Here’s the simple weight loss formula: expend more energy than you consume.

In practical terms, this means you need to either:

  • Exercise more than you eat.
  • Eat less than you exercise.

Both of which sound like the same thing, and, in a way, they are from a calorie-counting perspective.

And, yet, one is much more effective than the other in terms of healthy, long-term weight loss.

Key Point:

By increasing energy expenditure, as well as the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR), building lean muscle mass through exercise elevates your body’s energy demands to meet your energy intake levels, resulting in greater fitness and fat loss.

Conversely, simply reducing calorie intake by itself fails to deliver the fitness advantages of exercise, while also threatening to throw the body into a state of malnutrition, considering that food supplies life-essential nutrients in addition to calories.

And so, with that in mind, working out remains one of the best weight loss (or, more specifically, fat loss) strategies for a sustainable boost on long-term health and fitness.

In this guide, we further explain the weight loss advantages of building lean muscle mass, as well as provide a full analysis review of the Best Pre-Workout for Fat Loss to help you build more muscle and burn more fat in even less time.

All you need to do is keep reading!

What’s the Difference Between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss?

Pound for pound, fat takes up much more space, or volume, than muscle.

Meaning that if you select two people of equal height and weight, it’s still possible for one to be exceptionally larger than the other due to differences in body composition, or fat-to-muscle ratio.[1]

And so, what do we mean when we say we’re trying to “lose weight”?

After all, here are three wildly different scenarios that each qualify as a legitimate weight loss strategy:

  1. Avoiding food for a week.
  2. Removing all your body hair.
  3. Surgically amputating your left arm.

Compared to the specificity of “fat loss,” weight loss is a much more ambiguous and unreliable measure of long-term health and fitness.

Of course, “amputating your left arm” is a hyperbolic, unrelatable example of “weight loss.” Typically, it’s well understood by everyone that “I am trying to lose weight” really means “I am trying to get rid of all this jiggly fat around my belly.”

Even so, a strict mindset of calorie-counting “weight loss” can be a distracting, if not dangerous, one,[2] given that a healthy improvement in strength and muscle gains may be perceived as a negative, if how much you weigh is the sole measurement of your health.

This is why “fat loss” is a superior fitness concept to “weight loss.”

With that in mind, let’s clarify the differences between different body fat measures to better understand how body composition reflects health.

Body Fat Measurements: BMI vs. Percentage

Total weight, fat mass, body mass index (BMI)—there are various measures of body composition that each offer a unique angle on health and weight distribution.

Essentially, the two most basic measures include:

  • Fat Mass: the total weight of the fat content in your body represents your “fat mass,” or total body fat.
  • Fat-Free Mass (FFM): also known as lean body mass, FFM refers to the weight of all your body components, except fat. Although, in some contexts, FFM primarily refers to muscle mass.

The key difference between BMI and Body Fat Percentage is how they take into account (or don’t take into account) fat mass and fat-free mass in their estimates.

Here are deeper explanations of the usefulness of both:

Body Mass Index:

long believed to be the most accurate way to measure the effect of weight on your health, body mass index (BMI) is calculated using a simple formula: height divided by weight equals your BMI.

While useful in providing a rough-sketch estimate of population weight and weight-related health risks, BMI does not provide much info on body composition.

For example, a high BMI in the “obese” range may represent either a truly obese person or a heavily muscled bodybuilder.[3]

Body Fat Percentage:

Unlike the simple BMI formula, body fat percentage is measured through several different methods of varying accuracy.

Skinfold calipers, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), hydrostatic weighing, 3D body scans—acquiring an accurate reading of body fat percentage can be costly and inefficient.

And, yet, body fat percentage gives a more accurate estimate of someone’s health than BMI by offering a more detailed reading of a person’s body composition.[4]

While BMI works better for quick, large-scale surveys of a population, BMI only takes into account weight and not fat-to-muscle body composition. As such, body fat percentage provides a more accurate estimate of a person’s health.

