Which Weight Loss Pills Actually Work?

Which Weight Loss Pills Actually Work?

The sheer number of weight loss pills on the market is overwhelming. Want to know which work and which don’t?


The US weight loss market is absolutely massive (worth nearly $61 billion as of 2011), and weight loss pills account for about $1.5 billion of that pie.

When people are spending that kind of money, count on the hucksters and shysters to be operating in force.

The result is, well, what we see in the marketplace: an absolute glut of weight loss products and dietary routines, all advertised as better than the next.

This can make weight loss a very confusing, frustrating, and expensive endeavor.

Well, the first thing you should know is that NO pill will cause you to magically lose weight. You have to regulate your caloric intake to lose weight (you have to feed your body less energy than it burns every day).

That said, in this article, I’m going to go over the ingredients in variety of popular “weight loss pills” and show you which can speed up weight loss when combined with a proper diet, which don’t, and which scientists are unsure of.

Before you buy that next bottle of weight loss pills, check out the ingredients and compare them against this list. You won’t find everything here, but these are the most popular ones at the moment.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I want you to know that the supplements I recommend in this article are not just what I personally use but they are from my supplement line, LEGION.

As you probably know, the supplement industry is notorious for its lies and shenanigans. The truth is the majority of the supplements you see in the magazines and on the shelves aren’t going to help you reach your goals faster.

That’s why I decided to create the products I myself have always wanted: science-based formulations, clinically effective dosages of all ingredients, no fillers or unnecessary junk, and natural sweetening and flavoring.

You can learn more about LEGION and my goal to change the supplement industry for the better here.

And if you like what you see and decide to support my work…you’re awesome. :) It’s because of people like you that I get to spend my time writing articles like this that help others get into the best shape of their lives.

Acai Berry and Weight Loss

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The acai berry craze has passed, but it still remains a solid top seller in the world of weight loss supplements.

I’ll keep this short and simple, and just quote the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:

“There is no definitive scientific evidence based on studies in humans to support the use of acai berry for any health-related purpose.

“No independent studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals that substantiate claims that acai supplements alone promote rapid weight loss. Researchers who investigated the safety profile of an acai-fortified juice in animals observed that there were no body weight changes in rats given the juice compared with controls.”

The Bottom Line

Don’t waste your money on acai berry products if you’re trying to lose weight.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

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Carnitine and Weight Loss

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Carnitine is a compound that your body produces from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and it plays a vital role in the generation of cellular energy.

While there is scientific evidence that carnitine supplementation can help with muscle recovery after exercise, does it have anything to offer in the way of weight loss?

Well, it does have a mechanism that is of interest: it increases fat oxidation in the muscles.

What this means is it appears to increase the rate at which muscle tissue burns fat for fuel instead of glycogen. Theoretically, this might result in additional fat loss while exercising.

Actual research is less than promising, however.

There’s evidence that carnitine can reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass in the elderly, but these effects were not seen when it was tested with overweight pre-menopausal women.

Animal research has also failed to demonstrate any weight loss benefits when simply combined with a calorie-restricted diet.

Thus, scientists don’t know yet if carnitine’s metabolic effect are profound enough to actually accelerate weight loss when combined with exercise. 

Animal research says no, as well as a human trial (which isn’t definitive due to flaws in design, but is worth noting).

The Bottom Line

Unless your body’s ability to oxidize fat is impaired by disease or dysfunction, the research currently available says that carnitine supplementation isn’t likely to help with weight loss.

Raspberry Ketones and Weight Loss

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Raspberry ketones are the primary aroma compound of the red raspberry (it gives the raspberry its smell), and it’s also found in other fruits like the blackberry and cranberry.

How did such a seemingly random compound find its way into weight loss products?

Well, it started with a couple animal studies. One demonstrated that raspberry ketone supplementation prevented weight gain by increasing lipolysis and fat oxidation, and the other backed up this mechanism.

That might be promising if it weren’t for a few little details:

  • Animal research can not be used as proof of human effectiveness. The human and rat body just isn’t similar enough, and this is especially true when talking about metabolic functions.
  • One of the rat studies was in vitro research. This means parts of living rats were removed to be studied in isolation, as opposed to research done with living, intact organisms (in vivo research).

In vitro research is less definitive than in vivo because living organisms are incredibly complex, and sometimes in vitro findings just don’t pan out in vivo.

  • The in vivo rat study that demonstrated weight gain prevention used an absolutely massive oral dose: up to 20 g/kg of body weight, or 4761 times greater than the average human intake.

There is one human trial I know of that is commonly cited as evidence of raspberry ketone’s effectiveness for weight loss. The problem with this study, however, is the compound was paired with caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger, and citrus aurantium as a source of synephrine. It’s impossible to know if the raspberry ketone did anything or not.

The Bottom Line

There is insufficient evidence to support the use of low oral doses of raspberry ketone for weight loss purposes. Save your money.

