What Supp With Your Abs? The Top Fat Burners: When and Why to Take Them
You’ve put in the work in the gym. You’re eating clean and getting enough rest to ensure proper recovery. Now it’s time to consider the best bodybuilding supplements that’ll further enhance your ability to melt away bodyfat, letting your abs shine through.
Obviously you’re going to be looking for the top bodybuilding supplements that reduce your bodyfat stores. These bodybuidling supplements can essentially be divided into four main categories: 1) those that increase thermogenesis, or calorie-burning; 2) those that increase lipolysis, or the amount of fat released from fat cells; 3) those that keep insulin levels steady; and 4) those that blunt hunger. Of course, many of the top fat burners have multiple benefits, but they’re classified here according to their major mode of action.
The following fat burners mainly work to increase the number of calories, including those from fat, burned throughout the day.
This important stimulatory transmitter enhances neurotransmission. It promotes calorie-burning by increasing the release of the neurohormone norepinephrine. Take 100–500 mg 1–2 times daily.
This is the spicy chemical in chile peppers. It boosts fat loss and increases metabolic rate by raising levels of norepinephrine. Look for capsaicin supplements that are measured in 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 exercise.
This extract from the evodia rutaecarpa fruit burns bodyfat by stimulating receptors in the central nervous system that boost calorie-burning. Go with 30–50 mg 2–3 times per day before meals.
Green tea contains compounds called catechins, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main catechin responsible for the thermogenic effect of green tea. EGCG inhibits the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, which keeps calorie-burning high. Take 250–500 mg standardized for EGCG three times daily before meals.
This is the active ingredient in the plant citrus aurantium. It has a chemical structure similar to ephedrine, but it boosts fat-burning without elevating heart rate or blood pressure. Take 200–600 mg of citrus aurantium standardized for 5–20 mg of synephrine 2–3 times per day before meals.
These fat burners mainly work by increasing the amount of fat released from fat cells so it can be burned for fuel. Supplements that boost lipolysis are more effective when taken with thermogenics since the thermogenics ensure that the freed up fat is burned away as fuel.
This common central nervous system stimulant binds to fat cells to enhance lipolysis. Take 100–300 mg 2–3 times per day.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Numerous clinical trials have shown that this healthy fat helps shed bodyfat, add muscle mass and boost strength. One way CLA works is by inhibiting the fat-storing enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL is found around fat cells where it picks up fat from the circulation and stores it in the fat cells as bodyfat. By inhibiting LPL’s actions, CLA prevents the storage of fat and encourages the burning of more fat as fuel. Take 2–3 grams with meals 2–3 times daily.
This is the active compound in the herb coleus forskohlii. Forskolin enhances fat loss by activating the enzyme adenylate cyclase. This leads to a cascade of events, including activation of the hormone-sensitive lipoprotein lipase, which allows the body to break down the fat stored in fat cells and use it as fuel. Take a coleus forskohlii supplement standardized for 20–50 mg forskolin 2–3 times daily before meals.
This is the active ingredient found in the African tree pausinystalia yohimbe. It enhances fat-burning by counteracting the alpha receptors on fat cells, which limit the amount of fat that’s released. Take 2–10 mg three times a day.
The following bodybuilding supplements help keep insulin levels low and steady by either enhancing insulin sensitivity or mimicking insulin’s actions. Since insulin promotes fat storage and blunts fat-burning, keeping it low helps keep fat off.
ALA is a potent antioxidant that amplifies insulin’s actions at the muscle cell. Take 200–300 mg 2–3 times per day before meals.
This mineral also enhances insulin’s actions at muscle cells. Take 200–400 mcg as chromium picolinate or chromium nicotinate per day with food.
The following fat burners blunt hunger so you can eat less than you burn without the overwhelming hunger pangs.
This water-soluble dietary fiber is derived from konjac root. When mixed with water, it expands up to 50 times its original volume. This curbs hunger by filling the stomach and providing satiety. Take 1–2 grams an hour before meals.
This modified amino acid is used to form serotonin and melatonin in the body. Serotonin can help curb your food cravings, especially for carb-laden foods, as shown in a University of Rome study. Melatonin can help relax you before bed. This makes 5-HTP a good supplement to take at night when carb cravings tend to hit the hardest. Go with 50–300 mg in the evening.
To create your own fat burner stack using the best bodybuilding supplements, simply choose 1–2 thermogenics, 1–2 lipolysis boosters, one insulin helper and, if needed, one hunger blunter. Be sure to follow our recommendations for the amount and time to take each supplement.
If you don’t want to bother with buying all these single ingredients and stacking them yourself, another good option is to look for fat burner supplements that already include several of these ingredients stacked together. For some good options check out the fat burners in the Intense Fitness Store.
Thermogenics (choose 1–2)
Lipolysis Boosters (choose 1–2)
Insulin Helpers (choose one)
Hunger Helpers (choose one if needed)
By: Jim Stoppani, PhD