3 Reasons Why You Should Build Muscle to Burn Fat

a man working out for fat loss by performing press ups

Sometimes you have to gain weight, specifically “muscle” weight, to lose weight, specifically “fat” weight.

This is because optimizing your fat-to-muscle ratio in favor of muscle may not only improve your overall health and fitness,[5] but this is also a more sustainable long-term strategy than lowering your calorie intake to lose weight.

With that in mind, here are three reasons why you should focus more on exercise than food restrictions to achieve a healthier body composition:

Reason #1: Lean Muscle Mass Elevates Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

As an energy bank, stored body fat doesn’t really require any energy to maintain while at rest.

Fat sort of just sits there on your frame, chilling and enjoying itself while your metabolism continues to funnel more food energy into stored fat cells.

Lean muscle mass, on the other hand, requires energy to maintain and is, thus, a major determinant of resting energy expenditure.[6]

This means that you may increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR), the rate at which your body burns energy while at rest, by increasing your muscle mass through resistance weight training and exercise.

The lower your fat-to-muscle ratio, the easier it is to burn fat.

Reason #2: You Need Essential Nutrients to Train

When you lower your intake of dietary calories, you’re also lowering your intake of dietary nutrients.

And while avoiding “empty calories,” or nutrient-deprived foods (e.g., French fries and potato chips), is certainly a smart move to achieve a healthier body composition, those empty calories need to be substituted by nutrient-dense foods to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle.

Vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, antioxidants—your body needs a wide range of essential macros and micronutrients to not only exercise but recover from exercise.

Exercise is fueled by more than caloric energy. Even if you do manage to reduce your energy intake below your rate of energy expenditure, your body still needs the nutritional equivalent of a complete, whole-food diet to thrive.

And so, it’s better to increase your energy expenditure to meet the caloric intake of a nutrient-dense diet than it is to risk malnutrition and derail your exercise performance with a low-cal diet.

Reason #3: Energy Balance is More Sustainable than Calorie Restriction

Due to the widespread availability of highly calorific food, the emphasis on calorie restriction in curbing obesity rates makes sense.

Yet, while increased intake of high-caloric foods is a significant part of problem, it’s unrealistic to recommend long-term calorie restrictions while the widespread availability of these foods remains.

In terms of public health, reorganizing food desert areas towards a healthier, whole-food environment may significantly improve an entire population’s average BMI to a healthier threshold.

However, for personal health, your best strategy is to seek energy balance by increasing your energy expenditure (exercise) to meet your energy intake (eating).

By itself, reducing calorie intake only has a short-term influence and is easily derailed by food cravings.[7] Yet, muscle mass has greater longevity than the willpower required to reduce calorie intake.

What’s more, the energy required to increase muscle mass may inherently help lower excess calorie intake by encouraging the body to burn fat for energy.[8]

How Pre-Workout Supplements Can Help You Achieve a Better Fat-to-Muscle Ratio

A body in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an external force.

And so, by sheer inertia alone, if you hit the gym, you’ll likely start hitting the weights, too.

So, the best way to get started with improving your fat-to-muscle ratio: just hit the gym!

However, to maximize your metabolic capacity to build muscle and burn fat, you can take a muscle-priming pre-workout stack that promotes a better fat-to-muscle ratio by:

  • Stimulating muscular ATP energy levels for improved strength, stamina, and exercise endurance, as well as greater anabolic muscle recovery.
  • Boosting nitric oxide (N.O.) activity for enhanced circulation throughout muscle tissue, thereby improving fitness performance and energy expenditure.
  • Protecting against protein-damaging hormones and enzymes associated with exercising during a fasted state (i.e., while intermittent fasting).
  • Sparking lipolysis and thermogenesis prior to exercise to boost the metabolism’s calorie-burning capacity while working out.
  • Encouraging the use of stored fat fuel over food fuel for exercise energy, resulting in a simultaneous boost on exercise endurance and fat loss.

