There are a lot of cool supplements on the market. Getting the one that suits your needs best can be challenging.
Today we’re going to take the difficulty out of the process and discuss how pre-workout supplements and fat burners work, if they work together and/or which one would best suit you. These are two of the most popular categories for nutritional supplements and they support your wellbeing and performance in different ways.
We’re also going to highlight two great exemplar products – the Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout and SPORT Fat Burner – as good examples of what to look for when you’re buying your own.
Stick with us if you’re ready to cut through the nonsense, understand which product is best for you, and get the best results for your goals.
Supplements: The Importance of Opportunity Cost
One of the important considerations when we look at supplements is opportunity cost. Most of them are going to be beneficial in some way due to the nutrients they provide, but which is best?
In an ideal world, you’d never have to choose between products because you’d be able to buy and use anything that fits your goals. However, in reality, you’re spending your cash on these things and (sadly) that’s a finite resource.
Opportunity cost is key here: anything that you buy must be better than the alternatives. This is a simple rule from economics – that any choice should be weighed up against the benefits and drawbacks of other choices you could have made.
So, today we’re going to be discussing the opportunity cost of pre-workouts vs fat-burners. We’re going to discuss the benefits they bring, but also talk about them in relation to what you’re missing out on by picking them and using that to figure out which is going to be best for you.
What you Need to Know About Pre-Workout Supplements
A pre-workout supplement is obvious in its function based on the name. It’s designed to be used before a workout to improve performance across a variety of different systems.
How does it work?
You’ll see a lot of Pre-workout supplements that lean on caffeine for their benefits. This is because caffeine, as a stimulant, improves cognitive and physical performance in some interesting ways that can improve workouts.
However, as a stimulant, it is also inappropriate for some people, and non-stimulant pre-workouts (such as Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout) are designed to provide an effective alternative without the heat – and adrenal – implications.
Other compounds in pre-workout supplements are nutritional support that is directed at the many kinds of workout-performance factors you might want to boost. Individual ingredients are going to be key here – some produce better strength, others support endurance, and yet others provide better “pumps”.
Who is it for?
A pre-workout supplement will usually be universal in its goals. It’s a product that most people are going to be able to use and benefit from.
There are specific products geared towards different niches – since the ingredients can be changed to target specific training goals – but these are usually for athletes. For the recreational or serious gym-goer, the universal benefits of a pre-workout supplement are going to be key.
Therefore, a pre-workout supplement is for anyone that works out. They’re going to support a better experience, better performance, and thus a better outcome. Your results are down to how you train and how you recover – a pre-workout can adjust both in your favor.
What to look for?
A good pre-workout incorporates ingredients that are specifically selected for improving your performance in the gym – or wherever you train.
These should contribute to one of the following categories:
- Mental performance and preparedness
- Strength and Power
- Improved pumps and muscular response
These are all beneficial and there are interesting ingredients for each of them. Performance Lab’s PRE is a good example of balance, with creatine for strength, power, and endurance – as well as citrulline which is the best pro-pump, endurance-boosting compound available. It’s also stimulant-free, which can be a serious benefit if you’re looking to control your stimulant load.
These kinds of ingredients play a key role in the benefits of a pre-workout above and beyond its anti-fatigue effects. The point is to boost performance, and high-quality ingredients that meet this criterion are amazingly useful whatever your intended workout!
What You Need to Know About Fat Burners
Fat burners are nutritional support supplements that are directed at addressing common problems that come between you and better fat loss.
These products don’t burn fat all by themselves, but they support your body in the process. Some of the key changes, like nutrient content, can make significant changes for the long-term where they are best used to remove obstacles – like nutrient deficiencies – which often ruin fat-loss.
How does it work?
Fat burners work in a variety of ways. As with pre-workout supplements, they are specific to the ingredients used in each of the products and brands in question.
As with pre-workouts, there are some low-quality products that rely solely on stimulant load to increase adrenal function. These do increase your calorie-burn, but it is often through ramping up your heart rate and increasing the risks of adrenal and cardiovascular health problems.
Higher-quality products rely on fat-oxidizing compounds that assist with the metabolic processes that lead to fat loss. These do often include gentler stimulants – like cayenne pepper extract as in Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner – but these are pro-health and far less potent in their adrenal/cardiovascular effects.
