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Thermogenic vs Fat Burners - What's The Difference?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: March 2, 2022
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There’s often a lot of confusion around certain types of supplements designed to help people lose weight.

And a lot of that comes from unclear marketing material that makes it challenging to figure out the difference between pre-workout supplements, fat burners, and thermogenic.

Don’t they all do the same thing?

Well, not exactly.

And the big question many of my clients have is whether they should choose thermogenic or fat burner supplements.

So let’s start with the basics.

A Thermogenic vs a Fat Burner Supplement

Capsules inside a sealed

The main difference between thermogenics and fat burners is in the process of causing fat loss.

Thermogenics are designed to speed up your metabolism and burn calories by generating heat, a process called thermogenesis, while fat burners directly target fat cells in the process.

Both products may be great helpers on your weight-loss journey, and that is what they have in common.

You should look for supplements for burning fat that combine both types of ingredients and then add them to your diet and exercise program.

What Is A Thermogenic?

Supplements inside an organizer

A thermogenic supplement refers to a set of natural ingredients that cause your body to generate more heat.

Now that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a fever.

But even a slight increase of core body temperature by one or two degrees is enough to put a more positive strain on your metabolism.

Your body will naturally burn off more energy throughout the day, even when you’re resting.

And that might translate into more weight loss and fat loss, assuming you have a balanced diet and a regular training session.

But how do these supplements achieve such wizardry?

Common Thermogenic Ingredients

Caffeine; Green tea; Capsaicin; and bitter orange collage

From our extensive research into weight loss supplements, we’ve found that the most effective products tend to focus on these five ingredients to trigger thermogenesis.

1. Caffeine

Yes, that morning cup of coffee doesn't just wake up your brain -  it can also kickstart your metabolism. Caffeine has been extensively studied for its metabolic impacts, and checking out a label for caffeine content is the best way to get some constant metabolic activity.

Just make sure you balance your caffeine intake to avoid feeling jittery or ending up with sleepless nights.

2. Green Tea Extract

Green tea is another ingredient with thermogenic properties. It doesn’t have too much caffeine, making it more suitable for boosting energy production later in the day without causing sleep disruptions [1].

3. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the active substance in chili peppers that causes a hot and burning sensation. It may also cause some thermogenic heat, which is why even cold and spicy food can make you sweat a bit.

4. Bitter Orange

Studies have shown that bitter orange extract has potent effects on the metabolism of obese people [2]. And by taking it as an extract, you can avoid overloading on calories and fruit sugars.

5. Yohimbine

This African bark has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine. Recent studies have shown that it may also positively impact metabolic activity and even works to reduce appetite [3].

What Is A Fat Burner?

Different pills on hand

In many ways, a fat burner supplement is the same as a thermogenic. And to confuse things a bit more, many fat burner products contain thermogenic ingredients.

But they also have some other high-quality ingredients that can improve the fat loss process by releasing fat and breaking it down into available energy.

More on those shortly.

See, your body will burn fat naturally if it needs energy and the ability to deliver that energy.

It’s like having a huge warehouse full of products but only one delivery van to get those products to customers.

But there are clever ways to get your body to a state where it can maximize energy delivery.

You can check our fat burner reviews below. We have spent a lot of time researching and testing them. Find the best option for yourself:

Common Fat Burner Ingredients

Top view of different kinds of medicine and supplements

So, let’s say you've taken care of the fat-burning side of things with an exercise plan and thermogenic supplements.

Now it’s time to ensure there are no bottlenecks to slow down the effect of a fat burner.

1. L-Carnitine

It is an amino acid most athletes associate with post-exercise recovery. But there is significant evidence that it may contribute to the amount of fat that your body can actually release.

And it does this without having a stimulant effect.

2. Beta-Alanine

It is an interesting ingredient because it indirectly boosts how much energy will flow into muscle cells. By helping muscles process more oxygen, you can train hard while getting to the burn later [4].

Just remember that this is also a common ingredient in pre-workout supplement products, so make sure you don’t have too much of an overlap.

3. CLA

CLA is another good ingredient to find in a fat burner because it has been directly tied to producing the type of energy that cells need. ATP is the term for such energy, and CLA has been shown to boost ATP levels and clear the way for more fat release and lean muscle growth [5].


When Should You Take Thermogenic Fat Burners?

You should take thermogenic fat burners either first thing in the morning or as an alternative to a pre-workout supplement. It's a great way to get your body to release more fat while you’re training hard.

Do Fat Burners Work for Belly Fat?

Yes, fat burners work for belly fat and all other types of fat storage. Just keep in mind that such a supplement still requires regular physical activity to get the ideal results.

Are You Ready To Boost Your Healthy Diet?

There are no magic pills for losing weight.

But if you eat healthily and exercise regularly, you could achieve your weight goals faster.

You can even take these supplements as a pre-workout supplement to get better results during your exercise session.

Please leave a comment below or on social media if you have any other recommendations to deal with body fat in a dietary way.


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