Especially under conditions of fasted training, or exercising on an empty stomach, an effective pre-workout supplement may help further enhance the fat-burning advantages of fasting. 

Importantly, it'll do the above while mitigating the muscle-catabolizing side effects associated with calorie restriction.

And the best pre-workout supplements work without relying on risky stimulants or synthetic compounds. Only all-natural performance enhancers for all-natural performance enhancement.

Here are a few of the top pre-workout ingredients to look for in the Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss supplement.


Top Pre-Workout Ingredients for Fat Loss

2 men and a female working their abs for fat loss during a workout

1) Creatine

The first ingredient on this list is somewhat ironic, considering that Creatine is famously well-known as a “weight gain” workout ingredient—not a weight loss booster.

This is due to the well-documented increase on water retention in muscle tissue that occurs with creatine supplementation.[9] By accumulating in muscle tissue, creatine, an organic compound that promotes cellular ATP energy production in working muscle, also draws a significant amount of water into muscle tissue.

For many, this typically involves an increase in total body weight.

However, this further highlights the greater relevance of the concept of “fat loss” over “weight loss” as a more accurate measure of health and fitness.

Accumulating in muscle tissue, creatine supports enhanced muscle strength, growth, and recovery, ultimately promoting better exercise for greater energy expenditure.

As we exercise, we naturally burn through our creatine reserves. By replenishing our creatine levels via supplementation, we help keep our muscles energized, strength levels up, and recovery time low.[10]

With these supercharged boosts on performance and recovery, you may expect greater lean muscle growth that, in turn, promotes a greater muscle-to-fat ratioed physique.

  • In 2018, a group of researchers observed the effects of 4-week creatine supplementation on sport performance and muscle damage biomarkers, finding enough significant evidence to conclude that “creatine supplementation combined with complex training improved maximal muscular strength and reduced muscle damage during training.”[11]

Look for Creapure® pH10: as a 99.5% pure creatine monohydrate that is pH-balanced to boost bioavailability, Creapure® pH10 is one of the cleanest, most effective creatine supplements currently available. Easy to absorb, Creapure® requires a lower dosage than standard creatine supplements, thereby minimizing the typical bloating and gastric distress side effects associated with creatine.

2) HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate)

Found in only the best fat burner supplements, HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate) is a natural fat burner. It doubles as an ergogenic pre-workout aid, thanks to this metabolite’s protective effects against muscle protein breakdown.

No doubt, fasted training is a smart way to encourage the body to burn fat during exercise.

However, fasting may also encourage the body to break down muscle tissue for energy. This is what makes HMB a particularly effective pre-workout ingredient for weight loss while intermittent fasting.

As a performance enhancer, HMB works by:

  1. Stimulating muscle growth factors and protein synthesis for greater muscle gains and recovery, while protecting against exercise-related protein-damaging enzymes.[12]
  2. Maximizing oxygen consumption and buffering against lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue, keeping working muscles well-oxygenated and fatigue-free.[13]

And as a fat burner, HMB encourages the use of stored fat for exercise energy by promoting lipolysis, or fat cell breakdown.[14]

Taken in conjunction with the next pre-workout ingredient, you may drastically increase your training intensity and duration to expend more energy per workout session...

3) L-Citrulline + L-Glutathione

The almighty “muscle pump,” that fantastic feeling that comes with a challenging, muscle-inflating workout.

That's why any pre-workout formula worth its salt supplies L-Citrulline + L-Glutathione - a 2-in-1 ergogenic combination that works synergistically to boost nitric oxide (N.O.).[15]

But what do N.O. boosts have to do with muscle pumps? Well, everything, really!

For both competitive and recreational exercisers, N.O. boosters are true game-changers in how they naturally boost blood flow to hard-working muscles.

Essentially, nitric oxide works by signaling for vasodilation, or the relaxation of blood vessels, which in turn improve circulation throughout the body, including blood flow to-and-from the major muscle groups.

