Understanding supplements: fat burners.




Summer is almost here, and that means everyone is currently going crazy about losing weight and getting lean for summer. A lot of people are going to look for shortcuts, for the easy solution, for the one thing that’s gonna make them lose the 10 kg they want to lose in 1 week.


One of the most common products people buy in order to achieve this nonsense goal (you can’t lose 10 kgs in one week in a healthy way…) is fat burners. In some way, I can understand it. Their own name leads to confusion “fat burners… so I take this, and I burn fat, right?”. No, it doesn’t work like that.

That’s why this is today’s topic. Before you spend your money in what you think it’s going to be the magic product you are looking for, read this.

FAT BURNERS: WHAT ARE THEY?


They are a supplement. “oh thanks Marc, you genius…” hold on. What I mean is that, as a supplement, they are supposed to just complement your diet, but they can’t replace proper nutrition and training.

Fat burners are “nutrition supplements that are claimed to acutely increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, or somehow cause long-term adaptations that promote fat metabolism” [1].


In other words, they are a supplement whose goal is to help you lose more fat. I repeat: to help you lose more fat. NOT TO BURN FAT PER SE.


They will help you IF you are already on a fat loss stage, meaning that you are training properly and eating in a caloric deficit. Once you do that, that’s when fat burners come into place.

Again, fat burners do not burn fat per se. I am going to be a bit repetitive with a few concepts during this article but I want you to really understand some basic ideas about fat burners that will help you understand what they really are.

WHAT DO THEY DO?


As you’ve just read in their description, they can play very different roles but the main one is to just stimulate different processes in your body to help you use fat as fuel and, therefore, “burn fat” (hence their name).

Most fat burners are made up of caffeine and other stimulants, so they increase your metabolism and help your body metabolize fat and use it as fuel. Fatty acids are broken down, sent to your blood stream and used as an energy source. That is basically what they do. They boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories, which increases your caloric deficit and that ultimately leads to a faster weight loss rate.

But once again, they can’t replace proper training and diet, so don’t expect to take them, sit on the couch eating donuts all day and lose weight.

DO THEY REALLY WORK?


Sure they do, but they are not the magic pill you think you are.

They are supposed to complement what you should already be doing: eating in a caloric deficit with the correct macronutrients distribution and exercising properly. If you are doing these two things right, fat burners can help you burn an extra pound or so a week, but that’s about it. They won’t make you lose 10 lbs every week.

A pretty normal and realistic fat loss rate would be 1 – 3 lbs per week, maybe 4 in the first stages of your fat loss phase. But once your body gets used to the deficit, it will slow down to 1 pound a week or so.

I once read a metaphor about fat burners that really describes very well what they are:

“Think of fat burners like a scope on a hunting rifle, only you're trying to hunt fat cells.


Your diet is the gun, and exercise is the ammunition. Fat burners may help you aim a bit better and target fat more efficiently. But without the heavy artillery of your diet, and some bullets in the chamber, a scope is just good for looking at things from far away—not for bringing home results!”

You get it right? ;)


ARE THEY WORHT IT?


Well, yes and no.

Yes, because they can be an extra help in order to lose fat and give you an extra boost so they will help you lose a bit more fat.

No because:

- 1: For the third time, they can’t replace proper exercise and nutrition. If you are not eating like you should and you aren’t training properly, fat burners are a waste of money.

- 2: It is basically caffeine, so buy a caffeine pill or drink coffee and that’s it. Sure, a cup of coffee and a pill of a fat burner may not have the same amount of caffeine and fat burners may stimulate specific processes that coffee doesn’t but, they are pretty much the same.

So, what do I think about them? In my opinion no, they are not worth it. I’ve tried them and they have not made such a big difference compared to when I’m not using them. As long as your nutrition is on point, you water intake is on point, your training is on point and you are resting well, it is just a matter of time till you get as lean as you want to be.

Will they help if you buy them? They sure will. But not so much that is worth spending the money on them, at least not for me.

I would rather do some cardio or train a bit more and burn some extra calories, but that is just my personal preference.

That’s it for today’s post!! If you have any doubt, question, suggestion or constructive critic, please do not hesitate to let it in the comments section or use my social media.


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See you in the next one! :)