The Best Supplements for Your Goals

From boosting cardio performance and accelerating strength to recharging energy, these ingredients—and the supplements you can find them in—help you get the results you want.

woman jogging outside


Most people think that it’s best to do cardio on a completely empty stomach to burn the most fat. And while that is partially true, doing cardio on an empty stomach will not only burn more fat, but will also burn more muscle. The key is to provide your body with amino acids, in the form of fast-digesting whey protein, before cardio to stave off muscle breakdown but not impede fat burning. Here are four more to take before the burn:

CarnitineCarnitine is a critical component of the complex transporting system that brings fat into the mitochondria, where it is burned for fuel. Several studies confirm that supplementing with carnitine increases the amount of fat the body burns both at rest and during exercise. This is not only great for melting off body fat, but it also increases muscle endurance, as numerous research studies show. This effect is further enhanced when taking carnitine along with caffeine.Take 1–3g of carnitine in the form of L-carnitine, L-carnitine L-tartrate, or acetyl-L-carnitine, 30–60 minutes before cardio workouts.

CaffeineWhen it’s tough to get motivated for some intense cardio a shot of caffeine can give you the gusto you need to bust out a tough session of HIIT or a long run. But the real reason we take a dose of caffeine before workouts is because it enhances the amount of fat you burn during the workout and your endurance, as research shows. Caffeine has been proven to increase the amount of fat you burn during workouts. This happens because caffeine binds to fat cells. When it does this, it increases the release of fat from the fat cells. During exercise, this effect is enhanced and the increased energy demand of the workout burns up the freed-up fat for good. Not only does this help you lose body fat, but it also increases your endurance, as the increased fat burning spares critical muscle glycogen levels.Take 100–400mg of caffeine, depending on your tolerance, about 30-60 minutes before cardio.

GlutamineThis amino acid was once quite popular with bodybuilders. That’s because it pro- vides so many benefits that range from aiding muscle building to boosting the immune system. But we suggest you take it before cardio for two other major reasons—better endurance and greater fat loss. Glutamine can blunt fatigue and increase endurance by helping to buffer acid levels that build up during exercise. In two separate studies conducted at Louisiana State University, researchers found that a dose of only 2 grams of glutamine increased levels of the body’s natural buffer bicarbonate over a 90-minute period. Research also shows that taking glutamine 30 minutes before aerobic exercise increases the number of calories burned during that workout.Take 2–5g of glutamine 30–60 minutes before workouts.

Rhodiola RoseaThis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back to the ancient Greeks. It is considered a stimulant because it increases the body’s resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors. Because intense exercise is one such physical stress, rhodiola can help your body better adapt to it. Research shows that rhodiola can act as an antioxidant in the body and increase energy levels in muscle cells, as well as increase the amount of oxygen carried in the blood to exercising muscles, allowing for greater fat burning. All of these benefits have been shown to result in improved endurance as well.Take 300-1,800mg of rhodiola 30–60 minutes before exercise.

"The following four commercial fat burners contain either all four or a few of the above ingredients. If any are missing, just stack with the 1 or 2 missing ingredients to get maximum benefits:1. GNC GenetixHD Pro-SculptActive ingredients: Caffeine, carnitine, Rhodiola rosea, glutamine, white willow extract, quercetin, taurine, citrulline, and BCAAs2. Dymatize Dyma-Burn XtremeActive ingredients: Caffeine, carnitine, green tea extract, yerba mate, tyrosine, raspberry ketones, and ginseng3. Better Body Sports BodyFormActive ingredients: Caffeine, acetyl-L-carnitine, green tea extract, synephrine, taurine, and tyrosine4. Max Muscle Emerge

Active ingredients: Caffeine, carnitine, green tea extract, synephrine, taurine, ginseng, yohimbine, vinpocetine, NADH, and evodiamine."