Vip Fit

Risk vs. Reward-The Extra Burn

            What is the best way to burn unwanted belly fat? In my opinion, the answer to that question is simple and never changes. The best way to burn body fat, build muscle, perform better or whatever else the goal may be, is proper diet and exercise. When it comes to changing your body, nothing is safer or more sustainable than eating the right foods and working on your physical fitness regularly. However, with some of the modern advancements in the world of exercise science and performance nutrition, there are now many products (such as fat burners) on the market that can help facilitate fat loss. Please make a note of the most important part of that last sentence, “that can HELP facilitate fat loss”. Supplements of any kind, regardless of the intended effect, should always be used as nothing more than just that…a supplement. No one should ever rely on supplementation alone in an effort to reach their goals. 

             So, let’s say that you are looking to really shred some serious body fat, for whatever reason. You already train regularly and your eating habits are excellent but you really want to see how far you can take it. You ask around, do a little bit of research online and come to the conclusion that you want to try a fat burner. What should you look for? First of all, I would recommend that you start by doing some additional research on how most fat burners work.

 Fat burners can work in a number of ways. Some elevate your core body temperature which results in an elevated metabolism, some suppress appetite by changing the way your body communicates with itself internally, some simply boost energy levels making your more likely to be more and burn more calories and some do a combination of the three. So, the first thing that you would need to do is to decide which approach are you most comfortable with? Some fat burners that work be way of elevating your metabolism may simply contain a relatively modest amount of caffeine and have an effect very similar to that of coffee. No big deal right? Others may contain slightly more potent substances that can leave you feeling anxious and jittery. A little less comfortable with that idea? Me too. Some fat burners suppress your appetite, but how? There is a pretty straight forward answer to that actually. Any fat burner that suppresses your appetite is either acting on your body as a stimulant which often suppresses appetite, or it is preventing your mind and your body from fully communicating with each other. I do not know about you but anything that interferes with my brains ability to communicate with other parts of my body, makes me a little nervous. Other fat burners that work by way of boosting energy levels are often times very similar to those that elevate your metabolism. They contain some sort of stimulant, whether that be caffeine or some other substance, which gives you the energy to do more and hence burn more calories and hopefully burn more fat. So, the first step is figuring out which of these options, if any, you are most comfortable with. 

            Once you have decided on the type of fat burner that you want to utilize, then comes the task of trying to figure out which one of the fat burners that fall under that category, you want to use. In my opinion, this is a bit of a catch twenty-two. Just like with anything else, results may vary from one individual to the next. Just because fat burner “A” had a tremendous amount of positive reviews on your favorite body building forum, does not mean that it will work for you. You have to consider what other potential factors may be impacting the results of others. The other catch to this whole scenario is that in order to know for certain how the supplement will affect you, you have to try it for yourself. Is that a gamble that you are willing to take? Best case scenario, it works amazingly. Worst case scenario, you waste your time, your money and potentially place your health at risk. It is entirely up to you. 

            If you ultimately decide that you are comfortable with all of this, here are a few final things to consider before making your choice. What are the ingredients? Is there a long list with word after word that you can hardly pronounce? Looks for a supplement that has as few ingredients as possible. Make sure that there is solid research available on those substances and that there are minimal risks associated with its use. Are the ingredients manufactured in a lab or are they all-natural…natural is always the better route to go in my opinion, especially if you are considering long term or repeated use. A huge consideration, and maybe the most important of all, is to find out how long the product has been on the market! Time tests all things, and even though there are many high quality new products out there, the products that have already been available for a longer period of time will have more information available on their associated risks and effectiveness. 

            Regardless of whether you choose to use supplements in your pursuit of health and fitness, nothing will ever be a superior option to proper nutrition and exercise. If you decide to use a fat burner or any supplement for that matter, do your research. Be sure that you understand the potential benefits and the potential risks of using that supplement. Once you have a clear understanding of those two things, you are then able to make an informed decision on how you would like to proceed.

By Vic M.
B.S. Exercise Science, NSCA-CSCS Certified

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