It’s no secret that a significant portion of individuals hitting the gym are doing so with the desire to lose body fat, improve body composition and boost overall fitness. Now, we all know that the real “secret” to getting results in the gym (be it fat loss or muscle gain) is a combination of proper diet and hard training. Without these two pillars in place, no amount of magic pills, potions, powders, or mystical teas will do much of anything.
But, let’s say that you’re already doing everything right from the foundational standpoint -- consuming enough protein, tracking calories, utilizing progressive overload in your workouts -- can fat loss supplements help, and (more importantly) are they safe?
The Role of Fat Burners
As we mentioned at the outset, if you want to lose body fat, you must first have your diet and training in order.
This means you're tracking calories and consuming fewer calories than you burn each day, which creates an energy deficit and forces your body to rely on its energy stores (i.e., body fat) to make up for the lack of energy you're getting from food.
Additionally, to minimize the risk of muscle loss when dieting, it’s important to do two things:
- Consume enough daily protein (~1 gram of protein per pound of body weight)
- Perform resistance training several times per week
The reason for including these two things as part of your weight loss plan is that any time the body is in a prolonged energy deficit, such as when you’re dieting for fat loss, the potential for muscle loss is increased.
Consuming enough dietary protein and engaging in resistance training sessions a few times per week reinforces the signal to your body that it needs to maintain its lean muscle mass, which subsequently forces it to rely on stored body fat for energy.
Since you’ll be on reduced calories, it’s all the more important that you get your protein from high-quality sources, such as:
- Lean Beef
- Dairy (Greek yogurt is a fantastic option)
- Protein Powder (such as Steel Whey® or Steel Vegan™)
These sources of protein supply the body with all the essential amino acids (including the BCAAs) it needs to support muscle recovery and growth without wasting tons of calories on fat (remember, calories are at a premium when dieting).
Once diet and training are covered, you can then begin to look at the role of fat burners.
Quite simply, their job is to support and enhance your efforts in the gym and the kitchen.
By that, we mean that fat burners can help individuals reach weight loss goals in a shorter period of time as well as boost energy levels in the gym and throughout the day, which can help increase total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
If you were wondering, a safe rate of fat loss is roughly 1-3 pounds per week for healthy individuals.
Fat burners support the weight loss process in a variety of ways, including:
- Helping combat cravings and feelings of hunger
- Increasing energy expenditure and motivation to exercise
- Aiding chemical signals in the body that support fat burning
- Greater thermogenesis
Whether or not fat burners "work," yes, the supplements in fat burners (such as caffeine, green tea, and yohimbine) have been found to support weight loss. Now, keep in mind that they won't make you lose 10 or 20 pounds overnight, but (as we stated before) they can accelerate weight loss results.
Who Should Use Fat Burners?
Truthfully, you likely don't need to worry about using a fat burner if you're starting. Your primary focus should be on establishing healthy lifestyle habits, such as:
- Reducing intake of processed foods
- Focusing on micronutrient-dense foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean protein, and healthy fats)
- Tracking your calories
- Consuming enough protein each day
- Maintaining high levels of physical activity
- Getting enough sleep every day
If you've already got the basics covered, then you can begin to consider adding a fat burner to your daily regimen. Now, here's where many individuals get tripped up as there are hundreds, if not thousands, of fat burners for sale on the market.
Let's now take a look at what supplements may help support fat burning.
Supplements That May Help You Burn Fat
Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world. It's safe when consumed in reasonable amounts and effectively increases mental and physical performance, reduces appetite, and supports fat burning.
Carnitine is a substance naturally produced by the body (as well as found in certain foods, such as red meat) that supports the body's ability to burn fat. It does so by shuttling fatty acids into the mitochondria, which can then be oxidized ("burned") for energy.
Carnitine has also been found to help reduce muscle damage, support recovery from workouts, and decrease exercise-induced muscle soreness.
It is a non-stimulant ingredient, which can be taken any time of day or night to support athletic performance, calorie-burning, and weight loss. Our L-Carnitine supplement, Steel Burn®, contains a research-supported dose of 3,000mg L-Carnitine in the form of Carnipure® -- the standard for purity when it comes to carnitine supplements.
Yohimbine is the main bioactive compound found in the Yohimbe tree. It is a potent CNS stimulant that functions as an alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonist, supporting fat burning and combating fat storage. In addition to supporting weight loss, yohimbine is also known, anecdotally, to foster feelings of intense energy and motivation.
Shredded Steel® contains a robust 10mg of yohimbine HCl per serving.
Grains of Paradise (Paradoxine)
Grains of paradise is a spice related to ginger that gives food a peppery, slightly citrusy pop. It also has been shown to increase thermogenesis, boost energy expenditure, and support weight loss.
It's a non-stimulant ingredient, like L-Carnitine, so that it can be taken any time of day, but it is known to deliver a strong thermogenic kick. Both Steel Core® and Shredded Steel® contain the research-supported dose of 40mg Paradoxine -- the premium, standardized form of grains of paradise extract on the market.
Another spice commonly found in cooking (albeit an expensive one!) is saffron. Known for its distinct flavor, aroma, and color, saffron also offers unique benefits that support fat loss. More specifically, saffron extract (in the form of affron®) has been shown to enhance satiety, reduce appetite, and promote weight loss.
Our stim-free female fat loss aid, Steel Slim®, contains 30mg of patented affron® in every serving.
Fat burners can aid in weight loss.
At the same time, it’s also important to remember that you must have your diet, training, and sleep to maximize the potential benefits of fat burners.
Be consistent with your tracking, diet, training, and supplementation regimen, and you will get the results you want!