For many people, fat burners are closely linked with pre-workout supplements. In their minds, fat burners and pre-workouts are both supplements which you take before training to maximize fat loss, boost energy levels, and increase motivation. Indeed, many fat burners in the past have used ingredients commonly found in pre-workouts, and pre-workouts have utilized known fat burners to give users better results. Because of this association, many people believe that fat burners should only be taken on training days, ideally right before a workout. Otherwise, they believe, the fat burner just wont work.
However, this belief is now decidedly wrong. Fat burners have come a long way since the days of cheap, stim-loaded weight loss pills. The leading fat burners on the market today are designed to promote weight loss in a sustainable, healthy while. The very best fat burners also help preserve muscle mass while speeding up lipolysis; the burning of stored fat for fuel. Importantly, high-quality fat burners work best when taken consistently over many weeks and, in some cases, months – for the entire duration of a cut in fact.
Still, we frequently get asked whether or not you should be taking fat burners on non-training days.
After all, many fat burners are loaded with caffeine and ingredients which boost fat loss during training. Taking these supplements on non-workout days therefore seems a bit pointless.
So should you take fat burners on non-training days?
Let’s look at what fat burners are and how they work before looking at whether or not it is worth it to take a fat burner when you’re not training that day. If you have any questions about a specific fat burner, please post them in the comments section at the end.
How do fat burners work?
Fat burners have a few different main mechanisms of action. In other words, different fat burners work in different ways. A given fat burning supplement will work in different ways to a different supplement depending on the ingredients and doses used. Some natural substances work by suppressing appetite, others by fighting fatigue, and others by actively sitmulating the burning of fat for fuel. To complicate matters further, several different substances can all suppress appetite or boost energy levels in different ways.
While there are lots of different ways that fat burners work, most of the top fat burners on the market today work in roughly the same ways: they help limit appetite and food cravings, accelerate lipolysis, increase energy levels, and increase caloric expenditure. Some of the best fat burners on sale today can even help prevent muscle mass loss during a cut – this makes these particular fat burners extraordinarily useful for athletes such as bodybuilders or MMA fighters, for whom muscle mass is critical.
There are some fat burners that offer other benefits, such as cognitive enhancement, increased motivation, and enhanced athletic performance. Many specialist fat burners contain substances which increase power output while training, boost stamina, and sharpen focus as well as supporting fat loss. Some will go as far as to support recovery after working out. Obviously, these are benefits that we particularly want to experience when training.
The question we need to answer is, do fat burners still provide these benefits on non-training days?
Do fat burners work on non-workout days?
Do fat burners work on non-workout days? Should you take fat burners on rest days as well as training days?
The answer to this question is, it depends. Whether or not a fat burner is worth taking on non-training or rest days depends entirely on the fat burner in question. Some lower quality fat burners offer no benefits when taken on non-workout days. By contrast, higher quality fat burners are absolutely worth taking on rest days when you do not work out. In fact, the best fat burners provide benefits equally on training and non-training days!
For example, if a fat burner contains natural appetite suppressants, then you are deifnitely going to benefit from taking it on days when you don’t work out. Diets need to be consistent; you don’t stop restricting calories on rest days – that’s the LAST THING you want to do! And it is on rest days that you likely get particularly hungry. You are recovering from the previous day’s session, you have more free time because you aren’t training, and your body is screaming out for food. So a fat burner that successfully suppresses appetite in a healthy, natural way is hugely beneficial when taken on rest days.
Another way a fat burner can benefit you on non-training days is by protecting muscle mass from catabolism. Muscle catabolism is when your body breaks down lean muscle tissue for energy. This happens for two main reasons: you are low on calories and need the amino acids for energy, and your body deems the muscle mass useless and metabolically too expensive. That’s why restricting calories and not exercising causes rapid muscle wastage. Top-tier fat burners contain natural substances which prevent muscle catabolism. The main example here is HMB; this naturally occurring substance has been found to prevent muscle loss in people who train fasted or in a calorically restricted state.
Taking a substance like HMB on a rest day is absolutely vital if you really want to experience all the benefits it has to offer. Muscle catabolism doesn’t stop on rest days. It can actually increase dramatically on non-training days, as the anabolic stimulus of training has ended and your caloric deficit likely reaches its deepest point (assuming you eat more on training days). Protecting your gains from muscle loss is half the battle of a cut, and top quality fat burners can help.
Even caffeine can be extremely useful when taken on rest days. The caffeine content of most fat burners is why many people are reluctant to take it on non-training days, but caffeine can actually be a useful crutch for people dieting and still trying to get through a working day. Dieting saps our focus, memory, mood and energy. Caffeine replenishes all of these things (for a while) by tricking the brain. It also happens to be an appetite suppressant. All of these things make caffeine great to use throughout a cut, on both training and non-workout days.
Can you take fat burners and not work out?
Can you take fat burners and not do any exercise at all?
The answer is yes, you can, but you may not want to. Many fat burners work primarily by boosting energy levels, allowing you to train with greater intensity. The best non-stimulant fat burners also work best when combined with high intensity training. Our current top rated fat burner – Burn Lab Pro – contains a large dose of HMB, which prevents muscle catabolism during fasted training. It does protect muscle mass when you aren’t working out too, but combining it with training will really give you the best results.
However, high quality fat burners will work if you take them and don’t work out. Cheap, low quality fat burners wont work if you don’t exercise because they rely on boosting energy levels while you train. By contrast, high quality fat burners work by suppressing appetite, preventing muscle catabolism, and stimulating lipolysis. They provide round the clock weight loss support, which means they work whether you work out or not.
Ultimately though, failing to exercise enough or regularly missing training sessions will dramatically impair your fat loss efforts. Dieting without weight training will make keeping muscle mass much harder, and relying on diet and fat burners alone will invariably give you slower results than you would see by adding in workouts.
Which fat burners should you take on non-training days?
As explained above, the best fat burners tend to work best when taken consistently, every single day, for the duration of a cut. They don’t just provide benefits when you’re working out; rather, they constantly support fat loss and muscle retention.
However, not all fat burners are effective when taken on rest days. Others are totally unsuitable for use on non-workout days as they contain lots of ingredients more typical of pre-workouts.
For that reason, we recommend using a fat burner that combines natural appetite suppressants, lipolysis catalysts like forskolin, muscle protectors like HMB, and thermogenics like chilli pepper extract to ensure that you are at maximum fat burning capacity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – that’s including rest days! Right now, our top rated fat burner, Burn Lab Pro, combines all of these ingredients and more; it is the full package fat burner, and it is ideal for use on rest days.
Pavel Sadovnik is a leading biochemical scientist with a PhD in biochemical engineering. He has spent decades working in industry as a chemist and pjharmaceutical consultant. He has extensive experience with the supplement industry, and specialises in supplement tsting and formulation consultancy. He is the Editor of NARSTO.