One question you always get being a personal trainer in NYC is: what are the best fat burners?
And that is a good, after all who would not like to get rid of all that blubber by taking a pill? But the questions is: do fat burners work and if so which ones are worth taking?
I divided them loosely into three categories: very dangerous, dangerous and reasonably safe. Interestingly enough the degrees of legality mirror image the danger.
Fat burners do raise your metabolic rate, but it is not as earth-shattering as you would like to believe, think only by four to five percent ( am I talking bout the legal and safe ones here) . For a person who on a 2,000 calories a day diet, this would result in an extra 80 to 100 calories burned ( that does not even come to half an apple)
So, if your diet is off by 500 or more calories, it won’t make a difference. A higher dosage will also not make up for short comings within your diet.
The main benefit of any fat loss product resides not so much in its actual fat burning ability, but in the appetite retardation and the added boost of energy you will get. That extra edge (mainly coming from the stimulatory effects of caffeine) helps the zombie like, hungry and fatigued athlete to push through h his training. Anyone who has dieted properly will attest to that, a serving of caffeine can be a godsend for your overall world view. But
Let’s take it from the top
Very dangerous fat burners
DNP ( 2,4-Dinitrophenol)
It basically impairs ATP or energy production in the cells. Because of this the body will then tap into carbohydrate and fat stores for energy, which gets dissipated as heat which leads to extremely rapid fat loss ( think about up to 1lbs of fat burned per day)
The substance was discovered during World War I as it is used in the production of explosives. So when workers in ammunition factories lost large amounts of weight by absorbing DNP through the skin, someone made the connection a new wonder drug was born. If the idea of swallowing an explosive seems like a strange idea, you are not alone
Its career took a small detour when several women in St Louis in the 1920s died from the substance after their doctor had put them on this drug for weight loss
. So several people went blind and/or died, it was pulled of the market and made its way into the underground. But nothing will deter bodybuilders if there is even a small chance that they could improve their bodies.
So what are the downsides? Well, your body temperature can keep going up until a cool 111 degrees to the point where you’ll become a very lean and shredded corps you are basically cooked from the inside
The difficulty with DNP is twofold
1. All side effects are dose dependent. Since DNP is not manufactured and sold by any proper pharmaceutical company and the dosage are withing the micro gram range ( not milligram), but by sketchy underground labs you never know how much DNP your capsules contain. To give you an idea, you should be getting a dose around the size of a pencil dot but the underground labs might not be able to manufacture as precisely .
2. Everyone reacts different to the substance, some people exhibit severe side effects (such lovely things as insomnia, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, loss of orientation. Nausea, decreased production of insulin and T3, death) from the first dose on, whereas others can tolerate very high amounts of DNP reasonably well. The problem is that you do not know which group you ll fall into until you try Disclaimer organ damage is still a thing, even if you do not have symptoms at the time
Bottom line: DNP is the most effective fat burner out there, but the risk/reward ratio is skewed to so horribly that nobody should touch it ( insert here : hold my beer)
Trenbolone is an anabolic steroid used mainly as an anabolic agent in veterinary practice. Trenbolone, also known as trienolone or trienbolone, is a steroid used on livestock to increase muscle growth and appetite. Side bar: this should be the first give away.
But how does it burn fat?
Trenbolone is really an effective anti–glucocorticoid.
what this means is this obstructs cortisol receptors, thereby decreasing cortisol out put. Less cortisol = less fat storage
Additionally, trenbolone is a thermogenic because of this as being a stimulant. Anyone who has ever taken with will attest to the tren nights where you sweat through several layers of bed sheets in a single night
Since it is a very strong androgenic steroid, it builds up a tremendous amount of muscles mass while help with nutrient partitioning meaning most of the calories you are eating go to the muscles mass and not to fat storage. People do get away with a lot more diet violations on tren.
So all aboard the tren train? Not so fast. The side effects are severe: liver and kidney damage, aggression, insomnia, shutdown of your testosterone production, acne, depression when coming off as well hair loss.
Not worth it.!
Still pretty dangerous
Here I will group gray zone drugs that offer fat loss potential but come at price. Clenbuterol and other muscle anabolic beta 2-adrenergic agonists such salbutamol and albuterol
While originally asthma drugs, they have reduced or restored skeletal muscle losses in experimental treatments
They bind to muscle cells and stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is why it also helps you preserve muscle while cutting aka being in a catabolic state
What about fat loss?
Clenbuterol binds to the same receptors that respond to epinephrine in your body, but clenbuterol produces even greater effects, including fat burning.
Clenbuterol is a powerful stimulant that increases metabolic rate of the body by about 10% and fat burning.
So that is great then?
No. Clenbuterol causes heart damage, insomnia and potassium deficiency. Albuterol seems to have a better risk/ reward profile but the jury is still out.
Ephedra or Ehepdra: a beta-2 mimetic, somewhat effective at stimulating the metabolism and the oxidation of brown fat.The downsides are also heart palpitations, sweats, insomnia irritability. Not recommended
Yohimbine. Yohimbine can be helpful (up to a point) in up-regulating norephedrine, which causes greater thermogenesis (heat production) and lypolysis (break down of fatty tissue).
Yohimbine works as an alpha receptor antagonist (alpha receptors block fat loss out of the cell.) so it blocks the fat loss blocker (a double negative equals a positive), thereby making it an interesting tool especially for women.
You need anywhere from 5-10 mg per use. It seems to be pretty well tolerated , albeit some people experience heart palpitation and nausea.
The rest or the legal fat burners
Caffeine is the grand daddy of all fat loss products and for good reason. It does help to burn off more free fatty acids in your blood stream while you’re exercising. It also helps with hunger and cravings.
As for dosage, think 400mg a day on the upper end.
Green tea: basically another form of caffeine with some antioxidants, useful but often under dosed, so you will need to buy your own to make a proper fat burner The active ingredient is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is responsible for appetite suppression and decreased absorption of fatty acid. You will need about 400 mg in your burner
Theacrine: one of the more interesting and newer substances
It has energy boosting effects similar to caffeine without the unpleasant jitters, crash, and build up of tolerance that come with caffeine. The energy boosting effects can last for hours. Interestingly enough while theacrine is very similar in molecular structure to caffeine, it effects are very different.
1. Much slower tolerance build up. Some studies show the use of 8 weeks without build up of tolerance whereas caffeine requires a dose increase after 4 days
2. no jitters
3. no crash
4. Energy boosts last longer
Think 300 mg
L-tyrosine: An amino acid, can be a great help to focus before a workout, again mostly under dosed, you’ll need 3 grams on an empty stomach.
Nargenin: is a substance found in grapefruit. Not a fat burner per se but it slows down the breakdown of caffeine, hence making a fat burner more effective. However, if you are taking any medications make sure it does not interact with them.
Cayenne Pepper. Cayenne pepper: has been used in traditional medicine for increased blood flow, which helps with the transportation of fatty acid. Capsicaicin is your best friend
Fat burners are either A. expensive caffeine tablets with limited effect or B. dangerous and often illegal substances that work well but open Pandora box in terms of side effects.
In the end, everyone needs to decide for himself what kind of risk he wants to undertake to get to the body of their dreams. But I strongly disagree with the practice of making up for a poor diet and life style by adding in more dangerous drugs. You need to have your diet and training in check before even considering any type of supplementation.