Fat Burners can be a confusing subject.
Despite their name, not all of them actually burn off body fat. But that doesn’t make them ineffective, as fat burners can do many more things that enhance metabolism.
This guide answers the most common questions we receive on fat burners.
Table of Contents
What Are Fat Burners?
Fat burners are natural supplements designed to help you lose additional body fat. There are several ways they can work:
- Speed up the metabolism
- Enhance energy levels
- Suppress appetite
By increasing your metabolism, a fat burner will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day. Extra energy allows you to exercise for longer periods and with greater intensity. The appetite suppressant role of fat burners stops you from consuming unnecessary calories.
Most fat burners provide a combination of these fat loss mechanisms.
Who Are Fat Burners For?
Fat burners are designed to help adults (aged 18 or over) who need to lose weight.
They are particularly helpful for people over the age of 40, who have slower metabolism and have put on excess weight.
Fat burners are also very popular with bodybuilders trying to reduce their body fat levels while maintaining or building muscle mass. Bodybuilders who are following a bulking and cutting schedule also rely on fat burners during the cutting phase when they are stripping body fat.
People with medical issues, or who are currently on medication, should see their doctor about using fat burners. Pregnant and lactating women should not use fat burners.
What Are The Benefits Of Fat Burners?
Fat burners will have different effects depending on the specific ingredients and quality of product. Additionally, people will react differently to individual fat burners.
Generally speaking, fat burners will:
- Increase metabolism
- Provide more energy
- Promote thermogenesis
- Complement a good diet and exercise regime
- Improve muscular definition
- Reduce fat from specific areas such as the abdominals
- Speed up weight loss
How Do Fat Burners Work?
Fat burners will usually combine a range of natural ingredients that work in different ways to achieve overall fat loss.
Ingredients can be categorized according to their effects:
Appetite suppressants and dietary fiber give you a full, satiated feeling, preventing cravings and binge eating. Effective ingredients are yohimbine and glucomannan.
Stimulants increase our level of energy, increase the metabolism and burn stored body fat. Popular stimulant ingredients include green tea extract and caffeine, and guarana.
Fat burners are designed to promote thermogenesis in order to burn calories. The most effective herbal ingredients are capsaicin, cayenne pepper and coleus forskohlli.
How Much Weight Can I Realistically Lose?
You can lose between 0.5-1.5 kgs of body fat per week.
By being patient and focusing on sustained fat loss, it’s possible to avoid loss of water or lean muscle that tends to occur with rapid weight loss.
Do I Need To Exercise and Diet While Using A Fat Burner?
Yes. Fat burners are supplements, which means that they should be used in addition to proper nutrition and exercise.
Unless you have those things in place, a fat burner will be of little use to you. Many of the effects of fat burners come from their ability to boost the results of your workout and diet. Fitness experts generally acknowledge that what you eat accounts for 80% of your fat loss success, with the other 20% coming from working out. Fat burners provide a boost to speed up these effects.
Some people think they can take a fat burner in order to negate the bad effects of an unhealthy diet. This is definitely not the case.
Before you begin to use a fat burner, make sure that your total daily caloric intake is lower than your maintenance level of calories to sustain your current weight. Your diet should be high in lean proteins, and moderate in slow digesting carbohydrates. You should eliminate as many fast digesting, sugary based carbs as possible. Once you have done that, fat burners will be able to accelerate your results.
How Do I Take Fat Burners?
Fat burners usually come either as a tablet or capsule.
You should always start with the smallest recommended amount for the first two weeks, and never take a greater dose than is recommended on the label.
Fat burners that contain stimulants, such as caffeine, should not be taken within 5 hours of going to bed.
This type of supplement should also be cycled, meaning that after 2-3 months you should have an extended break from use. This prevents your body from developing a tolerance to the ingredients.
Are There Any Side Effects of Using Fat Burners?
Yes. The two most common side effects associated with fat burners are dehydration and lack of sleep.
The dehydration comes as a result of increased body temperature from thermogenesis. As a result, your body uses more water to maintain ideal body temperature. Therefore, it’s recommended to drink additional water when using a fat burner.
Sleep issues come from the stimulants . This is easily avoided by only using fat burners during the day time.
How Do I Know Which Fat Burner To Choose?
This depends on your specific training goals.
If you want to boost workout energy, you’ll want a stimulant-based fat burner that contains at least 200mg of caffeine.
For those after a metabolism boost, go for products that use ingredients such as green tea extract or capsaicin.
If you need an appetite suppressant, look for products with ingredients like yohimbine, nicotine or glucomannan.
Are There Any Special Regulations In Australia and New Zealand?
In New Zealand, some fat burning ingredients are controlled under the Psychoactive Substances Act. DMBA, and DMAA are banned, with yohimbine and oxedrine only being obtainable with a doctor’s prescription.
In Australia, fat burners are controlled under the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA). Synthetic caffeine is banned in fat burners in capsule or tablet form (though it is allowed as a powder). DMAA and DMBA are also banned under the TGA.
Whichever way you plan to use fat burners, they will only work if you choose good brands with top quality ingredients. We’ve review all the best fat burner ingredients here.