Most of us want to lose weight and get fitter. However there are certainly products that are aimed more at men than women as well as those that suit both sexes, and others that seem strictly for the girls.
In general men often want to lose fat, but are also looking to get fit and build muscle. Women also want to lose fat and get fit, but in many cases are not looking to build a six pack, or work out in the gym in order to get the muscle rippling effect, or gain the muscle size many men seek.
Here is our quick guide to weight loss for men, and some of the types of supplements that are specifically aimed at addressing male issues of health and weight loss.
Protein is becoming mainstream for weight loss. It has always been used by bodybuilders looking to lose fat and build muscle, and although many women are now also using protein, it remains one of the most popular types of supplement for men.
Protein is essential for health and is important for many bodily functions including building muscle, tissue and cells, repair, strength, and endurance, and if you work out and exercise you will need to up your protein intake.
Protein is usually consumed in a shake. You just add powder to water and drink it, and the aim is that it will help you feel fuller for longer as well as provide support for a workout. Men often use protein supplements to fuel a workout or as post workout recovery, whereas women often use a protein supplement as a meal replacement. We’ve previously covered the top weight loss supplements for women.
The main two types of protein used in supplements are whey protein, derived from milk or soy protein which is derived from soybeans.
Whey protein comes in two major forms for supplement use; whey protein concentrate which contains between 29% – 89% protein by weight or whey protein isolate, which is generally considered superior as it contains 90% protein by weight.
Soy protein also comes in concentrate and isolate form, and comes close to the amino acid profile of dairy produce. That said some bodybuilders have concerns about soy causing oestrogen production in the body.
An alternative protein is pea protein which is the most side effect free, and becoming increasingly popular on the market, especially as a plant based protein.
It is important to remember that there is nothing slimming about protein supplements. You have to work out or use them as a meal replacement and without lifestyle changes such as a gym regime, a protein shake will actually help you put weight on rather than lose it, if it causes you to exceed your calorie needs.
Creatine supplements are extremely popular with athletes and body builders, as it improves strength and recovery time after exercise, and many people consider this one substance crucial to training and muscle gain.
Creatine is a natural substance in the body and its role is to supply energy to cells, especially muscle cells, whenever it is needed. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid meaning that it can help with blood supply to organs so it has numerous functions.
There is some evidence it can help brain function, but it is used most commonly as a support for training and recovery, building muscle, and increasing strength.
Creatine is obtainable by diet (proteins such as meat and fish), and usually in powder or pill form, but these days is a common supplement ingredient even showing up in health drinks and nutrition bars.
Creatine has been widely studied and although it seems to be effective for many types of sport where power, muscle, and the ability to sprint or turn on a quick energy spurt (including HITT) is important, it does not suit activities such as long distance running where stamina is a major issue.
Creatine is not good for weight loss. It can actually promote weight gain, so unless you are serious about intensifying your exercise we can see little point to taking it. However, creatine is one of the most studied ingredients, and has been proven to increase strength and endurance in workouts. This can be beneficial for having longer and more intense workouts, which can help aid muscle gain and therefore increase metabolic rate. In addition it should not be used if you have diabetes or are taking blood sugar supplements.
Testosterone boosters come in all types but these types of supplements are touted only at men, and in many cases they have very little to do with weight loss.
There are those types of product that claim perk up your sexlife and make you a stud in bed, others that focus on the energy enhancing and strength aspect of testosterone with regards sport and training. Some testosterone boosters are marketed at older men who are worried about decreasing levels, so want to get their old manly mojo back.
Whatever your reason for wanting to boost T levels, it is important to keep safe because this can be a very dodgy area when it comes to supplements.
Steroids that deliver synthetic testosterone are illegal, and are known for causing numerous side effects. There are pre hormones that claim to help your body manufacture increased testosterone, by the use of some semi legal and stimulant ingredients. Again prohormones should not be taken lightly because of health risks and although many are banned, manufacturers are always coming up with new molecular compounds to get round the law.
Finally there are the herbal supplements that contain so called miracle ingredients such as Tongkat Ali, which are supposed to help your body increase testosterone and in many cases become super sexy because many natural T boosters are also touted as aphrodisiacs.
Using testosterone boosters to lose weight is not going to work. The truth is that increasing your activity levels, losing weight, and changing your diet will help to increase testosterone levels naturally. Not the other way round!
Supplements that contain branched chain amino acids are widely touted for muscle building, maintaining muscle mass during weight loss, and improving exercise performance. There are three BCAAS; Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, and these important amino acids are essential nutrients that are obtainable from diet, but obviously pack more poke if taken in supplement form.
Branched chain refers to the shape of the molecular compound, and BCAAs have an important role in the body. BCAAs stimulate the production of protein in muscle and help protect against muscle breakdown, a common side effect of a weight loss diet. Maintaining muscle mass is a great way to ensure your metabolic rate stays high, even as you are dieting.
Taking a BCCA supplement will not help you lose weight. However it may help prevent against muscle loss when the pounds do start falling off through training, diet, and exercise.
One of the most popular types of diet pill is a fat burner, and many of these are marketed to appeal to men. One UK brand called Grenade actually uses a plastic hand grenade for packaging, and many fat burners are advertised as strong, full of stimulants, and dangerous! Yes this is predictable gender stereotypical advertising, designed to push your buttons.
Fat burners contain ingredients that raise body temperature, and increase the speed of the metabolism so that you can burn off fat more easily. In many cases this is achieved by the use of strong stimulants such as synephrine, which put the body into flight or fight mode. This can be quite dangerous for health and lead to side effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, jitteriness, and increased stress. This state also causes the loss of appetite, so is an added so called advantage of fat burners.
Not all fat burners are dangerous. Many rely on caffeine for the same stimulant effects, or by ingredients which are strong in antioxidants such as green tea which can increase the metabolism. We review countless fat burners here at the Watchdog so to keep safe and to make the right choice for you, keep an eye on our reviews and approved list.
Fat burners will not suit everyone and if you have a medical condition around heart and blood pressure, this type of supplement will not be suitable, but many people find that this type of supplement does offer some support to a weight loss diet and exercise program.
Carb blockers are weight loss supplements, that prevent some of the dietary carbs that you eat from adding to fat.
They work by preventing a digestive enzyme called alpha amalyse from breaking down carbs that you eat into glucose, so these carbs pass undigested and unabsorbed through your system.
Carb blockers usually contain a heavily fibrous material such as white kidney bean extract, and in general are safe although you may experience minor side effects such as stomach cramps and bloating. Adding more fibre to your diet may have the same effect in terms of benefits and side effects.
Carb blockers may be effective for men who struggle with portion sizes and enjoy eating chips, pasta and potatoes and they can have an effect upon hunger hormones so decrease appetite. However it is important to remember that a carb blocker will not block all carbs so it is really important not to over eat while using a carb blocker.
Fat Binders are a type of supplement that appeals equally to men and to women, and some people find that this type of supplement is effective for weight loss. Fat Binders bind with dietary fat in the stomach, preventing digestion by making the fat molecules too large to be absorbed. Instead these dietary fats pass through the body without adding to the calorie count of a meal.
Fat Binders are well known. Popular brands include Alli and XLS Medical and these supplements do not have dangerous side effects, although they can promote digestive issues such as diarrhoea or constipation.
Use within the context of a weight loss diet and exercise regime, it may help you lose weight but if you are looking to also build muscle and work out in the gym, other supplements will probably be more effective.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.