Fat loss is no easy feat! Believe us we know.
Almost everyone on their journey to weight loss arrives at a point where they want faster results. More often than not they immediately start searching high and low for a fat loss pill, powder or special medicine that will help them get there.
For years I tried to reduce my body fat without the use of supplementation or compromising on certain foods. Even today the struggle is real! Living in Dubai, a city that never sleeps, has 24-hour restaurants and fast food chains that deliver at the touch of a button makes it all the more difficult. However, for Vivienne it’s the opposite, regardless of what she eats!
A week or two of HIIT and her abs pop out, her striations ripple around and her shadow begins to reflect Wonder Woman. For years I would scratch my head and say ‘how?’, but as soon as we started training together and videoing our progress it became obvious…our body types were completely different. Our macronutrient portioning and metabolisms had to be catered towards our own needs and not the same.
This applies to every individual! Gradually as you start to understand what powers and what drains your body you can start thinking about the add-ons such as natural supplements.
Let’s have a quick look at fat burners.
Natural Fat Burners are nutritional supplements that focus on promoting fat loss via a series of methods. These include; boosting energy expenditure, thermogenesis, impairing fat absorption, increasing fat oxidation and suppressing appetite (1).
Upon research and trial and error we have listed our top 5 natural fat burners that are worth adding to your basket.
1. Green Tea Extract
A cup of Green Tea in the morning does wonders in itself, but the extract is concentrated, more powerful and convenient.
Green Tea is full of powerful antioxidants, with the most notable being EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) a type of Catechin. Research has shown that ingesting 690mg of catechins a day can speed up your metabolism, enhance exercise-induced fat loss (particularly in the abdominal cavity) and improve your blood triglyceride levels (2).
In addition to fat loss, Green Tea extract has a whole heap of benefits including, enhancing insulin sensitivity, regulating blood sugar levels, speeding up recovery, boosting exercise related performance, enhancing liver function, helping protect brain cells from oxidative stress as well as promoting heart health.
Green Tea Extract is affordable and natural, making it a fantastic aid in your fat loss journey.
At the top of our list alongside Green Tea Extract is Caffeine.
Who doesn’t love a bit of caffeine first thing in the morning?! This POWERFUL stimulant is the main active ingredient in Coffee (liquid gold for the millions of us dependent on it to get into the office) and can be found in both green tea and cocoa beans.
When used properly and in moderation/cycles caffeine becomes a powerful accelerant for fat loss. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system (CNS), which sends a direct signal to your fat cells, instructing them to break down the fat (Oxidize the fat) allowing for mobilization (3).
In addition, studies have shown caffeine to significantly boost your metabolism and fat burning by around 16% over a 2-3hour period after ingestion (4). This makes caffeine a great option pre-workout or just before a meal.
However, it is important to note that caffeine can also become addictive, and the more it is ingested over a short period of time, the more tolerant your body becomes to its effects.
3. Chromium Picolinate
Chromium is a trace mineral that is essential in helping our bodies metabolize macronutrients. One of the best sources of Chromium is found in Broccoli. However, the amount varies based on the way that it is cooked. Some studies have shown that steaming broccoli doesn’t appear to deplete excessive amounts of chromium.
Chromium helps insulin to metabolize fat, converts protein into muscle and transforms sugar into energy. In addition, chromium helps to regulate appetite, reduce sugar cravings and promote lean body mass.
All round, it is a mineral that you want to keep replenished, as it is easily depleted during vigorous exercise.
Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids naturally produced in the body. It can be converted into glucose via the kidneys without affecting your insulin levels. Therefore, allowing you to utilize energy whilst bypassing insulin-induced fat storage.
In addition, Glutamine helps to reduce sugar cravings and counteracts the storage of dietary fats, promoting fat oxidation (5).
When should I take Glutamine?
The best time to consume glutamine is at least 30-40mins pre and post-workout. It helps the body to increase its natural levels of human growth hormone, which results in more lean muscle, increased metabolism and decreased body fat. On off-days consume glutamine immediately upon waking and just before bed. It is also important to note that glutamine absorption is hindered by creatine, so be sure not to take the two at the same time.