Alongside these, a good fat-burner product will focus on vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support wellbeing. These are compounds that support metabolic processes and ensure that your body is performing at its best – which just happen to support fat loss and good energy management. Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner can also be safely used alongside others in the supplement range, such as Performance Lab Whole-Food Multi, ensuring a full complement of vitamins and minerals.
Finally, there are compounds that are associated with general health and wellbeing improvements. These are some of the most universally-beneficial effects and they can be useful to anyone – regardless of body transformation goals.
Who is it for?
As the name suggests, a fat-burner product is more useful for those who are looking to lose weight and get leaner.
These products are often even more effective in those who have a little extra weight to lose, since they’re usually associated with nutrient problems and require the additional support. In the obese, these products have extreme effects and support the accelerated early fat-loss process.
However, depending on the ingredients, these compounds can be beneficial for anyone. The more specific you can be with your goals, the better, but the benefits of a fat-burner extend far beyond fat loss.
As mentioned above, things like nutrient supplementation is a universally beneficial process and will support basic biological processes at every level. This is a holistic, health-promoting effect of fat-burners that isn’t often discussed but plays a very real role in their benefits and use.
What to look for?
A high-quality fat burner shouldn’t rely on huge doses of stimulants as this is unhealthy and unsustainable over the long term.
The best fat burners rely on natural extracts such as capsaicin or green tea extract to improve fat-oxidation and raise metabolism without damaging you.
One thing we love to see in a fat burner is a focus on the end result as well – improving the amount of muscle left over when you’ve burned the fat. This is a pivotal to how you look and feel during and after weight-loss.
This is another key factor in Performance Lab’s SPORT Fat Burner that makes it our favorite choice (especially in combination with their Pre-workout). It’s important to not only worry about the speed of fat loss, but also what else you’re affecting.
The HMB included in Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner is the most potent form of anti-catabolic (muscle-sparing) compound around and this is one of the ingredients we strongly recommend looking out for to save muscle and make sure you’re burning fat! Use with resistance training to make sure you’re keeping all your hard-earned muscle!
Pre-Workout and Fat-Burners Can Complement Each Other
The real question is whether these products compete at all. We recommend being specific to your goals, but isn’t the best response to your goals – weight loss or otherwise – to make the most of the pair of these supplements?
Pre-workout and fat burner supplements combine well when they’re used correctly.
The benefits of each carries over to the other, with the benefits of a better workout improving fat loss, and the health/nutritional benefits of a fat burner supporting better performance and health.
Therefore, we’d say that a pre-workout and fat burner supplements are often synergistic. They work better together than if they were taken independently. Results from the combination of these compounds are crucial when ingredients like piperine improve absorption and the combination of key amino acids and other nutrients improve utilization in the body.
The reality is that – while opportunity cost tells us which product is best for you – the best choice is a combination. If you can get your hands on a combination of these types of supplements, then you can make the absolute most of your workouts and achieve the best results.
Stimulants are often the cause of jittery side effects.
A word of caution, however: be sure to check the stimulant load. If you’re using both a pre-workout supplement and a fat-burner, you want to make sure that they’re not both leaning on caffeine as a central active ingredient.
Caffeine intake is healthiest when kept under 200mg per day – make sure to play smart with your health and performance!
Again, choosing Performance Lab avoids the stimulant issue entirely (due to it being stimulant free), and both Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout and SPORT Fat-Burner have been designed to be safely taken together.
Our Final Thoughts
So, what should you choose?
If you can’t choose both, then we recommend sticking close to your specific goals and keeping one eye on what it is you’re trying to achieve. A supplement is only as good as its applicability to your needs and goals.
We’ve provided some key information to help you choose what suits you best. We always recommend sticking with quality and transparency, so ensure that you’re using a product that aims at your goals without relying on shady practices or low-quality “junk ingredients”. We rate Performance Lab highly because of its transparency and ethics, as well as the quality of its products.
All Performance Lab products are GMO-free, as well as soy, gluten, artificial additives and allergen-free and vegan-friendly. They are also GMP certified, meaning its products are created to stringent quality.
We can give you the information to make a good choice, but the choice is yours. Performance Lab’s products are our favorites, but always be sure to research for yourself and make sure to get the best quality, no matter your goals or needs!
[Featured image/photo credit: Total Shape]