Looking to take your weight-loss efforts up a notch or two? Look no further than this trio of safe and effective fat-burning supplements.
After you’ve picked your workout program and dialed in your meal plan, the next step in the journey to lose body fat is looking into which supplements can help you achieve optimal results.
A quick online search will likely leave you overwhelmed with options and stuck with more questions than answers. How do each of these supplements stack up? Which one is the best choice for your goals? And most importantly, how can you put these supplements to use in your program?
Before you simply reach for the latest over-hyped exotic ingredient in the hopes of revving your engine to burn more fat, pause and strategize your approach! When it comes to burning fat, the simplest choices are often the best.
Each of these three main types of supplements can help you to reduce body fat, but they all do it in different ways.
If you’re on the quest to lean out, they could be solid allies to have in your corner!
1. Fat Burners
Enhanced metabolism? Appetite control? Soaring energy levels? If all that sounds good to you, a conventional fat burner is probably what you’re after.
Fat burners make it easier for your body to burn more calories, and they make sticking to your diet easier by combatting the negative side effects of a reduced-calorie diet.
Many fat burners contain ingredients such as cayenne, caffeine, or green-tea extract to help stimulate metabolic rate. By ingesting these ingredients, you can in essence boost your total calorie burn, even if the effect is very subtle.
However, since weight loss comes down to how many calories you expend versus how many you take in, anything that helps shift the burn side of the equation higher helps you in your efforts to lose weight.
Likewise, other ingredients in the fat-burner formulations, such as acetyl l-carnitine and (again) green tea, can help your body better utilize fat as fuel. This makes it easier for your body to burn off the fat you’re working so hard to lose.
As for the second effect of fat burners, it’s normal to feel some fatigue while dieting. By reducing the calories needed to shift the “calories in versus calories burned” equation in your favor, your body literally has less fuel to run on, leaving you feeling the effects of running on fumes.
This is precisely why so many fat burners include energy-boosting compounds to stimulate your nervous system and give your energy levels a bump. A stimulant-based fat burner gives you a good dose of caffeine for that extra kick you need.
Don’t want caffeine? Not a problem. There are also non-stimulant fat burners that provide a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants to generate naturally higher energy levels without the side effects of stimulants.
Keep in mind that any stimulant-based fat burners should be cycled on and off, and not taken for months at a time. This ensures your body does not adapt to the effects of the stimulants and you keep seeing the results you want without having to increase past the recommended dose.
2. Branch – Chain Amino Acids
Another great ingredient to consider if your goal is to reduce body fat and maintain lean muscle mass is branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAA supplements are particular amino acids that can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, preventing muscle catabolism from occurring.
When on a reduced-calorie diet, you’re naturally in a catabolic state, which can lead to unwanted muscle loss. Decreased muscle mass can mean a slower metabolism, which in turn can halt fat loss. It can also mean you simply feel awful in your workouts. Remember: Muscle is your friend, even when weight loss is your goal!
In a well-regarded 2009 study, lifters who took BCAAs for eight weeks burned through nearly twice as much body fat as those simply taking whey protein without extra BCAAs. Another study, looking at competitive wrestlers who were both training hard and calorically restricted, found that BCAAs helped them burn far more fat—particularly in the waist—than wrestlers taking a placebo. Most people find using BCAAs on a low carb or reduced-calorie diet helps offset some of the fatigue and hunger from periods of reduced calorie intake.
By preventing catabolism and providing an extra source of energy without adding calories, BCAAs are a great addition to your fat-burning supplement stack.
3. Why Protein Isolates
No performance nutrition plan is complete without a protein, and when you’re looking to lose fat, you can’t beat whey protein isolate.
Isolate is the highest quality, leanest type of whey protein available. Most whey isolates contain zero carbohydrates and zero dietary fats, so all you’re getting is 100 percent pure protein—exactly what you need to keep calories low and muscle-retention high.
While isolation is the most easily and rapidly-digested form of supplemental protein, these amino acids in your post-workout protein shake will hit your muscle tissue almost immediately. Research also shows why protein powder can help enhance total body fat loss while sparing lean muscle tissue. Researchers believe the rich leucine content of whey protein may be at the center of lean-muscle retention while on a reduced-calorie diet.
The same study also showed evidence that consumption of dairy products—such as whey—may help augment the total amount of fat lost from the abdominal region, thus consuming whey protein as part of your weight-loss plan may get you closer to your goal of sleek, firm abs.
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