Ni hao my padawan, would you like a fatburner?

Posted on November 29, 2011. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , |

One of my joys as a coach is mentoring.

Especially a particular young man who happened across me in the gym by accident.

I appreciate his multiple questions because one, it allows me to help someone avoid the mistakes I made at his age and two, you learn so much more by teaching.

He also asks questions which to me may seem old hat, are actually the common curiosities of most people.  He also forces me to consider who he is going to run into, so I make sure my answers are complete enough for him to understand and defend if need be.  One day he asked me did I have an opinion on fat burners.  I thought I’d share that opinion with you.

As far as “fat burners,” go, in my opinion the most effective fat burner is eating habits of fruit, veggie, and whole proteins, combined with an intense weight training routine and supplemental cardio. All this done consistently is the best way to lean out.

Now, I’m assuming you asked expecting a bit more. Plus I’m sure you’ll run in to somebody trying to sell you on the latest fat burner pill idea, so lets lay it out a bit further.

This is going to get long so take your time reading this. and let me know if you have further questions.

First you can’t out train bad eating, well when your young you can, but eventually unless you have the genetics for it. Not happening. Remember this saying, “the more you cook the better you’ll look.” Unless you fry everything of course.  😉

And no pill is going to solve that. Even the pharmaceutical company Vivus Inc., behind the “next big blockbuster weight loss drug to market. Qnexa,” admits you still have to exercise and eat right. There is no magic pill.  Not even on the pharmaceutical level.

Does this mean all fat burner product are garbage. No, I haven’t gone through all of them but probably 90% are garbage. The other 10% are used improperly, and by improperly I mean people who are not taking care of the fundamentals for it.

When people come to me about losing fat, and say they can’t seem to lose “weight.” I ask a few questions. Basically I’m running a mental checklist and if I don’t hear all the checks being marked, they do not need a fat burner:

  • Exercise at least 3 hours per week
  • Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues
  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • Doesn’t engage in extreme diets (overlooked factor)
  • Stays consistent with healthy habits
  • dietary protein
  • avoiding refined carbohydrates
  • adequate hydration
  • dietary fiber
  • fruits and vegetables
  • a supportive social network (another highly overlooked factor)

A lot right?  This is why a lot of people don’t lose fat as part of their routines. And how supplement ads are able to suck people in. What you see above takes an effort.  And people would rather hope for a magic pill than prioritize for their goal. Which I understand, it’s not easy granted, but it is what it is.

So if all that is in place then we can discuss a fat burner. But then we have to be careful. Because most that you see on TV are basically high dose caffeine pills meant to stunt your appetite. Fat loss is a metabolic process. If you are not eating consistently you are not getting the metabolism moving.

OK, I’m going to get technical now, bear with me.

Fats are stored as triglycerides in fat cells and are released via the activity of an enzyme known as hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). This allows fatty acids to enter the blood, where they circulate bound to a protein called albumin and enter muscles to be “burned.” “Burning” of fat is also known as beta-oxidation.

Now if the proper nutrients are in place, your muscle will burn the fat, no problem. But if you are lacking in any particular nutrient, they will not. Kind of like trying to take an international flight without a passport. Not happening.

Now on the flip side of that, if you have 5 passports, you don’t get on the plane any faster, which is why it make no sense to mega dose any particular nutrient. You just need to get the right ones in place. This is what a fat burner should do, and what very few actually do.

I actually haven’t had to recommend a fat burner to any body client or otherwise in almost 10 years. Because it always come down to getting the habits straight, and when they do, what do you know the fat comes off!

Next time some one tries to sell you on the idea of a fatburner, keep this in mind.  True there are some great companies out there with quality products (Biotest, Beverly).  But before you buy in make sure you have committed to the path.

Now some people do have metabolic issues that need to ab addressed.  The mehtod for such things however, has come from patience, progression, and understanding.  Not once was the answer found at a GNC.

Keep Fitness Groovy

Coach W

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