Kiss Fat Goodbye
Five fat-loss supplements to get you leaner than ever
Those last few painstaking pounds can be the toughest to lose. The Get Your Summer Body program (page 34) along with a clean diet will take care of most of the work, but your body's fat stores can be a stubborn bunch, and sometimes you need a little extra help to reach your fitness goals. That's where a potent stack of fat-burning supplements comes into play, and the following five ingredients may provide just what it takes to get you over the hump. Consider these products the finishing touches that accentuate all your hard work in the gym and discipline at the dinner table. Those pesky fat stores will never know what him 'em.
1) Amp Up Your Caffeine
One of the most readily available fat-burners you can find, caffeine is also among the best ingredients to help you shed unwanted bodyfat. It increases thermogenesis (heat production) in the body, enhances your ability to burn more calories and frees up more fat to be burned for fuel. And because caffeine is a stimulant, it can help keep your mood high when dieting, reduce hunger and increase intensity in the gym (and more intense workouts means more bodyfat will be burned off).
The Right Amount: Take 200-400 milligrams of a caffeine supplement between meals two or three times a day with one of those doses 30-60 minutes before workouts on training days.
2) Green Tea Extract
Like caffeine, green tea extract is high on everyone's fat-burning list for good reason: The stuff works, as proven through research and raved about in countless anecdotal reports. Gatechins are the active ingredients in green tea, namely epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which keeps norepinephrine levels high in the body by inhibiting an enzyme that would otherwise break it down. When norepinephrine is up, so is the body's metabolic rate and fat-burning potential.
The Right Amount: Take 500-1,000 mg of green tea extract standardized for EGCG two or three times a day, with one of those doses 30-60 minutes before workouts on training days.
3) Blast Fat with Yohimbine
Yes, it is known, as a sexual performance enhancer, but yohimbine now has a bigger reputation as a potent fat-burner. It works by helping release more fat from your fat cells, just like caffeine, but through different means. In fact, when taken with caffeine and green tea extract, more fat is released, which is why we highly recommend taking these ingredients together for their synergistic benefits. And yohimbine works fast too--one study found that athletes taking it shed bodyfat in three weeks.
The Right Amount: Take 5-20 mg of yohimbine two or three times per day, with one of those doses 30-60 minutes before workouts on training days.
4) Get Hot with Capsaicin
Ever had a spicy entree for dinner and found yourself sweating? There's a good chance that meal contained capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers spicy and increases metabolism (which is why you were sweating). Capsaicin is a very effective fat-burner, especially when combined with caffeine--a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that individuals taking a capsaicin-and-caffeine supplement burned more calories both when exercising and resting afterward. So if you're bold enough to down a couple shots of espresso with a spicy bowl of chili, it should help your fat-burning efforts.
The Right Amount: Find a capsaicin supplement that lists Scoville thermal units or heat units and take enough to supply 40,000-80,000 units 30 minutes before meals and 30-60 minutes before workouts (lifting or cardio). Another option: Take about one-quarter teaspoon of ground red pepper or cayenne pepper.
5) Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
* Most people get more omega-6 fats in their diets than they need, but CLA is a different sort of omega-6, as it has been found to increase fat loss as well as muscle growth and strength. And it helps burn fat at an interesting time: while you're sleeping, which helps prevent the burning of amino acids to spare muscle tissue and keep you leaner. What's more, CLA also has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
The Right Amount: Take 1-3 grams of CLA with breakfast, lunch and with your last meal or protein shake at night.
Care for a Drink?
Research has shown that supplementing caffeine is more effective for fat-burning than getting it via coffee. But sometimes your supplement bottle isn't nearby and the convenience store is. That said, here are caffeine contents of some popular pick-me-up beverages.
STARBUCKS PIKE PLACE ROAST BREWED COFFEE
(16-oz): 330 mg
MUSCLETECH HYDROXYCUT HARDCORE IGNITION STIX
(1 Stix packet): 250 mg
MONSTER LO-CARB ENERGY DRINK
(16-oz can): 160 mg
(2-oz bottle): 138 mg
(12-oz can): 46 mg
DIET SNAPPLE TEA WITH LEMON
(16-oz bottle): 42 mg
ARIZONA ICED TEA GREEN TEA WITH GINSENG & HONEY
(24-oz bottle): 23 mg
Research on CLA has suggested that it can cause liver toxicity in mice and hamsters. However, a recent study in humans found normal liver function in subjects taking close to 20 g per day for three weeks--that's over double the amount of CLA we recommend you take, so you shouldn't have to worry about supplementing CLA.
Lose bodyfat by taking in more fatty acids, specifically the omega-6 CLA