Although some ingredients in pre-workout supplements and fat burners overlap, they're two different things.
The main differences between the two are their benefits and the end goals they help reach.
You're here because you may be wondering if you can get all the benefits for both at once, and this article is here to answer that.
But first, let's understand both pre-workouts and fat burners.
A fat burner is a supplement that helps you lose weight.
The ingredients in it affect the body so that the fat loss is sped up.
It increases fat mobilization and speeds up fat burn.
It can also help maximize your calorie burn and increase your metabolism rate.
While helping eliminate fat, it also suppresses appetite and regulates blood sugar levels that ultimately prevent fat gains.
Although, it also has some performance-enhancing effects like boosting energy, muscle strength and growth, among others.
If you think you're doing everything right and do not see weight loss results, using a fat burner may give you the boost you need to reach your fitness goals finally.
People who need to effectively lose weight in a specific period, like fitness competitors, may take fat burners to give them that last push they need to reach their peak condition.
Most fat burners contain thermogenic ingredients.
To put it simply, thermogenic ingredients increase the body's metabolic rate and core body temperature. This process is known as Thermogenesis.
These effects make the body burn more fats and calories while working out and even when you're resting.
Often, fat burners include thermogenic ingredients such as Capsicum, CLA, Green Tea Extract, and L-Carnitine, which are thermogenic.
Capsicum help increase your metabolism rate and help you burn fat even after your workout.
It's the same substance that gives chillies their "heat." In fact, some supplements contain hot pepper extracts.
Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA is an unsaturated fatty acid commonly found in dairy and meat products of some animals.
Aside from increasing metabolic rate, it can also help with fat loss and reduction of muscle mass loss.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract helps burn fat in several ways.
It contains caffeine, which increases metabolic rate.
It also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which helps turn body fats into fuel or energy.
Ultimately, it helps with both weight loss and maintenance.
Fat burners can also contain stimulants like caffeine.
Aside from being a stimulant that helps motivate you to work out, caffeine also helps with weight loss. It also stimulates the mobilization of fatty acids and helps use them as energy while exercising.
Amino acids and micronutrients can also be found in many fat burners.
L-carnitine is an amino acid naturally present in red meat. It's also a thermogenic ingredient.
L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids from the bloodstream into the mitochondria of the cell. There, the fats can be broken down into usable energy.
While they help burn fat and provide energy, they decrease fatigue and help with recovery.
Chromium is an essential micronutrient. It helps increase lean muscle mass. It also helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.
Most side effects associated with fat burners can be caused by the stimulants in the formula.
Caffeine is one of the most common stimulants used in supplements.
Some of the common side effects of caffeine are:
Pre-workouts are supplements that help you get ready for an intense workout.
They improve workout performance and reduce fatigue after exercise.
Pre-workouts are designed to give you a boost of energy during exercise.
It can offer many benefits.
The most common benefits of pre-workouts are an increase in energy levels and building muscle mass and strength.
But, it can also help increase muscle blood flow and mental focus. It also helps prevent fatigue and repair muscle damage.
Pre-workout supplements can differ in many ways depending on the formula.
But basically, pre-workout supplements help give you the energy, macronutrients, and other compounds that can affect your body so that you can make the most out of your gym session.
If you're looking to build muscle mass, strength, and endurance, then pre-workouts are the way to go.
They're great for anyone who wants to work out harder, longer, and faster.
They're also perfect for enhancing athletic performance for sports.
They usually contain stimulants and/or energy boosters, and other dietary supplements.
As mentioned above, pre-workout formulas can have different ingredients to target different issues or benefits. But, the most common are caffeine, nitric oxide precursors, Creatine, BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids), and Beta-Alanine.
Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It helps improve concentration and alertness. It also increases energy and reduces fatigue.
Nitric oxide precursors
Nitric oxide precursors, also known as Nitric oxide boosters, affect the blood flow. It relaxes the blood vessels, so the blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscle tissues increase.
Creatine helps build muscle mass and strength. It also helps with energy production. It can also improve muscle endurance and muscle recovery time. Thus, it's not only popular as an ingredient but also as a supplement on its own.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) naturally occur in dietary protein sources. They help increase muscle growth and decrease soreness. They can also help prevent fatigue.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid naturally occurring in many foods. It can prevent acid build-up in the muscle tissues, allowing you to use your muscles more and for longer.
The possible side effects of pre-workout will depend on what ingredients are in the formula.
Since there are many variations in the formula, there are also many potential side effects.
The more common ones, as with fat burners, are caused by stimulants.
Other possible side effects may be caused by other ingredients such as Nitric oxide precursors (headaches and migraines), and Beta-alanine (tingling sensation), Creatine (water retention).
Now that we know their difference let's go back to the main question,
There's no definite answer to this because it will depend mostly on the type of pre-workout and fat burner you use.
There are two main types of both supplements: Stimulant and Stimulant Free/Non-stimulant.
The stimulants are what prevent us from taking both pre-workout and fat burner simultaneously.
To help us understand better, let's use the most common form of caffeine, coffee, for comparison.
For reference, a healthy caffeine intake is around 400 mg daily.
A cup (240ml) of coffee has a caffeine content of about 95 to 100mg of caffeine.
In comparison, fat burner supplements can have anywhere between 160 mg and 250 mg of caffeine.
On the other hand, pre-workout supplements can contain a whopping 150 to 500 mg per serving.
You add those together, and you might stay awake for a few days.
Kidding aside, it can cause various unpleasant side effects, even severe health issues, if you take mixed pre-workout and fat burner supplements regularly and for a long time.
If only one of the two supplements, or none of them, contain stimulants, mixing them should be fine!
Taking Stimulant Free or Non-Stimulant pre-workout and fat burner together is possible.
Make sure that no ingredients in both will react or overlap with another ingredient and that the formulas are compatible.
When in doubt, ask a medical professional for their opinion. It's better to be safe.
Supplements and diet products are great. They will give you that extra boost you need and help you reach your fitness goals faster.
But they're not magic pills. In fact, they can even be poison if used incorrectly.
Sometimes, you may not even need them. Maybe all you need is extra effort and a healthy diet.
Consider your primary goal and choose one between pre-workout and fat burner. Or, ask an expert to find the right blend if you still want to use both.
Hope this article helped.
See you in another one!