Weight loss with CrossFit - Part 3

We are already at the 3rd part of the "Weight loss with CrossFit"-series. As a reminder: Part 1 was about calories burned during and after a CrossFit training (and that the amount might not play the most important role in your diet). Part 2 was about nutrition. Summary: Weight loss only happens with a negative calorie balance. The good news is that this can be achieved with any diet from strict Paleo to If it fits you Macros. Just the amount of food really matters. The bad news: Depending on your starting weight and goals, the amount might be quite low. Surrender and discipline is a critical part of a successful diet. Or wait: Aren't there supplements out there that are able to compensate a poor nutrition?

 

Supplements for weight loss - what's on the market?

There are a lot of substances market as stimulating for weight loss. They are supposed to support a diet by increasing the metabolism during exercising or in a resting state, improving the energy generation from body fat or to suppress appetite. For all of them, there are thousands of studies showing the above-mentioned effects - sometimes more, sometimes less. Here are some of them:

  • L- Carnitin 

L-Carnitin is the evergreen of the diet supplement family. Our body synthesizes L-Carnitin itself from different amino acids, but people on a diet, a high-volume exercise routine or sticking to a vegan nutrition might not be able to provide the body with enough starting substance to produce according to its needs - at least that's what the industry tries to tell us.

However, L-Carnitin fulfills many different functions of whose the processing of energy from body fat is the best-known one. In other words: L-Carnitin improves our performance AND increases fat burning at the same time. Sounds too good to be true? Well, don't get too excited, the effects are there and logical from a biochemical point of view, but they will not make a tremendous difference in your life.

  • Green Tea Extract

You don't have to be Asian to know that green tea is a good thing to put in your body. But depending on the marketing, it can be shifted from that traditional, cozy lifestyle product to a hardcore diet supplement.

Green tea contains not only caffeine (which has also shown a fat burning effect) but also numerous flavonoids such as catechin, epicatechin or epigallocatechin. They do not only function as antioxidants but have also shown effects on body fat loss in several studies. Therefore, pure green tea extract in capsules or as an ingredient of mixed diet supplements is a bestselling product. Why the extract and not just the beverage? Well, it is more convenient and also suitable if you are not so much into the bitter taste of Green Tea.

  • Guarana

Guarana is the new caffeine. Ok, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But the trendy, natural substance is supposed to have the same effects as coffee but with some benefits over its biggest competitor: It makes you feel awake and energetic, too, but with a longer, steadier effect and without the well-known "caffeine crash". And, just like caffeine, it is also supposed to push on the fat metabolism and decrease the sense of hunger and thirst at the same time.

  • White Kidney Bean Extract

That one is a bit exotic but widely used in a specific kind of weight loss supplement: Carb blockers. White kidneys contain the plant protein phaseolamin that inhibits alpha-amylase, an enzyme that fragments starch in the intestines. Lesser alpha-amylase is said to lead to less sugar absorption. Taking just one pill and losing weight by eating pasta? I'm afraid to tell you that the "carb blocking" effect is supposed to be very minor. 

 

"Fat burner" - do they actually work?

The list is only a minimal extract of what's actually available out there - the amount of substances sold as diet supps is countless and keeps growing. There is always a new study that shows effectiveness for something.

Unfortunately, the supplement industry plays with the desperation of the consumer. Just like the cosmetic industry wants to tell women that crinkles can be undone with lotion and cellulite disappears with scrub. It doesn't. Neither is there any supplement that could make you lose weight just by taking it, without any consideration of the nutrition.

This is the 3rd part of the series and the 3rd time I am saying this: Eat lesser calories than you burn! That's what forces your body to make use of it energy depots, or in other words: The body fat. 

There is nothing wrong with taking fat burner if a) you can afford it and b) you need if for your head, as a motivation and reminder. If seeing the box in your kitchen every day and the ritual of taking the pill has a symbolic meaning to you that makes you keep going - well, go for it! 

But only realistic expectations will optimize your user experience.

 

How to improve weight loss without supplements

You can give your diet a small boost without shopping at GNC. Here are some ideas:

  • Drink black coffee. I am not even talking about the fat burning effect of caffeine which is so little anyway. But the bitter taste will suppress a sweet tooth and makes you eat lesser in general since it delays hunger and appetite.
  • Drink a lot of water. First, it fills your stomach. Second, the brain often confuses thirst with hunger so you feel the urge of eating when you actually just need to hydrate. Therefore, next time you feel hungry out of the blue, try to drink some water first to see if it doesn't go away.
  • Try natural "stomach fillers" such as chia seeds or eat overnight oats for breakfast.
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Ulrike