So many people don’t understand what Fat Burners really do. Are they diet pills? Do they work? How do they make you feel? Will it help you lose weight? How fast should you see results? When is it best to take them? These are many of the questions we get about Thermogenics (AKA Fat Burners).
First, watch this quick video, where Steve explains what thermogenics actually are – and what they do.
Now, to answer some of those questions.
Are they diet pills?
Do they work?
Yes, but not if you are depending on a fat burner alone. Fat burners can give you the edge you need to be more apt to move, exercise and stay active. It will increase calorie burn, but you have to understand how easy it is to erase those calories with poor food choices. Let’s say, for example sake, you burn 200 extra calories a day when on a fat burner. You could erase those calories easily with a big gulp coke or an extra snack. For this reason, fat burners work best when you combine it with exercise and diet.
How do they make you feel?
Some fat burners make you feel like you’ve had 10 cups of coffee. The old school fat burners that had ephedra in it really freaked people out. However, I think most fat burners today are more mild feeling in comparison to the Ephedra, caffeine and aspirin variations. People may complain about feeling anxious and jittery on some fat burners. Since I have heart palpitations, I have to watch out for fat burners that get my heart racing. ThermoHeat doesn’t make me feel that way at all. It makes me feel focused and more apt to stay moving, but I don’t feel like I’m on speed or anything. Basically, the answer to this question is “it depends”. Every fat burner is different.
Yes. If you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight. The key to success is to make the most of the fat-burning opportunity. Exercise when you are feeling energized and avoid replacing calories with poor food choices. However, if you aren’t going to track calories or even try to be in a caloric deficit, you probably will not get the results you want.
How fast should you see results?
How fast you get results depends on how dedicated you are to your weight loss goals. First, you need to know that you should feel results right away. You should feel more energized and more focused pretty quickly. This should help you WANT to workout and stay more active, which can often be an issue for many people. People lack the motivation or the energy to workout. BUT, if you don’t workout and you refuse to be more active, you aren’t going to get all the goody out of your fat burner. If you are taking ThermoHeat, you should also not feel as hungry, which can help with controlling your appetite. So, in many ways, you should be getting results almost immediately. However, if you are talking about seeing results on the scale, that’s a different story. The results you get are dependent on consistency and accuracy. Staying consistent with eating low-calorie foods and exercising will get you faster results. Accurately tracking calories burned and calories consumed will help you get the best results. But if you plan on just guessing your way through the day, I can only guess your results (and I would guess they won’t be what you want).
When is it best to take them?
Personally, I like taking Fat Burners to help give me an edge when I’m taking my training or dieting up a notch. I only take them for a season, and then I go off for a while. For example, I took ThermoHeat to help me prepare for my competition. It REALLY helped me get my 3 workouts in a day (2 cardios and 1 weight training workout) when I was extra low on calories. I honestly don’t think I would have had the oomph to do it without it. It’s also great for people who are starting a workout and diet plan. It can give people the mental and physical boost they need to get in a routine. It also will help increase energy when people would typically experience a loss of energy from just starting a diet and exercise program.
Before I close, let me be super clear. If you want to lose weight, the first thing you need to focus on is diet. You need to learn to track calories and stick to a caloric budget (I like using the LoseIt app for this). Second, you need to get in a good exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout everyday, but a consistent workout routine you can stick to. Third, once you are willing to commit to eating right and exercising, THEN you can add supplements to the equation, like protein, creatine, fat burners, etc. Sadly, people often do the exact opposite, because making a protein shake or popping a pill is a lot easier than committing to a lifestyle change. You should never rely on supplements – they are only to SUPPLEMENT what you are missing and enhance what you are already doing. They are the icing on the low-cal cake! As long as you understand that, you are golden. Are they effective? Heck yeah, when they are used correctly! As long as you realize there is no protein shake or fat burner alone that will get you ripped like you see in the ads. Will they help? Absolutely! But, if you want results, you will be required to work for it. But I do promise you it will be SO worth it!!!
CLICK HERE to learn more about the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat.
