasons and abuse them. That being said I am not totally against the use of fat burners. Fat burners are meant to be used in addition to an excellent meal and exercise plan. You should not even consider taking a fat burning supplement unless your diet is in check, otherwise you are wasting your time and money.

Before you start taking a thermogenic you should first try taking some natural supplements that have been shown to help people lose weight. These can be taken without risk of side effects and all of them have other health benefits aside from weight loss. I always like to give yourself room to make progress and if you dive right into a fat burner without first supplementing with some of these you are likely to plateau much faster than if you start by first getting your diet and exercise in check, then adding in natural supplements, and finally trying a fat burner substance.

Here are some natural products to try:

  • Green tea extract – look for one that has a good amount OF EGCG (200mg is a good amount)

  • CLA – Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid that most of us lack. It is a great supplement because it has been shown in research and clinical studies to lower body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Sometimes you can even find CLA that also contains green tea extract, win-win.

  • Fish Oil – It has been scientifically proven that fish oil can help people lose weight on top of all the other wonderful things it does for us. Research shows “that Omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oil activates the enzymes responsible for burning fat, and combined with exercise and increased oxygen intake, they increase the metabolic rate, which has an effect of burning more fat and losing weight.” Buy some now and start taking it, I mean it. 

    Once you have added these to your everyday routine and you’re really ready for that last push then, and only then, would I say it’s ok to try a fat burner. You should be really close to your goal weight/size when you begin taking it. You also need to be diligent when you take it. Take it when the package tells you to and don’t miss any days. If you don’t follow the instructions you are wasting your time and money. Also if you’re going to start rationalizing eating/drinking like crap just because you’re taking a fat burner then forget about it.

    The only real fat burner I’ve taken is Biotest’s Hot-Rox Extreme. It’s not cheap and you probably need to order it online as they don’t sell it here in Canada. Sometimes customs won’t let a package containing Hot-Rox over the boarder either so it can be tough to get your hands on it unless you get it from a Canadian site. I got mine shipped with a bunch of protein powder and other stuff and had no problems, but I’ve heard from many others that it can be tricky. Last time I went shopping over the boarder I just stopped in at a local supplement store and picked some up and brought it back over with me.

    Anyways, moving along. Hot-Rox is extremely powerful and for those taking it for the first time I would start off with a really low dose. The first time I tried it I took one pill and felt like I had taken crack. I was jittery and couldn’t stop fidgeting and got a little nauseous. Nausea is common among fat burners if you don’t take them when instructed which is usually either before or after a meal. Most fat burners will have you take a pill in the morning and before working out in the afternoon. Don’t take them too close to when you go to bed or you may not be able to fall asleep. After the first two days the jitters went away and I just had this incredible energy. My workouts were more intense because I felt a surge of energy after taking my afternoon dose. All in all I really liked Hot-Rox and would take them again if I needed a little push for about a month. The good thing is when I stopped taking them I didn’t put on any weight because I kept up with my training and eating plan. They just gave me that little bit extra that I needed for that short while to help me break through a sticking point. 

    The main thing I can say is to really do your research before buying anything. Don’t be persuaded by fancy packaging and if the claims on the box seem too good to be true they most likely are. Also, don’t expect miracles. You need to work with the product in order to achieve good results. Try some natural supplements first and then introduce a fat burner.

    Fat Burners: Friend or Foe?
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    2 thoughts on “Fat Burners: Friend or Foe?

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