Garcinia Cambogia and Weight Loss

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Garcinia cambogia is a small fruit often used in Indian and Asian cuisine to impart a sour flavor.

It’s a good natural source of hydroxycitric acidand has received a lot of media attention recently as a weight loss aid.

These claims are unfounded, however.

Like many fad supplements, garcinia cambogia has some animal research on its side, but human research is contradictory and hard to interpret.

A couple rat studies, such as this one, have demonstrated that garcinia cambogia can reduce weight gain during a period of overfeeding. The mechanism by which it accomplished this is the suppression of fatty acid synthesis in the liver (it reduced the amount of fat the body could make from the excess calories).

The human research bursts that bubble, though.

A meta analysis of 12 randomized clinical trials of garcinia cambogia found the following:

  • Three studies with small sample sizes reported statistically significant, albeit small, decreases in fat mass over the placebo groups.

(In case you were wondering, the best result was 1.3 kg more weight lost than placebo group over a 3-month period.)

  • Two studies found no difference in weight loss between the garcinia cambogia and placebo groups, including the largest and most rigorous study reviewed.
  • The results of the remaining studies reviewed were marred by serious design and/or execution flaws.

The Bottom Line

The research currently available says that garcinia cambogia probably won’t help you lose weight, but if it did, the best you could hope for is a very small boost.

Green Coffee Extract and Weight Loss

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Green coffee extract is a supplement derived from green coffee beans. It’s similar to regular coffee beans, but has high amounts of a substance known as chlorogenic acid.

This substance is particularly hot at the moment, thanks to people like Dr. Oz and other mainstream “health gurus.” It may not be everything they claim, though.

A recent meta analysis of the 5 human trials available found that high dosages of chlorogenic acid via green coffee extract (400-800 mg chlorogenic acid per day) may induce fat loss, but researchers noted that the studies demonstrating this had high risks of bias due to funding sources (for-profit companies producing green coffee extract).

The Bottom Line

Green coffee extract may help you lose weight if taken in high enough dosages.

However, until more research is done on it, and particularly unbiased research, green coffee extract’s value as a weight loss supplement is uncertain.

Caffeine and Weight Loss

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Caffeine, the world’s most popular drug, has more value to us fitness folk than the energy high.

It can improve strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic performance, as well as reverse the “morning weakness” experienced by many weightlifters and, last but not least, speed up fat loss.

The mechanism by which it aids weight loss is quite simple: it speeds up your body’s metabolic rate by increasing the amount of catecholamines in the blood, which are chemicals that mobilize fat stores to be burned for energy.

Part of maximizing the fat loss benefits of caffeine is preventing your body from building up too much of a tolerance, however. The best way to do this is to limit intake, of course.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Before training, supplement with 3 – 6 mg caffeine per kg of body weight. If you’re not sure of your caffeine sensitivity, start with 3 mg/kg and work up from there.
  2. Keep your daily. intake at or below 6 mg per kg of body weight. Don’t have 6 mg/kg before training and then drink a couple of coffees throughout the day.
  3. Do 1 – 2 low-caffeine days per week, and 1 no-caffeine day per week. A low day should be half your normal intake, and a no day means less than 50 mg of caffeine (you can have a cup or two of tea, but no coffee, caffeine pills, etc.).

The Bottom Line

When combined with a proper diet, caffeine can help you lose weight faster.

Don’t abuse it, however. If consumed too acutely and regularly, tolerance builds (which reduces its effects) and withdrawal symptoms are common.

When I use caffeine for weight loss purposes, I consume no more than 5-6 mg/kg per day, usually in two doses per day before exercise.

Personally I get my caffeine from my pre-workout PULSE, which contains a dehydrated and concentrated form of caffeine (caffeine anhydrous) shown to be more effective for improving performance than what is naturally found in beverages like coffee.

PULSE also contains clinically effective dosages of 5 other ingredients scientifically proven to improve workout performance:

  • Beta-Alanine. Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that reduces exercise-induced fatigueimproves anaerobic exercise capacity, and can accelerate muscle growth.
  • Citrulline Malate. Citrulline is an amino acid that improves muscle endurancerelieves muscle soreness, and improves aerobic performance.
  • Betaine. Betaine is a compound found in plants like beets that improves muscle enduranceincreases strength, and increases human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 production in response to acute exercise.
  • Ornithine. Ornithine is an amino acid found in high amounts in dairy and meat that reduces fatigue in prolonged exercise and promotes lipid oxidation (the burning of fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrate or glycogen).
  • Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid found primarily in tea that  reduces the effects of mental and physical stressincreases the production of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow, and improves alertnessfocusattentionmemorymental task performance, and mood.

And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.legion-pulse

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Green Tea Extract and Weight Loss

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Green tea extract is an herbal product derived from green tea leaves. It contains a large amount of a substance known as a “catechin,” which is responsible for many of tea’s health benefits.