This is a picture of me and my bike for an article in Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine back in February, 2009. I was 37 years old. I wasn’t obese by any means, but I look at this picture and think “who is that?”. She doesn’t even look familiar to me. I’ll tell you who it is. It’s the old me. The older model. Bonnie 3.7
The old Bonnie still worked, but didn’t work as well. Bonnie 3.7 did many of the things the new version does. The old Bonnie worked out. The old Bonnie knew how to eat healthy. The old Bonnie just wasn’t as consistent – didn’t run as well. She ate healthy, but ate too much. She worked out, but she didn’t work as hard. She got a little too comfortable. She kept crashing. She’s wan’t bad. A matter of fact, she was much better than the 3.0 version. But Now There’s a NEWer Bonnie. She is just better, healthier, stronger, fitter. She is Bonnie 4.3. (yes, that stands for 43yrs old!! lol)
Have you ever looked at a new iPhone and wondered “what makes it better?” Of course you’d never say that looking at the old brick cell phones, comparing them to the new smart phone. It’s pretty obvious! But, as technology improves so much, the tweaks almost always are about being lighter, stronger, faster and more reliable. Isn’t that the same with fitness?
As we continue to tweak our fitness, and our physique, we can still make a lot of improvements to help us perform well. It’s not like we are in that bad of shape maybe to begin with, but can we run faster, better, stronger? Like the iPhone, what if we can have all the same “muscle” but we weigh a little lighter – run a little smoother. I loved my first iPhone, but I love my new iPhone even more. I also felt pretty good in 2009, but I feel so much better now – and to think, it was small tweaks that made a 10 pound difference.
10 pounds doesn’t seem that much, and that’s why we use the InBody body composition machine. The InBody tracks what’s actually happening INSIDE of your body, instead of solely relying on the scale as the only measurement of progress. Look at the difference between my body composition then compared to now.
3.7 vs 4.3: The Comparison
THEN: 145lb. NOW: 135lb.
Fat Then: 31lbs. Fat NOW: 15.2lbs.
Lean Mass Then: 114lbs. Lean Mass NOW: 119lbs.
% Fat Then: 21%. Now: 11%
I don’t have any full body shots of me right now(aside from a few shameless selfies! lol) =- but I will next week!!). However, to put things in to perspective, these two photos (left and below) were me 7lbs heavier than I am now (all fat), taken last April.
These two photos also show the difference between what it looks like to just be relaxed (with soft lighting), and be “pumped” (with harsh lighting). The one with the kettlebell is of me after I “pumped up” a little, posing with weights. The one in the suit is at the beginning of the same shoot, before lifting weights. However, there would be no “pumping up” in the world that would have made me look better in that picture of me with the bike. I had a layer of fat covering any muscle I did have.
Get the Upgrade!
Do you want to know what I did to get leaner? I did the same exercise, same running, pretty much the same types of foods. The only difference is I track every calorie in my LoseIt app and consistently stayed on a caloric budget for 3 months. I have a little over a week to go before show time, and seeing this old picture of me online just fuels me to continue pressing toward my goal to beat the old me, and even beat the April 2013 me! As long as I’m breathing, I can always continue to strive to improve, learn, and step out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself – and YOU CAN TOO!!
My 5 Fitness Tweaks:
1. Less Rest – I rest less between sets and do more conditioning exercise. Instead of old school weight lifting, where I do a few reps and then rest. I do more timed workouts, more reps, more sets, less rest.
2. Count Every Calorie – I don’t just guestimate calories. I weight and measure everything, so I know EXACTLY how many calories I eat each day. This holds me accountable and helps me keep my portions where they need to be. In addition to counting calories, I also watch my carbs. I try really hard to not get more carbs than protein.
3. I Am More Consistent – I have a few rules to keep me on track. I never take more than 3 days off, I always hit the gym every Monday, and I have a weekly goal of a minimum of exercising 3 times a week.
4. I Bounce Back Faster – If I fall off the wagon, I have a plan of attack already in place. I have a cap on the heaviest I’ll allow myself to be. If I hit that cap, there’s no cheating PERIOD. I basically treat it like a maxed out credit card. I hit the limit, and it’s time to pay it off. Once I get my weight back down, then I can have a treat – but until then, I go back to logging food and training until I’ve gotten closer to my ideal weight for maintenance.
5. I Prioritize – I like to lift weights, but I don’t like cardio as much. However, if I’m crunched for time, I have learned to do what my body NEEDS, not just what I WANT. If I need to burn calories more than I need to pump iron, that’s what I do. Before, I would have lifted weights because it was easier. Today, I focus first on calories burned to stay healthy and control body fat, and second on sculpting muscle.
I Will Beat Her
Sometimes I feel like I need a little boost to help me reach my goals. While I don’t normally take a lot of supplements aside from protein, vitamins and creatine, I do occasionally add a fat burner to the mix to give me that edge I need when I’m starting a new diet or I’m just kinda feeling blah. So, when I got the opportunity to try ThermoHeat, I jumped right on it – because NOW was one of those times!!
