We’re all familiar with the pillars of steady shredding and weight loss: eating clean and training consistently.
However, if you do even a quick search online, you’ll see a pretty insane amount of supplements that promise to help you lose fat “faster” than you would just with diet alone. Now, we all know there’s no true magic pill to help shed pounds (the best you could do would be a water-flushing pill that would give the illusion of fast weight loss, but I don’t recommend going that route!), so are any of these supplements truly legit?
Here I’m breaking down the natural supplements that could give your metabolism a little boost, and how they work.
What are “Weight Loss” Supplements?
To begin, let’s hone in on the word: “supplements.” A supplement is something you add to an already-existing thing, or regime, to fill in gaps or to enhance the effect of a current regime.
In other words, weight loss supplements are designed to supplement an already-healthy diet and exercise regime, and not used as a substitute for one.
Supplements that can help with shredding often work either by increasing your level of fullness (which causes you to eat less overall, resulting in a calorie deficit), or by giving you metabolism a jolt (causing you to burn fat more efficiently), or by activating certain hormones or enzymes that can assist in leaning you out.
Here we’ll go through some common supplements that have quite a bit of research behind them, so you can decide which one might be best for you.
Helpful Supplements You Can Add to Your Weight-Loss Routine:
These five tried-and-true supplements are favorites for improving your body composition and your performance in the gym. Remember, none of these are going to be your “miracle” weight-loss pill, so they need to be paired with the right weight loss regimen in order to work properly.
1. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
This naturally-occurring omega-6 fat is one of the most well-known supplements used for weight management, since it can increase the amount of proteins you need to break down fat. Studies have shown that it can be effective at producing a moderate amount of fat loss, making it a great supplement to pair with your diet and workout routine. [*]
This is definitely one of the most popular supplements for active men, and for good reason. You probably already know about how important protein is for your body composition, especially if you’re active: it helps you repair broken muscle fibers more efficiently after an intense workout, which can result in greater gains.
In addition, getting enough protein can keep you satiated and cut your appetite so you’re less likely to overeat, even after a hard workout.
One of the most popular forms of protein “supplements” is protein powder, with different sources ranging from whey to pea protein. You can mix them up with water or milk to make a quick shake, or even add them into your cooking and baking to bulk up the protein content with minimal calories.
No surprises here: caffeine is by far one of the most popular stimulants you can take to boost your productivity and keep you awake. Now, science is also proving that it can also be good for weight loss. There are several studies that show that moderate intakes of caffeine can help you burn and oxidize fat, leading to dips in the scale. [*]
Caffeine can also give you the energy you need to crush your workout, making it an overall good supplement for hitting the gym. It’s such a popular ingredient that you can find it in a range of different supplements including pre-workout, though the cleanest way to get it may be to just get it from a cup of coffee or tea.
The benefits for this amino acid are two-tiered: it’s a great supplement for helping your muscles recover after a workout, and some studies are also suggesting that it comes with some fat-burning qualities as well. For example, one study found that subjects who were given glutamine showed signs of decreased belly fat after supplementation. [*]
This last supplement is popular with bodybuilders because of its effects on performance and muscle growth, making it a great supplement for improving your body composition.
Creatine helps your muscles take in more water and water-soluble nutrients (leading to more muscle growth), as well as increase the amount of insulin-like growth factor-1 in your body, an important hormone for building muscle. [*]
As you can see, many of these supplements assist in building muscle, which is another crucial aspect of burning fat. Muscle burns more fat at rest than fat, so the more muscle you have, the higher your calorie burn at rest likely is, which can help with fat loss.
Some other things to consider to boost weight loss are:
• Try taking an adaptogen herb such as Rhodiola Rosea or Ashwaghanda. These can reduce stress and cortisol levels, which can assist in weight loss.
• Get enough quality sleep, as sleep deprivation can stop weight loss in its tracks.
• Get enough sunlight (15-20 minutes a day, directly on your skin, preferably in the morning or afternoon).
Taking these weight-management supplements can help to boost your performance both at the gym and after, also making them ideal companions to all the other healthy choices that can lead to weight loss and muscle growth. Give them a try and see just how far your diet and exercise can get you!