One of these benefits relates to weight loss: Research has shown that supplementation with green tea extract reduces total fat massaccelerates exercise-induced fat loss, and can help reduce abdominal fat, in particular. 

The primary mechanism by which it accomplishes this is inhibiting an enzyme that degrades catecholamines, which are chemicals that mobilize fat stores to be burned for energy. This also makes green tea extract work synergystically with caffeine–caffeine increases catecholamine levels, and green tea extract extends the amount of time they spend in the blood.

 The epigallocatechin gallate in my fat burner Phoenix is the catechin most associated with weight loss benefits, so if you’re taking Phoenix, you don’t need to supplement with GTE. If you’re not, however, GTE is a worthwhile addition to your fat loss regimen.

The Bottom Line

Green tea extract is an effective fat loss agent, as well as an effective weight management agent.

Habitual caffeine consumption will reduce its effects, however, and you must take enough (400-600 mg of catechins per day, according to the research available).

 The epigallocatechin gallate in my fat burner PHOENIX is the catechin most associated with weight loss benefits, and that’s how I get my EGCG when I’m cutting.

PHOENIX contains clinically effective dosages of other ingredients that help you lose fat faster as well, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

  • Hesperidin. Like naringin, this also stimulates the production of adiponectin and activates the PPARa receptor. It also improves blood flow and reduces the inflammation of blood vessels.
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This inhibits the activity of a different enzyme also responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters that induce lipolysis. It has also been shown to reduce abdominal fat in particular.
  • Forskolin. This increases blood plasma and intracellular levels of a molecule known as cAMP. When cAMP is high, it signifies a lack of ATP (the most basic form of cellular energy in the body) and thus initiates a process to make more ATP by burning through energy reserves (body fat).

Research has show that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

  • And more…

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.phoenix-bottle

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Yohimbine and Weight Loss

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Yohimbine is made from the Pausinystalia yohimbe plant, and it helps the body “tap into” fat stores.

(Not a very technical explanation, I know–if you want to know exactly how it works, check out this article of mine on how to lose stubborn fat.)

Yohimbine accelerates weight loss, but only works if you’re training in a fasted state. Elevated insulin levels negate yohimbine’s effects.

I’ve cut both with and without fasted training and yohimbine and I can say with absolutely certainty that with is noticeably faster. So much so that I think the biggest benefits of fasted training are that it lets you use yohimbine and it makes the other supplements discussed in this article more effective.

By itself, fasted training will make a slight difference in how quickly you lose fat. Combined with these supplements, however, it’s quite dramatic.

In terms of dosages, research has shown that .2 mg/kg of body weight is sufficient for fat loss purposes, and that ingesting it prior to exercise is particularly effective.

Some people get overly jittery from yohimbine, so I recommend you start with .1 mg/kg of body weight to assess tolerance. If you feel fine, then increase to the clinically effective dosage of .2 mg/kg.

The Bottom Line

When used properly (high enough dosage, fasted state, before exercise), yohimbine speeds up fat loss.

However, you should know that research has shown that yohimbine can raise blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, I don’t recommend you use it.

In terms of which specific yohimbine supplement I recommend, you’re probably not surprised that I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in every serving of my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.

FORGE also contains clinically effective dosages of two other ingredients that help you get the most out of your fasted training…

  • HMB. HMB is an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent, which means it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown. This helps you recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness.
  • Citicoline. CDP-choline (also known as citicoline) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain that increases levels of another chemical called phosphatidylcholine, which is vital for brain function.

Research shows that supplementation with CDP-choline improves attentional focus, and I included this in FORGE because most people find fasted training more mentally draining than fed training and CDP-choline can help counteract this.


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What’s your take on weight loss pills? Have anything else to add? Let me know in the comments below!

How to get lean and build serious muscle and strength, faster than you ever thought possible…

If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my books.

You see, depending on how you eat, train, rest, and supplement, building muscle and losing fat can be incredibly simple or seemingly impossible. I've learned this the hard way, making every mistake you can imagine.

I've also learned a lot about what DOES work, and I wrote Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger to teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to build the body you've always wanted.

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Leave a Comment!
  • terry

    Hey mike I have something that helps with fat loss every time I try it. I put the fork down and get my ass to the gym !

    • Michael Matthews

      Hahah that plus some caffeine, green tea extract, and yohimbine means rapid fat loss! :)

  • Brandon

    No CLA?

    • Michael Matthews

      I’ve been using and recommending CLA for a while now but in looking at some of the more recent CLA research, I’m on the fence now.

      It seems a bit hit and miss. I’m going to be looking into it more and may actually be removing it from my recommendations…

      • Brandon

        Thanks Mike. Also, does the Green Tea Extract raise estrogen levels?