How much Glutamine should I take?
We recommend serving sizes of 3-5g. It is shown that in order to raise plasma glutamine concentrations, your intake needs to be high. You should aim for at least 20-30 grams per day. It is important to note that you may also be getting glutamine from your diet (Beef, Chicken, Fish, Dairy, Eggs, Green Veg), so supplement with no more than 3-5 servings a day.
5. Protein Powder
Last but not least is Protein Powder. It deserves to be at the top of the list but, sometimes you have to save the best until last.
Protein is essential for fat burning. It boosts your metabolism, curbs your appetite and preserves muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more energy you expend and ultimately the more fat you burn at rest. In addition, protein increases your satiety hormones and reduces the hunger hormone Ghrelin.
A study, found in the International Journal of Obesity observed that people on a high protein diet lost more body fat than those on a high carbohydrate diet (6).
Furthermore, when we look at the thermic effect of food (the number of calories used to digest food) protein is the winner. For example, 25 grams of protein takes 3-4 times more energy to digest than 25 grams of carbs and up to 10 times more energy to digest than fat.
So, why use protein powder alongside getting protein from food?
One of the main reasons to supplement with powder is that when on a high protein diet, it is incredibly difficult for individuals to meet their daily protein intake without over-consuming other macronutrients. Furthermore, not all protein is complete, diet friendly or easily digestible to some people. Finding the right protein powder that meets your requirements can do wonders for your fat loss and muscle building goals.
Recommended Protein Intake
The recommended protein intake varies from person to person and your requirements change with both your goals and your weight.
For those that are focused with meeting their dietary reference intake (DRI) the suggested amount is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. However, for the average sedentary person this amount is considered low. On the opposite end of the spectrum, professional and elite athletes, as well as bodybuilders are consuming on average 2-2.5 grams of protein per kilogram.
If you are new to training we suggest that in your first 2-3 months you aim to consume 1.5 – 2 grams per kg. This is because you are more prone to breaking down and repairing muscle fibers. After this period, you can start to reduce this down to 1-1.5 grams per kg of bodyweight.
Fat loss takes time, commitment and awareness of your individual needs. Sometimes, we compare the length or the struggle of our journey with others. This only leads to setbacks, de-motivation and rash decisions in looking for the ultimate pill, powder, food or drink that will provide instant results. You won’t find it! What you can find however, is a supplement stack that works for you, a diet that you enjoy and an exercise pace that is guaranteed to burn substantial fat as well as keep it off.
Begin your journey by trying some of the natural supplements we have suggested, as well as following your exercise regime and recommended calorie intake.
- Jeukendrup, A. and Randell, R. (2011). Fat burners: nutrition supplements that increase fat metabolism. Obesity Reviews, 12(10), pp.841-851.
- Nagao, T., Komine, Y., Soga, S., Meguro, S., Hase. T., Tanaka, Y. and Tokimitsu I. (2005). Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Online] Volume 81 (1) p.122-129 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/81.1.122
- Tae-Wook, K., Young-Oh, S., Jeong-Beom, L., Young-Ki, M. and Hun-Mo Y. (2010). Effect of caffeine on the metabolic responses of lipolysis and activated sweat gland density in human during physical activity. Food Science and Biotechnology [Online] Volume 19 (4) pp1077-1081 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10068-010-0151-6
- Acheson, K., Zahorska-Markiewicz, B., Pittet, P., Anantharaman, K. and Jéquier, E. (1980). Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 33(5), pp.989-997. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7369170 [Accessed 2 Mar. 2019].
- Iwashita, S., Mikus, C., Baier, S., and Flakoll, PJ. (2006). Glutamine Supplementation Increases Postprandial Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Humans. Journal of Parental and Enteral Nutrition [Online] Volume 30 (2) p. 76-80 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/014860710603000276
- Skov, AR., Toubro, S., Rønn, B., Holm, L. and Astrup, A. (1999). Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity. International Journal of Obesity. [Online] Volume 23 p. 528-536 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0800867
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