As I was walking to the subway station this morning, I couldn’t help but notice a sign outside a fitness store. It was a poster advertising fat burning pills, promisingbeach ready abs for a very low price of $39.99. I thought to myself: “How can youbeat abs for $39.99?” And although that is very tempting, let’s first take a lookat the most common ingredient found in fat burners: caffeine.

Caffeine is highly effective in burning off free fatty acids in your blood stream when mixed with exercise. It truly deserves a 5 star rating, and manufacturers seem to think so as well (for different reasons, of course). They love it because it ischeap and because consumers are able to “feel the energy boost” rather quickly. Regardless of the reason, it is proven that caffeine helps athletes push throughfatigue and works as a hunger retardant. So why not use them regularly?

Not so fast. In fact, if you have been using a fat burner for a while, I would advise you to drop the caffeine. Yes, we all love our daily Starbuck’s trips but adrenalfatigue brought on by excessive use of caffeine kills your progress quicker thananything else. Once the central nervous system is over stimulated, your cortisollevels stay elevated, creating a mushy and watery physique.

“But I need my caffeine!” I understand, so here’s my suggestion: find a weekend when you have minimal plans and go cold turkey (plan on sleeping a lot!). After one week without caffeine and other stimulants, you can re-introduce them back intoyour body twice a week. You’ll be shocked at how much your body hardens up once the cortisol gets flushed out. From there, you can judge what is fat and what iswater, and get a more accurate reading of your progress at the gym. In the meantime,adding some choline can be very helpful for concentration and focus (think 3-5 gramsdaily).

Until next time,
Maik Wiedenbach