Being a fitness professional, I hate when diet pills claim to help you lose weight, get ripped, get your man back and fix all your problems (because you know some companies do make crazy claims like that!), however ThermoHeat just says it like it is – no fluff, just science (Click here to see clinical studies). It says it’s boost metabolism (and it DOES), helps manage your appetite (and it DOES!) and enhances energy and alertness (and it most definitely DOES).
You might have seen the ThermoHeat feature in Fitness RX. Basically, ThermoHeat is made up of a variety of nature’s best antioxidants, herbs, extracts and supplements. For instance, ThermoHeat has capsaicin in it, a chemical found in red chili pepper used to make paprika which reduces appetite & increases metabolic rate. Read more. While I’m no dietician or chemist,and can’t explain all the ingredients, I can tell you what this product does for me – or doesn’t do I should say!
Unlike many other thermogenics, ThermoHeat doesn’t make me jittery. Since I have heart palpitation issues, this is super important for me. Some fat burners make me feel very uneasy, but ThermoHeat is energizing without freaking me out. I can actually FEEL the warmth of the ingredients, warming me up from the inside – which is just plain cool (or hot, I should say). Increased body temperature results in more calories burned throughout the day.
Not only am I burning more calories at rest, the energy ThermoHeat gives me makes me want to burn even more calories. This is the edge I need to get my butt going on those days I’m not “feeling it”. Let’s be realistic. I would be lying if I told you to pop this pill and you’ll lose weight. While you will burn a few more calories a day and you may not be as hungry through the day, you will miss out on its benefits if you aren’t exercising and eating clean. What I love about ThermoHeat is I’m not only burning more calories, but I have the mental boost (more energy and alertness) to WANT to workout more. That’s the boost I’m talking about.
I have taken ThermoHeat before a run or before a class and LOVED the added energy! I don’t suggest taking it right before exercise (especially if you haven’t eaten) simply because the warm feeling feels more intense to me when I am huffing and puffing too, but if I take it with food or an hour before exercise I feel SUPER-FANTABULOUS! Seriously, the other day, I was SOOOOO DEAD! I really, REALLY didn’t want to go to the gym, but I popped some ThermoHeat (I know, it’s not a pre-workout pill, but I figured what the hay!) and DRUG my lazy bones to the gym – and ROCKED it! I totally left the gym feeling 10 foot tall and bullet proof. ThermoHeat is energizing indeed! Just ask Steve, who accused me of taking crack on the last BCx Boot Camp show on LiveExercise! lol After taking ThermoHeat, I was quite the energizer bunny! 🙂
Lastly, ThermoHeat is also an appetite suppressant and I DEFINITELY noticed I am not near as hungry now that I’ve been taking ThermoHeat. I do NOT condone going long spans without eating (we need to boost our metabolism by eating ever 2-3 hours), however, the other day I realized it was 6:45pm and I hadn’t eaten ALL day. I completely forgot – that is NOT like me! When I finally did eat, it wasn’t from hunger, but just because I knew I NEEDED to eat.
Basically, my take on ThermoHeat is this. If you want a little kick in the pants and need more energy without the jitters and heart racing, you should try ThermoHeat. I’ve actually never been so good and consistent about taking supplements. With ThermoHeat, I’ve been extra good about taking it on a regular basis like a good girl! Why? Because I’m comfortable taking it and it works! (oh yeah, and I have a lost a couple pounds too!)
SO thankful I got to try this product. I definitely give it 2 thumbs up!
I just received a facebook message question about their “target heart rate”. I believe this is one of the most deceiving fitness principles so I’m going to attempt to explain exactly what the “target heart rate” is and the truth (more like a lie) behind the “fat burning zone”.
Learning Your Maximum Heart Rate
You may have heard the term, Maximum Heart Rate, but most people have no clue what that is. We see stickers on treadmills saying “65% of your maximum heat rate”, but that’s basically a foreign language to most people. Here’s the answer: your maximum heart rate is always 220 minus your age.
Your Maximum Heart Rate is:
220 – my age (_____) = ___________
My maximum heart rate is 178
The Fat-Burning Zone
The so-called magical “Fat Burning Zone” is 65-75% of your maximum heart rate. This is the zone where your body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat. This is where I start getting mad and here’s why. Stay with me. We need to work through this math so you can follow me here. Trust me – it will be worth it! Read the rest of this entry
One of my facebook friends, Patti, asked me a great question this week. She asked “Is there any REAL help for cellulite dimples? Bought some smaller shorts today :), but now, there’s that cellulite!!!”
I’ve got good news – I DO have an answer! Here it goes!