L-citrulline is effective enough alone to boost muscle-pumping N.O. Yet, when combined with L-glutathione, a master antioxidant that further promotes N.O. activity and protects muscle tissue, these pre-workout ingredients synergize to:[16]

  • Elevate and sustain N.O. activity in the bloodstream for 2X as long as L-arginine or L-citrulline forms used by inferior supplements.
  • Improve muscle mass after four weeks and then maintain muscle mass after eight weeks, as compared to plain citrulline and placebo.
  • Assist with overall muscle performance, growth and recovery.

Alone, these two ingredients are great pre-workout supplements. Together, they work even better at elevating and protecting your muscle fitness.

Look for Kyowa Quality® L-Citrulline: a world leader in health ingredient manufacturing and nutraceutical development, Kyowa Hakko Bio Co. Ltd.

Supplies a pure, vegetarian, allergen-free L-citrulline form that pairs well with Setria® L-Glutathione, also manufactured by the same company. Taken together, Kyowa Quality® L-Citrulline + Setria® L-Glutathione promote greater muscle pumps and recovery.

4) Cayenne Pepper Extract

Delicious as a food spice, Cayenne Pepper Extract is even more impressive as a pre-workout fat burner. A truly spicy fat burner, cayenne pepper’s bioactive capsaicinoids almost literally melt fat, due to their thermogenesis-spiking properties.

While caffeine and other stimulants also spike calorie-burning thermogenesis, they do so at the cost of your metabolic health and cognitive composure. Capsaicinoids, on the other hand, engage thermogenesis via similar pro-catecholaminergic pathways taken by stimulants, except without the risky stimulation.

Compared to stimulants, cayenne pepper extract essentially delivers the fat-burning advantages of stimulation without the risky side effects.[17][17]
  • Signaling for hormone-sensitive lipase to stimulate lipolysis, or fat cell breakdown, resulting in greater fat oxidation before and after exercise.[18]
  • Look for Capsimax® Cayenne Pepper Extract: a fiery hot cayenne pepper extract standardized to 2% capsaicinoids, Capsimax® is a spicy fat burner buffered by OmniBead™ microsphere technology to eliminate the gastric burning effects associated with cayenne pepper. So, if upset stomach is a common occurrence with eating spicy food, worry not with Capsimax®: this extract burns fat, not your stomach lining.

    Best Pre-Workout for Fat Loss:
    Performance Lab® SPORT Pre

    Performance Lab Pre bottle

    Performance Lab® SPORT Pre supplies the best pre-workout ingredients, in their most effective forms, for lean muscle and strength support.

    Without relying on risky stimulants or cheap synthetics, SPORT Pre is also one of the cleanest pre-workout formulas available.

    • Sodium (from Himalayan Pink Salt), 140 mg
    • NutriGenesis® Iron+, 5 mg
    • Setria® Performance Blend, 2,200 mg
      • L-Citrulline (Kyowa Quality®)
      • L-Glutathione (Setria®)
    • Creapure® pH10 (83% Creatine), 1250 mg
    • CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, 800 mg
    • Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins), 100 mg
    • Himalayan Pink Salt, 350 mg

    By combining the top pre-workout performance enhancers in their most advanced, bioavailable forms, Performance Lab® SPORT Pre tackles exercise performance from various bio-pathways, creating a synergy of effects that sustain muscle strength during fasted training.

    Altogether, SPORT Pre works by:

    • Elevating cellular ATP energy levels in muscle tissue.
    • Boosting delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle.
    • Buffering lactic acid build-up to sustain endurance.
    • Replenishing electrolytes for better hydration levels.

    Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® SPORT Pre

    No doubt, fasted training is an effective, yet difficult fat-burning strategy. However, thanks to Performance Lab® SPORT Pre’s fasting-friendly, zero-calorie formula, you may enjoy the fat loss advantages of fasted training while maintaining your strength, stamina, and exercise endurance.

