Fat Burners are used to describe sports nutrition supplements that are designed to increase fat burning before, during and post-workout.
A Fat Burner usually contains a number of ingredients, including caffeine and bitter orange, which are designed to enhance your performance, raise your body temperature to burn more calories and lose weight.
An overview of fat burners and why they are used
Fat burners work on the basis of Thermogenesis and Lipolysis.
Thermogenesis is the production of heat, which raises your body temperature and energy expended in keeping you alive. It is somewhat related to your metabolic rate in that the thermic effect of food and exercise have an impact on calories burned.
Lipolysis releases fatty acids into your blood stream, allowing fat to be used as fuel – this is key – as the fat is now in your blood stream it needs to be used. Therefore, it requires exercises to force your energy expenditure to increase, which in turn means your body needs more energy to keep it functioning.
Common ingredients used and how they help with weight loss
Fat burners often contain a myriad of ingredients designed to work with one another to enhance the fat burning process.
Common ingredients include:
Green tea contains an active ingredient called catechins which are responsible for the weight loss properties of green tea.
Catechins help your body lose belly fat and combined with natural caffeine, can help increase the amount of energy your body uses.
Bitter orange is a natural herb linked to weight loss (and other natural health remedies).
Bitter orange extract contains the chemical synephrine, which can speed your heart and increase your blood pressure, but also helps to raise your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and calorie expenditure.
Synephrine inhibits your alpha-2 receptors on fat cells, and helps catecholamines attach to more fat receptors in troublesome areas (think – gut), thus mobilising fat.
Caffeine is almost always said to help you lose weight. It does this by stimulating brown fat in your body which generates heat (thermogenesis) and helps accelerate weight loss.
Caffeine has also been linked with an increase in mobilising fat for fuel vs carbohydrates. So when you’re working out, your body switches its reliance from carbohydrates and glucose for energy and endurance, to fat – meaning you can stay active for longer and burn more calories from fat.
By adding this into a pre-workout mix, caffeine will also keep you alert for longer and more energised and so is useful for taking before going to the gym in the evening.
However, the issue with reliance upon caffeine in your pre-workout is your body quickly builds a tolerance level, particularly if you’re consuming cups of tea and/or coffee during the day.
Cayenne pepper is a natural herb that can speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight.
Studies  indicate that consuming cayenne pepper can speed up your metabolism for up to 30 minutes after consuming it – which means your body will more often convert nutrients into energy instead of storing it as fat.
Not only does cayenne pepper help with an increased metabolic rate, but studies indicate cayenne pepper can burn calories through increasing your body temperature which results in more calories burned as your body tries to cool you down again.
Unroasted coffee turns out to be green and rose to prominence when Dr. Oz called out this supplement as a fat burner without the need for exercise.
Roasting coffee beans reduces the naturally occurring chlorogenic acid – which is found to have numerous health benefits including reducing blood pressure and assisting with weight loss.
The Chlorogenic acid is suggested to control your blood sugar and metabolism by reducing the absorption of carbohydrates, which limits your bodys production of insulin and storage of glucose.
When to take a fat burner supplement
Most people imagine taking a fat burner supplement will help them lose weight while they sit at their desk.
But this just not the case. As a fat burner essentially raises body heat to expend more energy, and releases fat into your blood stream, it gives you the opportunity to lose weight as long as you make a few lifestyle changes before and after supplementing with them.
1. You need to work out
A fat burner will help break down fats in your body and allow your body to use fat as energy.
But, if your bodys energy requirement is low because you’re sitting at work or lying on the sofa, then the increased metabolism is wasted and ultimately will be stored as fat again.
So, you need to create, and stick to, a regimented training program. Only then should you use a fat burner to help your body utilise the fat breakdown for energy which will help keep you going for longer at the gym.
2. Your diet needs to be controlled
There is no point working out or taking a fat burner if all you’re going to do is consume more empty calories, or increase your sugar intake and null the effects of your training and supplements.
As a fat burner will help you metabolise more of your body fat for energy, you will need to manage your diet to ensure you are consuming fewer carbs and more protein to help your body through the repair process.
Ultimately there is no such thing as a magic pill.
The weight loss and physique you are looking for comes from hard work (both mental and physical) and perseverance.
A fat burner will help you with this process as long as you follow and stick to both a work-out programme, and a clean diet.