You see, I don’t believe the issue is always the lumpy fat we call cellulite. I think the problem due to the amount of body fat we gain, as well as the muscle we lose. The unfortunate combination can leave skin loose and lumpy. Cellulite can also be a problem after losing weight because the weight loss leaves our skin loose, and many times people lose muscle if they aren’t working out or getting enough protein.
“What causes cellulite?”
Let’s look at the facts. Women, who do not exercise, lose an average of 5 pounds of muscle per decade before menopause and up to a pound a year thereafter. Since cellulite is more common for women, this causes a couple of problems.
Each pound of lean muscle lost decreases your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. If you already have a problem with cellulite, the slowing metabolism will only make matters worse. Weight gain causes the cellulite to be more pronounced as the fat cells grow.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the firm muscle that once supported the skin and fat is now shrinking. Lumpy fat cells are growing, and smooth firm muscle is withering away. Have I scared you into working out yet? I’ll try harder! 🙂
Although diet and exercise may not get rid of all the cellulite in the world, it can make a HUGE difference. A low-calorie diet can reduce and manage overall body fat, affecting the size and visibility of cellulite. Exercise can preserve and increase lean muscle mass, which can prevent, and even reverse, a lot of the problems.
“I gain muscle too easily so I don’t like to lift heavy weights because it just makes me bigger than I already am”.
Building lean muscle not only increases your metabolism to help fight weight gain, but it builds firm shapely muscle to support our aging skin. The problem is, many women who already feel like they are already too thick, are scared to lift heavy in fear of appearing bigger. This fear often keeps them away from the very thing they need most – weights.
Resistance exercise is not what makes people look thick, DIET is what makes people look thick. If you want to trim down your thighs or waistline, you have to reduce calories. If you don’t, you will just be a more fit version of the thick you. Unfortunately, many women start lifting weights, which builds much needed muscle, but they keep the same amount of body fat (because they aren’t paying close enough attention to their diet), so they do feel bigger. The key to success is to reduce body fat and build muscle. Then, you will be one happy camper with less noticeable cellulite – and you’l be stronger, fitter and healthier.
Here is a perfect example of how adding muscle mass can drastically improve cellulite. I googled butt augmentation to find a before and after photo of someone who just added “muscle” (pictured left). As you can see, just by increasing the simulation of muscle mass greatly improved the appearance of her body fat. Of course she didn’t have to go under the knife to get that result, but it’s a great illustration of the point I’m trying to get across to you today. (…and if that doesn’t make you want to do squats, I don’t know what will!)
Some may argue my theory, but I have seen too many transformations as a result of diet and exercise that are undeniable proof that it works. Although diet and exercise may not always get rid of the problem completely, I bet it works ten times better than any cellulite cream on the market!
GET TO WORK!
Here is a great lower body conditioning workout that not only will help burn fat, but will tone muscle. Powerful plyometric exercises are another great way to build muscle mass – plus it burns a LOAD of calories to help with reducing body fat. Give this workout a try and you’ll realize why we call it Dead Legs!
Mission: 3 rounds for time
20 Jailhouse Squats (prisoner squats)
20 Mary Catherines (plyo switch lunge)
20 X Squats (Squat wide, jump feet together and then back out wide, making an X)
20 Crisscross Squats (180 Jumps)
20 Bridges (butt lifts – with hands and feet on floor, lifting butt to up toward the ceiling)
1-Minute Wall sits
You have the power to sculpt your body with the foods you eat, as well as the type of exercises you do. Before I address how to sculpt your body with how you eat, let’s talk about how you train.
Sculpt Muscle by How You Train
“The more muscle your workout requires, the more muscle you will gain…”
While protein is very important for sculpting a fit body, supplementing without the proper training will not get you the results you want. How you train greatly determines what you store for energy and what you use for energy. With intense movements, your body will likely store more energy as muscle. Your body is smart. The more muscle your workout requires, the more muscle you will gain, or keep. – And don’t worry ladies, you won’t be a beef-cake bodybuilder, you will just look super fit. It takes a LOT of work to look like a man! 😉
On the contrary, if you are a marathon runner, you are more prone to burn both muscle and fat as energy, and store fat, because muscle is not needed as much for low to moderate intensity workouts. While running a marathon is quite grueling, it doesn’t require a lot of explosive power, it requires endurance. Of matter of fact, a runner’s body considers muscle as unnecessary added weight. However, fat is a good source of energy for long runs, so that is why your body is prone to storing fat. If a runner wants to maintain muscle, they need to pump up their muscles in the gym (and pump up protein) in addition to their running program to encourage their body to keep muscle.