    You’ll find the same attention to quality in SPORT Pre’s additives—or, rather, lack of additives. Tossing out all artificial sweeteners and synthetic preservatives, SPORT Pre encapsulates its formula in clean, vegan-friendly NutriCaps®, a plant-based capsule that’s not only easy to digest but probiotic-enhanced to support healthy gut microbiota.

    Delivering clean, premium quality ergogenic aids in all-natural NutriCaps®, Performance Lab® SPORT Pre is healthy and safe for daily, long-term use for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

    Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® SPORT Pre

    Stack with Burn Lab Pro®

    Similar to SPORT Pre, Burn Lab Pro® is a stim-free workout formula that works by elevating the body’s natural fat-burning processes, as opposed to flushing the brain and body with an excess amount of cheap stimulation.

    Burn Lab Pro®'s ultramodern formula design delivers a fiery hot complex of premium, patented herbal extracts and muscle-sparing compounds that altogether take a two-pronged approach to burning fat by:

    1. Stimulating lipolysis and thermogenic fat loss.
    2. Protecting anabolic lean muscle growth during fasted exercise.

    As much an anabolic bodybuilding stack as it is a fat burner, Burn Lab Pro® fires up the body’s metabolism in such a way that converts calories into lean muscle growth rather than fat storage.

    This unique, stim-free strategy encourages an ideal body composition with the same degree of quality, efficacy, and safety demonstrated by SPORT Pre’s all-natural ingredients and capsules.

    *Take Burn Lab Pro® prior to exercise for optimal weight loss results.

    Get the best price on Burn Lab Pro here


    Performance Lab® SPORT Pre is the Best Pre-Workout for Fat Loss

    A short-sighted pre-workout supplement only elevates a few immediately noticeable aspects of exercise without tending to the bigger picture of your overall health and fitness. T

    ypically, such a bog-standard PWO comes overstuffed with caffeine, stimulants, and artificial additives.

    Not so with Performance Lab® SPORT Pre, which combines the most powerful and effective natural performance enhancers in an ultraclean formula carefully designed to help you:

    • Lift heavier weights
    • Do more sets
    • Run longer distances
    • Swim harder
    • Sprint faster

    And, of course, look better.

    Nothing’s more frustrating than putting in all your time and effort in the gym only to feel like you’re not getting as much out of it as you could.

    Perhaps you feel like you’re hitting muscle fatigue too early. Or you feel like you’ve hit a demoralizing plateau, a complete halt in your strength gains and fat loss progress, despite maintaining a consistent workout routine.

    Or maybe you’re failing to find the motivation to hit the gym at all.

    That all changes with Performance Lab® SPORT Pre on your side.

    Especially when paired with Burn Lab Pro®, the best fat burner for fat loss, SPORT Pre will help you build more muscle and burn more fat in less time, elevating your fitness potential to maximum capacity.

    Ultimate Workout Supplement Stack for Weight Loss

    To create the Ultimate Workout Supplement Stack for Weight Loss, stack Performance Lab® SPORT Pre and Burn Lab Pro® with the following supplements:

    Performance Lab® Stim

    Performance Lab Stim bottle

    The ultimate Caffeine 2.0 pill for mind-body performance, Stim supercharges brainpower and fat-burning thermogenesis with nootropic-enhanced stimulation.

    Not all pre-workout supplements need caffeine to work, let alone the 300+ mg caffeine megadoses typically found in today’s pre-workout stacks. Yet, by supplying a scalable 50 mg dose of caffeine, Performance Lab® Stim works as the perfect optional stim stack add-on to take on an as-needed basis with your stim-free pre-workout stack. By pairing caffeine with stim-balancing amino acids (L-theanine + L-tyrosine) and B-vitamins, Performance Lab® Stim sustains the fat-burning, brain-boosting benefits of caffeine while minimizing the stimulant’s jittery, heart-racing side effects.

