Which supplements to choose and why?
For weight loss and toning, there is no substitute for clean, nutrient dense, calorie controlled diets. Combine this with 3-6 sessions of physical activity/intense exercise a week, supported by a structured supplement regimen, and you are on the right path to achieving that sculpted, proportioned physique/figure you have longed to achieve.
It is not the intention of this article to encourage or condone rapid weight loss ‘diets’. In fact we hope to deter you from ‘diets’ per se completely! In terms of weight loss, a ‘diet’ is generally a temporary measure, so we wish to advise you on lifestyle amendments (exercise, rest and diet) that will promote structure, yield fitness, weight loss and toning benefits, whilst promoting/maintaining overall healthfulness. You have probably come across the Atkins, Dukan, maple syrup and similar fad diets which may be effective in the short term, but whose results are usually short lived. In fact, they put the dieter at risk of micro and macro nutrient deficiencies, and may even increase one’s risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes due to the excessive quantities of fat and sugar that accompany them.
This article is hoping to advise those of you who wish to lose weight and tone up in a way that is healthy, balanced, structured, and sustainable too! We therefore direct our attention first and foremost to a healthy balanced diet, followed by advice on ways and means to increase your fat burning rate and shift that stubborn layer of subcutaneous (surface layer) fat via the combination of exercise, food and supplements.
Your Metabolism and Energy Expenditure
In order to metabolise (burn) fat stores and bring about weight loss, we need to achieve what is known as a ‘negative energy balance’. In order to achieve this, our calories ‘in’ (through food) need to be less than our calories ‘out’ (burnt through exercise etc)....very simple in theory! In terms of burning fat, it’s helpful to compare it to the furnace of a steam engine, which burns the energy needed to drive the train. Every time a shovel of coal is thrown onto the fire, the flames grow, burning energy and fuelling the vehicle. This principle is the same in all of us, only in humans; the ‘flame’ is actually our metabolism (the energy used to sustain our general bodily functions), and the ‘coal’ is food. In principle, if we can regularly add small amounts of ‘coal’ to the furnace (metabolism) we will provide a consistent, exaggerated flame to burn energy, even at rest! There are numerous ways to increase your metabolism or metabolic rate, including small yet regular meals (aim for 6 calorie controlled meals a day), drinking plenty of fluid, exercise, spices, stimulants, and not to forget, supplements!
Increasing your metabolic rate (calories burnt at rest) is just one way that supplements can help you to burn calories, other methods include appetite suppression, increased dietary induced thermogenesis (calories burned due to the process of eating), meal replacements, and gains in lean mass which directly increase metabolic rate and calorie burning both during exercise and at rest.
Appetite suppression and weight loss can be achieved with a plethora of supplements including whey protein, casein protein and protein blends, meal replacements and pre-workout supplements. As well as being satiating (increased feeling of fullness), protein increases the thermogenic effect of food i.e. requires more effort by the body (energy) to breakdown and digest. Certain ingredients in pre-workout supplements such as L-Carnitine, L-arginine, conjugated linoleic acid, sesamin, nitric oxide and caffeine (to name a few) also suppress appetite in a minor way, but their primary role is to increase metabolism (fat burning capacity during training and rest). Meal replacement supplements aid weight loss in their ability to suppress appetite and provide calorie controlled nutrition. They provide a balanced blend of whey and casein protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and some fibre, but please note that meal replacements are not ‘nutritionally complete’ and should not replace all meals. For those of you who feel that you would benefit from protein, meal replacement and pre-workout supplements, rest assured that it is completely feasible to combine supplements as they all promote weight loss in unique, yet complimentary ways.
A final point that's not to be overlooked is the supplements apparent ability to improve focus and discipline both with your diet, lifestyle and training! In combining approximately 6 small, healthy balanced, high protein and fibre, calorie controlled meals, with appetite suppressing and metabolism boosting supplements...you will kick start your fat loss and toning goals!