Personally, I think that fat burners are one of the most sought out supplements. Everyone wants that additional help to shed some weight! The thermogenic ingredients within fat burners are what provides that boost in our resting metabolic rate which aids in facilitating fat loss, helps reduce appetite, and increase metabolism. Common ingredients seen in fat burners typically include caffeine, green tea extract (GTE), Garcinia cambogia, bitter orange, and yohimbine all of which are herbal supplements. L-carnitine is another ingredient found in many of these products. These ingredients help carry long-chain fatty acids through an oxidation process which as a result aids in eliminating your fat storage. As all these healthy ingredients may sound great there are, of course, side effects and risks with any supplement you take. So be sure to consult with your primary care provider (PCP), if you do have any health conditions! Especially those with heart conditions should always contact their PCP before taking any supplements (Campbell et al. 2016).
The misconception with fat burners is that you can still eat, drink, and continue a non-healthy lifestyle while taking these supplements and still get results. Unfortunately, fat burners don’t work that way, nor is it safe to use them without maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These types of supplements are meant to be used in conjunction with proper diet, healthy eating, and physical activity. Fat burners are supplements that will not provide immediate results. Thus, maintaining a healthy exercise and eating habits, along with these supplements, will provide you with results after several weeks of consistency. I learned this misconception about fat burners the hard way! My routine was to wake up, take a thermogenic, do fasted cardio, and then continue to eat pizza, burgers or drink beer. During this routine I still expected to lose weight. Then when I didn’t lose weight, I would get frustrated with myself!
How to Start
As with any fat burners, if it is new to you then it is safe to always start out slow or at the lowest dose. If the recommended dose is two capsules, then start with one capsule. Some fat burners recommend taking an additional capsule later in the day; however, I would refrain from doing so for at least a week or until you build up a tolerance. We all tolerate caffeine and other herbal supplements differently especially herbal supplements that have never been taken before can be difficult to manage. Many of these thermogenics can be rather intense, initially, until a tolerance builds up. Also keep in mind that it can take several weeks for you to see results, so typically six to eight weeks would be a desirable timeframe in taking a thermogenic. Again, please keep in mind that if you have any preexisting health conditions it would be in your best interest to consult with your PCP first (Clark and Swan 2019).
Fat Burners on Keto
Do I take fat burners while following a keto lifestyle? Yes, I am guilty and once in a while I do take fat burners. There are days where I am simply lacking motivation to work out especially lately with my injury to my knee. I usually take a thermogenic one to two times a week before my fasted cardio. Personally, I have to be careful with taking fat burners because I am already a coffee connoisseur! I average about three cups of coffee a day and it’s not because I need the energy, but due to the fact that I just absolutely love coffee. So, adding in even more caffeine from a thermogenic would not be in my best interest all the time. When I do take thermogenics, I am sure to reduce my coffee intake for that day.
Caffeine is a common ingredient in thermogenics it is also considered a stimulant and a diuretic. The caffeine’s stimulation effect will stimulate your central nervous system which gives you that increased boost in energy. While the caffeine’s diuretic effect, aids your body in eliminating water and sodium (Caffeine 2020). If you do decide to take fat burners consistently during keto, just be sure you are hydrating yourself with significant amounts of water. Becoming dehydrated on keto can inhibit you to achieve ketosis as well as developing keto flu symptoms such as: headaches, soreness, muscle cramps, nausea, and irregular bowels. I can tell you, from personal experience, that the energy you get from being in ketosis as well as mixing in a little thermogenic into your routine and you will be on a high like no other. You will be focused, zooming, and you will be unstoppable!
American Made Nutrition’s (AMN) Weight Loss supplement helps tremendously with improving and increasing your appetite and metabolism. The nice thing about this supplement is that there are two patented ingredients within this supplement. AMN’s Weight Loss supplement helps provide you with an amazing sweat, mental focus, and clarity throughout the day! As I mentioned earlier, I typically only take these prior to my fasted cardio.
My ultimate go to supplement for thermogenics is Skinny Jeans. Skinny Jeans is part of the women's line through AMN. It is a product formulated specifically for women with natural ingredients. Skinny Jeans make you sweat within a matter of minutes after taking two capsules, this is why I personally love it so much! So if you plan on doing any cardiovascular activities and you want a good sweat, Skinny Jeans would be the product for you! On the other end of the spectrum, Shred Black is going to be the most extreme out of Weight Loss and Skinny Jeans.
Pros and Cons
There are, of course, negative side effects from taking any supplement for an extended period of time. Overuse of thermogenics, and many other supplements, may have the potential to cause significant complications. Most of these supplements are metabolized through the liver which may lead to a risk for liver complications especially anyone with already preexisting liver damage. It may either be a specific ingredient within these thermogenics, or the combination of them all and how they act within the body. As mentioned above, caffeine is the most common ingredient in thermogenics. As previously mentioned, caffeine is also a stimulant. Over time when our central nervous system is persistently stimulated there is an increased risk of: high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, fluctuations in your heart rate, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia (Julson 2018). Again, as I have stated in many blogs prior, it is very important for you to consult your PCP before taking any of these supplements if you have any pre-existing health conditions. Someone with heart disease should not be taking any type of stimulant! Heart attacks and strokes may occur as a potential lethal side effect amongst these individuals so please consult your PCP first.
On the other hand, fat burners are very helpful for healthy individuals struggling to shed the last few pounds they had been wishing to lose or to kick-start their fitness journey. As the thermogenic is used in the supplement category, a supplement simply means it can either complete or enhance your routine. In order to complete or enhance we need a foundation or a starting point. And for the health and fitness world we need to have a strong foundation of healthy eating habits and routine physical activity in order for a fat burner to accompany this lifestyle. Fat burners give you that energy you are missing after a long twelve-hour shift at work, or helps you get started on your fasted cardio regime until you feel strong enough to have that motivation on your own. Fat burners give you that extra sweat factor you want at the end of your workout and you will feel so much more accomplished. These are all things we are capable of doing on our own; however, sometimes we just need a little extra boost in our routine to get us to where we want to be, and that is why I take supplements such as the Weight Loss from AMN to help me when needed!
So, as a whole, yes thermogenics are great to use to help your fitness journey move along by enhancing fat burning, increasing your metabolism, and reducing your food cravings. Whether or not you have been on keto for a limited period of time thermogenics are a great resource. Just be cautious in the supplements you take if you have any health conditions and consult your PCP if needed!
“Caffeine.” 2020. MedlinePlus. April 14. https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html.
Campbell, B. I., Colquhoun, R. J., Zito, G., Martinez, N., Kendall, K., Buchanan, L.,
Lehn, M., Johnson, M., St Louis, C., Smith, Y., & Cloer, B. 2016. “The Effects of
a Fat Loss Supplement on Resting Metabolic Rate and Hemodynamic Variables
in Resistance Trained Males: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled,
Cross-over Trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, April 1.
Clark, S., and Swan, H. 2019. “The Complete Guide to Fat Burners.” Bodybuilding.com,
January 23. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/5-truths-about-fat-
Julson, E., MS., RDN., CLT. 2018. “Can Thermogenic Supplements Help You Burn
Fat?” Healthline Media, July 24.