I'm interested to find out what other people's experience with thermogenics (fat burners) has been.
Have you used them?
Have they helped you get results faster?
Have you got no results when you used them?
Did they make you feel ill?
Would you recommend them to others?
Did you experience any side effects when using them?
Fat Burners: A Great Help or a Waste of Money?
Fat burners’, or the more technical name, ‘thermogenics’ is the name given to a group of compounds that have the effect of speeding up metabolism. Thermogenesis, as the name suggests, means the production of heat within the body [‘thermo’: heat, ‘genesis’: the beginning]. Heat is a by-product of energy production. Therefore, if more fuel is burnt up by the body, more heat is generated.
Some examples of thermogenics include certain foods containing active ingredients like, coffee (caffeine), cocoa (caffeine and theobromine), green tea (epigallocatechin gallate), black tea (theobromine and theophylline), chilli (capsaicin), ginger (gingerols and shogaols) and certain herbs (forskolin, evodiamine and ephedra). The most powerful fat burners are supplements that contain combinations of various thermogenic ingredients in concentrated forms.
Fat burners or thermogenics are often used by people wanting to lose bodyfat. They help to create an energy deficit by increasing the body’s overall energy expenditure. Each day the human body burns energy. The total energy expended comes from three areas: the basal metabolic rate, the exercise performed and the energy used by the body in digesting food. If a thermogenic is used it increases the energy expended in the basal metabolic rate and during exercise.
For example, during a day a person may burn 1500 calories (6300 kilojoules). 70% of those calories may come from their basal metabolic rate (1050 calories), 20% may come from their daily exercise (300 calories) and 10% from digestion (150 calories). If they then take a thermogenic, particularly a thermogenic supplement that contains several powerful ingredients, their daily calorie expenditure may increase to 1800 calories. Of those calories, 71.33% may come from their basal metabolic rate (1284 calories), 20.34% may come from their daily exercise (366 calories) and 8.33% from digestion (150 calories).
By increasing the calorie expenditure each day it becomes much easier to create a calorie deficit and therefore lose bodyfat. So if our person in the example above, consumes 1500 calories from food during the day, without a thermogenic their bodyfat and weight will remain the same (calories in equals calories out). However, if they eat (and drink) the same amount of food but also take a thermogenic, then they will have a calorie deficit that will need to come from their body’s energy stores, resulting in a loss of bodyfat and weight.
It is important to note that if their food intake is not controlled or they don’t perform any exercise, then it is highly likely that using a thermogenic would not be of benefit in helping them lose bodyfat or weight. Thermogenics are not ‘magic pills’. You can’t expect to take a couple of thermogenic capsules and then go home and eat pizza and drink alcohol and expect to get results. Thermogenics only work when their use is combined with a good nutrition and exercise program. They simply help you achieve your fat-loss goals faster.
Thermogenics are also used by people who simply want an energy boost. If you feel tired during the day or if you want a ‘pick-me-up’ before your exercise session, then thermogenics can certainly help. Thermogenic ingredients stimulate the nervous system helping to boost your energy and increase alertness.
For best results thermogenics should be taken twice a day on an empty stomach at least 30 mins prior to meals or before exercise and should not be taken after 4:30pm as they may interfere with sleep. Also, it is best to ‘cycle’ their use. This means use them continuously for a maximum of eight weeks and then have at least two weeks off. This prevents the body from becoming desensitised to the ingredients.
There are several very effective thermogenic supplements on the market that can accelerate progress towards your goal. Those containing caffeine and green tea extracts along with powerful herbal extracts like coleus forskohlii and evodiamine are the most effective. They will boost your metabolism and promote the use of fat for fuel in your body. It is also best to choose thermogenic supplements in capsule form rather than pill form because the ingredients are more readily absorbed.
Thermogenics may be used by people of all ages but because they have a powerful effect on metabolism they are not for everyone. In particular, people with high blood pressure or who use anti-depressant medication should avoid using them. Furthermore, if you are considering using thermogenics, it is essential to see your doctor first and obtain their approval.
If you have tried getting into shape in the past but haven’t got the results and if you are willing to make some changes to your nutrition and exercise habits then thermogenics (fat-burners) will certainly help. They are are available from health food stores everywhere. Only use them as directed and watch your body transform.
Stephen is the part-owner of Body Concepts and Focus On magazine. Stephen has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 18 years and has a science degree from UWA.