fat loss supplements

Fat Loss Supplements: Time for a Rethink?

Sometimes I feel like the fitness industry is fucking insane. Many experts in the field talk about following the science, and they preach that small changes over time can lead to big results in the long term. So why on earth is the fitness industry so against fat loss supplements?

Take this Facebook post by Awesome Supplements. Now before I go any further, I’d like to say that Awesome Supplements are a superb company and I’ve even written an article for them before. But that doesn’t mean I can’t disagree with them occasionally.

fat loss supplements

Awesome Supplements

“Most weight loss supplements are thermogenic and burn an extra 20-40 calories per day”

40 calories per day would work out at 14,600 calories per year, enough to burn 4lbs of fat (3,500 calories burned is equal to 1lb of fat). Taking a weight loss supplement that burned an additional 40 calories per day would be a fantastic long-term strategy.

“We’d prefer to just say … “don’t eat those 2 bits of food you were about to eat” or “go for a quick walk” or “do another 2 sets in your gym session”.”

Okay. Firstly, I completely understand what they are going for here. But let’s flip their logic around.

  • Instead of having to do another 2 sets in your gym session you just have to take a pill.
  • Instead of having to avoid those 2 extra bits of food you just have to take a pill.
  • Instead of having to go for a quick walk you just have to take a pill.

See, most people don’t enjoy walking! They don’t enjoy performing extra sets in the gym. They don’t enjoy eating less food.

It’s not a good argument against weight loss pills. If anything, it makes them sound more attractive. This is what happens when people who love eating healthily and exercising forget what it is like to be normal.

Secondly, the point of weight loss supplements is not to replace exercise, calorie-controlled diets and walking. The point of weight loss supplements is to compliment them. Do that extra set, drop those extra snacks, go for that walk, and burn an additional 40 calories with your weight loss pill.

“We just saved you £30”

Okay cost, glad you brought that up. As a personal trainer who worked with clients for over 7 years, I know a lot about the cost argument. Sadly, this doesn’t hold water.

Most weight loss supplements cost around 50p per day, so £182.50 for a year. Quite a bit of money to be fair. But that £182.50 would burn 14,600 calories and result in 4lbs of fat loss (according to Awesome Supplements’ estimate). That’s a pretty decent return for your money. Should we compare it to a personal training session?

An average personal training session costs around £30-£40, so let’s say £35 for an hour. How many calories would you burn in an hour? Average of 300 I’d say, but let’s be generous and say 500 (I hate maths). To burn 14,600 calories you would need 29 sessions, but let’s say 30 as again I hate maths.

30 sessions at £35 works out at £1,050


Are Fat Loss Supplements Worth it?

I am not for one moment trying to imply that a weight loss supplement is a better investment than hiring a coach. That would be fucking insane considering I am a coach. But if a weight loss supplement is safe to consume, and burns 40 calories per day, then I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with it?

Isn’t the idea that small, simple to follow changes to your lifestyle are the best way to burn fat? What you need to decide is whether the extra investment is necessary. As Awesome Supplements point out, there are other ways to burn calories.

And it’s not as if I’m a massive fan of weight loss supplements. They often work through raising your body temperature (thermogenic) which can lead to you sweating more, feeling hot and flustered, and smelling pretty ripe! Or they contain high doses of caffeine which can have their own issues.

They also suffer from the law of diminishing returns. Caffeine is less effective the more/longer you take it. You can build a tolerance to most of the effective fat loss ingredients. That’s why cycling fat loss supplements is common.

But if you have your diet spot on, you are exercising regularly, and you want an extra 5% then a GOOD fat loss supplement is not a terrible idea.

I’m not trying to sell you anything here, I don’t own any fat burners, but I’m fed up of the holier than thou attitude that most experts have when it comes to fat burners.

About the Author Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the owner of Beer N Biceps. He has a degree in Sports Science, 10 years of experience working in the fitness industry, and has written for hundreds of fitness websites. He is a lover of good quality beer and believes that drinking in moderation can form part of a healthy lifestyle.

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