        • Michael Matthews

          No, I’ve never seen any evidence of that…

      • Bruce H.

        what is the hit & miss? Is just not worth the money, or is there a more negative downside to taking CLA.
        I’ve been taking most of these and have had moderate success, but I really don’t know which supps were the most responsible.
        I think that along with intense workouts, proper diet, patience is the best medicine :)

        • Michael Matthews

          No negatives to CLA, just looks to be hit and miss in terms of effectiveness. I’m going to look into it further though.

          And yup diet and exercise are most responsible, but the combined effects of a few of these naturally effective fat loss aids can add up. For instance, if you can lose an extra 3-4 pounds of fat over the course of 6-8 weeks, I think that’s worth it.

  • elizabeth

    Been their tried them all ! they suck ! Gym and Whey is all I need!!!!!

    • Michael Matthews

      I understand! The reality is no natural weight loss supplements will help unless your diet is also in (and exercise helps as well, of course).

  • Richard Carpenter

    This is a great article. There are so many things out there, and sad to say, I have tried some and none work. I am on a prescription medicine until Dec but would really like to know what is available over the counter after that! This article helps. Enjoy reading your posts.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Richard! I would avoid OTC weight loss pills. Those types of drugs can have some pretty serious side effects.

  • Ryan

    What helps me the most is Oxyelite pro Original formula. works fantastic when i cut weight, i do that with CLA and carnitine. and still take all my sups besides creatine as well (i cycle the oxy and creatine).

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool, thanks for sharing Ryan! I like VPX Meltdown personally.

  • Hector Hernandez

    Great article Mike! In regards to the Yohimbine supplement, my recommended dosage would be around 20 mg (I weigh 211lbs). I do IF (my feeding window is from 3PM to 11PM) and train at 10AM, would consuming all 20mg before I workout be a bit too much? How would you recommend me taking it?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah that’s about right. I take 15-20 mg when I cut and yes all before fasted training. Some people get the jitters but some don’t.

      • Hector Hernandez

        Okay thanks, just making sure. I tried it out on my last workout after taking my pre workout and glad to say nothing negative was noted.

        • Michael Matthews

          YW, and cool. Glad to hear your body does well with it.

          • Hector Hernandez

            One more question. I also take BCAA’S since I train fasted but the BCAA’S I take have 10grams of BCAA’S and so on the label it lists 2 grams of protein and 10 calories, will that negate the effects of the Yohimbine?

          • Michael Matthews

            Nope, that’s totally fine.

          • Hector Hernandez

            Okay thanks again for taking time to answer my questions Mike really appreciate the helpful info

          • Michael Matthews


      • Scott

        I know this post is a bit dated, but you said to take Yohimbine: (high enough dosage, fasted state, before exercise)

        I do IF as well and my feeding window is usually 3-11. However, I take in 50% of my calories prior to lifting. So, at 3pm is my first meal. Then I train around 8pm, then finish my 50% of my intake from 9-11pm. (It’s easier for me to have 2 meals, then multiple)

        Would that 5 hour time-frame be enough to consider fasted, to take Yohimbine prior to gym?


        Would consume while in the fasted state in the morning alone without training? Or would this be pointless?

        • Michael Matthews

          Cool on what you’re doing. That works. 4 to 5 hours is probably enough if the meal isn’t too big. If it’s over 500ish cals it won’t be enough time though.

          Taking it without exercising won’t do anything.

          • Scott

            Thank you for your advice!! You have a great site here and enjoy your articles!! Keep up the great work!

          • Michael Matthews

            YW, thanks! :)

  • http://thehealthfreak.com/ Michael Massie

    Gotta be careful with yohimbine – it’s been known to cause high blood pressure in some individuals. Great article, though.

    • Alan Cherney

      I get behind almost everything Mike suggests, and that’s because he knows his stuff and I’ve seen it work in myself and others. Yohimbine messed me up, though. High heart rate, jitters, it scared me. And that was only 10mg at 200lbs bw. It’s really a person to person thing. I don’t regret trying it, though.

      • http://thehealthfreak.com/ Michael Massie

        I hear you, Alan. I used it extensively when I was in my 20’s with no issues. However, I recommended it to a client at that time (who at the time was my age now) and it caused him to have temporary hypertension. Personal opinion is I would avoid it if you have any history of hypertension or any cardiac abnormality.

        I agree though, Mike provides good advice – I find his articles to be very reliable and well-researched.

        • Michael Matthews

          Agreed Mike, and thanks again. :)

      • Michael Matthews

        Thanks Alan and yeah, research has shown that some people react badly to it whereas others don’t. For example, I can take 20 mg before fasted training and feel nothing.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Mike! You’re right–I added a note on this to the article. :)

  • Stuart Cullinan

    I’m really interested in finding out more about methyl-synephrine. Read some good stuff about it but interested in whether any science backs it up. The recent banning of Tyson Gay et al were using oxilophrine which contains methyl-synephrine. Ive seen a few weight loss prodicts with it in…anyone have any info on it?