    • Supplement Facts: NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex: Riboflavin+ (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B6+, Folate+ (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12+; Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds), Suntheanine® L-Theanine, Ajipure® L-Tyrosine

    Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Stim

    Performance Lab® MCT

    Performance Lab MCT Bottle

    The world’s cleanest MCT oil sourced from 100% organic coconuts for keto-activating brain energy fuel and fast-acting performance enhancement.

    Though effective for fat loss purposes, fasting while exercising can make working out exceptionally difficult. Even fasting while not exercising can be a struggle for many, as energy levels drop and carb cravings pester the mind. This is where Performance Lab® MCT comes into play. Supplying C8 (caprylic acid), the most keto-active medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), and C10, an MCT that supports mitochondrial energy expenditure,[20] Performance Lab® MCT is a must-have liquid oil for anyone committed to intermittent fasting, fasted training, or any fat loss strategy that relies on ketogenesis.

    • Supplement Facts: C8/C10 MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) Oil from 100% Organic Coconuts

    Get the best deal on Performance Lab® MCT

    Performance Lab® SPORT Protein

    Performance Lab Protein bottle

    SPORT Protein Oryzatein® is the world’s first patented, certified organic brown rice protein designed for athletic performance and backed by third-party clinical research.

    To burn fat, you need to build muscle. And to build muscle, you need a clean, effective source of protein, such as Performance Lab® SPORT Protein, a clean, green, plant-based powder powered by Oryzatein® Certified Organic Brown Rice Protein. As the only rice protein clinically shown to build muscle as effectively as whey, Oryzatein® supplies an anabolic leucine form that actually absorbs 30% faster than whey leucine, resulting in greater lean muscle support and an overall healthier, sculpted body composition.

    • Supplement Facts: Protein (from Oryzatein® - Certified Organic Brown Rice [Oryza sativa] Protein Concentrate), Himalayan Pink Salt, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese

    Get the best deal on Performance Lab® SPORT Protein


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    2. Malhotra A et al. It is time to stop counting calories, and time instead to promote dietary changes that substantially and rapidly reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Open Heart. 2015; 2(1): e000273.
    3. Nuttall FQ. Body Mass Index: Obesity, BMI, and Health: A Critical Review. Nutr Today. 2015 May; 50(3): 117-128.
    4. Tomlinson DJ et al. Body Fat Percentage, Body Mass Index, Fat Mass Index and the Ageing Bone: Their Singular and Combined Roles Linked to Physical Activity and Diet. Nutrients. 2019 Jan; 11(1): 195.
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    11. Wang CC et al. Effects of 4-Week Creatine Supplementation Combined with Complex Training on Muscle Damage and Sport Performance. Nutrients. 2018 Nov; 10(11): 1640.
    12. Cruz-Jentoft AJ. Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methyl Butyrate (HMB): From Experimental Data to Clinical Evidence in Sarcopenia. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2018; 19(7): 668-672.
    13. Durkalec-Michalski K et al. The Effect of a 12-Week Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation on Highly-Trained Combat Sports Athletes: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017 Jul 14; 9(7): pii: E753.
    14. Gerlinger-Romero F et al. Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on the expression of ubiquitin ligases, protein synthesis pathways and contractile function in extensor digitorum longus (EDL) of fed and fasting rats. J Physiol Sci. 2018 Mar; 68(2): 165-174.
    15. McKinley-Barnard S et al. Combined L-citrulline and glutathione supplementation increases the concentration of markers indicative of nitric oxide synthesis. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jun 10; 12: 27.
    16. Hwang P et al. Eight weeks of resistance training in conjunction with glutathione and L-citrulline supplementation increases lean mass and has no adverse effects on blood clinical safety markers in resistance-training males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Jun 27; 15(1): 30.
    17. Janssens PLHR et al. Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance. PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e67786.
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    19. Kawada T et al. Effects of capsaicin on lipid metabolism in rats fed a high fat diet. J Nutr. 1986 Jul; 116(7): 1272-8.
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