Fat Burners – The Billion Dollar Shade
by Team Atrain
“Lose 20 lbs of fat in 10 days! No dieting or exercise required!” Walk down any supplement aisle or go to your local nutritional store and you’ll see these bottles with these claims lined up farther than the eye can see. What am I talking about? The all mighty bottle of false hope and promise, yes my friends, I’m talking fat burners.
Before I dive in too deep, let me discuss what a fat burner actually is. In simple terms, these are nutritional supplements that claim to increase weight loss, increase fat metabolism, raise metabolic rate, increase energy expenditure, and inhibit fat absorption. But do they REALLY do that? What exactly are they meant to do?
What you don’t realize just like any supplement, in order for it to work, the foundation has to be laid out first. In this instance the foundation is a sound nutrition and exercise plan. Taking a fat burner without having the foundation of nutrition and exercise is like going outside naked in the winter with only earmuffs on. The earmuffs (fat burner) won’t make a damn bit of difference if you don’t have a winter coat (foundation).
Really it boils down to 3 things for a supplement to be considered a fat burner. Creating thermogenesis (the production of heat in our bodies), raising your energy levels, and suppressing the appetite. Let me go into a little more detail before we move on.
Thermogenesis-You know the feeling you get when your body starts to heat up as you exercise? What’s happening is your body is using up energy stores to keep your body going after glycogen stores are used. This is the process of fat loss. Much like how your car engine uses gasoline to get you to where you need to go.
Increasing energy levels-This is sort of a no-brainer but when energy levels are increased we can perform better, longer, and at a greater intensity, in turn burning more calories and raising our metabolic rate.
Suppressed appetite-Decreased hunger levels leads to a decreased calorie intake, and since we know that fat loss is about creating a calorie deficit, this happens automatically when you eat less.
So what we know about fat burners are that they are supposed to increase your metabolism, increase calorie expenditure, and possibly create a decrease in calorie intake, and in turn, voila! FAT LOSS. But hold the phone! Do the magic bottles making these claims actually do what they’re supposed to!? Not really.
There’s a slew of supplements that are claimed to increase or improve fat metabolism. This list includes caffeine, green tea, chromium, carnitine, yohimbe, CLA and taurine just to name a few. In the research done on these supplements, and through various studies, the conclusion is that there are only a few that have passed the medical research test to back up claims of actually creating fat burning benefits which are caffeine, green tea extract, and capsaicin. Briefly let’s talk about these compounds so you can get a better understanding of how the hell they actually work.
Caffeine has been proven to suppress hunger as well as stimulating the central nervous system and increasing energy metabolism, but at the same time decreases cerebral blood flow. Kind of like when you have a party and you only let the cool kids in that liven things up and keep the downers outside.
Green tea extract-Burning fat requires the breakdown of fat cells which the compounds found in green tea such as EGCG have been proven to do, creating a boosting effect for your fat burning hormones. Let’s not forget that green tea also supports immune function as well as a great source of antioxidants. Oh, and it goes great with the $25 all you can eat sushi.
Capsaicin-This is the ingredient that makes your eyes water and puts your mouth on fire when you eat peppers. It creates that burning sensation and creates that thermogenesis effect like we discussed earlier.
Don’t get me wrong, fat burners have their place, but if you’re searching for that extra calorie burn, would it shock you to know that taking fat burners would only help you only burn about 75 calories per day!? Hardly enough to truly make much of an impact. The benefits of fat burners are for the additional energy and appetite suppressant factor, but the thoughts that you will be burning a ton of fat or creating a crazy calorie burn is where people go wrong and where the trouble starts. The problem is that most have expectations the supplement will do the work for you. You start to rely on this tiny little pill and then believe that you can relax on the other areas that are REALLY the keys to fat loss which are nutrition and exercise. This becomes a vicious cycle and bad relationships with food develop because of unrealistic expectations.
Before you decide on whether or not you want to jump on the fat burner train, think about where you are with nutrition and exercise and be honest with yourself. If you believe that those areas need work, spend your time and energy focusing on how you can create the right foundation (winter coat) to be able to succeed rather than always searching for the quick fix that will never happen.
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