What happens if you take fat burners without working out? Learn more about fat burners and when you should be using them in your fitness and health routine.
When thinking about key fitness goals, weight loss is one of the most common reasons people hit the gym.
Fat burner supplements are an increasingly popular way to boost your weight loss efforts both in and out of the gym.
But do these supplements help with weight loss if you’re not moving? In this article, we’ll look at what happens if you take fat burners without working out.
What Are Fat Burners?
So what is considered a fat burner, anyway? “Fat burners” is a term applied to any type of nutritional supplement that is intended to increase your body’s fat metabolism.
Types of fat burners include:
- Thermogenic fat burners: These boost your internal body temperature. The heat increase helps to increase your basal metabolic rate, which can improve fat-burning capacity when your body is resting.
- Non-stimulant fat burners: Although caffeine tends to be among the most popular ingredients in commercial fat burners, some people are sensitive to the effects of this popular stimulant. Maybe you tend to get the jitters or find that high-stimulant products don’t let you get a good night’s sleep. If this is you, you may want to look into stimulant-free fat burners.
- Appetite-suppressant fat burners: These work to help curb your hunger, ensuring you take in fewer calories from your food overall. Stopping you from overeating helps reduce total caloric intake (including calories from fat) and can lead to weight loss.
It’s important to note that these substances don’t literally burn fat. The “burn” comes from the increase that many fat burners create as they act on your metabolism to increase the body temperature.
This heat can help you change your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which studies show can have an impact on overall weight loss.
How Do Fat Burners Work?
Despite their name, fat burners do not literally eliminate fat cells. What these supplements do help with, though, is elevating the body temperature and increasing energy, creating more ideal conditions for your body to burn excess fat.
Theoretically, fat burners work in a variety of ways to help make it easier for your body to burn excess fat. These supplements may:
- Increase metabolism and can help burn more calories
- Reduce appetite
- Increase energy
All of these effects can help reduce your body fat percentage and help you lose weight or improve your workouts.
The most commonly used fat burners are those that help speed up metabolism to heat the body as a way to burn body fat, producing thermogenesis.
What Ingredients Are in Fat Burners?
Ingredients in commercial fat-burning products can vary depending on whether they are stimulant- or non-stimulant-based. That being said, here are a few of the commonly found ingredients in commercial fat burner supplements:
- Caffeine: This ingredient stimulates your nervous system. Like in your morning coffee (although sometimes stronger), caffeine in workout supplements can help boost energy to give you the push it takes to get through a tough workout.
- Green tea extract: Green tea extract contains catechins. These natural polyphenic chemicals can help with inflammation. Some studies have shown that green tea extracts high in catechins have been linked to reductions in body fat and cardiovascular risk factors. Green tea also contains caffeine, which can boost its effects on fat.
- Carnitine: Carnitine helps your body transform fat stores into usable energy. Carnitine is produced naturally in your body, through the kidneys, brain, and liver. Carnitine is commonly found in animal products, primarily red meat. Some tests have found carnitine to be beneficial to weight loss as a secondary side effect. More research still needs to be done to determine whether carnitine helps weight loss. L-carnitine is also a non-stimulant fat-burning ingredient. This can be helpful if you need to be mindful of excessive stimulant use during your fat-burning journey. Some research also shows that carnitine may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Although there is research to suggest that fat burners can be linked to weight loss, they are not FDA-approved. Make sure to do your research before taking a new fat burner product. It’s important to ensure that the supplements you use have safe ingredients.
What Happens if You Take Fat Burners and Don’t Work Out?
You may be wondering if it’s still advisable to take fat burners on your rest day. Fueling up with a fat burner and then slacking on your workout generally isn’t considered dangerous. However, it can come with some physical effects you should be aware of.
Body Jitters or Shakes
Have you ever had so much coffee you get the jitters? The same thing can happen if you take fat burners and don’t follow through with your workout. If you are using a stimulant fat burner, you may find yourself experiencing shakiness or jittery feelings. This is because you’ve taken in energizing substances like caffeine but have nowhere to apply this excess of energy.
You may find your regular appetite is suppressed when taking fat-burning supplements, regardless of whether or not you work out. Less hunger means fewer calories, so you may still see a reduction in weight if you are not working out.
Lack of Gains
Although it’s not medically necessary to follow a workout plan if you take fat burners, you’re probably doing yourself a disservice if you skip those lifts!
With any product that increases metabolism, you’re likely to experience some results if you are maintaining your diet and not eating too many calories for your weight loss or fitness goals.
Key takeaway: be conscious of what type of fat burner you’re using if you don’t plan on exercising. The stimulating effects of caffeine-heavy products can disrupt your sleep if you don’t plan on exercising to burn off some of your excess energy.
Disturbing your sleep pattern can cause snack cravings, poor focus and hormonal disruptions that may send your weight loss goals off track. Improper circadian rhythms can correlate with weight gain instead: if you’re awake during periods when you should be sleeping, you’re more likely to break your fast and consume more calories.
Plan on skipping the gym today? Try a non-stim fat burner. You’ll still get fat-targeting effects without sacrificing rest.
Do Fat Burners Still Work Without Exercise?
This depends on what a fat burner “working” means to you. By design, stimulant fat burners are meant to set you up for workouts or other exertion, since they often run on caffeine or other stimulating ingredients.
So if you don’t use the energy boost you get from a fat burner to work out, you risk losing the potential benefits of what these products aim to do. They may still have an effect regardless of whether you work out. However, without exercise, you’re unlikely to see the full effects of what fat-burning supplements can do for your body.
So, yes, you can still see “results” if you mean weight loss when you take fat burners without working out.
That being said, the effects can be more harm than good, depending on what your desired results are; if you’re aiming for a muscular and sculpted physique, you might not be achieving the look you want by taking fat burners without exercising.
It may be a lost opportunity for “gains” if you are only taking fat-burning supplements without connecting them to your routine in the gym.
Be mindful of what goals you hope to achieve with fat burners. That way, you’ll be able to navigate using these supplements in a way that gets you the effects you’re searching for.
Fat Burner Risks
Who should not take fat burners? If you experience hypertension or high blood pressure, it may be a good idea to avoid taking fat burners or to consult a medical professional.
Caffeine, one of the most common fat-burning ingredients can be dangerous when consumed in excess for people with heart conditions or high blood pressure.
Fat burners are not approved by the FDA. Historically, many of these products have contained ingredients that are now banned and have been linked to high blood pressure. This is not to say that fat burners should be scary or intimidating to take.
However, you should always make sure to source your supplements from qualified retailers. Check the ingredient list to see if the supplements are aligned with your own fitness and health goals before you decide to introduce a new product into your routine.
To be clear, this article does not suggest that fat burners are “good” or “bad.” We recommend booking a consultation with your healthcare practitioner. Discuss whether fat burners are safe for your fitness and health goals.
When is the Most Effective Time to Use Fat Burners?
To conclude, although you can use fat burners alone, it’s best to try and compound your fat burners with a good workout routine.
They may help with your goals, but fat burners are not a quick fix when it comes to fat loss. Ultimately, losing body fat is the result of multiple factors. Fat burners can help, but you’ll also need to maintain a healthy number of calories for your goals. Make sure to incorporate strength training and cardiovascular activity into your workouts and get a good night’s sleep.
Thinking about fat burning as a multi-factor approach, not a one-step process is the most sustainable way to lose excess fat. This way, you get the maximum benefit from your supplements without wasting the valuable energy you could be putting toward your workouts!
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