Thermogenics: Bring The Heat
No matter what your level of fitness may be, from casual, functional health interests to hardcore bodybuilders, it cannot be denied that anyone and everyone has a vetted interested in reducing your body’s accumulated stores of subcutaneous fat.
There are a multitude of ways to go about cutting stored body fat. Counting calories and cutting back on your diet is a proven, effective method. Upping your cardio is also a solid choice, as well as adding in low-weight, high-repetition lifting. No matter what your approach to making changes in your body may be, it can always be upgraded. But how can I do this? The answer is simple, thermogenics.
The term thermogenic itself is defined as being the tendency to produce heat, and more specifically used to describe drugs or medication which increase heat through metabolic stimulation, increasing the metabolic rate and expending energy to do so. Raising energy levels to produce heat burns calories. Burning calories causes you to lose weight. It’s a no-brainer.
We do want to stress the fact that regardless of how you choose to incorporate thermogenics into your fat loss goals, a solid fitness routine and diet regimen is key, and likely the most important factors in your overall results. Companies often advertise amazing results and unbelievable tales of people using fat burner products and drastically changing their appearances in no time. We want to stress that although supplements can certainly help you to bridge the gap, the most important part of changing your body is you and the effort you put into it. That being said let’s get into some of the finer points.
We stated earlier that exercise is key in dropping pounds of fat and tipping the scales in your favor. It is widely accepted that in order to achieve this, you must step up your cardio game. In addition to classic cardio workouts like running, jump rope, or the elliptical machine, performing high repetition exercise at low weight.
Passive Calorie Consumption
What if we told you that you could also burn calories when you are not exercising?
The concept is known as “NEAT,” or nonexercise activity thermogenesis. Essentially, it is all energy your body uses to do things that are not sleeping, eating, or fitness-style training, or exercise. Some may even refer to this as “residual activity calories.” This can includes activities like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, yard work, or even small movements or micro exercises done while sitting at work. No matter how minor it may seem, these movements and activities can impact your daily NEAT expenditure in a significant way.
Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is a loose estimate of the amount of calories your body would expend should you do nothing but rest for a 24-hour period. The calories burned this way are utilized by essential bodily functions like breathing, or maintaining your pulse. This takes up roughly 60% of your daily caloric expenditures. The remaining 40% is made up of calories spent while exercising, and by those NEAT activities when mentioned previously.
A third factor exists, which is the thermic effect of foods. Your body must expend calories to digest and derive nutrition from eating food. This takes up about 10 to 15% of the 60% of essential caloric expenditures of your body on a daily basis.
To take a formulaic approach, we can say that:
BMR + food thermic effects + NEAT = daily energy expenditures
The percentages and other stats we mentioned before are not set in stone. A person with a very sedentary lifestyle, such as a person who works a desk job and then goes home to binge watch Netflix until bed, will likely have a NEAT score of about 15%. A person who makes a point to stay active can spend up to 50% of their daily caloric intake on NEAT.
For example, a person who is very active and consumes 2,000 calories will burn about 300 calories digesting food. This person may then burn an additional 300 to 1,000 calories if they spent time walking places, taking the stairs, or performing household chores. Factor in some rigorous exercise, and we have a difference in calories taken in versus calories spent, which, in turn, will cause weight loss. Counting calories requires discipline, but has been proven time and time again to be the most effective way to lose weight. Taking in all factors, especially NEAT, is paramount to getting an accurate grasp on your progress and how things will play out.
In this day and age, we get that a lot of the workforce has moved on from physically demanding jobs, but we would do well to take note that these types of workers should, theoretically, have very high NEAT levels. A lot of us do work desk jobs in offices which, unfortunately, offers little in the way of activity and movement throughout the day. Recognizing how helpful upping NEAT can be is overwhelmingly helpful in the battle against obesity and excess body fat. By finding a way to stay active throughout the day, you can begin to create an advantage for yourself, no matter how minute the activities may seem. These advantages will compound as time goes on, raising your basal metabolic rate and burning more calories throughout the day. It is just like that old adage we have all heard before: “A body in motion stays in motion.”
Food and Digestion
So now that we have a better grasp on how our bodies store fat and manage calories, we can begin to move into other areas that can aid in fat loss. To put it bluntly: supplementation.
Remember how we talked about the thermic effects of food? Those calories that get spent digesting food produce heat, hence why the term “thermic” us used. Keep that in mind. The official term for this is thermogenesis, which occurs in all warm-blooded animals.
We have already covered NEAT, non-exercise activity thermogenesis. We have loosely gotten into EAT, which is exercise-associated thermogenesis. When we exercise, our bodies produce a lot of heat, which in turn burns calories and raises your basal metabolic rate.
So we have NEAT and EAT, but there also exists a third factor, which is DIT: Diet-induced thermogenesis. DIT is loosely defined as the increased expenditure of energy which goes above basal fasting level divided by the energy content of all food ingested. This value is usually presented as a percentage in relation to your daily total energy expenditure.
Of all of the factors we have presented so far, DIT is actually the lowest-impacting factor. It is important to note, though, that DIT might play a significant role in the battle against obesity. Monitoring your DIT value consistently can provide some insight into how likely you are to develop obesity, or if you are already obese, how your body will fight to maintain your current level of obesity. So, by recognizing this factor and taking the time to calculate how this all plays out, you will give yourself an astoundingly better chance at defeating obesity, or preventing it from occurring altogether.
How is this measured out? Unfortunately, an exact method of determining your body’s exact DIT value has yet to be determined scientifically. There are some ways to give yourself a general idea as to what your approximate DIT score may lie within. You could start by taking the energy and nutrient content of what you ate, and how much time passed until you began to measure plasma glucose levels (blood sugar, essentially). Take note: Rises in energy after eating are thought to have been fully exhausted at around 10 hours after eating.