    • Michael Matthews

      Synephrine is mechanistically similar to ephedrine. It works.

      • Stuart Cullinan

        Yes but I believe the added methyl group is significant. Was interested to know if you or anyone else had tried it?

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah yeah I haven’t seen anything about methyl-synephrine. If it’s being billed as superior to synephrine, it’s likely just marketing bullshit. Standard.

  • David c

    Hi I used yohimbine but it give me high blood pressure it was 156 over 126 so I stopped taking it but I had taken it for a week and I lost 6 pounds.i no also there as been a few deaths in Britain from yohimbine they used to put it in thermal deternator but took it out . All i am saying be carefull x

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for sharing David. Yes that’s true–yohimbine can cause this issue with some people. I’m going to make a note of this in the article.

  • Megs

    What about appetite suppressant pills? any pills backed by science to keep you satiated? I tried protein shakes, but nah.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, here you go:


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  • David

    Excellent article Michael, thanks very much. Really separates the wheat from the chaff as does many of your articles.

    I’m in the process of organising my weight-loss regime and already ordered some supplements recommended in this article. However I’m stuck on Yohimbine. No one seems to sell it here in the UK apart from an auction site and it’s a lot more expensive than U.S.A. That being said, there are sellers that have Yohimbe Extract in 500mg doses which state “standardized to 2% yohimbine alkaloids.” Can you tell from this if that’s the same as one for fat loss, with the dosage being 10mg? If that’s the case then this would be much cheaper. They’re advertising it under male performance instead of weight loss though. I’ve read Yohimbine can lead to an increase in libido. Fortunately I don’t have that problem…yet! Thanks again and hope you or anyone can help.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks David! Really glad you liked the article.

      Yeah yohimbine is hard to get in the UK. Just leave it out. The extract isn’t the same. I haven’t used it before because I don’t know how to reach the right amount of the molecule actually responsible for weight loss (highly doubt it’s 10mg per pill).

  • Tommy

    Hey mike I take CLAs from myprotein.com – do you. Know if they’re any good? :)
    P.S. frikkin’ love your new diet book :)

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah the product itself is fine but CLA I’m actually not so sure about anymore. I have used and recommended it for quite some time based on the research available, but newer research makes me unsure. It seems to be unreliable.

      I will be looking into it further. I may remove from recommendations…

      • Alon Rosner

        Could you send the link for the new research being done? Curious about this..

        • Michael Matthews

          Well the studies are already published, I just have to review them vs. the studies that have shown benefits.

          You can find studies here:


  • Marina

    Hey Mike! I’ve read your book Thinner Leaner Stronger. Excellent book btw!
    I wanted to ask you about the green tea extract. Do I need to take it every day or just the days I exercise?


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Really glad you liked the book.

      Take the GTE every day.

  • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

    NOTHING beats ephedra+ caffeine!
    FDA banned it cause it works and is beating orlistat.
    Now almost all the popular fat loss drugs out there only rely on caffeine.

    • Michael Matthews

      EC works but some people react badly to ephedra, and IMO many people using the EC stack overkill it. Doing 600-800 mg of caffeine per day is NOT good for you…

      • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

        Thats the problem. The problem is not really with the stack but US citizens using it without medical supervision. See the study done in Denmark where they proved that no one was harmed by C+E stack as long as medical supervision was done.

        Heck any drug can cause negative effects in the hands of idiots,

        The conclusion of the study, following approximately a quarter-million people for greater than 1,000,000 person- years, was that the use of Letigen (20mg ephedrine + 200mg caffeine) as prescribed (one to four times daily), “was not associated with a substantially increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in this study.” It is interesting that the conclusion was stated in that manner, by stating that there was no “substantially increased risk.” This suggests there may be a hidden risk, but in fact, if any effect was suggested by the data in the study, it was that Letigen may actually have provided a statistically protective effect. Of course, the authors rightly noted that the findings are not evidence that Letigen was protective. As Letigen patients were being treated for weight-management issues and screened for pre-existing health conditions, they may have been healthier as a group than the controls. This is called “confounding by contraindication.” Obviously, those with evident heart disease, cancer or other conditions would not be prescribed a stimulant-based weight-loss drug.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bad rap it’s gotten is simply due to abuse.

          I’ll have to read up on ephedrine research. I’ve never used it so it just wasn’t on my radar.

          • AliceJ

            The reason why Ephedra was made illegal, was due to the abuse. The funny thing though, is the people who had heart attacks were NOT people using it for weight loss. They were using it as an adreniline* (sp) boost. Examples = High School Football players and Competitive Weight Lifters

          • Michael Matthews

            Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • R A.

      Ephedra gives me palpitations and mood swings.

      • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

        Yeah some people don’t tolerate well.

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  • Andrey

    Mike, why didn’t you mention VPX Meltdown in this article? Do you have any doubts like with CLA recently?

