The magic pill. Does it exist?
Honestly, not for fat loss. I really think that most people understand that, but for some reason there is still an obsessive search in our culture to find “one thing” to fix weight loss or fat loss problems. I am here to tell you that consistently being a calorie deficit (for weeks, not days), resistance training to preserve muscle, eating enough protein, getting enough sleep, keeping stress levels as low as possible and having a positive outlook on your journey will be the only way to truly sustain fat loss.
On the other hand, there are definitely aids to your fat loss goals in the form of supplements. Here are a list of supplements that can definitely help you…directly or indirectly.
Whey protein. Or any protein powder supplement. What?? I thought this helped you gain muscle and preserve muscle? Well yes it does. And by doing that a protein powder will indirectly help you burn fat. By, having more muscle on your body, your metabolism will work more efficiently to burn fat not only in the short term, but in the long term. I am talking months and years, if you are able to sustain your muscle. This is a great snack because it is high in protein (20-25g per scoop) and lowish in calories (100-150 calories per scoop). 1-2 scoops (20-40g protein) of a protein powder a day keeps the fat away 🙂 Not really, but it can help you get enough daily protein, keep calories lower and thus lose fat. Side affects with whey protein could be bloating or stomach aches if you have issues with dairy, so choosing a veggie protein would work good too!
Creatine. The most researched supplement known to man. This has been around since the bodybuilding days of the 60s and 70s, but only in the last 20 years or so has become popular with the recreational exercising population. Creatine (in powder or pill form) is meant to enhance your strength or explosive power. If you are only an endurance athlete spending no time with weights you can keep reading. But, if you lift weights this could be beneficial. I myself have been reading articles and studies on this for the past 4-5 years, but only decided to buy some last year. My goal (as you know if you read my posts) was to gain as much muscle as possible, and with that meant getting as strong as possible. Creatine is cheap; I got over 100 servings for around $20. Creatine works by recycling ATP (energy) and storing it in your muscles so you can do 12 pushups instead of your normal 10. Or in theory that is how it should work. There are some people who don’t respond to creatine at all…remember everyone is different. So, why do you care about doing 2 extra pushups per set or adding a few reps to that 200lb deadlift? Good question! If you deadlift once per week for 52 weeks and each week you can lift that 200lbs 5 more reps each workout, you have just lifted 52,000 more lbs for the entire year! That means you are helping your body get stronger, gain more muscle, have a better metabolism and indirectly be more efficient at burning fat. Potential side affects include adding a few lbs of water weight and some cramping. I didn’t experience either, but I also drink A LOT of water, which I am sure helped balance out my hydration and electrolyte levels. I didn’t notice HUGE increases in strength while taking creatine, but did notice strength wasn’t quite the same when I went off it for a month. This sounds like I am talking about cycling steroids…creatine is not steroids, it is completely legal. There are actually studies out now that say the age bracket that needs creatine the most is individuals over the age of 60 who are trying to combat muscle loss by strength training. So, do you need creatine to lift weights, get strong and burn fat? Absolutely not. But, it could help you out if you enjoy being strong and want a little extra potential for long term fat loss.
AdvoCare Crave Check. Or caffeine supplements. For one month I used AdvoCare’s Crave Check supplement as an appetite suppressant in the afternoon while I was trying to lose about 10lbs of body fat. I actually think this worked wonders, whether it was a placebo or not. I have two clients and a husband of a client who love the stuff mid afternoon to keep them from snacking on carbs. The main ingredient is green coffee extract; which has a significant amount of research on it for appetite control. Notice, this is another indirect fat loss supplement. Part of losing fat is controlling your portion sizes, urges to binge and dealing with a bit of hunger. If you can control your appetite via natural aids I say why not take a little extra help. Even if you “think” it is working, it is working. I recommend something like this only in periods when you are “all in” on fat loss. No need to take this when are in a period of trying to maintain or gain weight. I used this for one month every day, but going forward might take it on any low carb days I do as I try to stay relatively lean for the next year. Caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant so a cup of black coffee can also work. This is most likely another case of “it depends” on the person though, as everyone responds to supplements differently. No apparent side affects I have read about, heard from clients or experienced with AdvoCare’s Crave Check.
AdvoCare’s Slim or Garcinia Cambogia. Do you know who Doctor Oz is? His favorite supplement is Garcinia Cambogia, which is a natural fat burner, appetite suppressant and blood sugar regulator. This supplement comes from the tropical fruit Garcinia. I also took this daily for a month, in mid afternoon. AdvoCare’s Slim supplement has the Garcinia Cambogia in a fruit flavored powder form that I mixed with 24oz of water. I didn’t see any amazing fat loss with this. I did see fat loss over the month, but that was from being in a calorie deficit for 24 straight days. Maybe this gave me an extra pound of fat loss (I was looking to maximize my results!), but probably won’t take it again or any other brand of Garcinia. Kind of expensive. I didn’t see any side affects, but some include dizziness, dry mouth, headache and upset stomach. Research says that this supplement might work well to regulate blood sugar levels and may help you lose a few extra lbs, but that is about it. There is nothing magical about this in my opinion, but I had to try it as it is pretty safe and is natural..which was a positive.
CONSISTENCY IS KING
I am only touching on the supplements I have used to help my fat loss. I don’t feel comfortable talking about synthetic fat burners you can buy at GNC because I don’t take them, never will and though they may work in the short term, they probably aren’t good for your overall health. I also don’t feel like doing research on a bunch of supplements I won’t recommend to any clients, family or friends.
In the end are the fat loss supplements I listed needed to see results?
No. I do HIGHLY recommend drinking a protein shake daily though.
Stick with the basic principles of fat loss I went over at the top of the post. Get your nutrition on point before dropping stacks on supplements. Nutrition will give you 97% of your fat loss results…supplements maybe give you 1%. Please be patient, trust the process, work hard in the gym and you will get where you want. You really will. But, short term fixes will only leave you frustrated and going in circles.