Chances are if you have been remotely involved in the sports nutrition landscape (and probably even outside of that), at some point or another you have probably heard of the products categorized as “fat burners”. While some get this picture of fat magically melting and disappearing in your body after taking them, that isn’t exactly how they work. Let’s take a closer look at what they are, how they work and benefits to using them!
What are they? How do they work?
Often referred to by many as ‘thermogenics’ rather than ‘fat burners’, these products are designed to be used along with diet and exercise to aid in achieving fat loss goals faster. There are a few pathways as to how they work, but the primary one is that most commonly the ingredients are designed to slightly elevate core body temperature which results in increased caloric expenditure.
Taking a step back, in a very quick and simplified explanation, fat loss occurs when the body is in what is called a caloric deficit, meaning you are burning more calories than you are ingesting through food on a daily basis. This can be achieved from eating less and exercising the same, eating the same and exercising more, or a combination of the two for fastest results. Thermogenics work to help your body burn more calories than it would on its own had you not used such a product, therefore essentially making your fat loss process more efficient.
These products can also help with overall lipolysis, aka the metabolism of fat. This aspect alone can be through a variety of pathways including various receptors (Alpha, Beta), increased transportation of fatty acids to the mitochondria of cells (the powerhouse of cells), etc. While it doesn’t magically make fat burn away, it can definitely aid and encourage your body to burn away body fat.
Another aspect they can help with is appetite suppression. One of the biggest issues that a lot have when it comes to dieting is being hungry. This factor alone can be one of the biggest detriments to those who are on a fat loss journey as you can train perfectly and eat perfectly nutrition wise, but snacks and too many calories outside of what your fat loss plan dictates can slow and hinder progress. By taking care of these pesky cravings, they can help keep you on plan and moving toward your goals.
The last key are to address is energy and focus. When you start reducing calories and workout out more, aside from getting a little hungrier than usual, many feel like they have less energy and it can be harder to focus. Via stimulants and now nootropics, thermogenics can help give you an energy boost and increase your focus to keep you feeling good and prevent the dreaded ‘brain fog’ from dieting.
Overall, many may think that they sound ‘gimmicky’, but there is a good body of research on the ingredients that back their efficacy and effectiveness. Sure, some may write them off and say “I took them and they didn’t work”, but chances are there was something off in their nutrition or training. When paired with a proper diet, training and cardio routine thermogenics/fat burners can and will help you lose fat faster and reach your goals more rapidly.