Any competitor worth his or her salt knows that a fat burner isn’t going to replace a strict diet and an ironclad training routine on your journey to the stage. That said, having a well-formulated fat burner in your arsenal can definitely enhance the results of your hard work in the gym and in the kitchen, thereby giving you that slight edge on game day. Here are five tips to get the most bang for your buck from your fat burning supplement.
1. Select the Right Fat Burner.
The market is flooded with any number of fat burning supplements, so it’s important you pick the best one for your goals. Toward that end, there are two categories that most fat burners fall into: stimulant-based and stimulant-free.
Stimulant-based supplements typically include ingredients such as caffeine, synephrine, tyramine, and yohimbe. The purpose of these compounds is to boost energy, reduce appetite, and ratchet up the amount of fat released from fat cells to be used as energy.
If you’re sensitive to any of the above ingredients, you’re better off going with a stimulant-free formulation. Try to find products that contain: (1) the fat-burning compounds green tea extract and acetyl L-carnitine; and (2) caralluma fimbriata extract, phaseolus vulgaris (white kidney bean), and cynara scolymus (artichoke) extract, which help to suppress appetite.
2. Pay Attention to Your Timing.
One key benefit of fat burners is their appetite-suppressing properties. Take advantage of this by popping your fat burner approximately 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and (if you’re taking a stimulant-free product) dinner. This will help keep you satiated, avert cravings, and boost your metabolism.
3. Guzzle the H2O.
Many people find that they sweat more when taking fat burners since one of their functions is to elevate metabolism. Additionally, caffeine and other stimulants often have a diuretic effect that leaves you running to the restroom more frequently. Both of these realities can lead to dehydration and actually slow down your metabolic rate if you don’t watch your water consumption.
Although you should generally be drinking 0.75 gallons to one full gallon of H2O per day anyways, this is particularly important if your regimen includes a fat burner. Drink at least one cup of water each time you pop a fat burner to promote absorption of the ingredients and help avoid getting dried out.
4. Cycle Out Your Fat Burner.
If you continue putting the same substances in your body over an extended period of time, you eventually become desensitized to them. This is exactly what occurs with stimulant-based products. Moreover, flooding your body with too many stimulants can produce high levels of cortisol, an undesirable hormone that causes muscle breakdown and encourages your body to hang onto stored fat.
To ensure you don’t fall victim to these pitfalls, be sure to cycle your fat burners. Go three to four weeks on with your stimulant-based product, then cycle off for two weeks and replace with a stimulant-free item. How do you tell if your body needs a shake-up? If you’re not feeling the “kick” that you used to from a regular dose of your fat burner, it’s time to cycle off for a few weeks. Whatever you do, do NOT increase the dosage – that’s a vicious cycle that won’t end well.
5. Coordinate With Your Cardio.
Next to your meal hour, one of the most powerful times to take a fat burner is 30 minutes pre-cardio session. Research has shown that ingesting green tea extract prior to performing cardio has a greater fat-burning effect. In addition, caffeine will assist in the mobilization of stored body fat for use as fuel, potentially reduce muscle pain, and enhance your focus. The upshot: You’ll exercise harder for longer and in turn burn more fat.