The cornerstone of any effective weight management program is adhering to a sound training regimen and nutrition plan. No matter how many gimmicks are dangled in front of your face like juicy carrots, you still know that exceptional results come from consistency and dedication. That being said, fat-burning supplements can be a very efficient addition to a sound program. Most physique competitors use some sort of “fat burner” to help with appetite control, energy levels and mobilizing fat for energy. This article will touch on various categories of supplements that can enhance your efforts in dieting and exercising.
What is a fat burner? This group of supplements varies greatly and can be defined as a dietary supplement that claims to assist in fat loss. These can include both stimulant and non-stimulant ingredients. Most stimulants aim to, by either a singular or combination of ingredients, increase metabolic rate and/or body heat. Stimulants can also be classified as thermogenics. A stimulant by definition is “a substance that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body.” Often, this means an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. Non-stimulants claim to offer many benefits associated with fat reduction by way of varying mechanisms but without an increase in physiological or nervous activity. Both supplement types are extremely beneficial when combined with proper diet and exercise; however each ingredient must be carefully considered based on individual sensitivities, current medications and pre-existing health conditions.
Popular ingredients in over-the-counter fat burners include various forms of caffeine, yohimbine, synephrine and green tea extract, as well as L-carnitine and CLA. The sky’s the limit when it comes to fat burners. Research has shown many of these ingredients to be promising in assisting with fat-loss efforts. To prevent information overload and to keep this article concise, this piece will focus on the six previously mentioned ingredients.
Caffeine. Caffeine is clearly the most popular and widely consumed stimulant worldwide, with more than 90 percent of North Americans consuming some form of this drug on a daily basis. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks are just a few of the popular marketplace offerings providing you with your daily caffeine fix. Caffeine is known for its ability to increase energy and alertness. Caffeine is also one of the most studied stimulants and is proven to assist with fat burning and performance enhancement.
Paraxanthine, the primary dimethylxanthine metabolite found in caffeine, is responsible for lipolysis and Free Fatty Acid (FFA) mobilization – in other words, fat burning. One of the highest concentrations of caffeine is present in the herb guarana, which contains 3.6-5.8 percent caffeine by volume, while coffee only provides 2 percent, according to WebMD.
Yohimbine. Studies such as the one in a 2002 issue of Medical Hypotheses promote the idea that yohimbine is a useful tool in the fight against fat loss. As an alpha-2 antagonist, this herb boosts lipolysis and serum FFA levels during and post exercise. When taken in moderate doses, yohimbine accomplishes this without raising heart rate, blood pressure or anxiety. Another 2006 study in Research and Sports Medicine found that when yohimbine was administered to soccer players in doses of 20mg twice daily for 21 days, post supplementation observation showed a significant reduction in body fat and a much lower level of body fat mass versus a placebo group. Yohimbine HCL is a purified, standard substance while yohimbe bark extract may contain various amounts of the active ingredient and may contain fillers.
L-Carnitine. This popular amino acid has been linked to fat loss for decades. The mitochondria is considered to be the cell’s “furnace,” and L-carnitine works by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria to be used as fuel. Studies remain controversial on its effectiveness, however. Although there is promise that this amino may offer assistance in burning mobilized fat, as well as recovering from exercise due to its glycogen-sparing effect, many studies show no link to fat reduction. L-carnitine can stave off fatigue and increase oxygen efficiency during exercise, leading to more effective workouts and an increase in fat loss. L-carnitine remains safe with no major known side effects, however, so it may be an option to assist in weight loss efforts.
Synephrine. Bitter orange extract (Citrus aurantium) contains a potent fat burning ingredient in the form of p-synephrine. This form of synephrine has been proven to exhibit a thermogenic effect on the body by increasing Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). A 2011 study in the International Journal of Medical Science found that synephrine caused no rise in resting heart rate or blood pressure. The combination of a thermogenic that does not raise heart rate or blood pressure makes bitter orange extract an extremely popular and effective ingredient in many fat burners today.
Green Tea Extract. High levels of catechins present in green tea extract have been shown to help in the reduction of body fat. Numerous studies, including one in the 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have shown a direct correlation between catechin intake and fat loss. Intake in this particular study was 690mg catechins daily for a 12-week period. An added benefit of green tea is a reduction in LDL cholesterol.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA has been shown to be a potent ingredient in fat loss by assisting the liver in fat metabolism. Many studies have substantiated the claims that this fatty acid assists in burning white fat stores while enhancing lean body mass. A 2012 study in the Lipids in Health and Disease Journal published results that both Omega 3 and CLA enhance glycolytic, oxidative and overall metabolism. Both ingredients also greatly increase mitochondrial content, proving that CLA and Omega 3 are a great addition to a healthy diet and a weight management plan.
A popular stack among Max Muscle customers in Northern Virginia is what franchisee and IFBB Figure Pro Corry Matthews calls the “belly blaster stack,” which is a combination of Max LiquiCarn and Max CLA. Matthews said, “The key to these two supplements is consistency. LiquiCarn needs to be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or 30 minutes prior to a workout. And for CLA to work, you must take the 6 capsules daily. It needs to build up in you system before it really starts working.” She refers to this stack as the “ultimate non-stimulant fat-burner.”
It cannot be stressed enough that supplementation is in addition to a solid exercise and nutrition program! Kevin Myles, Editor-in-Chief for Bella Fit Magazine, author of The Diet That Works and certified training and nutrition specialist, emphasizes this truth. “The biggest mistake people make with fat burners is taking them without making the necessary changes to their fitness program. Without a proper diet and consistent exercise program, any potential benefit to be gained from the addition of fat burners simply won’t happen. Make sure to start with a good fitness program that will produce results.”
The other big mistake people make with fat burners is taking them in excessive amounts or for extended periods of time. Always follow the directions and recommended dosages listed on the label. “More is not necessarily better and will not make up for a bad diet,” Myles said. In addition to a sound nutrition and exercise plan, fat burners with stimulant or thermogenic properties should be cycled and should be used strictly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Disclaimer! Read all warnings and consult your healthcare provider prior to adding any supplements to your plan. Certain health conditions and medications conflict with these supplements, so only your doctor can tell you if they are right for you.
Triple Fat Attack with Max Muscle’s LipoRED
LipoRED has been formulated with three of the most potent fat burning ingredients on the market: caffeine, raspberry ketones and yohimbine HCL. Caffeine is a stimulant which provides energy and alertness while helping to break down and release stored fat. Raspberry ketones have been shown to increase beta-oxidation (fat burning) as well as catecholamine-induced lipolysis (fat breakdown). Yohimbine HCL is a very potent alpha-2 antagonist that promotes fat loss from deep fat stores. Yohimbine HCL is more potent than the popular form of yohimbe extract. IFBB Figure Pro and Max Muscle Franchisee Corry Matthews shares her thoughts on LipoRED: “If you want to ‘feel’ your fat burner, this is the one for you! Very powerful and very potent, LipoRED is not for the faint of heart! This one takes some getting used to, but with proper nutrition and training, LipoRED probably has the best overall fat burning properties to it. Many of our customers stack this product with the Night-Time Quadra Cuts, too!”
By Alissa Carpio