Fat burners are one of the most popular types of supplement today, as losing stored fat can be a frustratingly slow process for many people.
However, losing that stored fat with the help of a fat burner isn’t as simple as taking a few capsules a day and watching the excess fat peel from your body, regardless of what the advertising might tell you.
Fat burners can be an effective supplement, but they’re just that – a supplement to everything else you’re doing. If you don’t do your part, you’re just throwing money away. If you want to get results from your fat burner, your lifestyle and program need to support your goals.
Here are seven ways to make your fat burner work harder for you:
1. Choose your fat burner carefully.
Although there are dozens of fat burners on the market, they generally fall into one of two categories: stimulant-based and stimulant-free. You need to choose the one that best suits your needs, your habits and your current state of health.
If one cup of coffee a day is all you can handle, if you get the jitters from typical energy drinks or even if you just feel that your caffeine intake is plentiful enough, you’ll probably want to choose a stimulant-free fat burner. A lack of stimulants doesn’t make the fat burner less effective – it just contains ingredients that focus more on suppressing the appetite and converting stored fat back to glycogen so that it can be burned as fuel.
Key ingredients to look for are green tea extract, which stimulates the release of stored fat, and acetyl l-carnitine, which transports stored fat back to the liver to be converted back into useable energy. Some other good naturally-occurring ingredients are white kidney bean extract (often listed as phaseolis vulgaris), caralluma fimbriata and artichoke extract or synara scolymus. All of the ingredients are natural appetite suppressants.
In the category of stimulant-based fat burners, key ingredients are caffeine, tyramine, yohimbe and synephrine. Most stimulant-based fat burners contain two or more of these. Most of them will also contain some combination of the appetite suppressants and other ingredients found in stimulant-free fat burners.
2. Have a program in place and follow it consistently.
No fat burner will be as effective as it can be if you’re just winging your workouts or working out on an inconsistent basis. Your plan can be simple, but it needs to be in place. Have a program worked out for your resistance and cardio workouts and make sure that the goals and your progress toward those goals are measurable.
3. Time your doses for effectiveness.
Maximize the effectiveness of your fat burner by taking it about 30 minutes prior to meals. This will allow it to help control the amount you eat, give your metabolism a boost and help you feel satisfied longer between meals.
4. Make sure you’re properly hydrated.
Proper hydration is always important, but it’s even more so if you’re taking a fat burner. Ingredients such as green tea, caffeine and other stimulants act as diuretics, so you’ll be losing water at a faster rate than you normally would. Also, boosting your metabolism boosts your heart rate and therefore the amount you sweat.
If you let yourself become even slightly dehydrated (which will happen long before you feel any symptoms at all, even thirst), that dehydration will actually slow your metabolism, which is completely counterintuitive to your taking the fat burner in the first place.
Drink a minimum of 8fl ounces of water with each dose of your fat burner and be sure to get at least 64fl ounces of additional water throughout the day. If you work, play or work out in a hot/humid environment or if you’re working out at a very high intensity, be sure to increase your water intake during and after your workouts.
5. Cycle your fat burner periodically.
If you’re a caffeine drinker, you know that your body builds up a resistance over time. Whereas you might have been able to get through your day on one morning cup of coffee, you eventually need another in the afternoon. The same principle works for stimulant-based fat burners. The effects will eventually decline. Additionally, taking stimulant-based fat burners consistently for long periods will increase your cortisol levels, rendering the fat burner less and less effective.
If you start to notice that you no longer get that same burst of energy shortly after taking your fat burner, then it’s time to let your body detox from it a bit. You can do this in a few ways: either start taking it every other day or go off the fat burner completely for a few days. Don’t worry, the days you do without your fat burner won’t slow your progress nearly as much as consistently taking a fat burner that’s no longer doing its job.
6. Boost your fat burner’s thermogenic effect by taking it before cardio.
Part of the effectiveness of caffeine and green tea extract is the thermogenic effect created by the interaction between their catechin polyphenols and the norepinephrine released by the brain in response to exercise. The catechin polyphenols actually slow the breakdown of norepinephrine, increasing the lipolysis, fat metabolism and appetite suppression prompted by the hormone.
Studies have shown that people taking a supplement containing green tea extract or caffeine before doing cardio experienced greater fat loss than those who didn’t. Also, the thermogenic effects of norepinephrine will continue much longer after your workout than when you work out without these stimulants.
The best way to take advantage of this interplay between stimulants and norepinephrine is to take your fat burner about thirty minutes before your cardio session, so keep that in mind when timing your other dosages.
7. Be sure to get adequate sleep.
A lack of consistent deep sleep will elevate your blood cortisol and decrease testosterone, (which both men and women need to build lean muscle and release stored fat). Muscle repair and recovery also takes place during REM sleep.
If you have trouble getting enough sleep while taking a stimulant-based fat burner, either switch to a stimulant0-free supplement after lunch or don’t take one at all in the evenings.
By following these seven guidelines, you’ll better your chances of getting the most for your supplement money ad reaching your fat loss goals in the least amount of time.