    • Michael Matthews

      Just wanted to keep it to a few supplements here so I went the cheaper route (caffeine pills and yohimbine).

      Yeah more recent research indicates that CLA is pretty unreliable in its mechanism. I will be removing from my recommendations soon.

      • Andrey

        Dam, just ordered 2 packs of Tonalin CLA a week ago for my gf :-( quite pricey. I hope at least Meltdown will have an effect (she’s planning to take green t extract+CLA+Meltdown). No room for Yohimbine as she has no time to train fasted, only evenings after work.

        • Michael Matthews

          It may help it may not, that’s all. It’s not necessarily money wasted.

  • Mariya Peter

    Its an informative article Mike.I would like share my experience of using one weight loss product. Few years ago I was suffering badly from body weight issues and I used many weight lose products. But there was no much difference. Then at last I started using Slimguard as suggested by one of my friend. Within first few weeks of usage itself I could really feel the difference. I lose my body weight to great extend. In my personal opinion Slimguard is the best weight lose product . The best part about slim guard is that , it is the only company who gave counseling to me. and they do followed up with me after 6 days too. I have used many products but this is the only company which used to speak to me after buying the product.

  • Donna L

    Hi Mike, I’m new to using GTE & Yohimbine. For GTE, you suggested 400-900 mg catechins. The GTE I bought says 400 mg GTE, min. of 40% catechins. Do I just take 2 pills? The bottle says 1 capsule with each meal which would equal 3/day. So far I am taking 2 caps after each workout. I have tried the Yohimbine only on my workout days & so far, so good. I think it helps that my baseline BP is usually low lol. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Michael Matthews

      2 to 4 pills of GTE per day will do it. Ignore the bottle recommendations.

      Nice on the yohimbine! :)

      • Donna L

        Hey Mike,
        Thanks for your great article & advice :)

        • Michael Matthews


  • Chris

    Hey Mike- I bought Yohimbine after I thought I had done enough research but I missed some items that have me concerned. One of the main uses described for Yohimbine on WebMD is to arouse sexual excitement and treat ED. Some of the possible side effects were also concerning. What are you thoughts as I am uncertain this will be more helpful than harmful. Thanks!

    • Michael Matthews

      It increases blood flow that’s why. Nothing to be worried about. Some people get jittery on it that’s all.

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  • Sarah

    Hi Mike just looking at ordering some Yohimbine to the UK (no easy feat)

    I am fairly over weight but now training regularly, lost 65lbs over a couple of years and looking for something to speed up my losses! However I am still just over 100Kg which would equate my dose to approx 20mg Yohimbine per day. This seems excessive and way way over the labelled dosage. Advice please!!!! Is this too much? How much should I start with?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Michael Matthews

      Great job on the weight loss! I would probably start with less–I would start with 10 mg/day and see how you feel.

      • Sarah

        Thanks! I’ll try that! I have a pretty decent blood pressure so not worried about that.
        Cheers for all your info and advice, it’s great to finally get some so bs advice! Have ordered your book and have never been so frustrated with easter holiday postal delays!

        • Michael Matthews

          Cool. Some people just get jittery that’s all.

          My pleasure! Let me know how you like the book!

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  • txgirlygirl

    The image uploaded with the feet and the scales is gross. Sorry but webbed toes are never attractive *barf*! Other than that; I take the following supplements daily and having just had a baby in Jan of this yr, I’m trying to lose weight AND get and stay healthy. Here’s what I am taking (oh and I’m going to pick up some yohimbe at Walmart tomorrow):
    Vit C, Vit B12, acai, green tea extract, raspberry keytones, grapeseed extract, ginseng, ginko, cayenne, gelatin (hair and nails) evening primrose oil (supports healthy menstruation and uterine tone), vit E, calcium, garcinia cambogia extract (drops), hoodia, a prenatal with dha & omega 3. I gained way too much weight during pregnancy (begain at 217 & after 40 werks ended up at 247, no h.b. pressure, no diabetes thank the Lord!) however I am currently 210lbs and at 5’6″ need to weigh 150 to maintain a healthy BMI of 24. Any tips? P.S. I broke my neck in a car wreck 11 yrs ago so I cannot lift heavy weights above my head but with some muscle tone and strength training I want to be able to do so. I enjoy kickboxing, swimming and yoga and thai chi. I need like a daily workout regimine that won’t keel me over lol. Thanks in advance, Meghan.

    • Michael Matthews

      Regarding the weight loss, make sure your diet is right:


      And that’s totally fine on the exercise. You can do well with that.

  • MattNC817

    Hi Mike,
    New here and been reading a lot of your articles as I kick my weight-loss regime into effect.
    Question regarding the supplements that you recommend for weight-loss…. Can these be taken at the same time? I mean will they “play well” with each other, or could they cancel some of the effects or reverse their weight-loss effects by being used together?

    I appreciate the help and the articles.

