This will be a very short and compact article. So, fat burners, do they work and if so, how?
The ideal scenario would be when you eat something, and it burns fat within your cells, kind of like a fat absorber. You continue lying on the couch, eating pizza, it fusses around, convenient and simple. However, it probably doesn’t work like this because fat only oxidizes in one case: when the body needs to draw energy from fat.
So does this mean all fat burners are a scam? No, not a scam, it’s just the working mechanism is entirely different. Imagine you need to dig a hole. You have a sharp shovel, but it’s small. Will you dig a hole with it? Yes, but not quickly. Now imagine that a fat burner is a big spade. The tool is excellent, and although it won’t dig the hole by itself, it will significantly increase the efficiency of your effort if you dig.
If you look into the composition of various pre-workout complexes, fat burners, you’ll see a specific set of components that can be roughly divided into three main groups.
The first one is stimulators of the central nervous system: caffeine, guarana, yohimbine, and even chocolate. These are the things that make you feel a surge of energy and create an illusion that some powerful oxidizing process has been activated. I think the idea here is clear: will this somehow positively affect fat burning? Likely, yes, as you can expend more energy, plus the nervous system is agitated, not considering side effects like loading the central nervous system, potential overall stress, negative impact on sleep, and other things. Stimulants work, but the way they work is to invigorate you, to make you want to move your limbs more and more actively.
The next group of fat burner components are real fat burners like L-carnitine, which is a transporter of fatty acids. It works, but only on the condition that you exercise properly and avoid fast carbohydrates after workouts.
The third group consists of components that increase productivity. Usually, this is beta-alanine, which combats acidification and allows you to train more intensively. Taurine, which similarly affects performance, and citrulline or arginine, which improve the delivery of nutrients to the cells. These are the main components of fat burners, which essentially do not differ from pre-workout complexes used for muscle mass gain.
By the way, the combination of central nervous system stimulants and amino acids that enhance productivity is a potent mix. However, there’s a catch in the form of a hit to the nervous system. If you’re 18, you haven’t heard of stress or poor sleep, you might want to try it. But considering that any stress shakes your nervous system and has a cumulative effect, it’s better not to. Therefore, central nervous system stimulants are not the best option overall.
Now someone might say that the training itself is also stress. Yes, it is stress, but a slightly different kind. You MUST train muscles, especially if the central nervous system is overloaded with mental work. Or rather, stress. The thought process itself doesn’t overload anything.
Speaking of modern stresses, I would like to talk about an interesting theory that seems very plausible. Initially, humans are tuned for life in “wild” conditions. Essentially, all body systems are tailored precisely to these conditions and work synchronously.
In nature, when you experience stress, in combination with fear and other feelings, it means that you have encountered some danger/problem. And in 99 cases out of 100, after these “feelings” comes physical action. We run, we fight, we struggle and so on. That is, the body is tailored to the fact that after the release of adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol and other hormones, we should use them through our muscles. In this case, muscles become a kind of “recycling factory” that brings your body back into balance.
But what happens in the modern world? You stress while eating on the way to work, stress at work, stress after work. You released hormones, but didn’t physically act on your emotions. This is physiologically unnatural for the body. And all these things have a cumulative effect, which ultimately hits the central nervous system. That’s why physical activity is more of a cure than additional stress.
Again, the question is how exactly to exercise. If you have a mega-stressful life, then most likely, in the evening at the gym, you should not perform a complex of drop sets, supersets, trisets and other “nerve-wracking” things. But you need to at least work out to a “passing grade”. Ideally, also perform some elementary movements throughout the day.
Thus, physical activity in the face of overall stress is more of a cure.
So, from my point of view, and based on my experience, the optimal variant of a fat-burning complex is l-carnitine, beta-alanine, l-citrulline, and taurine. That is, those amino acids that enhance productivity and do not harm the central nervous system. And, of course, workouts!
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