When To Take Fat Burners? 8 Tips to Get The Best Results

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: November 28, 2023
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As a fitness trainer, I've embarked on a journey to uncover the secrets of when and how to take fat burners to achieve the best results. Just like my travels around the world for fitness conferences, this quest for knowledge has taken me on a fascinating exploration of the world of fat burners.

Over the years, I have seen some good results from my clients, and achieving your goals faster can be very motivating, especially in the early days of a new weight loss regime.

The big question I always get asked, though, is when to use fat burners in order to get the best results. Rather than just address one question, I like to take a complete look at my clients' routines to time their supplement intake better.

Quick Summary

  • Fitness experts recommend taking fat burners when taking a snack or a meal.
  • Breakfast is the ideal time to take fat burners as your body is more active and ready for supplements.
  • Most fat-burning supplements rely on caffeine, which can cause dehydration, making it essential to drink at least 2 liters of water daily as recommended by HealthLine.
  • My personal opinion that while fat burners can be beneficial, they should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise for optimal health and weight loss results.

8 Tips To Take Fat Burners & Maximize The Effects

When you set certain goals and target dates to lose weight, then you can plan day to day diet, exercise, and overall health routines.

As you set those, you should also be thinking about what supplement products you’ll need and when best to time them.

Professional athletes will actually stack a load of different products to get their optimum nutrition needs to support their body’s metabolism.

You don’t have to take it that far, but with the following tips, you’ll have a better understanding not just of when to take a fat burner, but how to maximize their effectiveness.

1. Alternate Between Products

Close up shot of supplement pills on a blue table

If you end up taking fat burners for several weeks and even months at a time, then your body can become used to the same ingredients.

As a result, you’ll slowly see fewer results, because you simply become a bit immune to things like caffeine, green tea extract, and L-carnitine.

What I suggest is to spend 2 to 4 weeks using one fat burning supplement, and then switch to another one for the next period.

As long as they contain a different set of active ingredients, you’ll improve your results quite a bit. One thing I would say, though, is that in my experience conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) does seem to work long-term, so you can check for it on the label of both products you take.

Take note of the supplements you have tried and from there, you'll be able to compare what works for you or not. You can also leave a comment below and let me know your experience in taking fat burners.

Trusted Fat Burners We Recommend:

2. Take Them With A Meal Or Snack

Close up shot of meals for workouts

From my own experience, I recommend taking fat burners just before meals or snacks. I once tried them on an empty stomach and quickly felt nauseous.

So, I found it best to take them before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and once again in the afternoon.

For some people, it makes no difference, but I have worked with a lot of clients where the results were a bit unpleasant.

Also, make sure you don’t take them too late in the evening, as stimulants like caffeine can keep you awake [1].

Popular Fat Burner Review: PhenQ Review

3. Spread Out The Dose

Supplement pills on wooden spoons

A lot of the ingredients, like caffeine, green tea extract, and L-carnitine, will work much better in several smaller doses throughout the day.

Taking your daily maximum in one go will actually lead to most of the active ingredients going to waste, or they will simply not be absorbed.

According to a 2011 article published in Health Fully, they could give you some unpleasant side effects, like the jitters from excessive caffeine intake [2].

The supplements I recommend the most will generally suggest taking 4 capsules per day, which gives a nice even spread.

4. Plan For Off Cycles

A person at home relaxing

Clients are often surprised that I tell them to take regular breaks. They often worry about losing the momentum and even get confused about how to cycle fat burners without putting on weight again.

I've realized it's crucial not to take fat burners continuously. I personally take a break every 8 to 10 weeks.

This helps prevent my body from getting too reliant on them and I've managed to maintain my momentum with exercise and healthy eating.

As long as you continue with your exercise and new healthy eating habits, you’ll still be working towards your goals.

5. Don’t Lose Sleep

If you’re a coffee drinker and take caffeine based fat burners, then you can quickly become overstimulated.

Not only can you feel jittery with a lack of concentration and focus, but you can end up struggling to get to sleep.

Burn XT is a perfect example of these types of fat burners where you should avoid taking later in the day due to its high caffeine content.

According to a 2023 article published in VeryWell Health, getting a good night's sleep will be critical for achieving the best possible results, so keep track of how much coffee you drink [3]. Plus, it can improve your overall mood and health too.

You may want to try stimulant-free fat-burning products.

6. Be Careful With Dehydration

Close up shot of water being poured on a glass

Most fat burning supplements will rely on caffeine to burn fat. While it works really well for this purpose, it has the side effect of causing dehydration.

If you’ve ever had a couple of cups of coffee before a long car journey, you’ll know that urgent feeling that will quickly develop.

So, make sure you drink some extra water throughout the day. Drinking 2 liters or more water everyday can bring great benefits to our overall health [4].

7. Minimize Cardio

A couple at the gym doing cardio together

Through trial and error, I realized that excessive cardio wasn't helping my fat loss goals.

Cardio It's fine for the warm-up and cool-down phases of your workout routines, but it won't boost your metabolism enough to burn some serious amounts of calories.

So, I reduced my cardio sessions and focused more on strength training, which, combined with fat burners, gave me better results.

I would also not bother with taking a fat burner before cardio. You'll get much better results by taking it during other parts of your day to trigger some extra fat loss while in a resting phase of the day.

8. Stacking Fat Burners With Other Supplements

Close up shot of supplement pills and scoops of pre-workout

I often get asked, “Can you take pre workout with fat burners?” The simple answer is yes, but you do want to check the ingredients.

The reason I suggest this is that most pre-workout supplements will aim to boost energy levels and stamina, while fat burners really just target your metabolism.

You’ll also want to take some whey protein after a high-intensity workout session or fitness class.

Combining all these will have some great overall effects and will help you reach your goals faster.

If you’re still wondering what is the best fat burner to use, then read our page for recommended fat burners for men, and our recommended fat burners for women.

You can also watch this video to learn when bodybuilder Jeff from Water Jug Fitness takes his fat burners for optimal results.



Should I Take Fat Burners on Non-workout Days?

Whether to take fat burners on non-workout days depends on the specific product and your overall health and fitness goals. Many fat burners are designed to be taken daily for a certain period to maintain consistent levels of the active ingredients in your body.

Is It OK to Take Fat Burner on Empty Stomach?

Taking a fat burner on an empty stomach can be OK for some people, but it depends on the specific supplement and your individual tolerance. Some fat burners are designed to be taken on an empty stomach to enhance absorption and effectiveness.


  1. https://www.livestrong.com/article/527849-why-does-caffeine-cause-the-jitters/
  2. https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol/caffeine-awake.htm
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/top-health-benefits-of-a-good-nights-sleep-2223766
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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