  • MattNC817

    Hi Mike,
    New here and been reading a lot of your articles as I kick my weight-loss regime into effect.
    Question regarding the supplements that you recommend for weight-loss…. Can these be taken at the same time? I mean will they “play well” with each other, or could they cancel some of the effects or reverse their weight-loss effects by being used together?
    From what I have read, my plan is to take the VBX Meltdown Fat Burner, the correct amount of caffeine mg needed, and green tea extract.

    I appreciate the help and the articles.

  • MattNC817

    Hi Mike,
    New here and been reading a lot of your articles as I kick my weight-loss regime into effect.
    Question regarding the supplements that you recommend for weight-loss…. Can these be taken at the same time? I mean will they “play well” with each other, or could they cancel some of the effects or reverse their weight-loss effects by being used together?
    From what I have read, my plan is to take the VBX Meltdown Fat Burner, the correct amount of caffeine mg needed, and green tea extract.

    I appreciate the help and the articles.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Matt! Yeah you can take them all together.

      • MattNC817

        Thank you! It has been only 3 days, but I can definitely feel a difference in energy. I have only taken 1 of the VPX pills each morning and the Green Tea Extract. I returned the caffeine, because even just the one Meltdown gave me a significant energy boost, can’t imagine taking the caffeine pills when I step the Meltdown up to 2 or 3.
        I am wondering about a pre-workout though… I had read that some people take the VPX Meltdown before a workout. I just follow the instructions and take it in the AM. But I work out in the mid afternoons…. I tried ‘Speed Stack’ yesterday and it did give me a slight energy boost for my workout. Any other suggestions?

        Thanks again!

  • nullibro

    Hey Mike awesome website.

    Wondering if u can enlighten me regarding Acacia Rigidula extract? I have seen this ingredient listed on quite a few weight loss supplements.

  • Renia

    hi I was wondering if you had a recommendation for weight loss. I am 41, 196 lbs. I have been looking for a weight loss pill that actually works and wondering if you have any suggestions.

    • Michael Matthews

      I would start with a proper diet:


  • ankur

    i fpund some
    L-Carnitine weight loss results or
    before after pics
    . I seriously doubt the authenticity of carnitine working so fabulously

  • Matthew

    Hey Mike, so I’m planning on joining the military but I need to lose 40 pounds by the summer to enlist. So, I have approx. 4 months to lose weight. Any tips or suggestions?

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews



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  • Ivette Lagos

    Hey Mike I s just wondering how much caffeine Im suppose to consume before workout while fasted ?

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Something between around 0.3 mg per kg of body weight should be good.

  • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:


    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Marco

    Hi Mike,

    I would like to supplement with green tea extract. I am located in Germany, so Phoenix is not an option, and as I am nearly vegan, neither is the recommended product from Now Foods. Can you please suggest an alternative or tell me what to look for in a good product?


    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Hmm see if VPX Meltdown is available in DE?

      • Marco

        Doesn’t seem so. What about this? http://www.amazon.com/Foods-Green-Extract-400mg-Vcaps/dp/B001DNV5CA/

        • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

          Yes that’s one of the molecules found in green tea extract. It helps with fat loss.

  • Lokesh Sastri

    Hey Mike. I’ve been using Phoenix religiously (2-4 pills) over the course of 3 months (after a 9 month bulk) with minimum cardio to go down from 185lbs to 170lbs. Incredible product! I am still hovering at around ~12%bf. I am now incorporating fasted cardio and intermittent fasting to accelerate my cut. How much longer do you think I should cut for, reasonably speaking. I’ve seen your videos in which you explained the logic behind keeping one’s cut short (to ensure metabolic balance). Do you suggest cutting for say another 2-3 months.I have only a 2-4 pack (upper abs) that is just beginning to show. Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!!

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Wow great job! That rocks! I’d love to feature you on the website. What do you think?

      It may be time to reverse diet:


      Stop taking Phoenix during this time to reset sensitivity and once you’re back to TDEE, get back on the cut.

      What do you think?

      You can take it whenever you want, really. I like taking it with meals.

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  • R A.

    This ends up being another marketing trap. I thought I found the right place to get sound advise in weight loss topics.

  • sonu

    will anyone tell me that this product really works.But please tell me the truth.

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews


  • Edward paul

    Want to use perfect diet pills which doesn’t have
    side-effects then here is the solution for you all guys from self experience I am
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    There is no specified medical proof based on research in people to support the use of acai berry berries for any health-related objective.

  • JT

    Hey Mike,

    Is it ok to supplement with Phoenix and Yohimbine at the same time? I’ll also be using caffeine, but I know that won’t affect much. I’m just curious if you think it’s ok to be using Phoenix and Yohimbine for fat loss for a few months.

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Yup. Totally fine.

  • http://www.ourhealthourlife.com/ Our Health Our Life

    Interesting article, thanks! I’ve subscribed to your website posts. Nice ideas in this blog. I agree with you. I know about weight loss from here. This information is very useful.

