Pre Workout vs Fat Burner

At some point most people experiment with pre workout vs a fat burner. How could you not? A supplement that gives you energy, focus, pump and a killer workout…not to mention one assists with weight loss. Sounds like the perfect recipe for success right?

Although pre-workouts and fat burners may be classed as (not so secret) hero products, there are in fact some differences between the two. Determining which one is most suited to your goals can be a not so simple task. Before you make the ultimate decision and decide have a quick read over this BLOG! It will help you decide on whether to reach for a pre workout or fat burner and to understand the products a little better.

What Is A Pre workout?

Pre-workout supplements are multi ingredient formulas containing natural ingredients that support overall performance, stamina and endurance. For the majority of us they deliver that explosive hit of energy and blood flow precisely when it is needed. They are designed to increase blood flow to the working muscles and improve strength and endurance.

Generally speaking pre workouts can be divided into two groups: those containing stimulants and those which are stimulant-free. Caffeine is predominantly the key ingredient in stimulant based supplements and is included in varying amounts. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, prefer to avoid it or train in the evening, a stimulant-free option is considered ideal.

How Do Pre workouts Work?

The proprietary blends in a pre workout supplement is a combination of ingredients that are designed to enhance overall performance. Stimulant ingredients are included for energy, focus and to mitigate exercise induced central and peripheral fatigue. Overall they stimulate the central nervous system and provide physiological effects that enhance performance.

Vasodilators and other ingredients can help increase blood flow to muscle tissue, boosting recovery and endurance. Nitric oxide boosters such as Arginine, or Citrulline appear to help increase blood flow and the “pump” feeling during lifting.

With the advancement of pre-workout formulation you can also find some that include other beneficial ingredients such as branched chain amino acids, creatine and beta alanine. The well-rounded and comprehensive formulas may contain a large ingredient list but the results tend to speak for themselves.

Who Can Benefit From Using A Pre workout?

Pre-workouts are not for everybody. In some cases they may not be entirely suitable or necessary. With the vast array of ingredients in formulas, what is effective for one individual may not be as effective for another.

Some people may also be sensitive to caffeine and stimulant-based formulas. Everybody will have a different level of tolerance to the included ingredients. The typical pre workout can range from 150-400mg of caffeine. So if a cup of coffee is enough to give you the jitters, a simulant-free options may be best.

What Are The Common Ingredients Found In Pre workout Supplements?

Now not all pre-workouts are created equal. There is such variability in the proprietary blends that the ingredient lists can sometimes read like a novel. If you are new to dabbling into pre-workout supplements then it can be handy to know some of the more common ingredients.

Here are some of the top ingredients to look for that will certainly give you more bang for your buck.


Caffeine tends to be one of the key ingredients in pre-workout supplements and is a heavily researched compound. It has been shown to increase mental alertness, enahnce fat burning, sharpen focus and assist you to work harder for longer.

Caffeine is multi-use in the sense that it can give you a hefty energy boost that can be advantageous in both endurance forms of exercise or those of a much shorter duration. For the amount to be effective, the lower end of the scale is dosage wise 150mg. It is important to keep in mind that caffeine dosages in particular products can vary quite substantially. Even though 150mg is more than sufficient to experience the benefits, some formulas may contain much more.

Beta Alanine

Are you familiar with the tingling sensation just minutes after you scull down your pre-workout? You can thank Beta-alanine for that!

Beta-alanine helps to increase the amount of Carnosine stored in the muscles. Carnosine acts as a buffering agent during intense bouts of exercise and aids in preventing fatigue prematurely.

Nitric Oxide Boosters such as Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline

Nitric Oxide boosters are included in pre-workout formulas to enhance blood flow to the muscles. These days there are many difference ingredients that are used in pre-workout matrixes with Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline being the two most common.

Depending on which supplement you choose, Citrulline can be found in two forms – Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline. Both are backed by plenty of research and in terms of effectiveness there is not a great deal of a difference between the two. You will find this compound in whichever form in most formulas. Citrulline helps to improve blood flow, increase endurance, and improve cognition all which are highly beneficial.


This is more commonly used and known as a standalone supplement for enhancing muscle mass. Creatine is primarily stored in the skeletal muscles and aids in ATP production. It’s benefits includes improved strength and power output and when used in conjunction with resistance exercise creatine can aid in increasing muscle mass.

What Is A Fat Burner?