In summation, DIT is related to the energy content and nutrients of the foods you eat and your resting energy levels after meals. Feelings of elevated energy after high-carb meals are a clear indication that your DIT levels are high. We recommend that you partake in strenuous, high-intensity exercises if you often feel exceedingly high energy levels after eating. This could be also related to how insulin is utilized by your body.
The Insulin Factor
Insulin is released when your body takes in carbohydrates. Typically, it acts as a means to store the increased energy to be used later as reserves of fat. The accumulation of this is why we get fat. This is why people often looking to slim down will reduce carbohydrate intake as a means to eliminate this process from occurring, on top of already adding in a disciplined exercise regimen. It is also why many of the so-called “hardcore” bodybuilders and athletes will adapt a ketogenic diet. We will get more into detail about diets in an upcoming article.
Blackstone Labs has researched how to tap into the anabolic effects of insulin extensively. The end result of this led to our Glycolog product. Designed to partition insulin, Glycolog can mitigate the fat-storing properties of insulin, and instead encourage your body to use to to restore glycogen in the muscles, which will aid in muscular development and fuller, richer pumps. You no longer have to fear carbs, which someone interested in cutting fat should eat sparingly, if at all. With Glycolog , you can turn carbs into your ally once and for all.
Now that we have a better understanding of how the chemical processes and inner workings of our bodies work, we can now suggest an additional method to shedding pounds of fat. This can be done through supplementation. Many companies, Blackstone Labs in particular, offer products which can raise your body’s temperature. The goal of this is to trick your body into using up its stores of fat to expend energy. This will, in turn, assist in burning off its accumulation of stored body fat. Again, we want to stress that this is not a miracle pill, but rather another layer of advantage to your overall goal of body recomposition.
Our own signature fat burner, Cobra-6p includes 6 paradol, which is an aromatic ketone that can also be found in ginger. In testing, 6 paradol was shown to trigger thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue (i.e. fat) in lab rats. As we stated, trigger heat production is known to burn calories, especially when the source of heat is being generated directly within your own stores of fat. 6 paradol is also used as a way to give foods spiciness.
Also included within Cobra-6p is capsaicin. While the name itself may be relatively unfamiliar to you, we are certain you have ingested it more than a few times in your life. Capsaicin is the chemical compound found within chilli peppers that makes them “hot.” Yes, we have refined and added that which makes peppers burn your mouth. We’ve all seen, or perhaps experienced ourselves bouts of sweating and the overall feeling of warmth internally when eating exceptionally spicy peppers, so we have applied the essence of this to aid in thermogenic effects of our fat burner. Again, capsaicin will cause your body to produce heat, therefore raising its core temperature and expending a bundle of calories in doing so. Technically, capsaicin is defined as an irritant, but when taken in the context of thermogenic effects which lead to fat loss, it becomes so much more than that. Capsaicin can also aid in fighting free radicals, which cause aging, as it is a potent antioxidant. It is also known to help in fighting bacterial infections.
So we now know the huge number of dietary benefits of thermogenics, but did you know that this can can also enhance the results of your workout sessions? Exercising in high heat can amplify the amount of calories burned. As you exercise, your heart rate increases. This is how your body burns calories. The higher your pulse, the more calories are burned. Some studies have shown that exercising in heightened heat can increase your heart rate by up to 10 beats per minute for each degree increase above your body’s normal core temperature. This effect is even further compounded for each degree increase above 90 degrees. As you sweat, less fluid is available inside of your body, which makes your heart work harder to push blood into your muscles, which are demanding it to function as your exercise.
In this day and age, the majority of gyms are air conditioned, which is great for the most part. For someone really looking to maximize the effort they put into fat loss, this can negate the added benefit of heat training. You still can get the added benefit of heat training by taking thermogenic supplements.
Be forewarned, though. Training in a hot environment, or with an elevated internal temperature can be risky. Be sure to take regular breaks if you begin to feel symptoms of heat exhaustion, on top of drinking plenty of water. Sweating produces a cooling effect as it dries on your skin, but in humid environments, this effect is negated as the sweat on your skin does not dry rapidly, if at all. While burning a ton of bonus calories is great, it is certainly not worth risking your health or harming yourself.
That being said, athletes have been known to condition themselves in high heat environments. This is typically recognized by adherents of Bikram Yoga, which very openly expresses the benefits of training in ostentatiously hot rooms. A study where athletes trained in a 104 degree environment was shown to produce a net increase of 4 to 8 percent increase in overall performance. While highly dangerous, the athletes did report that the risk was mitigated by the body’s ability to acclimate itself to the heat over time. If you do decide to start training in an elevated heat environment, or begin using thermogenic products, make sure you fully recognize and understand when to be become concerned. Heat cramps are often the first sign. Any feelings of faintness or lightheadedness are also a clear indicator that heat exhaustion may be beginning to take hold. Nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, and cold, clammy skin are also clear indicators to stop exercising and to take a break. If at any time you experience any of these symptoms, drastically slow down your pace and begin drinking loads of cool water. Dehydration also occurs very easily when training in high heat. Additionally, dress appropriately to high-heat environments with appropriate clothing. Ignoring these signs can lead to heat stroke, which is a very clear and present danger given the circumstances of your supplementation and/or environmental factors. Start off slow and recognize your body’s limits before fully delving into this new foray.
Remember that at the end of the day, your well-being is the most important thing to worry about. Weight loss is often thought of as a journey, one which takes time to accomplish. Pace yourself, but stay consistent and you will be able to fully tap into all of the benefits of thermogenic training. As with any new diet or exercise plan, always consult your primary care physician before starting.