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Glad you liked it and agree. :)

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    Nice post. Very helpful and informative. Its really people who want weight loss.

    Visit here for more health tips : http://healthtipsdoc.com/

  • Tonya

    Great Article, I recently started using “Up Your Gas” ( a energy supplement), and I love it! It gives me a boost of energy before my workouts and lasting energy through out the day without jitters. You have to try it! There are some other “Up Your Gas” customer reviews at http://wp.me/p6eM1z-in

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    Lose your weight by using weight loss supplement. You can easily lose your weight by using this without any side- effects.


  • http://shelikesbacon.com/ Mary Johnson

    I was in the same boat as you around eleven months ago. I didn’t have any thought what exactly to believe through the web because all the materials appeared to be an advertisement. I actually read a personal review article concerning Forskothin and it seemed like the guy had wonderful success using the dietary supplement so I gave it a try. I couldn’t have been more excited about the results, since I am now 35 pounds lighter than when I first started using it. The article was extremely helpful to me — if you want to try it out yourself you can read it here


  • Very Conservative

    Hi Mike, I can’t find the Phoenix for sale anywhere. Has it been banned or is it just that popular??

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      It hasn’t been banned! Just been sold out. :/

      Sorry about that! It’ll be back in stock in 2-4 weeks.

  • Very Conservative

    Me again Mike,
    Thank you for your books and articles. They help so much.
    Question, since I can’t seem to find the Legion Phoenix how do you compare that to the Legion Forge for burning fat while building muscle with your Thinner, Leaner, and Stronger books and The Year One Challenge for Women?

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews


      Forge is great, but it is quite different from Phoenix. Forge is only used for fasted training.

      Check it out here:


      • Very Conservative

        Can you use both? Could a person use Forge pre-workout and then use Phoenix post? Is it effective if I am working out in a fasted state?

        • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

          Absolutely. They work well together! In fact, they’ll be making up my fat-loss stack. :)

          You can take Phoenix pre-workout as well BTW. It’s synergistic with caffeine so it’s great to take with Pulse.

  • Rey

    Hi mike do you have any repeat orders for phoenix in Australia? Im just worried about customs.
    Also can i take pheonix on an empty stomach as i dont like to eat in the morning pre workout.

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Definitely. We haven’t had any issues with Australian customs. :)

      I recommend taking Phoenix with food because it can be a bit much on an empty stomach. That being said, a lot of people (including myself) do totally fine with Phoenix on an empty stomach.

      So you’ll just have to see for yourself.

      • Rey

        Thanks for the prompt reply.
        Do i take it twice or three times per day?

        • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

          No problem!

          You take 2 capsules twice a day.

  • Hannah

    Hi Mike! I am 5’8”, female and around 140 lbs (differs from 138-143). I’ve been looking to cut weight, my goal being to reach 120 lbs. I’m on a four day per week workout plan and constantly staying active however I can’t seem to drop much weight. All the information you have above is wonderful and you have a lot of good reviews, I’m just a bit overwhelmed by it all lol and not sure on what supplement would be right for me. Any reccommendations?

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Cool on your goal!

      For some supplements that will help, check these out:



      More important than the supplements however, is the training and dieting. Check this out:


      LMK what you think.

      • Sarah Elizabeth Canido

        im in the same exact boat as hannah. glad i found this

        • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

          Cool. Hope it helps! LMK if you have any questions.

  • Michael

    Hi Mike. I must say that I have enjoyed in your articles tremendously.

    After searching the web, I stumbled on this book “Fastest weight loss pills: Weight loss pills that work fast” on Amazon.
    It’s about real people’s experiences with 30 the most popular weight loss pills on the market. The good thing is that the authors wrote about the side effects of every one of them, their effectiveness, and how fast they work. I think it might be useful for some folks here too.


  • Kerry

    Is Pheonix only good for exercise, or can I take it to supplement my diet?

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      It’s good for weight loss period!

      Phoenix increases the amount of calories you burn daily by 150-200. It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced in the body, and it helps you feel more full thanks to the ingredient, 5-HTP.

  • Abir Hasan Pulok

    Hii….i am 5’11” male around 212lbs …my goal is 160 lbs please help me….thanks

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Step number one is setting up your diet for weight loss. Check this out:


      LMK what you think.

  • Stephen

    Where are sarms? They’re front runners for bodybuilding research supplements and theyre not even justed.

    Stephen Munro

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  • http://www.bodylifeworks.net mandy_leonards

    Hey Mike I know I have asked in 3 places now LOL!! Will Phoenix or Forge show up as a false positive on a urine drug screen for a job? I ask because I know ephedra was known for giving false positives before it was banned, and I know synephrine is closely related… thank you as always!

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Haha no I’ve never heard of anyone failing a drug test due to the synephrine in Phoenix.

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