Just like pre-workout supplements, fat burners are part of many individuals daily supplement regimen. The name would seemingly have it, most think that they are a magic pill or powder that can melt away body fat at the drop of a hat. Well….although that would be nice, and they are a very favourable supplement, they are not quite as literal as the name suggests.

Fat burners are supplements are said to have the following actions:

  • Increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure.
  • Can help increase the rate of fat loss.
  • Increase the rate of fat oxidation during exercise.
  • Impair fat absorption.
  • Suppress appetite.

Although this list does still appear to be rather impressive, let’s delve into how fat burners actually work.

How Do Fat Burners Work?

The key ingredients in fat burners generally perform two main functions. They either actively metabolise fats in the body or suppress appetite. The majority do both however. Other components of fat burners also cause thermogenic reactions in the body. When these are combined with the metabolic boost like you get from caffeine and other stimulants, you get a very effective fat burning supplement.

Two of the most common terms associated with weight loss and fat burners are Thermogenesis and Lipolysis.


Thermogenesis is a metabolic process in the body where calories are burnt to produce heat. This is a process which can aid in weight loss as essentially you will burn more calories over the day.


Lipolysis can be defined as the process in the body of breaking down stored triglycerides into two main components, glycerol and fatty acids.

One of the key ingredients in fat burners is caffeine. This is a popular compound that aids in increasing metabolism and aiding in the body to use fat as a source of fuel. Caffeine increases the breakdown of fatty acids that reside in adipose tissue. Once broken down, the fatty acids enter the bloodstream where they can be used to create energy.

One thing we must also say is that fat burners are not a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise routine. Your core foundational principles of maintaining a healthy lifestyle still stand, however these supplements can certainly come in handy especially if your goal is to lose weight.

Who Can Benefit From Using A Fat Burner?

Remember earlier when we mentioned that fat burners are neither magic pills or unicorns? Although the role of fat burners is multi-facetted, they can indeed help enhance fat loss. They are in no way a replacement for proper nutrition and exercise.

Our bodies can burn fat naturally through diet and exercise, however it is often that last little home stretch that appears to be the toughest. It is at this point where a fat burner supplement can offer you a helping hand to shift that last little bit of weight.

What Are, The Common Ingredients Found In Fat Burner Supplements?

Similar to pre-workout supplements, fat burners are also too multi-ingredient formulas that can be comprised of a matrix of herbal ingredients and other common compounds. Although each formula will have it’s own unique ingredient profile, we’ve identified the key ingredients and their roles.


The primary reason for the inclusion of caffeine in fat burners is for it’s role in accelerating fat loss. Caffeine achieves this by increasing the amount of catecholamines in your blood. These are chemicals that mobilise fat stores ready to be oxidised. This process results in an increased basal metabolic rate. The more energy that is able to be burnt each day the greater the fat loss over time.

Green Tea Extract

Green Tea extract contains an active ingredient known as Catechins to enhance fat loss. Catechins work by blocking the enzyme that breaks down adrenaline and noradrenaline. These are the chemicals that are responsible for mobilising fat stores and increasing basal metabolic rate. The inhibition of this enzyme allows these fat-burning chemicals to remain in the blood for longer and hence increasing the rate of fat loss.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is prominent in fat burning supplements due to it’s well known benefits of building and maintaining lean muscle tissue and also for it’s fat burning properties. It is a powerful anti-oxidant and immune system enhancer that also augments insulin sensitivity.


Although carnitine is an incredibly popular stand-alone supplement, it’s role in fat burner supplements is certainly no secret. Carnitine is derived from an amino acid and it’s role is to help to convert body fat into energy by breaking up fatty acids so the body can use them for fuel.

Bonus points can also be given to this ingredient too for a couple of reasons. Carnitine plays a role in decreasing fatigue during physical activity and also assists in repair and recovery following your training session or exercise program.

Garcinia Cambogia

Although not all too well-known, Garcinia Cambodia is an acid-free fruit extract that has potent appetite control benefits. Highly beneficial especially during dieting periods.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the question of pre workout vs fat burner, both have their similarities, and differences. A significant amount of commitment is required in order to reach your body composition goals. And although supplements such as these are a significant help, they are unfortunately not a replacement for the solid foundations of consistent training and nutrition. We all still have to do the hard stuff!

Regardless of your goals however, sometimes a little helping is warranted even if it is simply just to break through a plateau. So if you’re looking for a little something to support your training , then a pre-workout supplement may be a great option for you. On the other if you’re looking for a supplement to support your body composition goals then a fat burner supplement might be more ideal.