Yeah, I know: Those last 10 pounds are a b!tch to burn. In order to win a fight-to-the-death battle with chubby-blubber, some people add fat-burning supplements to their supplement arsenal.
Before you hit the store and start typing in your credit card number, get some information about the ingredients in those products. If you are a better-informed consumer, you'll have a better chance finding the best product for your health and fitness goals.
These five ingredients each help you burn fat, but they each work a bit differently. Harness their power to hit your goals!
Most of us get a hit of caffeine in our morning cup of joe. While it helps you feel less zombie-like in the morning, caffeine also has some powerful fat-fighting benefits.
When you're dieting, your energy level often takes a nose dive, leaving you lethargic and unmotivated at work, school and the gym. Caffeine can help alleviate that. With more energy, you can maintain a higher level of activity and burn more fat by getting more done.
Dieters who consume caffeine prior to a workout report that their workouts feel easier than those who don't use caffeine.
A study in the Journal Of Medicine And Science In Sports reported that those who consumed a beverage containing 330 mg of caffeine 60 minutes prior to exercise experienced a higher rate of fat oxidation during that workout session, accompanied by a lower rate of carbohydrate oxidation.
This high fat-oxidation rate is great because it means you're burning more fat for energy while sparing muscle glycogen. When you are glycogen depleted, your workouts suffer and you'll definitely feel fatigued. Caffeine can help you use body fat for fuel, getting lean while feeling great.
People also report that they feel less hunger after ingesting caffeine. Having a little caff might help you stay away from the snack tray.
If you do choose a product with caffeine, make sure to first test your tolerance for stimulants. If you are sensitive, you may want look for stimulant-free products.
Yohimbe comes from the bark of a particular African tree. It may be particularly good for burning off stubborn body fat. By enhancing blood flow, yohimbe may make the oxidation of fatty acids easier. This can translate to fat-loss support, potentially when you need it most.
Increased blood flow to the muscle cells might also support recovery by shuttling more oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles.
Green Tea Extract
Like caffeine, green tea extract may increase the rate of fat oxidation in the body, improving your overall rate of fat loss. Green tea extract also contains catechins, which may help boost your metabolic rate by helping your body burn more calories right after consumption.
While green tea extract won't burn hundreds of calories on its own, its effects can compound over time and could make a big difference in your results.
A study published by the American Institute of Nutrition noted that consumption of green tea extract in study participants during physical activity produced a greater overall rate of fat loss.
If you're an always-hungry snacker, hoodia gordonii may help. Hoodia comes from a plant in the South African desert and was originally used by hunters to ward off hunger on long hunting expeditions.
Hopefully most of you don't have to worry about long hunting expeditions in the desert, but using hoodia gordonnii may help you manage hunger pangs caused by a reduced-calorie diet.
Some people find that this particular ingredient takes a few weeks to really kick in, so give it a bit of time before you judge whether it's working for you.
7-Keto might sound like some alien compound, but it's actually a natural, non-hormonal metabolite (breakdown product) of DHEA. Just like DHEA, 7-Keto is produced naturally in the body. As we age, levels of 7-Keto drop.
Supplementing with 7-Keto may help increase your metabolic rate and help you burn fat more effectively. 7-Keto might also improve protein synthesis, which means it may help you preserve more lean muscle on a caloric deficit.
Exercise, Eat, Burn
Keep in mind that no fat burner is meant to replace a good diet and exercise plan. Fat-burning supplements help you burn fat; they don't burn fat for you.
Used correctly, fat burners can help you hit your weight-loss goals. Make sure you read the product labels and use all ingredients correctly!
- Costill, DL. Et al. (1978). Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports. 10(3):155-8.