Sculpt Muscle by How You Eat
Now that you understand the importance of how you train, let’s dive into your eating. As you’ve heard before, “you are what you eat”. Fat and carbs makes fat bodies. Protein make fit muscular bodies. That is why it is so important to get enough protein if you want to maintain, or add, more muscle mass. Your body is always burning calories from a combination of fats, carbs and protein. If you eat carbs and fats, but are low on protein, your body doesn’t just stop burning protein. It still burns protein, but it burns stored protein (muscle). The same goes for fat stores. If you are short on fat or carbs, your body will burn stored fat to turn it into the fuel it’s missing.
If you are like me, and don’t want your body to burn muscle, then you want to keep a steady stream of protein in your diet so your body can feed off that – and not feed off your precious hard-earned muscle. If you want to GAIN muscle, then you need to give your body more protein than it needs so it stores more protein (muscle). *Use the protein calculator, below, to learn how much protein you should get a day.
Just the same way our body stores fat and carbs as body fat when you eat too much of it, your body can store excess protein as well. However, you still have to watch overall calories if you don’t want to gain weight, because too many calories is still too many calories – and it can cause you to gain weight, whether it’s coming from muscle or fat. Understand, if you eat more calories than you burn, you WILL gain weight – whether it’s muscle weight or fat weight.
So, the trick to a lean muscular physique is to eat a low-calorie, low-fat, moderate-carb, high-protein diet. This will encourage your body to burn fat stores to reduce body fat, while storing (or maintaining) protein to sculpt muscle. 🙂
What’s Your Number?
Click HERE to use GNC’s Protein Calculator to help you decide how much protein should be in your diet.
When you can’t catch your breath, when your muscles are on fire, when your alarm goes off before your early am workout, when you’re hungry, when you’re tired, when the scale won’t budge, when you’re feeling sorry for yourself for how hard you are working to lose weight and get fit this year…Just know this; “Fat WILL Surrender”.
If you are doing everything right, counting calories, and working out regularly, fat WILL eventually surrender and give up the fight. Sometimes it takes a while to break a plateau. Sometimes it takes a while to see the results you want. But, IF you are doing everything right, fat will have to eventually raise the white flag.
Fat and Muscle, What Happens Behind the Scenes
Just because your scale hasn’t budged YET, doesn’t mean you aren’t wearing fat down. You could literally be losing fat and gaining muscle – and your weight could be the same (while you are losing fat). Of course, over time, your weight will eventually drop, but it is common for the scale to remain the same in the beginning of a fitness program because of these changes going on inside.
Our muscle gets fuller from the new activity, causing them to weigh more. That’s why our muscles feel firm and “pumped up”. While our muscles fill out, we are also simultaneously losing body fat, but our weight appears to balance out on the scale (or worse, it actually goes UP!). Have no fear. Just because you don’t see the changes on the scale doesn’t mean you have SERIOUS changes going on inside.
Look at this photo of me holding a replica of 5lbs of fat (left) and 5lbs of muscle (right). See how much smaller 5lbs of muscle is compared to 5lbs of fat? This is why we can appear smaller, but our weight can be the same. That’s also why you can swear you are losing weight, then get on the scale, only to be discouraged that the scale is not agreeing with your belt. Your belt says you’ve lost in your waist, but the scale acts like no changes have been made. If you are feeling thinner, you are right. You are getting thinner – and eventually, the scale will agree.
If Only We Had X Ray Fitness Vision
Without doing a fancy body composition analysis (like the one we have, called the InBody), it’s hard to believe what is really going on. Yet, if you could see that you’ve lost 4lbs of fat and gained 4lbs of muscle, you could celebrate – and let that information motivate you to press on. Unforunately, it’s around this time that people give up. They let the scale sabotage their progress. They’ve worked harder than they ever have before, yet they aren’t getting the reward they want on the scale, so they quit – and they quit RIGHT before the scale would have started to show major progress.
Tomorrow, I will go deeper into fat vs. muscle – and I will address some of the exceptions to the rule, as well as some warnings. I will also give you some ideas of what to expect while you are working toward your goal. If you don’t subscribe, be sure to subscribe today so you don’t miss it!
Remember, the key to any fitness program is remembering you are a science project – and science projects have many variables. You have to understand that weight loss may take some trial and error ..and a lot of patience. Just promise me this: Keep Showing Up and Never Give Up! If you do that, Fat WILL Surrender To You!
Learn more about healthy weight loss:
Get weight loss tips and find helpful BMI and calorie counter tools at Reader’s Digest Health section